Flexibility and adaptability key to managing a large team

At Coogee Care Centre, located on Bidjigal and Gadigal land, innovative approaches and flexibility are fundamental to managing the OSHC service’s diverse team of staff.

Image: Coogee Care Centre staff celebrating Educators' Day

Assistant Directors Jenny Collins and Kate Wilson have been at the service since 2011 and have adapted their approach to staffing arrangements as the team has expanded over the years.

“We’re a service licensed for 270 children, so we're quite big and have a large team that usually sits between 40 and 50 staff members,” Jenny shared.

“As an OSHC service where a lot of our staff are university students, we have some people here for two hours a week, some here for 30,” Kate added.

“It's hard to give them all the same access to the same information and ensure they feel equally valued, so we have to be mindful of how we manage organising and communicating with a big team.”

One strategy Jenny and Kate have employed is using online platforms to support the organisation of educators and communication across the team.

“We have a rostering platform called Tanda, which all our staff are signed up to, and they have the ability to input their own availability making it easy for us to create rosters and be flexible with their hours,” Kate said.

“Another online platform we use is Workplace, which is like a Facebook page for work where staff can chat about things and ask any questions they have.

“A lot of services may have something like a communication book up the front door, but in a team the size of ours we can't have 30 people lining up to read it when they arrive, so we use an online platform.”

With a large team and high rates of staff turnover when many university students graduate, maintaining continuity of staff (Element 4.1.2) in a way that is appropriate for the service type remains a priority for the leadership team.

“We try really hard to ensure there's consistency for the children,” shared Jenny.

“A new strategy Kate and I implemented last year was to split our after-school care into cohorts.

“This means the children have familiarity and consistency of who they're going to see each afternoon, which also helps with implementing procedures like behaviour management procedures and inclusion support procedures because the staff know the children better.”

Thoughtful planning and organisation of educators (Element 4.1.1) allows Jenny and Kate to harness the passion of their educators – in turn improving the experience for their children.

“During our vacation care program, we use Workplace to let our staff choose which days they'd like to run and they develop the whole day plan,” Jenny said.

“For example, we might have a staff member who loves sports, and they might choose to organise and lead an Olympics day.

“I think that’s a really important tool to use when you've got a team with such diverse interests.

“Their passion will come across and that increases enjoyment for the children, which is why we’re here.”

Image: Coogee Care Centre staff on Jersey Day
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