New Educator to Child Ratios In Early Childhood Services

New Educator to Child Ratios In Early Childhood Services Parker Knight

From the 01 January 2016, early childhood educational services across Australia (except Tasmania and Western Australia) has new and improved educator to child ratios. 

I have been eagerly awaiting these new ratio requirements ever since I started working with the toddlers in 2011. Before this change the ratio in the toddler room was 1:8 (NSW) and for several months I was flying solo in the toddler room with my 8 little joys per day, from toilet training, cleaning up accidents and the trials and tribulations that you may come across with the toddlers! 

I have no doubt that my experience rings bells with many educators working in settings where early childhood centres push the limits of their educators. I really think this improvement in ratio is a sign of relief as it will enable us educators to take a step back as we get more support from qualified workers in this industry.

The ratio requirements across all age ranges in Australia are as follows:

Educator to Child Ratios for Centre Based Services

* For FDC services the educator to child ratio 1:7 – with no more than four children preschool age or under, including educator’s own children younger than 13 years of age at the residence. 

Meeting New Educator to Child Ratios

Some services may need to increase the number of qualified educators in order to meet the new ratio requirements. To, be included in ratios, educators need to meet the appropriate qualification requirements, which may also include “actively working towards an approved qualification”.  

This means that an educator doesn't necessarily have to have a completed qualification, if they are meeting the requirements set below they too can be part of the ratio. 

Cert 3 Qualified Educator: An educator can be counted as a cert 3 qualified educator is they hold an approved qualification or if they are “actively working towards” the following requirements:

  • Being enrolled in a course for the qualification
  • Commenced the course
  • Making satisfactory progress towards completion
  • Meeting requirements to maintain enrolment

Diploma Qualified Educator: An educator can be counted as a diploma qualified educator if they hold an approved diploma qualification or if they are “actively working towards” the following requirements:

  • Being enrolled in a course for the qualification
  • Commenced the course
  • Making satisfactory progress towards completion
  • Meeting requirements to maintain enrolment
  • Hold an approved cert 3 qualification OR
  • Have completed the approved cert 3 units OR
  • Have completed 30% of the unit in an approved ECT qualifications

South Australia – FDC educators are required to have an approved cert 3 level qualification and cannot be “actively working towards” this qualification. As for FDC co-ordinators they are required to have an approved diploma level qualification and cannot be “actively working towards” this qualification. 

ECT Qualified Educator: Until 01 January 2018, an educator can be counted as an ECT if they are “actively working towards” an ECT qualification and have:

  • Completed 50% of the qualification
  • Already hold an approved Diploma qualification

New South Wales – This does not apply if you are working in a centre based service for 30 or more children preschool age or under. Be sure to check relevant teacher registration and accreditation requirements in your state/territory.

Unable To Meet Staffing Requirements

If your service is unable to meet qualification requirements and you can provide supporting documentation, you can submit a waiver application. This should be used as a last resort and services will be expected to have a plan to ensure compliance within a specified time frame. 

These new ratio changes are for the better! Giving more opportunities for qualified students to gain employment opportunities and for services to bridge the gap and create better working conditions for their employees. It takes a huge load off our shoulders knowing that finally these ratios will give us time to engage and focus our attention to each individual child within our care, providing families with the high quality care that is expected!

Ref: ACECQA

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Last modified on Thursday, January 14, 2016

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