Higher qualifications

Improving educator qualifications is important with substantial research confirming that higher qualified educators improve outcomes for children. More highly qualified educators have a greater understanding of child development, health and safety issues and lead activities that inspire children and help them learn and develop.

The following qualification requirements for educators who are educating and caring for children will apply.

From 1 January 2014:

Long day care and preschool services providing care to less than 25 children (based on approved places) must have access to an early childhood teacher for at least 20 per cent of the time that the service provides education and care. This requirement can be met by the early childhood teacher working with the service via information technology, such as Skype or radio. 

When long day care and preschool services are provided to 25 or more children on any given day, services must ensure that an early childhood teacher is in attendance for a minimum:

  • six hours on that day (for a service that operates for 50 or more hours per week); or
  • 60 per cent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for less than 50 hours per week).

A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a full-time equivalent early childhood teacher.

Within each long day care centre or preschool, half of all educators who are required to meet the relevant educator to child ratios will need to have (or to be actively working towards) an approved diploma-level education and care qualification or above. The remaining educators will all be required to have (or be actively working towards) an approved certificate III level education and care qualification, or equivalent. 

A new educator without an approved qualification can be counted towards educator to child ratios for a three month probationary period. This applies only for centre-based services that educate and care for children preschool age or under. It does not apply in South Australia and New South Wales. Note: a probationary period is not extended if the educator moves to another service operated by the same approved provider. 

Centre-based services in remote and very remote areas can meet these requirements by accessing an early childhood teacher, for example through information technology, rather than having an early childhood teacher in attendance, until 1 January 2018. The early childhood teacher must be accessible at least 20 per cent of the time the service provides education and care.

All family day care coordinators need to have an approved diploma level education and care qualification or above.

All family day educators are required to have (or be actively working towards) an approved certificate III level education and care qualification, or equivalent.

By 1 January 2020:

When long day care and preschool services are provided to 60 to 80 children on any given day, the service must ensure that a second early childhood teacher is in attendance for:

  • three hours on that day (for a service that operates for 50 or more hours per week); or
  • 30 per cent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for less than 50 hours per week).

A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a second early childhood teacher for half of the full-time equivalent hours at the service.

When long day care and preschool services are provided to more than 80 children on any given day, the service must ensure that a second early childhood teacher is in attendance for:

  • six hours on that day (for a service that operates for 50 or more hours per week); or
  • 60 per cent of the operating hours (for a service that operates for less than 50 hours per week).

A service may choose to comply with these requirements by engaging a second full-time equivalent early childhood teacher.