Services for children over preschool age - for Victorian school principals

​This fact sheet is for Victorian School Principals who are the approved provider of, or have operating at their school, a service that provides education and care before school, after school or during school holidays.  These services are referred to as Outside School Hours Care services in this fact sheet and primarily educate and care for children over preschool age.

National Quality Framework

Centre-based services that provide education and care for children over preschool age are required to operate under the National Quality Framework . This does not apply to school holidays care services that care for or educate school age children during the school holidays for no more than four weeks per calendar year.  These services must meet the requirements of the:

  • Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law)
  • Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (the National Regulations) and the National Quality Standard (Schedule 1 of the National Regulations).

The National Law and National Regulations are available on the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s webpage at: National Quality Framework

The role of the Department

Each state and territory has a Regulatory Authority. In Victoria this is the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (the Department). The Regulatory Authority has primary responsibility for administering the National Quality Framework and the National Law including, but not limited to, the following:

  • granting all approvals, including provider and service approvals and supervisor certificates
  • assessing and rating services against the National Quality Standard and national regulations, and promoting continuous quality improvement
  • monitoring and enforcing compliance with the National Law and National Regulations, including receiving and investigating serious incidents and complaints.

All queries about approvals should be directed to the Department’s information line on 1300 307 415 or emailed to licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au

Application forms can be found on the ACECQA website and completed application forms can be submitted:

The approval system under the National Quality Framework

Approvals

The approval system under the National Quality Framework comprises three inter-related approvals for entities and individuals:

  • Provider approval is nationally recognised.  This means that an Approved Provider does not need to have a separate provider approval in each state and territory in which they operate a service.   Once granted, a provider approval is ongoing, unless suspended or cancelled;
  • Service approval authorises an approved provider to operate an education and care service at a specific location. Note that each approved service must have a nominated supervisor (this person must be a certified supervisor); and
  • The supervisor certificate is a nationally recognised approval that allows a person to be appointed as the nominated supervisor for an education and care service or to be temporarily placed in charge when the approved provider or nominated supervisor is absent. For further details about certified supervisors, see: Changes to certified supervisor certificates fact sheet.


 

 

For more information, see: Approvals and certificates fact sheet.

The diagram above illustrates the three inter-related approvals required to operate a service under the National Law. In this example, one approved provider operates two approved services. Each approved service has a nominated supervisor and other educators with a supervisor certificate who may be placed in charge of the service when the approved provider or nominated supervisor is absent.

Responsible persons

A responsible person must be present at all times a centre-based service is educating and caring for children.  A responsible person can be one of the following (section 162):

  • the approved provider or a person with management or control of the service;
  • the nominated supervisor of the service; or
  • a certified supervisor who has been placed in day-to-day charge of the service.

Requirements of the National Law and National Regulations

A service approval is granted subject to the condition that the service is operated in a way that:

  • ensures the safety, health and wellbeing, and
  • meets the educational and developmental needs of the children being educated and cared for by the service.

The approved provider must ensure that the service complies with the National Law and National Regulations including that:

  • a responsible person is present at all times the service is educating and caring for children;
  • children being educated and cared for by the service are adequately supervised at all times;
  • children being educated and cared for by the service are not subjected to any form of inappropriate discipline;
  • children being educated and cared for by the service are protected from any hazard likely to cause injury;
  • the program delivered is based on an approved learning framework and is documented by the service;
  • the prescribed educator to child ratios are met and each educator at the service meets the qualification requirements relevant to the educator’s role;
  • the prescribed information is displayed and clearly visible at the main entrance of the education and care service;
  • the Department must be notified of certain circumstances and information including, but not limited to, a serious incident, complaint or change in the management or control of the service or nominated supervisor.
  • Serious incidents must be notified to the Regulatory Authority in writing and within 24 hours.

Approved provider responsibilities are outlined through the Outside School Hours Care fact sheet. For more information, see: Outside School Hours Care

Assessment and Rating

A key focus of the National Quality Framework is to promote continuous quality improvement in education and care services. By 2015, all education and care services will be assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard and the regulations.

