Quality Learning Environments program guidelines 2018
Quality Learning Environments program
The Quality Learning Environments program aims to support preschools to improve their learning environments to contribute to inclusive, safe and supportive preschools and positive experiences and outcomes for children. Grants will enhance the physical environments through minor capital works and infrastructure items, as well as preschool educational programs and practice.
Please note these guidelines apply to the 2018 Quality Learning Environments program. The 2019 program guidelines can be found here.
Program Overview - second round
Grants of up to $15,000 (excluding GST) are available to preschools that meet eligibility criteria, application requirements and spending rules.
Applications for the second round of the Quality Learning Environments program open from 15 October 2018 to 9 November 2018.
To be eligible for funding through the Quality Learning Environments program, a service must meet the following criteria:
- Be a not-for-profit centre-based or mobile preschool operating in NSW funded by the Early Childhood Education Directorate.
- Be an approved early childhood education and care service under the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations or the Supplementary Provisions Act.
- Deliver an early childhood education program designed by a degree qualified early childhood teacher in accordance with The Early Years Learning Framework under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education.
- Comply with the terms and conditions of the Early Childhood Education Directorate Grants Program.
Quality Learning Environments applications must be submitted through the SmartyGrants online application system
Applications will be open in SmartyGrants from 15 October 2018 to 9 November 2018.
Applications must include:
- A description of how the grant will contribute to improving the preschool’s learning environment.
- An outline of the service’s Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) that identifies area/s for improvement and how this relates to the quality areas in the National Quality Standards. (See the Quality Improvement Plan and National Quality Standards section for more information.)
- A brief outline that describes the process for building or acquiring the resource or activity.
- Requests of no more than 3 resources or activities of up to $15,000 (ex GST) in total.
- One quote per resource or activity.
Quality Improvement Plan and National Quality Standards
The Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations require services to have an up-to-date Quality Improvement Plan. Applications for the Quality Learning Environments program need to demonstrate a link to the service’s Quality Improvement Plan.
Applications must include the following elements from their Quality Improvement Plan:
- A self-assessment of the service’s need for the resource or activity being applied for, as identified against the relevant National Quality Standard,
- A brief description of the improvement plan, including a rationale for how the requested resource or activity will address the needs of the service.
Eligible services may apply for funding under the following categories:
- Minor capital works including building, renovations and repairs
- Purchase of infrastructure items
- Specialised educational programs and activities
All applications need to demonstrate how the requested resource or activity will improve the learning environment and/or the quality of the educational program by supporting the objectives in the service’s Quality Improvement Plan.
If a resource or activity cannot be linked to improving the quality of the learning environment, it is not eligible for funding under this program.
Minor capital works includes enhancements that relate to the physical infrastructure of the building or premises. Infrastructure items are those considered large enough to form part of the physical environment of the service.
Specialised educational programs or activities includes incursions or excursions for children attending the preschool such as music, movement, creative expression and physical or cultural activity.
Funding is not available for:
- Purchasing books, toys or puzzles.
- General refurbishment solely for aesthetic reasons.
- Landscape design or garden maintenance solely for aesthetic reasons.
- Staff resources such as kitchen appliances and parking spaces.
- IT equipment such as digital cameras, video cameras, tablets, devices and computers.
- Office equipment such as photocopiers, white boards and fax machines.
- Purchasing teacher resources.
- Staff salaries and related staffing costs (i.e. annual leave)
- Resources already funded by the department through another Early Childhood Education Directorate program, such as Start Strong Capital Works or Minor Capital Works as part of the Disability and Inclusion Program.
- Mobile preschools cannot apply for upgrades to mobile preschool venues that are not owned by the provider.
Applications for resources/ activities that can be fully funded through Quality Learning Environments are encouraged. Where applications are submitted for resources/activities that exceed the available grant amount, applicants will be required to confirm that they will be able to fund the difference.
If circumstances change, and a service cannot fund the difference, they must notify the department. In such circumstances the grant must be returned the department in full, unless expenditure is otherwise agreed by both parties and approved by the department. These decisions will be made on a case by case basis.
Services are required to accept the Terms and Conditions of this funding.
Any funds that are unspent at 30 June 2019 may be required to be returned to the department, and will be decided with reference to the service’s individual circumstances.
The purpose of funding minor capital works items under the Quality Learning Environments program is to address the general needs for all children, including children with a disability or additional needs. For specific support to enable individual children with disability and additional needs to participate in a quality early childhood education program on the same basis as their peers, see the Disability and Inclusion Program minor capital works grants.
Determination of funding
The department will assess applications and determine funding based on service eligibility, spending rules, satisfaction of the application requirements and available funding.
The department prioritises applications that describe how the resource or activity:
- Contributes to inclusive, safe and supportive preschools and positive experiences and outcomes for children.
- Links to needs identified in the service’s Quality Improvement Plan.
- Demonstrates value for money.
All applicants will be advised of the outcome of the application assessment process.
Successful applicants will be required to accept the terms and conditions of the Early Childhood Education Directorate Grants Program in order to receive funding.
A formal acquittal process must be undertaken within one year of receiving funding. This includes completing a statement of expenditure and a performance accountability statement.
Services may be audited to confirm the accuracy of data provided in their performance and financial accountability statements.
For more information about the Quality Learning Environments program, please contact:
Early Childhood Education Directorate
1300 755 426