Members will be aware of the agreement between the Federal Government and state and territory governments regarding a new regulatory framework which will govern all early childhood settings from the beginning of 2012. This marks one of the most significant changes for South Australian preschool and integrated environments in this state’s history. The key features of the new framework are:

  • A National Quality Standard encompassing seven quality areas
  • A new ratings system to complement the NQS
  • A new regulatory system
  • A new early years curriculum, the Early Years Learning Framework
  • A new governing body, the Australian Children’s Early Childhood Quality Authority (ACECQA) reporting to the Ministerial Council (MCEECDYA)

 

The seven quality areas subject to assessment in all early childhood settings are:

  • Educational program and practice
  • Children’s health and safety
  • Physical environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with children
  • Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  • Leadership and service management

 

Qualification requirements for early childhood educators other than teachers will be:

By 1 January 2014, staff to be engaged in working towards a qualification of minimum Certificate III level ECE and Care.

A new ratings system based on a five point scale of:

  • Excellent
  • High Quality
  • National Quality Standard
  • Operating Level
  • Unsatisfactory

Members should be aware that the AEU has been actively engaged in negotiations regarding the new framework at both national and state levels. The AEU National Early Childhood Committee has been in discussions with officers of the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) about the state and territory implementation of legislations which will govern the new regulatory framework.

The AEU SA Branch has been in negotiations with DECS about the implications of the framework for preschool centres in this state. Specifically, the AEU is negotiating the best arrangements for the required qualifications for Early Childhood Workers and the implications of other new regulatory requirements for preschools and integrated early childhood settings.

Sitting along side this framework is the continued expansion of the federal government’s Universal Access to 15 hours of preschool education to 4 year olds delivered by 4 year qualified early childhood teachers.

The AEU is also in ongoing negotiations with DECS to determine arrangements for teachers who currently do not meet this requirement. The AEU will keep preschool members informed as negotiations progress.