The approved provider is required to develop a quality improvement plan for each education and care service they operate (regulation 55). The approved provider must submit their quality improvement plan to the Department within 3 months of a transfer of a service approval or new service approval being granted (regulation 55 (2)).

The quality improvement plan must be reviewed and revised having regard to the National Quality Standard at least annually and when directed by the Department (regulation 56). This will generally be before an assessment and rating visit. For detailed information about the assessment and rating process for Victorian education and care services, see: Assessment and rating fact sheets.

Outside school hours care services – preschool age children attending

The National Law and National Regulations make provision for services that primarily provide education and care for children over preschool age. This means that these services can educate and care for some children who are aged 36 months to preschool age. Some regulations vary according to the age of the children attending including, but not limited to, programming (regulation 74) and approved qualifications (regulation 137). 

If the service has children aged 36 months to preschool age and children over preschool age attending it must comply with the relevant provisions for those age groups.

School holidays care services

Services established to care for or educate children for no more than 4 weeks per calendar year during school holidays are known as a school holidays care services. These services are outside the scope of the National Law and are required to operate as a licensed children’s service under the Children’s Services Act 1996 and Children’s Services Regulations 2009 (Victorian children services legislation). A licence to operate a school holidays care service is subject to the conditions that the service only operates during school holidays and all children cared for or educated by the service are school children. For more information, see School holidays care – applying for a licence

Monitoring and compliance

The Department regularly undertakes compliance visits to assess a service’s compliance with the National Law and National Regulations, including receiving and investigating serious complaints.  Services must notify the Department of certain circumstances and information, such as serious incident, or a change in the management and control of the service.The Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 provides a list of notifications required under National Law and National Regulations, for more information see: Notifications

Further advice and information

The role of ACECQA

ACECQA is the national, independent statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework. ACECQA’s role includes ensuring the consistent application of the National Quality Framework, publishing guides and resources for education and care services, and maintaining public registers and lists of approved qualifications.

The role of the Australian Government

Child Care Benefit

The Australian Government Department of Education is responsible for assessing education and care services eligibility to administer Child Care Benefit (CCB). CCB approved services may pass on fee reductions to individuals who meet the requirements outlined by the Family Assistance Office.

Child Care Services Support Program

Child care service providers may be able to get financial assistance through the Child Care Service Support Programme (CSSP). New education and care services approved for CCB purposes may also be eligible for financial assistance under the CCSP. This programme aims to support and promote access to child care and early learning for children, families and communities in areas where the market would otherwise fail to provide these services.

For further information about becoming a CCB approved service or the eligibility criteria for financial assistance under the CSSP contact the Department of Education on 13 33 97.

Professional Support Coordinator

The Commonwealth Department of Education funds agencies in each state or territory to provide eligible education and care services (approved for CCB) with professional support to operate their service. These agencies are known as professional support coordinators (PSC) and can provide training, support and advice on all areas of operating an education and care service. Gowrie Victoria is the PSC for Victoria and can be contacted on 1800 103 670 or through: Gowrie Victoria

 

Further information

Department of Education and Training

The Department of Education and Training is the Regulatory Authority in Victoria.

Phone: 1300 307 415
Email: licensed.childrens.services@edumail.vic.gov.au
Web: Regulation and Quality Assessment 

The Department has developed Victorian specific facts sheets to assist outside school hours care services operating under the National Quality Framework:

The fact sheets are available at: Fact sheets and resources

ACECQA

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national, independent statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework.

Phone: 1300 422 327
Email: enquiries@acecqa.gov.au
Web: ACECQA

The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), has a number of resources to assist education and care services with the National Quality Framework:

  • Guide to the National Quality Framework
  • Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations
  • Guide to the National Quality Standard
  • Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan
  • My Time, Our Place – Promoting collaborative partnerships between school age care services and schools has been developed to assist school age care services in communicating the My Time, Our Place framework to school leaders, and to promote collaborative relationships and partnerships between school age care services and schools, as many services are co-located with schools.

These documents, including a series of information sheets, can be found on the ACECQA website at: ACECQA National Quality Framework