Regulatory priority 1
Adequate supervision involves more than ensuring child-to-educator ratios meet minimum requirements.
Proactive and planned supervision by trained staff is critical for children’s safety and protection from the harm or hazards that may arise in their play and daily routines.
This requires vigilance, good service design, appropriate rostering decisions and a high level of cooperation and communication between staff.
It is an offence under section 165 of the National Law for an approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day care educator to fail to ensure adequate supervision for all children educated and cared for by the service.
Each year, section 165 is one of the most commonly breached provisions of the National Law and is related to a range of incidents and poor outcomes for children.
In addition to accidents or injuries resulting from inadequate supervision, recent incidents of children leaving services’ premises by themselves and children left unattended in vehicles have highlighted the serious consequences of poor supervision.
Regulatory data has identified the following emerging supervision issues:
- educators’ understanding of active supervision and minimising distractions
- coordination and communication between staff
- ensuring the physical environment, premises and resources are safe for children
- risk assessment and planning for the safe transportation of children and for adequate supervision during excursions
- quality programming which keeps children engaged, particularly for older children in the outside school hours care setting.
To meet their obligations under the National Law, approved providers and nominated supervisors should ensure services have appropriate procedures and plans for active supervision and ensure their educators are trained in these procedures.
Approved providers should also consider the impacts of educators’ duties on their ability to maintain adequate supervision at all times and employ additional staff as necessary.
All staff who educate and care for children should regularly reflect on their knowledge and practices on active supervision. In particular, approved providers, nominated supervisors and family day care educators should ask themselves:
- Am I satisfied my service has appropriate practices in place regarding active supervision?
- Do I/my staff know how to actively supervise children and do we always demonstrate best practice in this area?
- Do staff effectively communicate with each other about supervision?
- Does anything about my residence or service premises hinder effective supervision? What measures do I need to implement to overcome this?
- Do I have the necessary staff and/or procedures in place to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times, including while educators need to attend to any additional duties, such as preparing food or cleaning?
- Am I satisfied that my service’s programming has stimulating resources and activities that keep children engaged?
- Am I satisfied that I/my service has taken every reasonable precaution to ensure that no child is left unattended on a service vehicle?
- Element 2.2.1 Supervision
- Section 165 Offence to inadequately supervise
- Regulation 168(2)(ga) Education and care service must have policies and procedures
- Regulations 102B-D Transportation risk assessments and authorisations
- Regulation 99 Children leaving the education and care service premises