Staffing Arrangements FAQ

Frequently asked questions

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

There are two sets of requirements for WWC Checks for the education and care sector; those in the Working With Children Act 2005 (the WWC Act) administered by the Department of Justice and the requirements set out in the Education and Care Services National Law Act Regulations 2011 (the National Law), administered by the Department of Education and Training (the Department). Services must meet both sets of requirements.

For further information about the WWC Act and applying for a WWC Check, see: Working With Children Check

Who needs a WWC Check or VIT registration?

Under the National Law the following people must have a current WWC Check or Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT) registration:
  • educators and staff members before they start work at a service
  • any volunteer at a service who will be working at any time not under the direct supervision of an educator who holds or is actively working towards a diploma level qualification and is at least 18 years old.
  • family day care educators before they become registered with a family day care service
  • family day care educator assistants before the educate and care for children
  • residents 18 years and over at family day care residences.

Can I work if my WWC Check has expired?

No. From 26 October 2014 changes to the Working With Children Act 2005 mean that there will no longer be a ‘grace period’ allowing people to do child-related work up to 3 months after their WWC Check has expired. This means that after 26 October 2014 people must stop child-related work until they have renewed their WWC Check. It is an offence to continue working in child-related work if your WWC Check has expired. A WWC Check can still be renewed anytime during the 3-month post-expiry period.

Approved providers should put strategies in place to ensure that all WWC Checks are updated prior to the expiry date.

Educators, staff members, nominated supervisors and volunteers must, before they start work at a service, have a current WWC Check– that is a WWC Check which has not exceeded its expiry date. For a full list of who needs a WWC Check see 'Who needs a WWC Check or VIT registration?' above.

Note that the requirements for VIT registration are unchanged if you have VIT registration you do not require a WWC Check.

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

Every person who normally resides at a family day care educator’s home who is 18 years or over needs a current WWC Check under regulation 163 of the National Regulations. Their full names and dates of birth must also be included on the register of family day care educators.

If the person does not normally reside at the residence then they are a visitor and are not required to have a WWC Check. 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 or 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 Check. All visitors and must sign in and out 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).

I have Victorian Institute of Teachers (VIT) registration – do I need a WWC Check too?

No, VIT registration is an acceptable alternative to a WWC Check under the National Law.

I’m under 18 – do I need a WWC Check?

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

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

No. The WWC Check does not assess a person’s suitability to work with children, as this is the role of the approved provider. A current WWC Check 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 behaviour of their staff members, nominated supervisors and volunteers around children.

For further information see: Working With Children Check .

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 caring for a child as part of the service (section 164).

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).

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

A person may hold one or more of the above qualifications. Where children are being educated and cared for on a school site this requirement may be met if the educator(s) are in attendance at the school site and are immediately 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)).

What are the staffing requirements that come into effect on 1 January 2014?

Family day care

  • Educators must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved Certificate III education and care qualification (Regulation 127).
  • Coordinators must have an approved diploma-level education and care qualification.
For more information about regulations 127 and 128, see:

Centre-based services educating and caring for children preschool age and under

  • At least 50 per cent of the educators required to meet the relevant educator-to-child ratios must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved diploma-level education and care qualification (regulation 126(1)(a)).
  • All other educators required to meet the relevant educator-to-child ratios must have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved Certificate III education and care qualification (regulation 126(1)(b)).
  • Services must have access to an early childhood teacher working with the service (regulations 130 to 131) or have an early childhood teacher in attendance at the service (regulations 132 to 134).

For more information about regulations 126, 130 to 134, see:

Centre-based services educating and caring for children over preschool age

The current diploma level qualification requirement continues to apply and is:

  • at least 50 per cent of the educators required to meet the educator to child ratios must hold, or be enrolled in and studying for, at least a diploma level qualification approved for educators working with children over preschool age for Victoria (regulation 356(2)).

