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Educator-to-child ratios

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This page provides information for services captured under the National Quality Framework (NQF) and the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act).

Educator-to-child ratios – NQF services

The National Quality Framework (NQF) sets out the minimum educator-​to-child ratio requirements for early childhood education and care services. To be counted in the educator-to-child ratio, educators must be working directly with the children. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national authority that publishes the educator-to-child ratios, set out in the NQF. Providers and services listed with the National Quality Agenda IT ​system will receive updates or changes through the distribution of the NQF e-bulletin.​

Outside school hours care (OSHC) requirements for school-age children:

  • There must be a minimum educator-to-child ratio of 1:15.
  • At least one educator must hold (or be working towards) an approved 2 year Diploma level qualification or higher in a relevant area of study (PDF, 222KB). They must be at the service: 
    • at least 7 hours and 15 minutes of the time education and care is being provided, or
    • if provided for more than 7 hours and 15 minutes on that day, at all times that education and care is being provided.
  • Any other educators required to meet ratio requirements do not need to hold a qualification if they are 18 years of age or older.

Related information

Policies, procedures and operational requirements reso​​urces – Access resources, forms and fact sheets related to operating a service, including staffing requirements.

Stay up to date

Services regulated under the NQF can subscribe to the National Quality Fr​amework e-bulletin – keep updated on the latest changes and updates to the National Quality Framework.

Educator-to-child ratios – ECS Act services

Educator to child ratios for services captured under the Education and Care Services Act 2013 (ECS Act) are regulated by the department. Ratios are minimum standards and when grouping children the most important consideration is achieving quality education. Educator-to-child ratios are calculated across the service, based on the number of children under one Queensland approval, not by individual rooms.

Calculating ratios

All educators must be at least 17 years of age and hold an approved qualifi​​cation (or be enrolled and working towards that qualification) to be counted in the educator-to-child ratio.

The number of educators needed is based on the number of children under one Queensland service approval, not the individual rooms.

Learn more about staffing a service under the Educ​ation and Care Services Act 2013 (PDF, 1.6MB) (​DOC, 121KB).

Mixed age group ratios

Ratio requirements are based on the age of the youngest child in the care of an educator.

Where an educator has spare capacity within the ratio of children in care, older children (from a different age group ratio) can be added. Older children can only be added up to the limit of the ratio that applies to the youngest child.

Specific ratios apply to each age group below. See EC​S Regula​tion 46-52​ for information on educator-to-child ratios during children's rest periods, ratios during staff rest pauses and temporary absences.

Educator-to-child ratios for other than school age services​

Ages of children​ Educator-to-child ratio
Birth to 2 years1:4
Birth to 3 years​1:5
15 months to 3 years1:5
2 years to 3 years1:6
2.5 years to 3 years1:8
3 years to 12 years1:12
For a group of not more than 21 children*1:7

*Limitations include:

  • The group may not include more than 4 children aged birth to 1 year
  • The group may not include more than 2 children aged birth to 1 year for each educator
  • If the group is in a centre-based service with a licensed capacity of more than 30, the group may not include more than 10 children aged birth to 2 years.
​​

Educator-to-child ratios for school age services

The ratio for services with school age children is 1:15. In addition, there are minimum qualification requirements that apply when calculating ratios.

  • 1–15 children must have 1 Diploma qualified educator 
  • 16–30 children must have 1 Diploma qualified educator and 1 other educator* 
  • 31–45 children must have 1 Diploma qualified educator and 1 Certificate III qualified educator and 1 other educator* 
  • 46–59 children must have 1 Diploma qualified educator and 1 Certificate III qualified educator and 2 other educators*

*The 'other educator' referred to above does not need to hold a qualification if they are over 18 years of age.

Ratios for excursions

Adequate supervision must be maintained during an excursion. Educators must conduct a risk assessment before each excursion to identify any risks that might affect the health, safety and wellbeing of children, including how the risks will be managed.

A risk assessment should assess if minimum educator-to-child ratios will be enough to provide adequate supervision and consider whether any staff with specialised skills are required e.g. lifesaving.

Learn more about excursion risk assessment template (DOC, 1,5MB).

Ratios for emergency care

There may be situations where centre-based services can provide emergency care. Centres should contact their local regional offi​​ce for more information or to discuss plans to increase their maximum capacity.

Related information

ECS Act resources – Access resources, forms and fact sheets related to operating a service under the ECS Act.

Stay up to date

Services regulated under the ECS Act can subscribe to the Educa​​​​tion and Car​​e Services e-bulletin​​ – keep updated on the latest changes and updates for services and providers operating under the ECS Act.

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Last updated 24 December 2018