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Information Sheet - Upcoming Regulation Changes (Dec 2014)

Last updated: 24/12/2015 5:11 PM
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Amendments to the Education and Care Services Regulations 2012 (WA) are scheduled to be published in the Government Gazette of Friday, 28 November 2014. The amendments come into effect on Monday 1 December 2014.

The amendments address operational matters that have been identified by various jurisdictions since the national education and care legislation first commenced. The amendments streamline processes, reduce paperwork and provide greater flexibility to providers, educators and regulatory authorities. 

On 1 June 2014 these amendments came into effect in all states and territories. WA agreed to enact similar amendments to its corresponding legislation as soon as practicable.

Minor amendments requested by WA's Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation (JSCDL) are also included as part of WA's amendments to its regulations.

The changes to the regulations are as follows:

Regulation affectedTopicWhat the changes mean
10, 137Actively working towards an early childhood teaching (ECT) qualification

Regulation 10 has been amended to provide a further criterion for determining the requirements of what constitutes an educator who is actively working towards an approved diploma level education and care qualification.

The amendment provides an educator will be recognised as actively working towards this qualification if they have completed the percentage of total units of study as determined by the National Authority – the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) for completion of an approved early childhood teaching qualification.

An amendment to regulation 137 allows ACECQA to publish this percentage.

55Quality Improvement Plan

Regulation 55 has been amended to provide that an approved provider of an education and care service must prepare a quality improvement plan within three months of the grant of the service approval.

Only on request does the service need to submit this plan to the Regulatory Authority.

This is a more practical approach to the current process.

86, 94

Notification of incident, injury, trauma and illness

Exception to authorisation requirement – anaphylaxis or asthma emergency

Regulation 86 and 94 have been amended to provide a child's authorised emergency contact can be contacted in such circumstances where the parents of the child cannot be immediately contacted.

A definition of authorised emergency contact has also been inserted into regulation 4.

NB: this is a JSCDL amendment and therefore WA specific.

92Medication Record

Regulation 92(c) has been amended to require a child's medication record to include details of what the child's medication is used to treat. This amendment is in the interests of child safety.

NB: this is a JSCDL amendment and therefore WA specific.

104Fencing Requirements for Family Day Care (FDC) venuesRegulation 104 has been amended to provide the fencing requirements for outdoor spaces used by children at an education and care service premises do not apply to family day care residences or family day care venues if all the children being educated and cared for at those residences or venues are over preschool age.
117Safety glass for FDC Services

Regulation 117(1) has been amended to align it with the latest Australian Standard for safety glass.

Any glazed area of a residence or approved family day care venue must comply with regulation 117(2) if the area is accessible to children and 1m or less above floor level.

NB: Family day care services approved before 1 December 2014 are not subject to the new standard.

126Three month probationary period

Regulation 126(1) has been amended to provide that a new educator without an approved qualification can be counted as a certificate III qualified educator for the purposes of educator-to-child ratios for a three month probationary period.

The probationary period is linked to the approved provider. The probationary period is not extended if the educator moves to another service operated by the same approved provider. However if the educator is employed by a different approved provider, they are eligible for another three month probationary period. This amendment provides greater flexibility for centre-based services to meet staffing requirements when employing new educators.

126ECT absenceAn amendment to regulation 126(3) also provides that a person with a primary teaching qualification covering for an early childhood teacher's illness or absence can be counted towards educator-to-child ratios.
136Firest Aid requirementsRegulation 136 has been amended to provide that for services operating on a school site, a staff member, other than an educator can meet the first aid qualification requirements, including anaphylaxis and asthma management, if they are in attendance and immediately available in an emergency. For example, a school nurse may be counted towards these requirements.
157Access for parentsRegulation 157 has been amended to provide that where an approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day care educator reasonably believes that allowing a parent of a child at their education and care service to enter the premises would be contravening a court order, then the approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day educator may refuse that parent entry to the premises.
238ASupervisor certificates

In other states/territories a new regulation was made on 1 June 2014 regarding supervisor certificates. WA has not made the same amendment. As such the process for supervisor certificates in WA has not changed.

However, whilst WA has not made the same amendment as other states/territories in this regard, a provision has been included in WA's regulations to provide notice to readers that new regulation 238A (which is included in the National Regulations of other jurisdictions) does not apply in WA.

239AECT requirements for services in remote and very remote areas

A new section has been inserted into the regulation to allow services in remote and very remote areas (as defined in the Australian Statistical Geography Standard: Volume 5 – Remoteness Structure developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) that are educating and catering for 25 or more children, preschool age or under, to satisfy the requirements under regulations 132, 133 or 134 if they have 'access' to an early childhood teacher, rather than in 'attendance'. For example, a service may utilise information technology to access an early childhood teacher. This regulation applies to 1 January 2018.

To find out whether a service is located in remote or very remote areas go todoctorconnect.gov.au

240Qualification requirements for services in remote and very remote areas

Regulation 240 has been amended to extend the transitional timeframe for centre-based services in remote and very remote areas, to allow an unqualified educator with at least 15 years' experience to be counted as a certificate III qualified educator until 1 January 2018.

Services not located in remote and very remote areas will continue to have the transitional regulation apply until 31 December 2015.

242Taken to be an ECTRegulation 242 has been amended to extend the transitional arrangements allowing educators that are actively working towards an approved early childhood teacher qualification to be considered an early childhood teacher until 1 January 2018.
241, 243, 244Taken to hold a certificate III, diploma or ECT qualification

Regulations 241, 243 and 244 have been amended to provide an additional criterion for persons taken to hold an early childhood teaching qualification.

It requires that in addition to being recognised under the former education and care services law as an early childhood teacher (or for preschool funding purposes for recognition as an early childhood teacher), the person must also have been employed or engaged in a declared approved service before the commencement of the regulations.

31, 75, 80, 111, 160, 185Various

Additionally minor amendments have been made to replace the term "parents" with "family members" in various regulations to give greater effect to the principle of family involvement which is integral to the quality agenda.

NB: these are JSCDL amendments and therefore WA specific.