Educator to child ratios for funded kindergarten programs

​This fact sheet outlines the educator to child ratios for Victorian centre-based education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework that will apply from 1 January 2016 and the early childhood teacher requirements for services in receipt of kindergarten funding. 

Educator to child ratio requirements for centre-based services in Victoria from 1 January 2016 

​Age Ratio​ Qualification requirements​
​Less than 36 months of age  ​1 educator to 4 children (regulation 123 (1)(a) and 357)
  • ​ At least 50 per cent of required educators must have or be actively working towards2 at least an approved diploma level qualification (regulation 126(1)(a)).

All other required educators must:

  • have, or be actively working towards, at least an approved certificate III level qualification (regulation 126(1)(b)); or
  • an educator can be counted as a certificate III level qualified educator on a probationary basis for not more than 3 months (regulation 126(1A)).
​36 months to preschool age  ​1 educator to 11 children (regulation 123(1)(c))
​Over preschool age ​1 educator to 15 children (regulation 355)
  • ​At least 50 per cent of required educators must hold, or be enrolled in and studying for, at least a diploma level qualification approved for educators working with children over preschool age in Victoria (regulation 356(2)).

All other required educators must:

  • hold or be actively working towards at least a certificate III level qualification approved  for  educators working with children over preschool age in Victoria (regulation 356(3)(a)); or
  • commence obtaining that qualification within 6 months of commencing to educate and care for children (regulation 356(3)(b)).

To be actively working towards a qualification an educator must:

  • be enrolled in an at least an approved certificate III level education and care qualification; and
  • provide the approved provider with documentary evidence from the provider of the course that
    - the educator has commenced the course; and
    - is making satisfactory progress towards completion of the course; and 
    - is meeting the requirement for maintaining the enrolment (regulations 10).

Educator to child ratios from 1 January 2016

Educator to child ratios must be met whenever children are being educated and cared for by an education and care service (section 169).  The ratios are calculated considering the total number of children being educated and cared for by the service at any one time. 

To be counted in the educator to child ratios, educators must be working directly with children (regulation 122). The educator qualification requirements will not change from 1 January 2016 and are outlined in the table on page 1. 

Early childhood teacher requirements in the National Regulations

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 130-134) . 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 teachers fact sheet.

Early childhood teacher requirements for funded kindergarten programs

The new ratio requirements (a ratio of one educator to 11 children for children 36 months to preschool age) are a minimum standard under the National Quality Framework. 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. 

Children eligible for per capita funding must receive a program of at least 15 hours per week delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher. All funded services are required to have at least one qualified early childhood teacher delivering a kindergarten program to each group or room that includes children eligible for per capita funding. That is, funded services will be required to have one teacher per room so the teacher’s time is not split across two rooms or groups during the same session.  

Before appointing a person to the position of early childhood teacher, funded services must ensure that the person meets the relevant early childhood teacher requirements under the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations) and kindergarten funding criteria. Services offering a funded kindergarten program should contact the Access, Participation and Performance Unit of their Departmental regional office immediately if for any period of time the funded program will not be delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.

Contact details for Departmental regional offices are available at: Regions

Note that for the purposes of kindergarten funding, educators actively working towards an approved early childhood teaching qualification or those holding a diploma level education and care qualification are not considered to be qualified early childhood teachers and will only be approved to deliver a funded kindergarten program under the provisions made for replacing an early childhood teacher on leave, temporarily replacing an early childhood teacher who has left a service, or funding in exceptional circumstances. Please refer to the Kindergarten Guide 2015 for more information: Kindergarten Funding Guide

The following table outlines the minimum ratio and qualification requirements including the requirements of the National Regulations and the kindergarten funding requirements:

​Number of children 36 months to preschool age ​Number of educators required under National Regulations ​Kindergarten funding requirement per group/room
​2 - 11

​1 educator 

  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification

​1 educator 

  • a qualified Early Childhood Teacher (ECT)*
​12 - 22

​2 educators

  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification; and
  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification.

​2 educators

  • At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and
  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification.
​23 - 33

​3 educators

  • 2 educators who hold or are actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification; and
  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification.

​3 educators

  • At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and
  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification; and
  • 1 educator who holds or is actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification.

*Need to comply with adequate supervision requirements

Kindergarten with 2 groups/rooms

For a number of 34 - 44 children 36 months to preschool age a total of 4 educators are required.

​Group/room 1 ​Group/room 2
​ ​Total of 4 educators
​At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and ​At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and
​ ​2 educators who hold or are actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification. Note: These educators can educate and care for children across the service.

For a number of 45 - 55 children 36 months to preschool age a total of 5 educators are required.

​Group/room 1 ​Group/room 2
​ ​Total of 4 educators
​At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and ​At least 1 qualified ECT per group/room; and
​ ​2 educators who hold or are actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification. Note: These educators can educate and care for children across the service.

Requirement to register with Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)

Note that from 30 September 2015 early childhood teachers are required to be registered with VIT. Further information about registration as an early childhood teacher including frequently asked questions is available at: Victorian Institute of Teaching

Waivers

It is recognised that some services may need additional time to transition to the new ratio requirements for a number of reasons. Services may apply for a temporary waiver (section 94) from the prescribed elements of the National Quality Standard and the National Regulations (regulation 44). 

Services may consider applying for a waiver from staffing arrangements (regulations 123 or 126) if for example the service is unable to recruit the required number of educators, or suitably qualified educators to meet the new ratio requirements. 

Alternatively, services may wish to consider applying for a waiver from the physical environment requirements of indoor or outdoor space (regulations 107 and 108) if for example the service is considering applying to amend the number of approved places to accommodate an increased number of children, but may not be able to meet the space requirements. 

Services can find more about applying for a waiver from: Fact sheets and resources

Waiver applications should be submitted using the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS). This information is available on the ACECQA website at: Service approvals

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