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FAQs

What is assessment and rating? 

Assessment and Rating is a process that sees services assessed against the National Quality Standard. It is an opportunity for you to showcase what you do every day to support, educate and care for the children at your service. 

To complete the assessment and rating, an Authorised Officer from the Regulatory Authority (NSW Department of Education) may visit you to observe and discuss your practices. 

The service you are registered with will be contacted a minimum of 5 days prior to the assessment and rating visit and are responsible for telling you if you have been selected to be visited.  

What should I have ready? 

To help you prepare, we suggest you read and discuss your service’s key practices and areas for quality improvement. Key practices are what you do at your service every day, in line with the National Quality Standard.   

You can also refer to the Guide to the National Quality Framework, which includes sections specifically for your service type. 

The Authorised Officer will need to see some documents and having these easily accessible (paper or electronic) is recommended so that your experience is a smooth process.  

Some things to get ready which officers may want to look at include:  

  • Documents relating to the educational program 
  • Examples of communication with families 
  • Documents relating to any children with health and medical conditions 
  • Documents of your cycle of planning and assessment for children  
  • First aid kits (including expiry dates)  
  • Hygiene practices 

What should I expect when the Authorised Officer arrives at the service?

When the Authorised Officer arrives, they will: 

Introduce themselves and show you their ID 

Sign your visitor record 

Talk to you about how they will conduct the visit 

They may ask you for a brief tour of your service 

Observe your interactions with the children

Ask to see documents and talk with you about your practices. 

How long will the visit go for?

The length of the visit will vary. The Authorised Officer may spend approximately 6-10 hours at your service. This may occur over 2 or 3 days depending on the size and number of rooms at your service. The Authorised Officer will discuss this with you in their initial phone call. 

What questions will they ask? 

There is no set of standard questions that will be asked. However, you may have discussions about: 

  • How your program and the environment is adjusted to meet the differing ages and interests of children 
  • Your approaches to excursions
  • Your understanding of child protection requirements 
  • The services’ strengths, key practices and plans for improvement that have been shared by your service provider in preparation for Assessment and rating .
  • Your knowledge and understanding of the service’s policies and procedures 

Your services’ self-assessment and quality improvement areas may also inform questions that are asked. For example, if the self-assessment mentions dropping off and picking up children from school, you may be asked about this, including questions about transportation and authorisations.


Each service is required to submit their QIP or self-assessment information prior to the visit, this should include the perspectives of educators. 

As an educator you should be constantly reflecting on your practices to determine your strengths and any areas of improvement. You nominated supervisor and educational leader can help you with how to reflect on your practices to ensure they are in line with you service policies and procedures as well as the National Quality Standard. There are various self-assessment tools and resources available to guide you in this process.

What if I do not understand a question or English is my second language? 

There is no right or wrong answer. Questions are designed to help the officer understand what you do and how you do it. It is not a test. This is an opportunity to showcase your service.

Let the officer know if you do not understand and ask them to repeat or re-phrase the question. 

If you require a translator service, communicate this with your nominated supervisor prior to the visit. The Authorised Officer can have this support arranged.

What can I do if I’m not happy with some of the comments made by the Authorised Officer or with some of my answers? 

You can raise any concerns with the Authorised Officer or with your nominated supervisor.

There are processes in place that allow concerns with the assessment and rating process to be raised at different times. You can: 

  • Raise any concerns with the Authorised Officer or if you feel more comfortable, you can raise them with your nominated supervisor or the approved provider.  
  • Call 1800 619 113 during or after the visit, or ask your nominated supervisor to make the call. 
  • Ask your approved provider to raise your concerns in the online survey sent after the visit. 
  • Provide feedback during the draft report stage. 

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OLD COVID FAQ content kept for a while just in case

Are early childhood education centre (ECEC) services open?

ECEC services including Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) continue to be open.

Some services may be required to close to all children temporarily at the direction of NSW Health.

www.startingblocks.gov.au contains information about services’ vacancies and hours of operation.

Does the department's advice apply to long day care, pre-school, outside school hours care, vacation care and family day care?

