Our Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) sector in Australia is struggling with high turnover of childcare staff. By law, long day care centres, preschools and kindergartens must have a certain number of qualified early childhood teachers based on the number of children they educate or care for.
The latest data from the national agency that regulates early childhood education, The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), reports that 8.1% of childcare providers operated with a staffing waiver in the first quarter of 2022. This means that services could not meet the legal requirement for suitably qualified early childhood teachers on staff.
Educator-to-child ratio requirements are outlined in the National Quality Framework (NQF). The ratios are in place so that children in care get proper and adequate supervision. For example, in centre-based childcare, children aged 0 to 24 months need one educator for every four children in all states and territories. For family day care, the required educator-to-child ratio is 1:7, with a maximum of four children preschool age or under. And, when there’s no other adult to care for the educator’s own children, the ratio includes their own children younger than 13 years of age. You can access child ratio calculators on ACECQA for centre-based services.
The Australian Government recently promised Australian families more affordable early childhood education and care. According to projections, Australia faces a skills shortage in key sectors, including our sector, which may pose challenges to the proposed childcare reforms.
According to data from the National Skills Commission, May 2022 saw a record number of jobs in early childhood education and care available, exhibiting a more than double increase in the last three years.
As providers work towards resolving the workforce shortage, finding the right management solutions and tools can help services like yours get through these trying times.