Staffing Arrangements FAQ

This page is current as of 25 October 2017.

Working with Children Checks and VIT registration

What are the legal requirements when I’m working with children in an education and care service?

There are two sets of requirements for Working with Children checks (WwCC) for the education and care sector; those in the Working With Children Act 2005 (the WwC Act) administered by the Department of Justice and Regulation and the requirements set out in the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations), administered by the Department of Education and Training (the Department).

Education and care services must meet both sets of requirements.

For further information about the WwC Act and applying for a WwCC, see: Working with Children Check

Who needs a WWC Check or VIT registration?

Under the National Law and the National Regulations the following people must have a current WWC Check or current Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT) registration:

  • educators and staff members before they start work at a service
  • nominated supervisors
  • family day care coordinators
  • any volunteer at a service who will be working at any time not under the direct supervision of an educator who is at least 18 years old.
  • family day care educators before they are engaged by or registered with a family day care service
  • family day care educator assistants before the educate and care for children
  • residents aged 18 years and over residing in a residence where family day care is provided.

Can I work if my WwCC has expired?

No. From 26 October 2014 changes to the Working With Children Act 2005 mean that there is no longer a ‘grace period’ allowing people to do child-related work up to 3 months after their WwCC has expired. This means that after 26 October 2014 people must stop child-related work until they have renewed their WwCC.

It is an offence to continue working in child-related work if your WwCC has expired.

A WwCC can still be renewed anytime during the 3-month post-expiry period. Approved providers should put strategies in place to ensure that all WwCC are updated prior to their expiry date. Educators, staff members, nominated supervisors and volunteers must, before they start work at a service, have a current WwCC– that is a WwCC that has not exceeded its expiry date.

Note: the requirements for registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching are unchanged. If you have VIT registration you do not require a WwCC.

I have Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT) registration – do I need a WwCC?

No, VIT registration is an acceptable alternative to a WwCC under the National Law and National Regulations.

I am under 18 years of age – do I need a WwCC?

No, you do not need to have a WwCC or VIT registration if you are under 18 years of age. However you may still apply for a WwCC so that you have one when you turn 18.

If a person has a WwCC does that mean they are suitable to work with children?

No. The WwCC does not assess a person’s suitability to work with children, as this is the role of the approved provider. A current WwCC is just the starting point in creating a child safe environment. There are a number of other important actions organisations need to take to determine a person’s suitability to work with children such as reference checks and continued monitoring of the person’s behaviour.

Family Day Care residences and educators

What are the requirements for residents aged 18 years and over at family day care residences?

Every person aged 18 years and over who normally resides at a residence where family day care is provided must have a current WwCC or registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching ( regulation 163) .

Their full names and dates of birth must also be recorded on the register of family day care educators, coordinators and assistants.

If the person does not normally reside at the residence then they are a visitor and are not required to have a WwCC. Whether they are a visitor or resident will depend on a number of circumstances.

The National Regulations require that:

  • the family day care educator advises the approved provider of anyone aged 18 years and over who is residing or intends to reside in the family day care residence (no matter for what length of time)
  • the approved provider is then required to assess whether that person is a ‘resident’. This will depend on the nature and circumstances of the stay and the potential impact on the safety, health and wellbeing of children. Some of the factors that would need to be considered are: whether the person will normally reside at the residence, the length/frequency of the stay (including whether an end date has been specified); and the nature and purpose of the stay.

What are the requirements for visitors at family day care residences?

If the person is not regarded as a resident they will be regarded as a visitor and therefore must not be left alone with the children being educated and cared for at the residence.

Because visitors are always supervised around children and are not working with children they do not need a WwC.

All visitors and must sign in and out of the residence every time they visit a family day care residence (regulations 165 and 166). Additionally, the approved provider of a family day care service is required to have in place a policy and procedure in relation to visitors to family day care residences and venues whilst education and care is being provided as prescribed in regulation 169(2)(f).

What support and supervision must be provided to family day care educators?