Unless the department specifies a service type, our guidance applies to all services. Each part of the sector will have unique challenges and support needs through the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to seek feedback from all of you and your representative peak bodies about how we can target our response to meet your diverse needs.

Who has the right to shut the service down and for how long?

NSW Health is the lead agency responding to COVID-19. Advice to shut down services will ordinarily come from Health. Health will also advise when a service is able to reopen.

You are required to notify the regulatory authority of any changes to your operating hours (including the closure of your service). Please also advise us when you have re-opened. If you are considering closing due to low enrolments or lack of supplies, please contact us prior to making a decision. Contact details for the regulatory authority are 1800 619 113 or ececd@det.nsw.edu.au.

While it is unlikely that the NSW Department of Education will direct the closure of a service during the COVID-19 situation, we may suspend a service approval if we reasonably believe that it would not be in the best interests of children for the service to remain open.

The Department may also provide more general direction to services if there is any requirement to shut down or change operations in any geographic area, or make any other form of change to operations.

What do I need to submit to the department if my service has to close urgently as a result of COVID?

In the case of a service closure, the department should be notified via a I01 Notification of incident – Closure or reduction in number of children attending the service. This Notification should be submitted through the ACECQA portal. This notification needs to be made to the Regulatory Authority within 24 hours of closure. However, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible.

If for any reason you are unable to access the ACECQA portal to submit the notification, please email ececd@det.nsw.edu.au or phone the Information and Enquiries line on 1800 619 113. This will be considered to be sufficient notification until you can lodge the form through the public portal.

What do I need to do if I have been directed to close by NSW Health?

If you have been directed to close by NSW Health you must comply with this direction.

You should submit a I01 Notification of incident – Closure or reduction in number of children attending the service through the ACECQA portal.

I submitted a notification of a serious incident at my service and now I am required to close the service. Do I need to submit another notification?

Serious incidents need to be reported within 24 hours of the incident to the Regulatory Authority. You can do this via the ACECQA portal.

If you have received further information relating to the incident which impacts your service’s ability to operate, you should edit the I01 Notification you submitted and include additional documentation relating to the closure. Where possible, please include the period of time your service will be closed for.

Do I still need to apply for a waiver if my service can’t meet educator-to-child ratios on a given day, or would notifying the department be enough?

The department recognises that in the current environment it may be difficult for services to know how many children will be attending on a given day, and which staff members will be present. However, the priority is always the health, safety and wellbeing of children in education and care. As such, adequate supervision requirements continue to apply and services should make every attempt to meet ratio requirements on any given day.

While the department is taking measures to reduce the administrative burden on services at this time, a notification that your service is in breach of educator-to-child ratios is not sufficient.

The department is granting waivers for staff qualifications, and in exceptional circumstances, ratios. These are considered on a case-by-case basis and will be fast-tracked, subject to there being no increased risk to the safety of children or staff. Fees for waivers relating to COVID-19 will be waived or refunded.

Only services which clearly need a waiver because they do not have the staff capacity to meet ratios should apply for one. The department will consider the period of time a waiver is granted for so that services do not have to reapply each day they do not meet the requirements. If circumstances remain the same for that service after the waiver expires, the department may extend the waiver period on review. Please contact the Information and Enquires team on 1800 619 113 for help with lodging a waiver application.

If our service closes, are we required to apply for a suspension? And if so, what is the lead-time to reopen?

Services will not be required to apply for a voluntary suspension during the COVID-19 period. However, when a service closes, they should submit a notification through the National Quality Agenda IT System.

When re-opening the service, services should add an additional document to their original notification of closure. This will prompt us to review your original notification and amend the status of the service.

I am an ECE provider operating on a NSW school site. Do I need to pay fees?

Services should prepare for license fees to resume from the end of Term 3. The department will continue to assess the impact of COVID-19 on services throughout Term 3 to see what support is needed to help services to stay open for families.

What do I do if a child becomes unwell at my service?

