Transition to the Amended Children (Education and Care Services) Act – The Big Picture
The NSW Department of Education has advised State Regulated Education and Care Services (SRECS), also known as ‘out of scope services’, that there have been changes to their governing legislation. These are:
- The Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011 which was amended in September 2018 by this amendment Act, and
- the new Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Regulation 2019 which commenced on 27 May 2019.
The term ‘out of scope’ refers to services that are not ‘in-scope’ (ie. are not covered by) the National Quality Framework (NQF).
Out of scope services will continue to be governed by different legislation than NSW Preschools, Long Day Care Services and Family Day Care Services, which are governed by the National Law and the National Law Regulations, under the NQF.
Nevertheless there has been concerted effort by the NSW Government to align the legislation governing out of scope services with the national system, particularly the National Law the National Law Regulations and the assessment and ratings system of the NQF.
The Department has advised that assessment and ratings are expected to commence from October 2019.
Although still governed by a different Act and Regulation (The ‘supplementary provisions’ Act and Regulation), the mechanism the NSW Government has used to further align with the national system is to basically adopt the provisions of National Law and the National Law Regulations, with ‘modifications’.
For example, the key section aligning the SRECS related Act with the National Law states (here):
“17 Alignment with National Law
The National Law, as in force from time to time:
(a) applies to State regulated education and care services as if those services were education and care services within the meaning of the National Law, and
(b) so applies with the modifications provided for by or under this Act, and”
The key section aligning the SRECS related Regulation with the National Law Regulations states (here):
“4 National Law Regulations apply to State regulated education and care services
(1) The National Law Regulations apply, with the modifications specified in this Part, to State regulated education and care services as if those services were education and care services within the meaning of the National Law.”
The alignment with the national system is for a good purpose: All families and children in NSW will benefit from the same safeguards and quality benchmarks.
The formal name for those Mobile Education and Care Services (MECS) and Occasional Education and Care Services (OECS) in the legislation is ‘State Regulated Education and Care Services’. CCSA will be using the acronym SRECS. We think that the term ‘State Regulated Education and Care Services’ better reflects their status as well respected, good quality and integral elements of the NSW early childhood service system.
The Department has further outlined the changes on their website here.
CCSA is available to discuss changes to the legislation via our Information Line on 1800 991 602.
More information to start your service’s transition to the new arrangements
Both the SRECS related Act and SRECS related Regulation systematically reference ‘modifications’ to the National Law and the National Law Regulation.
It is useful to have the weblinks (available above) to these four pieces of legislation on the bookmarks menu of your web browser. It is important to bookmark links to the current legislation (see the legislation’s menu bar and click on ‘Historical versions’ for the ‘current version’).
Browse the ‘content’ menu of the National Law Regulations, then focus on the meaty, day to day service delivery requirements of Chapter 4 Operational Requirements. You may want to print this section out through the ‘whole title’ version.
Chapter 4 follows the National Quality Standard’s Quality Areas.
The provisions of Chapter 4 are mostly written in non-prescriptive language (except for staffing provisions), which allows your service reasonable flexibility in how you address each matter. Things to think about now include:
How compliant is your service?
Will there need to be major changes or just tweaks?
What do you need to do to be compliant?
Frequently Asked Questions - Mobile Education and Care Services
Frequently Asked Questions - Day to Day Operations
Legislative Changes - Workshop Slides
- Introduction to changes
- Further alignment with the national system
- Changes to the legislation
- About the National Law and National Law Regulation
- Specific issues from changes to the legislation
Assessment and Ratings and Quality Improvement Plans - Workshop Slides
- An overview of legal obligations
- An overview of the National Quality Framework
- Assessment and Rating
- Quality Improvement Plans
Preparing for Assessment and Rating - Webinar Slides
- What are the Ratings?
- Who assesses services?
- The Assessment and Rating timeline
- What to expect
- Preparing for success
Quality Improvement Plans - Webinar Slides
- What is a QIP?