At all times that a family day care educator is educating and caring for a child, an approved provider, a person with management or control of the service or a nominated supervisor must be available to provide support to the educator. This includes being available to be contacted by telephone to provide advice and assistance to the family day care educator at all times the family day care educator is educating and caring for children as part of the service (section 164).

A service approval for a family day care service is granted subject to the condition that the approved provider must ensure that there are sufficient persons appointed as family day care co-ordinators to monitor and support the family day care educators engaged by or registered with the service and that each family day care educator is adequately monitored and supported by a family day care co-ordinator.

The minimum requirements for the family day care educator to co-ordinator ratios are outlined in regulation 123A.

From 1 October 2017, the ratios are:

  • for the first 12 months of the operation of the family day care service, 1 full-time equivalent family day care co-ordinator for every 15 family day care educators; and
  • after the first 12 months of the operation of the family day care service, 1 full-time equivalent family day care co-ordinator for every 25 family day care educators.

If a service has a condition on service approval prescribing a family day care educator to co-ordinator ratios this condition must be met. Services approved prior to 1 October 2017 have until 1 October 2018 to meet the requirements of regulation 123A when the ratios of 1 co-ordinator to every 25 family day care educators will apply.

The approved provider of a family day care service must ensure that the family day care service has in place policies and procedures in relation to monitoring, support and supervision of family day care educators, including how the service will manage educators at remote locations (regulation 169).

First Aid

How often do I have to renew my first aid, anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management qualifications?

First aid qualifications and other training requirements should be reviewed regularly by services as the first aid, anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training required must be updated at least every three years from the date of completion.

The first aid certificate may specify additional requirements to keep it valid.

For example, if the first aid certificate requires the CPR component to be completed every 12 months to keep it current, this training will need to be undertaken and documented in the staff record.

How many educators require first aid qualifications and training in anaphylaxis and emergency asthma management?

Centre-based services

At least one educator who holds the following qualifications must be in attendance at any place where children are being educated and cared for by the service, and must be immediately available in an emergency, at all times that children are being educated and cared for by the service:

  • at least one staff member or one nominated supervisor who holds a current approved first aid qualification
  • at least staff member or one nominated supervisor who has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training
  • at least staff member or one nominated supervisor who has undertaken approved emergency asthma management training (regulation 136(1)).

A person may hold one or more of the above qualifications.

Note: if the service premises are on a school site, this requirement can be met by a staff member of the school who is in attendance at the school and available in an emergency.

Where children are being educated and cared for on a school site this requirement may be met by a staff member of the school who is in attendance at the school and available in an emergency.

Family day care services

A family day care service must ensure that each family day care educator and family day care assistant engaged or registered with the service:

  • holds a current approved first aid qualification; and
  • has undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training; and
  • has undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training (regulation 136(3)).

Breaks

What provisions for breaks are available under the National Quality Framework?

Nationally, there is no longer policy advice to allow educators to take a break of up to 30 minutes without the requirement for a replacement educator to meet the minimum educator to child ratios.

The Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (Guide to the National Law and National Regulations) included provisions for breaks where each educator in a centre-based service could take a 30 minute break or breaks over a number of shorter breaks.

From 1 October 2017, the Guide to the National Law and National Regulations has been replaced by the Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF).

In Victoria, from 1 October 2017, at all times children are being educated and cared for by a service, the educator to child ratios must be met. Where a service cannot meet the qualified educator to child ratios during educators’ lunch breaks, they may apply for a ‘lunch break’ waiver.

If breaks are short and are for matters such as going to the toilet, answering a phone call, talking to a parent or briefly checking paperwork, or having tea break of up to 10 minutes an educator would not be expected to be replaced.

However, where short breaks are taken the requirements for supervision (section 165), protection of children from harm and hazard (section 167) and for required programs (section 168) must be met.

Lunch break waivers

Where a service cannot meet the qualified educator to child ratios during educators’ lunch breaks, they may apply for a ‘lunch break’ waiver.

For example: if a diploma level qualified educator requires a lunch break and cannot be replaced by at least a diploma level qualified educator the service may wish to apply for a waiver.