You should follow your policies and procedures on illness and infectious disease. If a child presents with symptoms contact the child's family to collect them as soon as possible. If possible and your supervision and ratio requirements allow, keep the unwell child in isolation until they are collected. Services should keep up to date with the latest information and facts regarding COVID-19 on the NSW Health website.

Should services inform families if a staff member or child is self-isolating or undergoing testing?

You can communicate with families that staff and children at your service should get tested if they show symptoms and that you’ll inform families if there is a result of concern.

What if a member of staff or child has been in a location with a confirmed case?

You can find a list of confirmed cases and associated locations on the NSW Government’s Latest COVID-19 news and updates page.

If someone has been at an identified location at the identified time they need to either:

  • self-isolate and get tested immediately or

  • monitor for symptoms.

For more information on self-isolation:

What do we do if a child or educator at our service develops COVID-19? Should we close immediately?

NSW Health is the agency responsible for giving directions in relation to closures. If they have not contacted you already you should contact your local public health unit if you learn someone at your service has tested positive to COVID-19 and ask them for advice.

You may not need to close your service – doing so can cause unnecessary disruption both for you and your families.

Your Public Health Unit will help you assess the situation and take you through the appropriate steps.

Should service staff wear masks?

Staff in education and care services are not required to wear masks under any legislation or public health order. The NSW Government has issued guidelines on wearing masks.

If staff feel more comfortable wearing masks and wish to do so there is nothing in the National Law and Regulations to prevent them doing so.

You should also follow normal disease prevention measures including hand sanitizing, appropriate social distancing between adults and excluding anyone with symptoms or who has been in contact with a confirmed case.

Should we be checking the temperature of children or adults at our service?

There is no requirement to check temperatures. You can check temperatures if you wish but note they aren’t always effective at picking up people with COVID-19. This is because a significant proportion of people with COVID-19 don’t have a fever. Temperature checks can also cause queues which prevent people from maintaining physical distancing.

You can usually use your own judgement to assess the health of a child – you typically know the children at your service well enough to recognise when they aren’t feeling well.

For more information on using thermometers:

What is a deep clean?

If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your service you need to clean thoroughly and disinfect all areas which may have been contaminated. This is what’s often referred to as a ‘deep clean’. NSW Health will advise you on how to do this, as well as any other steps you need to take, and when you can reopen.

Please note:

  • You can use your usual cleaning staff to do a deep clean.
  • NSW Health doesn’t require you to use specialised cleaning companies – but you can if you want to.
  • NSW Health doesn’t endorse or recommend any particular cleaning companies.
  • There is no certification process endorsed by the NSW Government for cleaning companies undertaking cleaning and disinfection services after a COVID-19 outbreak.
  • You aren’t required to provide a certificate of cleaning completion in order to reopen.

The following resources are available for ECE services to follow:

Can we have incursions?

The general recommendation is to reduce the number of visitors to your service as much as possible. You should conduct your own risk assessment when considering things like incursions. If you do have visitors to your service normal disease prevention measures should be followed including hand sanitizing, appropriate social distancing between adults and excluding anyone with symptoms or who has been in contact with a confirmed case.

Can we go on excursions such as visiting aged care facilities?

Some excursions may go ahead provided they are permitted by current health orders and standard risk management is in place.

If you aren’t in an area with lots of cases, and you want to visit your local area you could consider that low risk provided you have parental consent and standard risk management. However if it’s a bigger excursion involving public transport with lots of people everywhere the benefits of going on the excursion should be carefully weighed against the risks.

Visits to aged care are not advised.

Is there a dedicated NSW portal for all COVID-19 related government and health information?

Visit the NSW Government COVID-19 hub for the latest information.

I work at an education and care service. Am I required to have a flu vaccination?

The AHPPC has recommended that staff at early childhood education and care services should be vaccinated for influenza, however it is not a requirement under the National Law and Regulations. If this becomes a requirement under a Public Health Order in NSW we will notify you. In the interests of the health and wellbeing of all staff and children at your service we encourage you to get the influenza vaccine if there are no contraindications for you to do so. Children under five years old are entitled to a free influenza vaccine. Some employers also subsidise vaccines for staff. Visit the Health NSW website for the most up to date information regarding seasonal influenza vaccine.

