Children above preschool age at OSHC

Staffing ratios from 1 October

A new staffing ratio of 1 educator to every 15 children over preschool age commences on 1 October 2018

Changes to regulation 123 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations commence from
1 October 2018 in NSW after a 12 month transition period. From this date in NSW, all approved services providing education and care to school age children are required to engage a minimum of 1 educator for every 15 children in attendance.

These ratio requirements are designed to promote the safety, health and well-being of children at services whilst ensuring that educators are able to most effectiveIy support each child's learning and development.

Ratio requirements still apply for children preschool age or under. The Education and Care Services National Regulations define a 'child preschool age or under' as a child who is under the age of 7 years and is not enrolled or registered at school, nor attending or due to attend school in the current calendar year.

  • Up to 24 months of age - a ratio of one educator to four children is required.
  • Between 24 - 36 months, a ratio of one educator to five children is required.
  • Over 36 months up to and including preschool age, a ratio of one educator to 10
    children is in place.
Additional guidelines about staff ratios, definitions and managing staff movements are also available.

School pick-ups and drop-offs

Services must maintain ratios at all times that a service is operating. This means that if the service has responsibility for dropping children at school in the morning or collecting them from school in the afternoons, the service will need to include the maintenance of ratios in procedures for managing these transitions.

The new ratio requirements may mean that services will need to develop a policy or procedure to ensure that the arrival of uncollected school children does not compromise their ability to meet ratio requirements. Services may wish to engage with your school principal(s) to ensure that they understand obligations and responsibilities, and to develop solutions to address any challenges.

Transportation

Regulatory requirements apply during transportation where the children are under the care of the service.

Staff absences or fluctuating child numbers

If a staff member is late, sick or absent, the service has a responsibility to ensure ratios are maintained.

it is important that services have procedures and measures in place to accommodate variances in availability of staff at all times.

This also applies when child numbers are known to fluctuate, for example at the end of an evening session, or at the start of the day during a vacation care program. It is the responsibility of services to ensure that there is always an adequate number of educators to meet ratio requirements for the children in attendance.

Extra-curricular activities

Children attending extra-curricular activities do not need to be included in ratios during the time they are attending those activities. it is the responsibility of services, however, to ensure that children attending activities only do so with appropriate parental permission and that any transitions between the service premises and extra-curricular activities are planned and managed.

Children may only leave the approved service premises if they are handed over into the care of:
  • a parent
  • an authorised nominee
  • a person authorised by a parent or authorised nominee (Reg 99)

Services are also required to have policies and procedures surrounding the acceptance and refusal of parental  authorisations (Regulation 168(in)), and should act in accordance with these when considering the involvement of children in extra-curricular activities.

It is important that services consider whether they are able to ensure a safe transition to an extracurricular
activity, and have the appropriate authority for the child's absence from the service to participate in the extra-curricular activity.

Preschool aged children - guidelines

Preschool children attending Out of School Hours Care and vacation care The Education and Care Services National Regulations define a 'child preschool age or under' as a child who is under the age of 7 years and is not enrolled or registered at school, nor attending or due to attend school in the current calendar year.

The department has published detailed guidelines for OSHC and vacation care services catering to
preschool children

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