Temporary Staffing Changes for Centre-Based Educational Services

Starting from July 1, 2023, educational and care services governed by the National Quality Framework (NQF) will be permitted to temporarily substitute the roles of educators, early childhood teachers (ECTs), and suitably qualified persons (SQPs) in a wider array of scenarios. These situations include short-term sickness, leave, practicum placement attendance for an approved degree (a new provision), or resignation (another new provision).

For each role, substitutions can be made up to:

  • 30 days annually for Certificate III and Diploma level educators
  • 60 days annually for ECTs, Second ECTs, or SQPs
  • For part-time educators, ECTs, or SQPs, these days are allocated proportionally. However, these temporary relief provisions do not extend to full-time or equivalent ECTs and SQPs.

As for the suitable replacements:

  • Individuals can replace Certificate III and Diploma level educators with a primary teaching degree.
  • ECTs, second ECTs, and SQPs can be replaced by those with an approved Diploma level degree or primary teaching qualification.
  • Benefits of the Change for Victorian Educational and Care Services

This change will provide NQF-regulated services in Victoria with enhanced flexibility in temporarily replacing educators holding or actively pursuing a Certificate III or Diploma level qualification during their short-term absences or resignations.

Practicum placements can occur at the same service where the educator typically operates. If that’s the case, backfill rules apply when the educator is not performing their regular role. For instance, if a Diploma qualified educator typically working with toddlers undertakes a practicum towards an ECT degree within the same service’s kindergarten session.

Services will also benefit from the new option to temporarily replace an ECT or SQP on a practicum placement or who has resigned.

In Victoria, only a fully certified ECT can be considered ‘in attendance’ under the National Regulations, not someone actively working towards an ECT degree. This new rule will introduce more flexibility when a certified ECT does a practicum for a higher qualification, such as a Master of Early Childhood Education.

Plans are in motion to harmonise the Victorian Children’s Services Regulations 2020 with the changes to the National Regulations, to extend these short-term staffing relief benefits to children’s services.

Determining the 12-month Period

The 12-month period isn’t tied to the calendar year or any specific date. Instead, it’s calculated based on the 12 months immediately preceding the role’s temporary substitution.

If the role in question is part-time, the days of absence are allocated proportionally.

Record Keeping Obligations

Services must maintain records of every substitution made under the new provisions, including:

  • the name of the individual being replaced
  • the role being replaced (Certificate III, Diploma level, ECT, or SQP)
  • the qualification of the replacement individual
  • the dates of the replacement
  • the reason for the absence (short-term sickness, leave, practicum placement attendance, or resignation).
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