Waivers for long day care and preschool

Waivers fact sheet series

The following series of fact sheets have been developed by the Departme​nt of Education and Training (the Department) to provide information for Victorian education and care services regarding:

  1. Waivers
  2. Applying for a waiver – long day care and preschool
  3. Applying for a waiver – school age care

This fact sheet provides information for centre-based services providing education and care for children who are attending long day care and preschool services including funded kindergarten programs.​

The waiver application form (SA08) is available from ACECQA - Service approvals .​

Applying for a waiver

Certain requirements of the Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011 (National Regulations) and/or the National Quality Standard relating to the physical environment and staffing arrangements can be waived. The Waivers fact sheet outlines these requirements and includes the general application process and information for all applications.

This fact sheet outlines the requirements for specific waivers and is in addition to the general requirements detailed in the waiver application form and Waivers fact sheet.

Further information may be required depending on the individual circumstances of the application (sections 89 and 96 of the National Law).

Physical environment

Waivers from physical environment requirements may be considered in a number of circumstances.

Indoor/outdoor space waiver

The service is unable to meet the indoor/outdoor space requirements for the number of children attending:

  • during renovation of the service; or
  • must temporarily relocate and is unable to find premises large enough to accommodate the number of approved places; or
  • for any other reason.

Making an application

Include the following information, where relevant, with the application:

  • Outline how the service will ensure children's safe access to reduced indoor/outdoor space (for example, rostering access to outdoor space and/or offering an indoor/outdoor program).
  • Where renovations are being undertaken:
    • Evidence that the service is unable to schedule the renovations, or particular aspects of the renovations for times when children are not present.
    • Outline how the service will minimise the impact of any works on the children.
    • Outline how the service will ensure children cannot access unsafe areas during the renovations.
    • Outline how the service will manage the movement of trades' people through the service.
    • Evidence that any temporary fencing (if required) meets the requirements of regulation 104.

Accessing outdoor space away from the approved premises waiver

Making an application

Include the following additional information with the application:

  • Details of the outdoor space the service intends to use including a map identifying this space in relation to the service.
  • A copy of the service's policies and procedures in relation to excursions including procedures for complying with the requirements for risk assessment and authorisations set out in regulations 100 to 102.
  • A copy of the service's policies and procedures for the supervision of children using the outdoor space.
  • A copy of the completed risk assessment for taking children to the outdoor space.

Taking children to outdoor space away from the approved premises is an excursion conducted as a regular outing. The service must comply with the requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and National Regulations in relation to excursions and regular outings in regulations 100 to 102. Further information is available in the Excursions and regular outings fact sheet at Fact sheets and resources.

Using additional indoor space as outdoor space waiver

Where the service has additional indoor space at the approved premises that is not included in the indoor space calculations (regulation 107), a waiver may be considered to allow the service to calculate this space as outdoor space. For example, an indoor basketball court that is not used as indoor space may be counted as outdoor space.

Making an application

Include the following additional information with the application:

  • Details of the additional indoor space the service intends to use as outdoor space including a map identifying this space in relation to the service.
  • Area measurements for this space.

Conditions on service approval

If the waiver is granted the service approval may be amended to include conditions that will apply while the waiver is in place. The conditions will depend on the particular circumstances of the waiver application and will generally relate to:

  • The amount of space each child must have access to.
  • The number of children attending the service.
  • The requirement to notify the Regulatory Authority when, for example, the renovations have been completed.

Staffing arrangements

An educator working with any children from birth to preschool age must hold at least an approved diploma level qualification (regulation 361). Further information can be found in the Educator to child ratios and qualifications fact sheet at Fact sheets and resources.

A list of approved qualifications can be found on the ACECQA website at: ACECQA - Qualifications

Additional information for services offering a funded kindergarten program
Requirements under the National Regulations for services to have access to an early childhood teacher or to have an early childhood teacher in attendance at the service do not apply until 1 January 2014. A waiver is not currently required from the early childhood teaching requirements. A service that receives kindergarten funding does not require a waiver if it has sufficient educators with an approved diploma level qualification working with the children and meets the qualified educator to child ratios. More information on kindergarten funding requirements is available in the Kindergarten Guide 2016 at: Kindergarten Funding Guide.

