Temporary Waivers requested for COVID

The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW has formally requested to the NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning that she develops and implements a COVID framework to facilitate temporary waivers to early childhood education and care services in relation to educators:children ratios (Regulation 123 and Regulation 271) and qualification of early childhood teacher ratios (Regulation 272) to children.


As NSW begins to live with COVID, the significant numbers of NSW citizens in temporary self-isolation due to COVID infections have produced unintended disruptions across all industries.


In order to minimise disruptions and access to early childhood education and care (ECEC) services due to COVID, ACA NSW appreciates the NSW Department of Education’s introduction of the Rapid Antigen Home Testing (RAHT) Test-To-Stay program that commenced on 4 January 2022 (based on the Exemption to the NSW Public Health Order on self-isolation).


That said, ECEC services are regulated by the NSW Government to operate based on ratios of educators and early childhood teachers to the number of children attending. So when educators and early childhood teachers are self-isolating due to COVID, ECEC services have to turn away children when they are unable to comply with the relevant regulations.


The existing higher regulatory requirement on NSW-based ECEC services compared to all other Australian states has existed for the last 10 years since 1 January 2012 when the National Quality Framework came into effect. This regulatory impost has also been highlighted as a concern by the NSW Productivity Commissioner’s Green and White Papers.


A framework to facilitate temporary waivers of educators:children ratios and qualification of early childhood teacher ratios will significantly minimise disruptions to ECEC services due to COVID. This will contribute substantially towards educating and caring the maximum number of children possible during the COVID pandemic.


For any further information/clarification, please contact the ACA NSW team via 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au. 


PUBLISHED: 12 JANUARY 2022

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