Jobs for Families

The new Federal Government childcare fee assistance package begins on 2 July. The package will have winners and losers.

The Activity Test could reduce access to childcare for some of the most vulnerable families in the community. Children of families who are not working or studying eight hours per week and earning up to $66,958 will get 24 hours of subsidised care maximum per fortnight – this is half of the current 24 hours per week.

The package removes the rebate cap for families earning less than $186,958 and the cap is increased to $10,190 for families earning between $186,959 and $351, 248. This means that families earning over $186,958 benefit while children in families earning under $66,958 will be disadvantaged if their parents are not working or studying at least eight hours per week.

Changes to disability funding

A number of preschool directors have contacted the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch regarding changes to the Preschool Disability Support Program (PDSP). 2018 is the first year funding applications have been assessed by the NSW Department of Education and Communities (previous funding applications were processed by the Northcott Society).

Children not being classified as having high level support needs (Level 1) has led to a reduction in funding support as these children will at best be funded the equity amount of $6600 per year. On a more positive note, a number of preschool directors have informed the IEU that they received the full amount of funding for what children with high level support needs and that for some preschools this is significantly more funding than they received under either of the previous two preschool disability funding programs.

NSW accreditation update

NESA has advised that in order to maintain accreditation, teachers must provide them with a teacher declaration, attestation (by the Approved Provider if they are a Proficient Teacher) and a professional development report demonstrating the teacher has undertaken at least 100 hours of professional development (NESA registered + Teacher Identified) and the Teacher Accreditation Authority (TAA) will make a decision.

The Approved Provider advises the teacher of their processes for attestation (how they will know you are continuing to meet the standards, for example collegial discussions, the educational programs you develop and implement etc). NESA can audit documentation of these processes. The teacher makes their declaration that they have continued to meet the Standards during their maintenance period. The Approved Provider writes their attestation. The teacher also submits their professional development report to the TAA and the TAA makes the accreditation decision.

If the provider is unable to attest to the teacher meeting the Standards (that is the provider is not a Proficient Teacher), NESA as the TAA makes the attestation. In order for this to occur, the teacher must advise NESA they need NESA to attest for them. The teacher submits their professional development report in addition to a 300 word reflective statement on how they continued to meet the standards during the maintenance cycle.

The teacher must also provide NESA with details of two professional referees (who NESA will contact) in addition to the teacher’s declaration. Attestation will then be made by NESA following a satisfactory review of the information provided.

NESA said they are aware that some employers have requested to sight, or take a copy of, a teacher’s accreditation card each year. NESA recommends that teachers log in to ETAMS and provide their employer with a teacher accreditation summary report, rather than a copy of their card.

Council nominations

Nominations closed recently for positions on the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Early Childhood Council. The council consists of early childhood teachers and directors from all over NSW and the ACT.

They meet regularly to assist the IEU decide on its policy and activities regarding the sector. They give IEU organisers insight into what is happening at the coalface, and suggest direction for events such as the annual early childhood conference. The IEU would like to thank those Councillors we farewelled this year.

Children Helping Children Heal

A video resource is now available to help support young children and their families in Queensland experiencing family and domestic violence.

The Children Helping Children Heal video, developed by the Immigrant Women’s Support Service and funded by the Queensland Department of Education and Training’s Support for Young Children Affected by Domestic and Family Violence grant, aims to help children and their families develop healthy attachments and relationships.

Launched in late 2017, the video is accessible to children from linguistically diverse backgrounds – being available in Vietnamese, Mandarin, Arabic, Spanish and English.

Children Helping Children Heal features children bravely sharing their experiences of family and domestic violence, and explores pathways to safety and healing during therapeutic art sessions.

The resource is being used to support case workers, mothers and children – starting healthy conversations and promoting safety planning.

Queensland members can find out more and access the resource by visiting www.iwss.org.au/children-helping-children

Industrially, our union will continue to campaign for paid Family and Domestic Violence leave for all Australian workers, and call for the proper support and secured financial stability for their families through such vulnerable times.

Find out more at www.australianunions.org.au/wewontwaitdv

Employees need the rules to change

Broken industrial laws are affecting employees in the early childhood education sector – leaving members without adequate redundancy payments and threatening their working conditions.

Australia’s current system of collective bargaining is stacked in favour of employers – protecting their interests and limiting the power of employees to secure much needed provisions in collective agreements.

In a recent example, members at a Brisbane kindergarten are facing redundancy following the employer’s proposal to change the operations of programs in 2019 by reducing the number of kindy groups.

Under the National Employment Standards (NES), early childhood education and care services with less than 15 employees are excluded from receiving redundancy payments, thus making the inclusion of redundancy provisions in collective agreements critical.

However, employee attempts to secure these provisions during negotiations were blocked by the employer.

Advisor group Community Management Solutions convinced the employer to oppose any employee entitlements to redundancy – leaving employees without redundancy payments at times of vulnerability.

The current industrial climate is making the ability for employees to secure such provisions more difficult than ever.

Learn more about why we need to Change the Rules at www.changetherules.org.au

Save structured play

IEUA WA members are concerned about the seeming move away from directed play for children in kinder and pre kinder, to a more structured day.

This is happening at the same time as School Registration Standards have changed so that children at four years six months can start pre-primary.

This means that a child can go to kinder at three years six months and prekinder at two years six months.

This applies to early childhood centres in schools.

Many parents are very concerned about young children having too sedentary and structured a day and it’s been the topic of radio call-in shows.

The ‘ hours of instruction’ can be no more than 25 hours 50 minutes for prekinder children!