From 1 January 2014, all other educators required to meet the relevant educator to child ratios must hold, or be actively working towards, at least a Certificate III level education and care qualification approved for educators working with children over preschool age for Victoria; or commence obtaining that qualification within 6 months of commencing to educate or care for children (regulation 356(3)).

Can I be actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification and be employed as an early childhood teacher?

Between 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2016 a person who is actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification is taken to be an early childhood teacher if they provide evidence to the approved provider that:

  • they have completed 50 per cent of the course; or
  • hold a diploma level education and care qualification (regulation 242).

Do I need to have a minimum of a Certificate III level qualification to work in an education and care service from 1 January 2014?

Transitional provisions allow educators until 1 January 2014 to meet the requirements for Certificate III level qualifications. From 1 January 2014 all family day care educators and educators working with children preschool age or under must hold, or be actively working towards, an approved Certificate III level education and care qualification (regulations 126, 127, 356 and 365).

For children over preschool age all educators required to meet educator to child ratios must hold, or be actively working towards, an approved Certificate III level education and care qualification or commence obtaining an approved education and care qualification within six months of commencing to educate and care for children (regulation 356).

A person is taken to hold an approved Certificate III level qualification if, immediately before 1 January 2012, they:

  • held a qualification approved for employment as a minimum trained staff member under the Victorian children’s services legislation; or
  • were recognised as a certificate III level educator in any participating jurisdiction; or
  • held a qualification published by Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority in the list of former qualifications approved as certificate III level education and care qualifications (regulation 241).

The requirement to hold, or be actively working towards, a certificate III level qualification 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).
Educators who:

  • have been continuously employed as an educator in an education and care service or a children's service for a period of at least 15 years up to immediately before the 1 January 2012; and
  • were employed by the same approved provider as the educator was employed by immediately before 1 January 2012;

You do not need to hold, or be actively working towards, a certificate III level education and care qualification until 1 January 2016 (regulation 240).

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

The Guide to the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 includes provisions for breaks where each educator in a centre-based service may take a break of up to 30 minutes per day. This break may be taken as a single 30 minute break or over a number of shorter breaks.

Services utilising this provision must consider meeting the needs of the children, maintaining adequate supervision and ensuring every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and hazards.

Where a diploma level qualified educator has a 30 minute break it would usually be expected that they be replaced by another educator. However, this educator would not need to be a diploma level qualified educator. This is to ensure that the service continues to meet the needs of children, maintain adequate supervision and ensure every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and hazards.

Educators utilising the breaks provision should remain on the premises.

If a diploma level qualified educator requires a lunch break of more than 30 minutes and cannot be replaced by at least a diploma level qualified educator the service may wish to apply for a waiver.

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

Under the National Law and National Regulations an 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. Where there are:

  • four or less children including children under 36 months; or
  • eleven or less children 36 months or over

one educator can be in attendance educating and caring for children.

This educator must:

  • be a responsible person
  • be working directly with children
  • have current first aid and anaphylaxis management training
  • have emergency asthma management training (by 2013)
  • for services with children preschool age or under the educator must have 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 communication processes, such as:

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

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 (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?

Working with children preschool age and under

In Victoria, a primary school teacher is generally not required to complete a certificate III 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 for certificate III level educators. 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 (regulation 244(a)).

The minimum training requirements of the Children’s Services Regulations 2009 (Victorian Regulations) can be met by holding a primary school teaching qualification. The requirement under the Victorian Regulations is for 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.

Working with children over preschool age

Educators who hold a school teaching qualification (primary or secondary) may be employed as diploma level educators for work with children over preschool age in Victoria. In addition, a teacher who is registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) may be engaged as a diploma level educator for work with children over preschool age in Victoria.

School teaching qualifications and VIT registrations are listed on the ACECQA website as approved diploma level qualifications for working with children over preschool age in Victoria.

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 under 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
  • to 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 the definition of a family day care educator (not a family day care educator assistant).

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.

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 (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