What if educators are sick and the service can't meet the staff/child ratios? Can we get a waiver?

Waivers may be granted for qualifications or in some cases ratios. Please contact the information and enquiries team for assistance with lodging an application. These will be considered on a case-by-case basis and will be expedited to maintain continuity of care. Services should note that adequate supervision requirements will always apply. Our priority remains the health, safety and wellbeing of children in care.

Do services have to pay fees when applying for COVID-19 related waivers?

All fees for regulatory waivers in relation to COVID-19 will be waived.

For services affected by COVID-19 applying for a waiver relating to educator-to-child ratios and staffing qualifications: the ACECQA portal requires the application fee of $111 to be paid before the application can be submitted. Once the application is received by the Department, if it is deemed to be a result of COVID-19 the application fee will be refunded.

Will Early Childhood Education Directorate (ECED) maintain spot visits and A&R visits during this time? How can we be certain an AO is not a risk with the opportunity to cross infect across multiple services?

We are committed to supporting services in continuing to provide education and care to children. Regulatory staff continue to follow the latest Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) advice, while also considering the unique challenges for staff and services.

Service visits need to continue to ensure ongoing oversight of regulatory compliance to protect the safety and wellbeing of children. All visits will be made by appointment, unless an urgent or high risk situation comes to our attention, or a serious incident occurs within a service. All officers are following best practice hygiene and current health advice.

The following guidelines list some of the extra precautions that the Department’s authorised officers are taking when planning a visit to your service:

  • Officers are required to monitor the latest health advice and changes to restrictions as they emerge, and in consultation with their manager ensure that their work plans continue to reflect the current situation.

  • Officers who have attended identified hotspots, are required to self-isolate for 14 days and not conduct service visits.

  • Officer’s visits are currently scheduled based on their home location and they will not be flying or travelling long distances to conduct visits.

  • All officers are currently working from home when not completing service visits, and not attending offices to further minimise risk.

  • Officers are provided with PPE such as hand sanitiser to use before, during and after service visits. Officers have also been provided with face masks if your service requires them to use one.

  • All visits should be made by appointment, except in urgent or high risk situations. Officers will plan how the visit will be conducted with the Approved Provider/Nominated Supervisor in line with the service’s COVID-19 protocols.

  • The Officer will follow any additional precautions that your service has in place (for example, hand washing, temperature checks, or travel declarations).

  • Where possible, officers are required to spread out the frequency of visits to minimise risk of transmission between services.

  • Where possible, visits will be arranged for the least busy times for your service and avoid drop-off and pick-up times. For example, scheduling visits when children will be outside, such as between 10-11am or 2-4pm. Most OSHC visits can be scheduled outside operational times.

  • If an officer feels unwell for any reason they will not be conducting visits and your service will be called and advised.

  • Where possible, the officer will only speak to one person, maintaining social distance, and keeping at least 1.5m from others. If possible, discussions should be undertaken in the outdoor area or another well-ventilated space (avoiding small office spaces).

In addition to the above guidelines, for assessment and rating visits:

  • Officers may request temporary access to any online platforms that your service uses for communicating with parents, so this can be assessed prior to the visit.

  • Officers may make an appointment with the Educational Leader 2-3 days prior to the visit to discuss the program via phone or video call.

  • The focus of the visit will be to observe practice and routines, and where possible will avoid heavy traffic times such as drop-off and pick-up times.

  • Shorter visits over 2 days are preferred (this will also depend on service size).

  • During the visit, time will be divided between observations and discussions.

  • Closing discussions will be kept short, with a follow up video meeting or phone conference if convenient.

 

If you have any further questions, please contact the Department’s Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or at ececd@det.nsw.edu.au.

 

We have a COVID-19 declaration for all visitors to our services to read and sign. Will AOs sign this to protect our children and staff?

Yes. AOs need to comply with any requirements that services have established to minimise risk.

