Waivers School age education and care services

Waivers fact sheets series

The following series of fact sheets have been developed by the Department 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 primarily for children over preschool age who are attending outside school hours care services before and after school and/or during school holidays.​

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 Standards 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).

What is school age care?

The Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (National Law) and the National Regulations make provision for services that are operated for the main purpose of providing education and care to children over preschool age or where the service primarily provides education and care for children over preschool age. This means that the service can educate and care for a small number of children aged 36 months to preschool age.  As some regulations vary according to the age of the children attending, those regulations relevant to the younger children will then apply. For more information see the fact sheet Outside school hours care services – preschool age children attending

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.

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 an outdoor space away from the approved premises is an excursion conducted as a regular outing. The service must comply with the requirements of the 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.

Using additional indoor space as outdoor space

Where the service has additional indoor space at the approved premises that is not included in the indoor space calculations (regulation 107), it is possible to calculate this as outdoor space (regulation 108(5)). For example, an indoor basketball court that is not used as indoor space may be counted as outdoor space. Approval is required from the Regulatory Authority. A waiver application is not required unless children aged 36 months to preschool age are being educated and cared for by the service (the requirements for this waiver are outlined in the Applying for a waiver‑long day care and preschool fact sheet).

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

The qualified educator requirements a service must meet depends on the ages of the children being educated and cared for by the service:

  • An educator working only with children over preschool age 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).
  • An educator working with any children aged 36 months 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 .

If any children aged 36 months to preschool age are being educated and cared for by the service the waiver requirements outlined in the Applying for a waiver‑long day care and preschool fact sheet apply.

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

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

Diploma level qualified educator waiver

The service is unable to recruit sufficient diploma 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 holds a qualification that is not an approved qualification; or
  • an educator at the service is enrolled in and studying for a qualification that is not an approved qualification.

Making an application

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

  • Evidence of efforts to recruit a diploma qualified educator or an educator enrolled in and studying for a diploma level qualification approved for educators working with children over preschool age for Victoria (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 (if the educator is studying)
  • Details of any experience the educator has in working with children over preschool age (if the qualification they hold or course they are enrolled in and studying for does not include an early childhood/primary/secondary teaching component)
  • Details of the mentoring and support available to the nominated educator (the mentor must generally 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 (if applicable)
    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

This waiver will generally apply to school holiday programs only.

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 a 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)

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

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority is the national, independent statutory authority governing the National Quality Framework.

Phone: 1300 422 327
Email: enquiries@acecqa.gov.au
Web: Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)

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/.