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Important updates

Ministers agree on NQF changes

Amendments to the National Regulations to support the implementation of the National Quality Framework (NQF) were agreed to by all state and territory ministers and the Australian Government on Friday 11 April 2014. Ministers also discussed actions to streamline the quality rating process.

Changes to streamline assessment and rating are being rolled out immediately and are explained in the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) newsletter External Link.

Regulation amendments around staffing arrangements, the physical environment of early childhood services and transitional provisions to deal with workforce shortages for early childhood teachers in remote and very remote areas were agreed to. Ministers asked that work continue to finalise the more complex amendments to the National Law and Regulations to reduce regulatory burden on the sector.

Further information about the regulation amendments will be provided once the details are final. The department will distribute an NQF e-bulletin to all Queensland providers and services, explaining these changes when confirmed.

View the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC) Communique Adobe PDF document External Link

Kindy participation rates 2013

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) External Link show a significant increase in kindergarten participation rates in Queensland.

Results from the Preschool Education in Australia 2013 publication show Queensland kindergarten enrolment rates have risen from 29% in 2008 to 97.4% in 2013.

While overall results have improved, the survey showed that some groups are still below the state-wide average with the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children enrolled in a kindergarten program at 77.9% and children from low socio-economic backgrounds at 85.5%.

The ABS data release provides more comprehensive information than previously available, including national totals for service providers, child and worker statistics from 8,654 service providers across Australia.

Market research project

The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care (OECEC) has commissioned market research company, TNS, to undertake targeted research into the effectiveness of how we, as an organisation, are communicating and engaging with the sector.

The findings of this research will be used to highlight improvements to our service delivery to our stakeholders.

TNS will be contacting a range of peak organisations, services providers, approved providers and educators over the period 24 March - 10 April.

If you would like more information about this project, please contact Bronwyn Smith, Principal Program Officer, OECEC on 3404 3851 or email Bronwyn Smith or Susan Knight, Senior Project Manager, TNS or call Susan Knight on 3011 4215.

Strengthening the early years

We know that quality experiences in early childhood education and care (ECEC) help give children a great start in life.

This is why we are strengthening our focus on the importance of the early years, with an emphasis on supporting families and services to improve each child's transition from early childhood programs and services into school.

To support this renewed focus, the department will improve linkages with ECEC providers to better understand their needs and to support the valuable role they perform for children and their families.

The department will also reorganise and strengthen some of its services and functions.

Key changes include:

For more information read the fact sheet Adobe PDF document414K or contact your local regional office External Link.

Be prepared for storm and bushfire season

The storm and bushfire season has begun and the department encourages providers and services to prepare for these natural disasters.

You will find useful information on the Get Ready Queensland website External Link.

If your service is affected by a natural disaster and you need support in providing continuity of education and care, contact your nearest regional office.

Your regional office will work collaboratively with you in dealing with operational difficulties.

Services are required to notify their regional office in writing within 24 hours if an incident occurs that requires a service closure or reduction in the number of children attending (see Regulation 175/176).

This includes service closures due to natural disasters.

If your service is closed, you should also make sure parents of enrolled children are notified.

Amendments to the Education and Care Services National Regulations

Amendments to the Education and Care Services National Regulations came into effect on 1 September 2013. The amendments deliver benefits for providers, educators and regulatory authorities by streamlining processes and reducing paperwork.

The major amendments include:

Information on these amendments and what they mean is available External Link.

A copy of the National Regulations with the amendments is available on the NSW Legislation Register External Link.

Queensland specific amendments

There are also a number of amendments specific to Queensland including:

Please see ACECQA's Information sheet on the amendments specific to Queensland Adobe PDF document External Link for further information.

Updates to the National Quality Framework Resource Kit

Two of the four guides in the National Quality Framework Resource Kit (NQF Resource Kit) have been updated to reflect the amendments. The key changes are outlined in a table Adobe PDF document External Link and on the inside cover of the Guide to the National Law and Regulations and Guide to the National Quality Standard. The updated version of the kit is available External Link to download or view.

Reporting suspected child harm or risk of harm

Education and Care staff in regular contact with children and their families are well placed to observe and report when children appear to be at risk of harm and can play an important role in protecting the safety and wellbeing of those children.

Under the Education and Care Services National Law External Link (National Law) services and their staff are required to ensure the safety of children in the course of the provision of education and care by:

There is no legal requirement in Queensland for services or their staff to report suspected child abuse that occurs outside a service. However education and care service staff may report suspected child abuse.

If you suspect child harm or risk of harm who should you call?

Child safety service centres have professionally trained child protection staff who are skilled in dealing with information about harm or risk of harm to children. When you make a report to Child Safety Services or the Queensland Police Service your details are kept confidential and your identity is strictly protected.

For more information:

Check your details in national registers

National registers of approved providers, services and certified supervisors are available on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority's (ACECQA) website External Link.

While ACECQA and the department have taken steps to ensure details in the registers are accurate, it is important approved providers and services regularly check their information.

You can update your details including email, phone number and postal address by submitting these forms on ACECQA's National Quality Agenda IT system External Link:

To update some items such as the number of approved places at your service or the conditions on your approval you must submit an application to the department to amend your service approval.

For information, visit ACECQA's website External Link.

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This page was last reviewed on 22 Apr 2014 at 03:20PM

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