Should staff training become out of date, will approved providers be breached if training qualifications have expired?

We understand that maintaining current training will be a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will consider this in all our regulatory and compliance activities, while prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of children in care. We encourage you to explore other methods of delivery, such as online training, and whether this fits your circumstances.

Given the government’s strict limits on gatherings and the fact that many First Aid training providers are not offering face-to-face courses, what is your advice to educators who need to complete First Aid qualifications or refresher training?

The National Quality Framework includes requirements for educators to hold a current approved First Aid qualification and to have undertaken current anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management training, to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of children attending education and care services.

Centre-based services must ensure that one educator or nominated supervisor who holds these qualifications is available at all times. The same person may hold one or more of these qualifications.

Each Family Day Care educator and Family Day Care educator assistant must hold these qualifications.

Many First Aid courses have increased the online components of their courses. However, the Regulatory Authority recognises it may be difficult for educators to complete practical, face-to-face course components at this time. Where possible, services should consider how they roster staff with current qualifications to ensure coverage across services’ operating hours.

Educators who do not hold a First Aid qualification and require a First Aid qualification should contact training providers to discuss the options available to them. If the practical components of a course cannot be completed at this time, they should complete the theoretical aspects and receive confirmation of progress from the training provider. Practical components should be completed as soon as it is possible and safe to do so.

Educators who already hold a First Aid qualification but require refresher training are encouraged to pursue available options to complete this training. The Department acknowledges that it may only be possible to complete the theoretical components at this time.

After services have exhausted these options, the Regulatory Authority will consider waiver applications, particularly when educators have taken active steps to access and complete available training. Services are encouraged to discuss their situation with the Information and Enquiries team on ecec@det.nsw.edu.au or 1800 619 113.

Can we use technology or other means to conduct coordinator visits to family day care educators?

FDC coordinators can continue to monitor and support educators. This may include using technology or other means. You should continue to record details of the monitoring and support provided to educators, for example, dates and times of phone calls.

Remain up to date with the latest Health advice on the NSW Health website and contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for further questions or advice. NSW Health have advised that, if a FDC educator has a family member who is self-isolating in their residence, care should not be provided from that residence during that period.

Who will cover the costs of shutting services or restricting enrolment?

The Department will maintain Start Strong payments for community preschools through to 31 December 2020 based on information provided in the August 2019 Annual Preschool Census. This will support funding continuity and viability for services impacted by COVID -19 such as through reduced enrolments.

For mobile preschools on contracts, funding arrangements remain in place as outlined in your funding agreement through to 30 June 2020. Mobile preschool contracts will then be extended to 31 December 2020 to support funding continuity and viability.

Start Strong funding should be used to meet standard operating costs, such as staffing, rent/lease or other fixed costs. Where possible, Start Strong funding should continue to be used to reduce costs to families as much as possible.

Scheduled April 2020 quarterly payments for Early Childhood Education funded programs will be progressed. This includes Start Strong for community preschools, mobile preschools on contract, Start Strong Pathways, Occasional Care Grants Program, Vacation Care Grants Program, Early Childhood Projects Grants Program and Long Day Care Grants Program (for services that have not transitioned in 2019/20) and High Learning Support Needs (HLSN) funding and Minor Capital Works funding available through the Disability and Inclusion Program.

Commonwealth funded services, including those who receive Child Care Subsidy (CCS) should contact the Australian Government for further advice and information. The Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package is administered by the Australian Government, you can find out more information about it here: https://www.dese.gov.au/news/coronavirus-covid-19

Further assistance is also available to support business continuity for small to medium businesses as part of the stimulus packages announced by the Australian Government.

Community preschools and mobile preschools experiencing severe financial hardship can contact the Department on 1800 619 113 or ecec.funding@det.nsw.edu.au.

Temporary voluntary closures

The current advice is that Early Childhood Education services should continue to operate to support families.

The decision to maintain funding for community preschools under Start Strong and mobile preschools on contracts to the end of the year is designed to support services to continue to operate during adverse circumstances, wherever that is appropriate and possible, and where continued operation is consistent with advice from Government.