- Your service philosophy
- Your self assessment
- Developing your Improvement Plan
- Reviewing your QIP
Suporting Your Team Through Change - Webinar Slides
Teacher Accreditation - Webinar Slides
- About NESA
- Australian Professional Standards for Teachers
- Achieving and Maintaining Proficient Teacher
- NESA as Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA)
Venue Management Plans
CCSA has identified that the updated Venue Management Plan processes, transitioning to the new prescribed provisions of VMP’s and reviewing practices to comply with the National Law Regulation, are immediately important to MECS.
CCSA recommends MECS review their current VMP’s and update them to the new prescribed provisions as well as review and update their other facility/physical environment policies and procedures to be compliant with the National Law Regulations.
Download this Venue Management Plan Resource for detailed information.
Service Waivers and Temporary Waivers
CCSA has identified that both Service Waivers and Temporary Waivers are immediately important to Occasional Education and Care Services (OECS) and Mobile Education and Care Services (MECS) in the transition to implementing the new legislation and associated processes, such as staffing arrangements, assessment and rating for all services and Venue Management Plans for MECS.
Some of the new staffing requirements will require immediate waivers for many State Regulated Education and Care Services.
CCSA has encouraged affected services to immediately apply for waivers on staffing matters.
In time, MECS will need to come to terms with both the reworked elements of Venue Management Plans and the interaction with facility type waivers.
Download this Service Waivers and Temporary Waivers Resource for detailed information about waivers and the application process.
Services will need to review, revise and update policies to ensure compliance with the National Regulations.
It is recommended that policy names match the names given in the regulations to ensure,
- compliance and,
- that your service will easily be able to provide the requested policy document on request (especially useful during a compliance visit or an assessment and rating visit.)
It is suggested that services first review their existing policies for cross over to the new requirements, for example as colour coded below. Next, review the existing policy for compliance to the requirements under the national regulations and revise and rename as required.
Read more here – How to develop and update policies successfully (without the stress)
Guided Compliance to Transition - Support for Services
Guided compliance is the approach the department will use to support SRECS transition to the Assessment and Rating process, to ensure quality Education and Care delivery for all children in NSW.
How it Works:
Prior to Assessment and Rating the Department’s Authorised officers will be in contact with services and will aim to visit to support the preparation process. Where a visit is not possible, telephone contact will be made. The Authorised officers will be expecting to observe venue management plans and risk assessments during these visits. If issues of non-compliance at any service are identified, the guided compliance process will be used to support services to amend areas of compliance, unless a risk to children is identified.
Where there is an immediate risk to children or a risk is identified which cannot be easily amended, other compliance remedies will be undertaken. A serious risk could see a non-compliance letter issued.
If you require any further information about this phase of the SRECS support program, please phone CCSA on 02 4782 1470.
NESA Teacher Accrediation Process
Early childhood teachers working in occasional care and mobile services in NSW will need to be accredited by 1 October 2019 by NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). This is a result of the alignment of the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011 to the Education and Care Services National Law 2010. Under the Teacher Accreditation Act 2004, teachers working in early childhood centre-based services determined by the National Law need to be accredited.
Teachers working in occasional care and mobile services can become accredited by following one of two pathways:
- applying for immediate accreditation at Proficient Teacher as determined by NESA’s Accreditation of Early Childhood Teachers Policy. Eligibility to meet this criteria is dependent on a teacher’s qualification and previous employment in centre-based services. Teachers accredited at Proficient Teacher need to maintain their accreditation.
- applying for accreditation at provisional. These teachers will be required to work towards Proficient Teacher accreditation.
Early childhood teachers already accredited by NESA do not need to reapply for accreditation.
For further information contact NESA on 1300 739 338 or ECTaccreditation@nesa.nsw.gov.au
Quality Improvement Plans
NSW Department of Education Quality Improvement Plan template
ACECQA Quality Improvement Plan template
Developing and Reviewing your Quality Improvement Plan
Regulations and Acts
The National Quality Framework
National Quality Framework
National Quality Standards
Guide to the National Quality Framework
Assesment and Rating
ACECQA Assessment and Rating Instrument
Assessment and Rating Instrument
ACECQA further information on the assessment and rating process
NSW Department of Education Forms
Childcare Finder Website
Department of Education and Training Childcare Finder