Diploma level qualified educator waiver

Waivers from staffing arrangements are generally considered for services in rural areas if a service is unable to meet the diploma level qualified educator requirements.

The service is unable to recruit sufficient diploma level qualified educators to meet the diploma level qualified educator to child ratios.

A waiver may be available to allow an educator to be counted in the diploma level qualified educator to child ratios in the following circumstances:

  • an educator at the service is enrolled in and studying for at least an approved diploma level qualification; or
  • an educator at the service holds a primary teaching qualification and is generally enrolled in and studying for an early childhood teaching qualification (funded kindergarten programs).

Making an application

Include the following information, where relevant, with the application:

  • Evidence of efforts to recruit a diploma level qualified educator (for example, copies of advertisements).
  • Copy of the nominated educator's qualification (if that qualification is not an approved qualification).
  • Copy of the nominated educator's approved certificate III level qualification (if applicable).
  • Evidence of the nominated educator's current enrolment including the name of the course and/or course code and the date the educator is expected to complete their studies.
  • Details of the mentoring and support available to the nominated educator (the mentor must have at least an approved diploma level qualification).

Conditions on service approval

If the waiver is granted the service approval may be amended to include conditions that will apply while the waiver is in place. The conditions will depend on the particular circumstances of the waiver application and generally relate to:

  • Information to be kept on the nominated educator's staff record.
  • The requirement to notify the Regulatory Authority when, for example, the nominated educator completes/discontinues their studies or is no longer employed, appointed or engaged to work at the service as a qualified educator.
  • Mentoring arrangements.

Window of opportunity waiver

This waiver can be considered where the educator's qualification is not an approved qualification and the educator was eligible for the Ministerial exemption previously granted under the Victorian children's services legislation.

Under the Victorian children's services legislation, a Ministerial exemption allows staff members with qualifications recognised as diploma level qualifications under regulation 56 of the Children's Services Regulations 1998 to be considered in the qualified educator ratios of the Children's Services Regulations 2009. Generally a waiver will only be considered if the educator holds a qualification published in Schedule I of the Children's Services Centres Regulations 1988 (see attached table for further information) and was employed:

  • at a children's service registered or exempted from registration under the Health Act 1958 between 1 January 1997 and 1 June 1998, and
  • at a licensed children's service on 25 May 2009.

Note: An educator is considered to be employed if they were on maternity leave or any other form of approved leave from the service.

Making an application

Include the following information, where relevant, with the application:

  • the nominated educator's letter from Early Childhood Australia (Victorian Branch) confirming that the educator was eligible for the Ministerial exemption.
    OR
  • a copy of the nominated educator's qualification; and
  • evidence that the educator was employed as a qualified staff member during the specified periods. This can be a pay slip issued during these periods that includes the name of the employer/service, references or a letter from the educator's employer confirming that they were employed by the service at this time. 

Lunch break waiver

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. Further guidance regarding this provision can be found on page 89 of the Guide.

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 to allow that educator to be replaced by another educator.

Making an application

Include the following information with the application:

  • Confirmation that the diploma qualified educator on lunch break will be replaced by another educator to maintain the educator to child ratios.
  • Confirmation that the diploma qualified educator on lunch break will remain on the approved premises and be directly and immediately available to care for children as the need arises.

Conditions on service approval

If the waiver is granted, the service approval will be amended to include the above as conditions that must be met while the waiver is in place.

How to make an application

An application for service or temporary waiver should be completed online via the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQAITS) National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS)

Qualifications published in Schedule I of the Children's Services Centres Regulations 1988

  • Registered Nurses with Infant Welfare Certificate (and experience in child care)
  • Bachelor of Education (Primary)*
  • Diploma of Teaching (Primary)
  • Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood)*
  • Diploma of Teaching (Early Childhood Education)*
  • Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood)*
  • Registered Mothercraft Nurse
  • Certificate of the Nursery Nurse Examination Board
  • Pre-School Play Leaders Certificate
  • Associate Diploma in Arts (Child Care)*
  • Diploma in Arts (Child Care Studies)*

*This qualification may be an approved diploma level or early childhood teaching qualification depending on the awarding institution. See the current list of approved diploma level or early childhood teaching qualifications made under regulation 137 at ACECQA - Qualifications.