Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Australia: Regulation of ECTs by ECE settings, state and territory

Here is an extract from Dr Louise Watson report in the DEEWR website.

There is no national consistency in the requirement for qualified early childhood teachers at the pre-school level (4 year-olds). This varies by jurisdiction, and can be influenced by the type of provider and which set of regulations they come under.

Child care services are regulated by different government departments within each jurisdiction – in some states these are education departments, but more often, they are departments of family and community services.

For example, in most states when 4 year-olds attend a childcare centre, their program will be delivered primarily by childcare employees holding a VET Certificate in Children’s Services and possibly designed by an employee who holds a Diploma of Children’s Services.

In some jurisdictions (eg. Queensland), the director of a large childcare service must have a 3-year degree in Early Childhood Education or an Advanced Diploma in Children’s Services. But in other jurisdictions, it is acceptable for the Director of a childcare service to have a nursing degree. In New South Wales, childcare centres are required to employ a teaching staff member (who must have a Degree or Diploma in Early Childhood Education) for groups of 30-40 children over the age of two.

Within jurisdictions, pre-school provision can be a mix of government-operated pre-schools, private and community-based pre-schools and childcare centres (community-based or privately owned). While government-operated pre-schools usually come under the jurisdiction of an Education Department, other pre-school providers, such as childcare centres or early learning centres will be governed by children’s services legislation (which in many states is implemented by a family and community services agency, rather than an education department).

Thus 4 year-olds attending a government-run pre-school (ie, administered by an Education Department) are likely to be taught by an Early Childhood teacher with a 3 or 4-year Bachelor’s degree (with the help of an assistant).

In the ACT, for example, where all pre-schools are government-operated, children in pre-schools are taught by a qualified pre-school teacher whereas 4-year-olds in childcare centres fall under different legislation which does not mandate the qualifications of staff above VET Diploma level.

A privately-owned pre-school might also employ a qualified Early Childhood teacher, but would not be obliged to do so, if it is registered as a childcare facility under children’s services legislation.

A further complication is that in some jurisdictions non-government pre-schools may receive subsidies from State Education Departments and the receipt of this funding can involve meeting minimum qualification requirements – even though the pre-school would be registered under childcare legislation.

Confusing, eh? I'm still trying to figure it all out too.... ^^

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