Additional staffing requirement from 1 January 2020

From 1 January 2020, providers of long day care services and preschools/kindergartens will need to have a second early childhood teacher or, alternatively, a ‘suitably qualified person’ in attendance when 60 or more children preschool age or under are being educated and cared for.

Services located in NSW are unaffected by these changes, as additional ECT staffing requirements have been in place for several years.

Recognition as a ‘suitably qualified person’

In October 2018, ACECQA determined the following qualifications are required for a ‘suitably qualified person’:

  • An individual who is ‘actively working towards’ (see Regulation 10 of the National Regulations) an approved early childhood teaching qualification AND has completed at least 50 per cent of the qualification or holds an approved early childhood education and care diploma

OR

  • An individual who is registered (accredited in New South Wales) as a primary or secondary school teacher in Australia AND holds an ACECQA approved early childhood education and care diploma (or higher approved qualification)

These qualifications are published on the ACECQA approved qualifications list. You should retain evidence of your primary or secondary teaching qualification, teacher registration/accreditation and ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification as evidence that you meet the requirements.

Please note that the requirement for an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification is separate to the requirement for a primary or secondary teaching qualification (i.e. two separate qualifications are required).

In its deliberations, ACECQA carefully considered the context of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the early childhood education and care workforce, including the ongoing:

  • aim of building a highly skilled workforce 
  • sector workforce pressures and challenges, particularly in rural and remote areas.

As part of its deliberations, ACECQA also agreed to monitor and review the implementation, administration and impact of this determination at the end of 2022.

Regulation 133 and 134 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations

For services that provide education and care to 60 or more children preschool age or under but not more than 80 on a given day, the second ECT or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for:

  • at least 3 hours on that day, if the service operates for 50 or more hours a week
  • 30% of the operating hours of the service on that day if the service operates for less than 50 hours
  • OR, be employed for half of the full-time equivalent hours of the service.

For services that provide education and care to 80 or more children preschool age or under on a given day, the second ECT or suitably qualified person must be in attendance for:

  • at least 6 hours on that day, if the service operates for 50 or more hours a week
  • 60% of the operating hours of the service on that day, if the service operates for less than 50 hours
  • OR, be employed full-time.

This is the final scheduled step up in staffing requirements for NQF approved services that have been progressively introduced since 1 January 2012. See Regulation 133(1)(b) and 134(1)(b) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations for full details about the 1 January 2020 requirement.

Please note that a ‘suitably qualified person’ can be counted towards educator to child ratios when working directly with children, in the same way that an ECT can.