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Workforce transitional provisions expiring

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Text that reads 'National Quality Framework early childhood teacher qualifications 1 January – are you ready?'
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The following transitional workforce regulations contained in Education and Care Services National Regulations will expire in Queensland on 31 December 2021:

  • Regulation 239A: Centre-based services in remote and very remote areas and attendance of ECTs – allows a service to access an Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) 20% of the time and by means of information and communication technology. Expiration of this regulation does not impact Regulations 130 and 131, which allow smaller centre-based services to access an ECT 20% of the time and by means of information and communication technology.
  • Regulation 240: Centre-based services in remote and very remote areas and qualification requirements – allows an educator who has been continuously employed at a service for at least 15 years to be included in the ratio requirements without having to be actively working towards or holding a Certificate III qualification.
  • Regulation 242: Persons taken to be ECTs – Recognises a person who is actively working towards their ECT qualification as an ECT.
  • Regulations 390 and 407: Resignation of ECT and suitably qualified person – Centre-based services can only replace an ECT for the reasons contained in Regulation 135.

Early childhood teacher qualifications

Under the National Law, certain services are required to employ an ECT who holds an ACECQA-approved ECT qualification.

The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration recognises the important link between educators and quality early childhood education experiences and outcomes. It confirms that increasing the capability of the early childhood education workforce remains a priority to building quality.

Early childhood services play an essential role in assuring workforce participation, children’s learning and development, and rebuilding the economy.

A professional and skilled workforce is fundamental to achieving quality early childhood education outcomes for Queensland children and giving them a great start.

Check your qualification is National Quality Framework (NQF) approved

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 Frequently asked questions

Will the transitional provisions be extended again?

The transitional provisions will not be extended in Queensland.

Services need to ensure they are compliant from 1 January 2022.

How do I know if I will be considered an ECT after 2021?

Refer to the list of approved qualifications on the ACECQA website for all approved ECT qualifications to ensure that the qualification that you are either studying or hold is on the list, noting you will need to hold the qualification from 1 January 2022.

From 1 January 2022, will I be recognised as an ECT if I am currently working towards an ECT qualification?

No. Educators who are working towards an ECT qualification will need to have completed their approved qualification by 31 December 2021 to be considered an ECT.

If my ECT or suitably qualified person resigns, will I be able to use the transitional provisions?

No. These will cease and you will need to employ an ACECQA-approved ECT or suitability qualified person by 1 January 2022.

What can I do if my ECT is absent due to short term illness or leave?

A person who holds either an approved diploma level education and care qualification or primary teaching qualification can be taken to be an ECT. The replacement period can be for a maximum of 60 days in a 12-month period. Refer to Regulation 135.

If I am a centre-based service in a remote or very remote area, can I still access an ECT 20% of the time?

You can only access an ECT 20% of the time, including by means of information communication technology, if you have fewer than 25 approved places or 25 or more approved places but fewer than 25 children attending (Regulations 130 and 131).

What if I am an approved provider and one of my staff is currently enrolled in the ECT Bridging Program?

Registered primary teachers enrolled in the ECT Bridging Program pathway will need to complete their approved early childhood diploma before the end of 2021 to continue to be taken as an ECT from 2022. If the educator completes their diploma after 31 December 2021 they will be considered equivalent to an ECT once the diploma is completed.

Once Regulation 242 expires, registered primary teachers ‘actively working towards’ an approved ECT qualification by undertaking the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care may still be counted as diploma-level educator or suitably qualified person.   

What do the changes mean for an approved provider?

As the approved provider, it is your responsibility to ensure you are operating in compliance with the National Law and Regulations.

Educators who are currently working towards an approved ECT qualification should provide you (their approved provider), on a regular basis, with documentary evidence that demonstrates they will meet the requirements from 1 January 2022.

How does the end of the transitional provisions affect the requirement for a second ECT?

The end of the transitional provisions does not impact the requirement for a second ECT (as per Regulations 133 and 134 of the National Regulations) when 60 or more children preschool age or under are being educated and cared for.

From 1 January 2020, services who require a second ECT have been able to employ a suitably qualified person (as per Regulation 10 of the National Regulations) to meet this requirement. The definition of suitably qualified person is not affected by the end of the transitional provisions.

Can I be granted a waiver?

Approved service providers who are unable to meet the requirements that come into effect from 1 January 2022 may apply to the Queensland Regulatory Authority for a waiver under the National Law. Applications for waivers must be accompanied by evidence of attempts to comply with the legislative requirements and are decided on a case-by-case basis.

When can I submit a temporary waiver application?

Approved providers who are unable to meet the requirements that come into effect from 1 January 2022 may apply to the Queensland Regulatory Authority for a waiver under the National Law.

Applications for temporary waivers must be accompanied by evidence of attempts to comply with the requirements and are decided on a case-by-case basis.

It is the approved provider’s responsibility to demonstrate they have a plan in place to come into compliance with the legislative requirements within the period of the waiver and to show that risk is being effectively managed at the service.

Approved providers may now submit temporary waiver applications that relate to the ending of the transitional provisions.

The Regulatory Authority requires sufficient time to assess the application and make a decision within the legislative timeframes prior to 1 January 2022.

How will having a temporary waiver affect my service's quality rating?

A temporary waiver for ECT requirements (Regulations 130 to 134) means a service is taken to comply with the specified regulation. Therefore, a service that holds an ECT waiver is still eligible to be considered for an exceeding rating in Quality Area 1 if it is delivering a preschool program, as per Regulation 62(2).

Regulation 62(2) states that services providing care to kindergarten-age children can only be rated Exceeding for QA1 if they:

  • provide a preschool program or
  • have a documented arrangement with another service to provide a preschool program.
As is the case with any waived regulation, services are still required to ensure quality practices and meet the requirements of the National Quality Standard.
Will the changes impact my Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme (QKFS) eligibility?

Under the QKFS requirements, services that are granted a waiver or do not have an ECT engaged at the service delivering a kindergarten program will not be eligible for QKFS funding.​

What support has been available to meet the requirements before 1 January 2022?

In 2020–2021, the Department of Education has offered grants to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector to enable ECEC services to support their workforce to gain ECT qualifications and to become more skilled in their role as early childhood educators.

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Last updated 09 November 2021