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Upcoming Changes To The NQF, Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations

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Upcoming Changes To The NQF, Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations

After the 2019 NQF review, some changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations, have been agreed upon by Commonwealth, state, and territory education ministers for the betterment of children’s health, well-being, and security.

Some key changes include:

  • New safety requirements: New policies, rules, and regulations have been introduced to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of children in education and care.
  • Improved oversight and compliance tools for Regulatory Authorities: To ensure the transparency and accountability of the sector’s rules, regulations, and security.
  • New workforce requirements: Requirements for the new workforce and also the minimum required qualification of the workforce in family day-care and other wings have been increased.
  • Improved regulatory guidance: improving educator knowledge of best practices through government-developed resources, including the Guide to the National Quality Framework.

Children's Health and Safety

  • 3.1 Safety of children during transitions between services (including school) - All state and territory school authorities and non-government school sector organisations will be notified to develop policies and procedures to safely transfer children between schools and education and care services.
  • 3.2 Sleep and rest requirements -  Governments will develop guidance to help providers develop policies and procedures for sleep and rest, and to provide information to families on safe sleeping practices. It has been also decided that the training of the educators on this subject matter will be provided.
  • 3.3 Improving children’s safety during regular transportation - A service staff member other than the driver must be present when children are boarding and leaving the transportation. It has also been decided that staff ratio will be increased and proper knowledge, training will be given to staff so that embarking and debarking can be smooth.
  • 3.4 Improving children’s safety during emergency evacuations from multi-story buildings - Multistorey buildings need to have emergency and evacuation procedures which include instructions for what must be done in an emergency and in staged evacuations and identify the person-in-charge and staff roles and responsibilities to review and/or conduct a risk assessment following certain events or time periods
  • 4.1 Embedding the National Child Safe Principles - Governments will amend and prepare guidance to address identified gaps between the Child Safe Principles and the NQF. Volunteers must be aware of how to comply with all child protection laws and any obligations held under them. Services’ child-safe environment policies and procedures must cover the creation of a child-safe culture and the safe use of online environments. Services’ complaint handling policies and procedures must be child-focused, in accordance with the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. There are other policies also have been taken to ensure the child safety
  • 4.2 Updating record-keeping requirements - Governments will prepare guidance to help providers improve their understanding of record keeping.

FDC

  • 5.1 FDC Register and notification requirements - Governments will perform the necessary work to improve their access to this information.
  • 5.2 FDC exceptional circumstances - Approved providers must include details of FDC educators operating with more than 7 children, or more than 4 children preschool age or under, due to exceptional circumstances, on the FDC register.
  • 5.3 Safety around swimming pools in FDC residences - Governments will provide additional guidance and also will give required materials for water safety to FDC services and educators.
  • 5.4 Safety of glass used by services in Family Day Care - Governments will provide additional guidance to the concerned person so that the glasses can be used safely.

OSHC

  • 6.1 Assessment and Rating of OSHC services - Governments will review and consider changes to OSHC assessment and rating processes.

Workforce

  • 7.1 Restrictions on short-term relief for early childhood educators - Regulation 135 will be amended to include resignation and practicum as allowable reasons for short-term absences.
  • 7.2 Educators who are ‘actively working towards a qualification - Governments will develop guidance for providers to ensure staff who are ‘actively working towards’ qualifications are making satisfactory progress.
  • 7.3 Minimum qualification requirements for educators in FDC - FDC educators must hold an approved certificate III qualification prior to commencing their role in an FDC service.

Quality Ratings

  • 8.1 The quality rating system - Governments will review and consider changes to the quality rating terminology.

Oversight And Governance Of Services and Providers

  • 10.4 Maintaining current information about service delivery - Governments will develop guidance materials, including the Guide to the NQF, to help services consider age-appropriate programs and facilities when making changes to children’s ages and the nature of care provided.

Other amendments to the National Law and Regulations outside the DRIS (as agreed to by Education Ministers).

  • 12.3 FDC Coordinator to educator ratio - 1 and 15 (when there is a 1:15 ratio applied and the service has been operating for under 12 months) or 1 and 25 (when there is a 1:25 ratio applied and the service has been operating for more than 12 months).
  • 12.4 Display of FDC ratings at FDC premises - Require a ratings certificate to be clearly visible at any FDC residence or venue used to provide education and care to children as part of a family day care service.
  • 12.5 First Aid currency requirements - Prescribe currency periods for first aid qualifications and other health and safety training in the National Regulations. This will help providers and educators understand when qualifications and training are due for renewal.
  • 12.6 Scope of assistance provided by FDC educator assistant -  Amendment to National Regulations to clarify that escorting children by walking is within the scope of regulation 144(4).

Note: These are only a few of the changes.

For more detailed information: Changes To The NQF

Most changes are expected to commence from mid-2023 in all states and territories. ACECQA is working with and on behalf of all governments, and will provide more detailed information to explain the changes over the coming months, including notification about the commencement dates for each of the agreed changes.

Last modified on Tuesday, June 21, 2022
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