Start Strong funding should be used to meet standard operating costs, such as staffing, rent/lease or other fixed costs. Where possible, Start Strong funding should continue to be used to reduce costs to families as much as possible.

To receive funding during any period of temporary closure, there is an expectation that services will continue to provide education support to children and families. This support may be determined by the circumstances of the service and the needs of families and the community. Start Strong funding should continue to be directed to standard operating costs during any period of temporary closure.

In situations of temporary voluntary closure the Department may seek information from funded services to confirm ongoing availability of funding.

Financial accountabilities will remain in place for Start Strong funding. Services will be required to demonstrate how funding has been utilised, including for any period of temporary closure.

We had reduced enrolments during the August 2020 preschool census, will this reduce our funding?

The Department will maintain Start Strong payments for community preschools through to 31 December 2020 based on information provided in the August 2019 Annual Preschool Census, including where there is a decline in enrolments during this period.

The July 2020 (Quarter 1) and October 2020 (Quarter 2) payments will be made irrespective of potential service impacts due to COVID-19. The July and October 2020 payments will be calculated based on the 2019 census enrolment data and paid at 2020 funding rates (including payment of 3 year old non-equity funding).

No negative adjustment will be applied to Start Strong funding for community preschools for the period July to December 2020 (July and October quarterly payments) as part of the annual payment calculations for the 20/21 financial year.

Further consideration will be undertaken later in 2020 regarding the January to June 2021 funding period.

What impact will COVID-19 have on ECE services' abilities to comply with contractual acquittals and holding AGMs to sign off on audit reports etc.?

Compliance with financial acquittal requirements is required for continued funding. Due to the impact of COVID-19, the Department has postponed the June 2020 release of the financial accountabilities to enable providers to focus on providing core services. At this stage the Department plans to release these accountabilities towards the end of the 2020 calendar year. You will receive further communication on this as arrangements are confirmed.

Will there be an extension for Community Grants, Quality Learning Environments and Drought Support Payments?

Funds provided under Community Grants, Quality Learning Environments and Drought Support Payments (paid from October to December 2019) were originally required to be spent by 30 June 2020. This date has been extended to 31 December 2020.

Preschool fees

National Regulation 168(2)(n) requires services to have policies and procedures on payment of fees and provision of a statement of fees charged by the education and care service.

These arrangements are in place between individual services and families.

For additional assistance, please contact Fair Trading NSW or by phone on 13 32 20 (8.30am to 5pm, Mon - Fri).

What additional funding is available for NSW community and mobile preschools to provide financial support for lost fee income due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The NSW Government have announced additional temporary funding support for State funded community and mobile preschools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start Strong funded community preschools and mobile preschools on contract with the Department of Education will have the opportunity to opt in to the initiative.

Funding will be provided as a top up payment to replace a proportion of fee income that is being lost as a result of decreasing enrolments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Support provided under the Australian Government’s JobKeeper program is taken into account before any additional funding support is provided.

Funding will continue to be available to services in Terms 3 and 4.

Information will be collected from services to support payments for Terms 3 and 4, including where their circumstances have changed.

More information:

Why is the COVID-19 Preschool funding program only offered to community and mobile preschools?

NSW is the primary funder of community and mobile preschools.

Children attending preschool programs in long day care services are eligible for Commonwealth funding.

This funding will ensure more children in NSW have access to 600 hours of quality early childhood education in the year before school. Access to quality preschool in the year before school is known to have positive impacts on children’s transition to school and their outcomes later in life.

What funding is available for other service types?

The Commonwealth Government provides a range of funding and supports to services, including Long Day Care, Out of School Hours Care and Family Day Care providers, through the Child Care Subsidy (CCS).

In July, the Commonwealth Government reverted from the early childhood education and care package to a transition package that includes a return to the CCS system and an additional payment of 25% of fee revenue (to the daily cap) from a reference period pre-COVID. Additionally, families impacted by COVID-19 can access additional Child Care Subsidy through the Commonwealth system.

Can I still opt-in to the program?

