Centre-based Services - Mixed Age Ratios

This fact sheet outlines the educator to child ratios and qualification requirements for mixed age groups for Victorian centre-based education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework.


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 towards 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 age1 educator to 15 children (regulation 123(1)(d))
  • 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)).

Educator to child ratios

Educator to child ratios must be met whenever children are being educated and cared for by an education and care service (section 169). To be counted in the educator to child ratios, educators must be working directly with children (regulation 122). 

When calculating the minimum number of educators required, the number should be calculated according to the ages of the children and the total number of children being educated and cared for by the service.

Mixed age groups

Services educating and caring for children, where there is a mix of children:

  • less than 36 months of age;
  • 36 months to preschool age; and/or
  • over preschool age

may wish to calculate the educator to child ratios under the requirements of regulation 123(2). This allows older children to be considered as part of the ratios for younger children.
Refer to the table below for examples of how the mixed age ratios can be calculated or refer to the online Mixed Age Group Ratios calculator.

Relationships in groups

Opportunities for children to interact and develop respectful and positive relationships with each other and with educators is an important consideration when deciding group size and composition of children being educated and cared for by the service (regulation 156). Services should also ensure that adequate supervision is maintained at all times.

Examples of calculating mixed age ratios and educator qualifications

The examples below demonstrate how ratios can be calculated for all children being educated and cared for by the service.


Example 1: Service that provides education and care to children of all ages
Age of childrenChildren under 36 monthsChildren 36 months to preschool ageChildren over preschool age
Ratio of qualified educator to childRatio of 1 to 4 Ratio of 1 to 11Ratio of 1 to 15
Number  of children 3 children 5 children 4 children
Number of children (mixed ages) 3 children 5+4=9 children 0 children remaining
Total number of educators required 1 educator 1 educator
2 educators
Qualification requirements

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.

ALL educators must meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under

           
Example 2: Service that provides education and care to children preschool age or under ONLY
Age of childrenChildren under 36 monthsChildren 36 months to preschool ageChildren over preschool age
Ratio of qualified educator to childRatio of 1 to 4 Ratio of 1 to 11Ratio of 1 to 15
Number of children 5 children 25 children 0 children
Number of children (mixed ages) 5 + 3 = 8 children 22 children remaining  
Total number of educators required 2 educators 2 educators  
4 educators  
Qualification requirements

2 educators who hold or are actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification; and

2 educators who hold or are actively working towards at least an approved certificate III level qualification

ALL educators must meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under

 
           
Example 3: Service that provides education and care to children aged 36 months and over ONLY
Age of childrenChildren under 36 monthsChildren 36 months to preschool ageChildren over preschool age
Ratio of qualified educator to childRatio of 1 to 4 Ratio of 1 to 11Ratio of 1 to 15
Number of children 0 children 5 children 18 children
Number of children (mixed ages)   5+3= 8 children 15 children remaining
Total number of educators required   1 educator 1 educator
  2 educators
Qualification requirements  

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.

The diploma level educator MUST meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under

The other educator can meet can meet the qualification requirements for working with children over preschool age

           
Example 4: Service that provides education and care to children aged 0 to 36 months and over preschool age
Age of childrenChildren under 36 monthsChildren 36 months to preschool ageChildren over preschool age
Educator to child ratioRatio of 1 to 4 Ratio of 1 to 11Ratio of 1 to 15
Number of children 2 children 0 children 17 children
Number of children (mixed ages) 2+2=4 children   15 children remaining
Total number of educators required 1 educator   1 educator
2 educators
Qualification requirements

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.

The diploma level educator MUST meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under

The other educator can meet the qualification requirements for working with children over preschool age

Calculating the educator to child ratios and qualification level of educators

As outlined in the examples above, once a service is providing education and care to any number of children preschool age or under, the educator to child ratio must first be met with the required number of educators that meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under.

For example, if a service is providing education and care predominantly to children over preschool age and  has 1 child under preschool age at the service to meet the educator to child ratios, 1 of the educators must who hold or be actively working towards at least an approved diploma level qualification for working with children preschool age or under.

Alternatively, if the number of children under preschool age at the service increased, then the number of educators that meet the qualification requirements for working with children preschool age or under would also increase.