Children above preschool age at OSHC
A staffing ratio of 1 educator to every 15 children over preschool age commenced on 1 October 2018.
These changes to regulation 123 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations commenced 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 effectiveIy support each child's learning and development.
1:10 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 and adequate supervision, are also available.
Regulatory requirements apply during transportation where the children are under the care of the service.
School pick-ups and drop-offs
Services must maintain educator to child ratios at all times whilst that service is operating, which includes dropping children at school in the morning or collecting them from school in the afternoon. The service will need procedures that ensure educator to child ratios are maintained during these transitions.
Services will need to ensure their arrival and departure policy includes a 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 the school principal(s) to ensure a safe transition for children, and to develop solutions to address any identified risks.
Staff absences or fluctuating child numbers
It is important that services develop a risk assessment that identifies procedures to accommodate variances in availability of staff at all times such as:
- if a staff member is late, sick, or absent, the service has a responsibility to ensure ratios are maintained.
- when child numbers fluctuate, for example at the end of an evening session, or at the start of the day during a vacation care program.
Children attending extra-curricular activities are not included in the OSHC service ratios during the time they are attending those activities. It is the responsibility of services to ensure that children attending these activities only do so with parental permission. Transitions between the service premises and extra-curricular activities are managed to ensure children's safety and wellbeing.
Children may only leave the approved service premises if they are given into the care of:
- a parent
- anauthorised nominee (named in the child's enrolment record)
- a peraon authorised by a parent or authorised nominee (Regulation 99(4)(a)).
Services should be guided by the acceptance and refusal of authorisations, policy and (Regulation 168(2)(m)), when considering the involvement of children in extra-curricular activities.
Preschool aged children - guidelines
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 age children at outside school hours care.
Additional guidelines about staff ratios and adequate supervision are also available.