For more information, see: Waivers

Are two educators required to be on duty under National Law?

Under the National Law and National Regulations a centre-based education and care service does not need to have at least two educators on duty at the service at all times children are being educated and cared for.

One educator can be in attendance educating and caring for children. where there are:

  • four children or fewer, including children under 36 months; or
  • eleven or fewer children 36 months to preschool age
  • fifteen or fewer children over preschool age

This educator must:

  • be a responsible person 
  • be working directly with children 
  • have current first aid, anaphylaxis management training and have emergency asthma management training
  •  for services with children preschool age or under the educator must be actively working towards or hold at least an approved diploma level qualification 
  • for services with children over preschool age the educator must be enrolled and studying for at least an approved diploma level qualification.

The education and care service must demonstrate that appropriate policies and procedures are in place to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children at all times. Including considering:

  • how the educator will access breaks 
  • procedures in the event of an emergency or emergency care of a child, for example when a child experiences an anaphylactic episode or when first aid is required to be administered
  • procedures for a staff member being injured or taken ill
  • procedures for responding to challenging behaviour of a child or a number of children.

Consideration should also be given to another adult situated at or near the premises and available if required. This model would apply to all centre-based services under the National Law and National Regulations.

Regulation 242 expiration

Regulation 242 expires on 1 January 2018 – can I still be taken to be an early childhood teacher?

Regulation 242 (persons taken to be early childhood teachers) expires on 31 December 2017. This provision allows an educator who is actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification and has either completed 50 per cent of the course or holds an approved diploma level qualification to be taken to be an early childhood teacher (ECT) for the purposes of regulations 130 to 134. 

The expiry of regulation 242 means that from 1 January 2018 a service's ECT for the purposes of those regulations must hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification or equivalent. Some services, however, will currently be using regulation 242 to meet the ECT requirements of regulations 131-134 and the educator will not have completed their studies by 31 December 2017. In these circumstances, the service can submit an application for a waiver to the Department for consideration to allow this person to continue as the ECT while they complete their studies.

Note: Regulation 242 does not apply to services that receive kindergarten funding as they must have a qualified ECT to plan and deliver the funded program. If for any period of time the funded program will not be delivered by a qualified ECT, the service should contact their regional office of the Department immediately. A waiver from the qualifications requirements of the National Regulations may also be required.

Applying for a waiver

An application for a waiver must be completed online via the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS) at ACECQA - National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).  The waiver application form number is SA08.

All waiver applications are subject to a prescribed fee, for more information see: ACECQA Indexation of fees.

There is more information about waivers in the Waivers (general information) and Applying for a waiver – long day care and preschool fact sheets available here.

Can I work as a certificate III or diploma level educator when regulation 242 expires?

Yes, the expiry of regulation 242 will have no impact on this provision. 

If you are studying for an approved early childhood teaching qualification you can be counted in:

  • the certificate III level educator to child ratios if you have completed 30 per cent of the course; and 
  • the diploma level educator to child ratios if you have completed 50 per cent of the course.

There is more information about qualifications on the ACECQA website.

Qualifications

I hold a three year early childhood teaching qualification. Can I continue to work as an early childhood teacher?

There is no requirement for early childhood teachers who hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification to complete a fourth year of study.

ACECQA have published lists of current and former approved qualifications for early childhood teachers on the ACECQA website.

These lists include a number of three year early childhood teaching qualifications.

In addition, the National Regulations allow for a person to be taken to hold an approved early childhood teaching qualification, if immediately before 1 January 2012, the person was recognised under the previous law of any participating jurisdiction as an early childhood teacher and was employed or engaged in a declared approved service as an early childhood teacher (regulation 241(a)).

A number of three year early childhood teaching qualifications have been approved in Victoria for employment as a teaching staff member under the Children’s Services Regulations 2009. These qualifications have been published in the Victoria Government Gazette.

I hold a school teaching qualification. Can I be employed as an educator?

