ACECQA Newsletter Issue 4 2020 – Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

CEO foreword

Thank you all so much for your valued work for Australian children, families and communities during this challenging period. We are certainly seeing a new appreciation across Australian society for your important role as teachers and educators.

As we face the issues presented by COVID-19, our ACECQA Newsletter will continue to share key information and resources to equip you to stay safe, well informed and up to date with the latest health advice.

Here at ACECQA we have been working with the Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments to develop new resources and services, and support initiatives to address the many challenges faced by the sector and families.

One matter we have been dealing with this month has involved working with higher education providers and teacher regulatory authorities to support students to meet their final year requirements for professional placement days. We know that quality services usually go the extra mile to provide students with professional placements, but this is no longer an option for the vast majority.

We will find viable solutions in the next few weeks to enable successful completion of courses without placing any additional burden on services, knowing that you are working around the clock to best support your children, families and staff.

We hope the following articles are of interest and we wish you all the best of health and wellbeing.

Gabrielle Sinclair
ACECQA CEO


Key Australian Government COVID-19 information and support for services

- The Australian Government’s Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is supporting families during COVID-19 by helping child care and early learning services to stay open for them.

- Services seeking health and situation information about COVID-19 should contact the 24/7 National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080. Information is also available from the Department of Education, Skills and Employment website.  

- An information sheet is available for child care services and educators seeking information about Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package payments from 6 April 2020.

- The CCS Helpdesk is also available to assist with information for services to help them manage the impacts on their business. Please email the CCS Helpdesk on ccshelpdesk@dese.gov.au, send in your query via an online form or call 1300 667 276 between 9am – 5pm (AEST), Monday – Friday.

 

New COVID-19 pages on ACECQA and Starting Blocks websites providing regular updates

Our ACECQA and family focused StartingBlocks.gov.au websites are continuing to work with all governments to support teachers, educators, parents and carers with up to date and reliable information about COVID-19.

You can find regularly updated information on these dedicated COVID-19 webpages on each website:

 

First aid training during COVID-19

In light of COVID-19 related restrictions, the Australian Skills Quality Authority has released advice for training providers to consider adapting practices, including changing delivery modes, re-sequencing delivery of units or components of units, and delaying workplace practical assessments.

While theoretical aspects of first aid training could be reasonably covered through online training, other more practical aspects – in particular the performance of CPR on a manikin – are much more challenging. In the first instance, educators should discuss any available options offered by training providers.

Education and care service providers and educators are encouraged to pursue all available options to complete first aid refresher training, including completing only the theoretical aspects of the training, if necessary.

State and territory regulatory authorities will consider waivers relating to the requirements for refresher training, particularly those applications supported by evidence of having actively sought training opportunities and/or completed the theoretical aspects of the training.

Find out more on our website.

 

Upcoming ACECQA research releases

Amid COVID-19 arrangements, many sector stakeholders have told us they are supporting increased participation in professional development for their staff. To support professional knowledge and Australian-based studies, our substantial body of research work has continued and we look forward to sharing key items with you in the forthcoming months, including:

  • findings from an interesting research project exploring factors that support quality in education and care services, which we commissioned Macquarie University to do during 2019. As many of you know, collaboration and educational leadership are essential to drive a culture of continuous quality improvement in services. The research findings unpack the reasons for this and provide valuable confirmation of effective practices.
  • our next quarterly NQF Snapshot data release.
  • our seventh occasional paper, looking at quality results across socio-economic areas.

 

New search tool and national helpline for families

Parents and carers who are essential workers can find information about open child care services for their children online by searching StartingBlocks.gov.au Find Child Care – 24 hours, 7 days per week.

They can also call the new national families’ helpline which we have developed for the Australian Government and which was launched by Minister Tehan this week.

  • Find Child Care Family Helpline – 1800 291 041 – 9am – 5pm AEST, Monday – Friday

During this difficult health crisis, we have worked with regulatory authorities to help services and providers to support parents and carers to find open services in their communities.

If your service needs to close on advice from your local health authority or regulatory authority, it is essential to report such closures to your regulatory authority and to update the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA IT System) within 24 hours.

The NQA IT System portal has been improved to enable you to nominate 'COVID-19' as the reason for your service's emergency closure. Guidance on the steps involved is available on the NQA IT System portal and the ACECQA website. Information about ‘open services’ is updated daily and published on the StartingBlocks.gov.au Find Child Care tool so services that have closed no longer appear on this parent focused website.

Our national registers continue to display all approved services, whether open or closed, as usual.

If you know of families looking for services for their children, please let them know that StartingBlocks.gov.au Find Child Care can help them find a safe, quality service. It lists open services approved under Australia’s National Quality Framework and monitored by regulatory authorities to safeguard children’s safety, health, wellbeing and development.