Early childhood teacher requirements for funded kindergarten programs

​The information in this fact sheet outlines the qualification requirements for early childhood teachers in Victoria as they apply to:

  • The Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations); and
  • Education and care services in receipt of kindergarten funding.

Early childhood teacher requirements 

Centre-based services operating under the National Quality Framework and providing education and care to children preschool age or under must have access to an early childhood teacher or have an early childhood teacher in attendance at the service (regulations 130 to 134). A service that employs or engages a full-time or full-time equivalent early childhood teacher is taken to comply with this requirement (regulations 132(2), 133(2), 134(2)).

Further information about the early childhood teacher requirements can be found in the Early childhood teacher fact sheet.

These requirements do not apply to centre-based services where the main purpose is to provide education and care to children over preschool age (regulation 129(2)).

Early childhood teacher requirements for funded kindergarten programs

In addition to regulatory requirements, education and care services providing a funded kindergarten program must also meet the relevant eligibility criteria and operational requirements for kindergarten funding.

The following table outlines which qualifications are counted as meeting the early childhood teacher (ECT) requirements for the National Regulations, funded kindergartens and diploma level ratios:

Qualification ​Meets the ECT requirements  (National Regulations) ​Meets the ECT requirements(Kindergarten Funding) ​Can be counted in the diploma level qualified educator to child ratios when working directly with children (National Regulations)

​Holds an approved early childhood teaching qualification or qualification assessed by ACECQA as equivalent to an early childhood teaching qualification (regulations 137(1)(a), 137(3) and 241(1)(b))

​Yes Yes​ Yes​

​The person is actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification and

  • has completed 50% of the course OR
  • holds an approved diploma level education and care qualification 
​Yes ​No ​Yes

​Is actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification and has completed 30 per cent of the course.

Note: if the course is being undertaken but less than 30% of the course has been completed, the person can be counted in the Certificate III qualified educator to child ratios.

​No No​ Yes​

​The person holds a primary teaching qualification that includes at least a focus on children aged 5-8 (e.g. a qualification with a focus on children aged 3-8 or 5-12); and has:

  • Australian teacher registration or accreditation; and
  • an approved diploma level or higher education and care qualification.
​Yes Yes​ Yes​

​The person holds a primary teaching qualification that includes at least a focus on children aged 5-8 (e.g. a qualification with a focus on children aged 3-8 or 5-12); and has

  • Australian teacher registration or accreditation; and
  • commenced an approved diploma level or higher education and care qualification.
​Yes No​ ​Yes

​Holds a primary teaching qualification and is replacing the early childhood teacher at the service for no more than 12 weeks due to short-term leave or illness (regulation 135).

​Yes Yes​ Yes​

​Holds an approved diploma level education and care qualification and is replacing the early childhood teacher at the service for no more than 12 weeks due to short-term leave or illness (regulation 135).

​Yes Yes​ Yes​

​Meets any of the other circumstances that are outlined in regulation 241.

​If you believe that any of these circumstances apply to an educator at your service please contact the Department for further information.

Notes:

  • actively working towards means that a person can provide the approved provider with documentary evidence from the training organisation that they are enrolled in a course, have commenced the course, are making satisfactory progress towards completion AND meet the requirements to maintain enrolment
  • working directly with children means that at a given time the person is physically present with the children and is directly engaged in providing education and care to the children (regulation 13).

Kindergarten funding requirements

In order to receive kindergarten funding from the Victorian Government, services must meet eligibility criteria and operational requirements in addition to regulatory requirements. Services that receive kindergarten funding must have a qualified early childhood teacher to plan and deliver the funded program to meet the requirements as outlined above. The early childhood teacher qualification requirements differ between the National Regulations and the kindergarten funding criteria. Before appointing a person to the position of early childhood teacher funded services must ensure that the person meets the relevant early childhood teacher qualification requirements under the National Regulations and kindergarten funding criteria. A funded kindergarten program must be delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher for 15 hours a week (or 600 hours per year). Services offering a funded kindergarten program should contact their regional office of the Department immediately if for any period of time the funded program will not be delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher as defined above. A waiver from the qualifications requirements of the National Regulations may also be required.

Early childhood teacher leave and absences

If the teacher is absent due to short term illness or leave, they can be replaced by a person who holds an approved diploma level qualification or primary teaching qualification for no more than 12 weeks (regulation 135).  This person may be counted in the diploma qualified ratios when they are working directly with children. 

Approved early childhood teaching qualifications

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) publishes the qualifications that have been approved for the purposes of the National Law on their website.  This list includes the qualifications that are approved for early childhood teachers, diploma level qualified educators and certificate level qualified educators.

If the educator’s qualification is not on the approved or former approved qualifications lists refer to the Staffing arrangements fact sheet, for information about the assessment of qualifications by ACECQA (see under ‘approved qualifications’).

Waivers from the National Regulations

If a service is unable to meet the early childhood teaching requirements or the diploma level qualified educator to child ratios the approved provider may apply for a waiver under section 94 (temporary waiver) of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010. The service’s compliance with all other requirements of the National Quality Framework is taken into consideration when assessing the application. 

Further information can be found in the Waivers (general information) fact sheets.

Further information about kindergarten funding

The Kindergarten Guide provides detailed information about types of kindergarten funding available, eligibility criteria and operational requirements for funded service providers and is available on the Department of Education and Training website. For more information, see: Kindergarten Guide

The Manager, Performance and Planning Advisers at the Department of Education and Training regional offices can provide further information and answer queries about kindergarten funding.                                   

For a list of the Department’s regional offices, see: Regional offices

Further information

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 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