Preschool and younger

Working with children preschool age and under In Victoria, a primary school teacher is generally not required to complete a certificate III level qualification before they can be considered as part of the certificate III level qualified educator/child ratios for working with children preschool age and under.

Primary school teaching qualifications are not listed by ACECQA as an approved education and care qualification.

However, the National Regulations allow for a person to be taken to hold an approved certificate III level qualification, if immediately before 1 January 2012, the person was recognised under the previous law of any participating jurisdiction as a certificate III level educator and was employed or engaged as a certificate III level educator in a declared approved service (regulation 244(a)).

In Victoria, this would be a person who held a primary teaching qualification and worked as a minimum trained educator under regulation 60 of the Children’s Services Regulations 2009 (Children’s Services Regulations).

The requirement under the Children’s Services Regulations is that the person must hold at least a Certificate of Teaching (requiring two years of full-time or equivalent part-time study, awarded by any Australian University or Teachers College).

These educators are able to move between education and care services. A primary teacher can also replace an early childhood teacher who is absent due to short-term illness or leave for no more than 60 days in any 12 month period (regulation 135).

Working with children over preschool age

Educators working with children over preschool age in Victoria, who hold an Australian school teaching qualification (primary or secondary) or are registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching may be employed as diploma level educators.

Under what circumstances may family day care educator assistants or relief family day care educators be engaged or registered?

A family day care educator assistant may be engaged by or registered with a family day care service to assist family day care educators in providing education and care to children if :

  • they are at least 18 years old
  • the parents of the children to be educated and cared for by the family day care educator assistant have given their consent
  • have been approved by the Approved Provider 
  • they holds a current approved first aid qualification, have undertaken current approved anaphylaxis management training and have undertaken current approved emergency asthma management training.

In order to approve a person as an educator assistant, a family day care educator must provide their approved provider with written consent from the parent of each child being educated and cared for at the service.

They may stand in the place of a family day care educator in the following circumstances:

  • transporting a child between the approved family day care residence or venue and school or another education and care service or the child’s home
  • providing education and care to a child in an emergency situation, including when the family day care educator requires urgent medical care or treatment
  • providing education and care if a family day care educator must attend an appointment (other than a non-regular appointment) providing the absences less than 4 hours, the family day care service has approved the absence and notice of the absence has been given to parents

They may also provide assistance to the educator while they are educating and caring for children as part of the family day care service (regulation 144).

An approved provider may engage or register another family day care educator to provide education and care to children during another educator’s annual leave or study leave in the other educator’s residence under the National Law and National Regulations, provided this educator meets all of the requirements of a family day care educator (not a family day care educator assistant) and that their details are recorded in the register of family day care educators, co-ordinators and assistants.

Reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that a family day care educator assistant is a fit and proper person to be in the company of children.

In assessing each person as fit and proper an approved provider must consider:

  • a current working with children check; or
  • a current teacher registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (r163).

I completed professional development in lieu of minimum training. Do I need to complete further training to work under the National Quality Framework?

The requirement to hold a certificate III level qualification (or actively working towards) does not apply to educators who completed a professional development course approved by the Secretary under the Victorian children’s services legislation by 31 December 2011 (regulations 364 and 366).

How do I find out if my qualification is approved for work in an education and care service?

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is responsible for determining the qualifications required to be held by educators, including the assessment of equivalent qualifications.

ACECQA is responsible for publishing on its website lists of qualifications it has approved, including approved early childhood teaching qualifications, approved diploma level education and care qualifications and approved certificate III level education and care qualifications. More information about approved qualifications is available at the ACECQA website

What if my qualification does not appear on the relevant list of approved qualifications?

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is responsible for determining the qualifications required to be held by educators. ACECQA is also responsible for assessing qualifications, including foreign qualifications, for equivalence to the qualifications required to be held by educators. A person may also apply to ACECQA to assess a qualification for the purpose of approving this qualification under the national education and care services legislation.

More information regarding applications for assessments of equivalence of qualifications or an application to have a qualification approved under the national education and care services legislation is available at the ACECQA website