Yes. There is currently no closing date for eligible Approved Providers to opt-in to receive the funding. Information on the program is available in the Program Guidelines.

What happens if the number of enrolments at my service has changed? 

Payments under the COVID-19 Free Preschool Funding Program will account for increases in Term 3 or Term 4 enrolments, using information provided in the 2020 Annual Preschool Census.

Payments for any additional enrolments will be calculated proportionately to the increase in enrolments and will continue to take account of the value of JobKeeper payments.

For example, if a service has an increase in eligible enrolments of 10%, the maximum payment amount under the COVID-19 Free Preschool Program will increase by 10%. The actual value of the top-up amount paid to a service will continue to be determined taking account of the value of their JobKeeper payments.

Any payment for additional enrolments will be made in December 2020 following the validation of 2020 Annual Preschool Census Data.

Will free preschool continue in 2021?

The relief funding is a response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is not designed to be an ongoing program. We will continue to monitor the impacts of the pandemic on services and will respond to further developments if and when they arise. 

What additional funding is available for NSW Local Government early childhood education services?

The NSW COVID-19 Local Government payment program provided funding for local government early childhood services as they were not eligible for the Australian Government’s JobKeeper program.

Councils who opted into this funding were required to remain open and provide services. An initial payment was made to eligible Local Government providers in June 2020 for the period 6 April to 3 July.

From 20 July 2020 local government run services had access to the same financial relief as all other CCS approved services. Given the equitable treatment of local council services under the new Australian Government arrangements, a final payment was made to local councils for the period 4 to 19 July. From that time NSW ceased its temporary Local Government COVID-19 program. The Local Government Working Group was consulted about this change.

From 20 July, Local Government services were eligible to receive the Commonwealth’s transition payment of 25% of fee revenue (up to daily cap) from the reference period prior to COVID-19. This payment is in addition to regular CCS payments and parent fee revenue.

Australian Government CCS payments resumed from the 13 July and transition payments began on 20 July.

NSW COVID-19 Local Government payments for the period 6 April to 3 July were made to local councils in mid-June 2020. A payment for the period 4 to 19 July 2020 was paid to eligible local councils in July 2020.

Early Childhood Education June 2020 Financial Accountability release

Submission of annual financial accountability reports is a requirement under the NSW Department of Education's Grant Programs Terms and Conditions. Financial accountabilities for Early Childhood Education providers who report on a calendar year basis are ordinarily released in June each year.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the department has postponed the June release of the financial accountabilities to enable providers to focus on providing core services.

At this stage the department plans to release these accountabilities in November 2020.

For any further enquiries, please contact eceaudit.funding@det.nsw.edu.au.

How does COVID-19 impact leave entitlements?

Information regarding the impact of Coronavirus on leave entitlements is available here.

If you have questions relating to staffing issues you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for further information.

Does any business insurance cover COVID-19-related temporary closures?

We are not able to provide advice on business insurance. You should contact your insurer or the Insurance Council of Australia for further information.

How can I stay up to date?

The Department has posted a number of webinars for services on aspects of managing COVID-19 including our two Q&A sessions with Dr Jan Fizzell;

When new or different information becomes available we will notify you via email and update this page accordingly. You can also text ‘subscribe’ to 0429 918 924 to be alerted of important updates via SMS.

What resources are available to support parents and carers if their children are at home?

Our Learning from home page has links to educational resources which help parents and carers support their child’s learning from home. The resources can be used to:

We encourage you to share these resources with parents and carers at your service.

We also post tips for parents and carers on our Facebook page.

How should I talk to children at my service about COVID-19?

You can help children at your service by remaining calm and reassuring them. Listen to them and answer their questions as honestly as possible and correct any misunderstandings. This will help them feel informed and understand what is happening.

Stay up to date with the facts from reliable sources so you can keep conversations calm, considered, and constructive. Provide information in words that are appropriate to the age of the child.

Children can be distressed by hearing repeated stories so monitor how much they are being exposed to television and social media and encourage them to talk to you about what they are seeing and hearing.


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