Early childhood education & care

The department, through the Early Childhood Education & Care Directorate, regulates the operation of early childhood education and care services for children from birth to school age. The department also provides some funding to education and care services.

 

First Early Childhood Extra newsletter for 2015

Our February 2015 issue contains updates on three of our programs: Operational Support, Capital Works Grants, and the Preschool Disability Support Program. There is information on mandatory reporting and child protection, family day care legislative changes and training, and Premier's scholarships available to preschool teachers. We also congratulate the latest two NSW services to receive an Excellent rating.  


NSW Health renews warning of Hepatitis A risk

Services will have seen media reports about recent contamination of frozen berry products with the Hepatitis A virus.  NSW Health has issued information about the risks.  Services may find this information useful when discussing the issue with parents. 

 


 

Advice to parents on childcare deposits

Parents considering paying a deposit to secure a place at a childcare centre or preschool should read the contract carefully.  NSW Fair Trading says grievances about education and childcare deposits have doubled from 2013 to 2014.


Mandatory reporting reminder

Providers need to ensure that all staff members are fully aware of their responsibilities as mandatory reporters.  If a staff member working in any type of service has reason to believe that a child is at risk of significant harm, this must be reported to the Child Protection Helpline on 133627 as soon as practicable.


Child protection training reminder

Providers have a legal requirement to ensure that the nominated supervisor of a service and any certified supervisor in day to day charge of a service has successfully completed a course in child protection that has been approved by NSW DEC.


National Quality Framework review

Feedback provided through the public consultation process into the 2014 review of the National Quality Framework was incorporated into the development of a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS).  This RIS was released for consultation in September 2014.  This consultation period has now closed.  


Mobile Preschools

ECECD will be working closely with the Mobile Children's Services Association to assist mobile preschools, that meet the definition of a mobile preschool, move to ‘opt in' fixed term contracts in 2016.


Transition to School Statement

The Minister for Education, in 2014, announced the release of the NSW Transition to School Statement, a new tool designed to support children moving from early childhood education to formal schooling.  Information sheets for early childhood education and care services, families and schools, community language translations and a video are available. 


Anaphylaxis Guidelines

ECECD has published new Anaphylaxis Guidelines for Early Childhood Education and Care Services. 


Preschool Disability Support Program

Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP) supports the inclusion of children with disability in NSW community preschools.

This new program includes targeted funding for individual children and a new universal disability loading that will be provided to all community preschools, based on the total number of children included in the Community Preschool Funding Model.

The PDSP replaces the Supporting Children with Additional Needs (SCAN) Program and Intervention Support Program (ISP) for community preschools. ISP is still applicable for long day care and early childhood intervention services.


Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning

The Productivity Commission released the draft report of its Inquiry into Childcare and Early Learning on 22 July 2014 and submitted its Inquiry report to the Commonwealth Government on 31 October 2014.  


Operational Support Program to help community preschools

ECECD is establishing an operational support program to assist community preschools, particularly those that have been identified as requiring additional assistance with their operations.  This support program is designed to help preschools adjust to the new Preschool Funding Model, and to build their capacity as sustainable organisations. 


Cluster management

The evaluation process for the Cluster Management Trial has been finalised and cluster managers have been appointed. The cluster managers, who will be supported with funding to deliver the trial, are:

  • Community Child Care Co-operative
  • Samaritans Foundation
  • CareWest

The cluster managers are now recruiting community preschools to participate in the two year trial. The aim of the trial is to provide governance, service delivery and professional development support to volunteer management committees. Preschools are strongly encouraged to contact the cluster managers directly to discuss the opportunity to participate.


National Regulations

A number of amendments to the National Regulations (the Education and Care Services National Amendment Regulations 2013) (Amendment Regulation) came into effect on 1 June 2014.

The amendments are primarily aimed at reducing the regulatory burden on providers and services. Detailed information on the changes is available from the ACECQA website. This information includes a NSW specific information sheet.

You can also download the entire amended regulations from the NSW Legislation website.


Intervention Support Program

The Intervention Support Program (ISP) provides grants for programs designed to support learning and educational development opportunities for children with disability who are below school age and attending not-for-profit early childhood services.

In 2015 the ISP will continue to be available for a range of education providers across NSW. However, for community-based preschools, the Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP) replaces the ISP.  Community-based preschools can no longer apply for ISP funding. For all other early childhood education services ISP eligibility, application requirements, and child-based funding remains the same.


Community Preschool Funding

The NSW Minister for Education announced a new funding model for community preschools, which came into effect in January 2014.

Based on the recommendations of the Brennan Review, the new model puts more money into the sector than ever before and introduces a needs-based funding system so more children in the year before school access early childhood education. The new arrangements include: 

  • Higher base funding rates
  • Additional equity funding
  • Service loadings for remote and outer regional services
  • Loadings for English language needs
  • Separate contracts for mobile services that recognise their unique service

 

 


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Newsletter

The Early Childhood Extra looks at a range of issues relevant to the early childhood sector in NSW.  To view the current and previous issues of the newsletter or to subscribe, visit our Early Childhood Extra page.