Our workforce matters – this is a key point that you have emphasised to us in your feedback on proposed changes.
Our submission is being finalised as we speak – but it is not too late to have your say directly. The more services that make themselves heard the better.
In this article we play back what you have told us about the workforce, and propose how, in under 10 minutes, you can make a submission too.
By Megan O’Connell, CELA Research and Policy Manager
The centrality of a well trained workforce to children’s outcomes
Your feedback indicates an overwhelming desire to minimise the need for short term relief, whereby a Diploma level staff member can backfill an Early Childhood Teacher. More than three quarters of respondents oppose any extension of the current allowance of 60 days in a 12 month period, with a quarter suggesting that the time is reduced.
Concerns were raised around the notion of Certificate III staff providing short term relief for Diploma absences and the impact this would have on children’s learning outcomes.
“This could have an impact on children as many Certificate III educators don’t have the skills, expertise or experience. I also feel this would enable many services to use this to save money. We need to consider what’s best for children and they deserve to have better skilled and qualified educators.”
At the same time, attention was drawn to the difficulty in attracting and retaining staff – there is a need to focus on workforce development, but the solution is not to lower standards..
You have emphasised that many of you already check that staff are actively studying, and that you would be supportive of further guidance to assist you to support staff to make progress in their studies.
“We already check that staff are actively studying, but there should be a time limit for how long they can be classed as ‘working towards’. It would be interesting to find out how long some people are taking to do their course, and how long they are being used as working towards to meet required ratios. what type of centres are using working towards qualifications to meet their requirements.”
You recognise the role of trained staff, and believe at least half of all staff, and often more, should be fully qualified.
Join the chorus and have your say about the value of the workforce
It’s not too late to have your say directly.
We want an overwhelming chorus of voices to reinforce the value of our workforce in supporting children’s learning.
Here are some words you can adapt for a submission – your submission can be as brief or long as you like.
My name is X and I am providing this submission on behalf of X service which is located in x. (Please say a little about your service – where are you located, what type of service you are).
I am providing feedback to the CRIS in the area of workforce.
A quality, well trained workforce is essential to early childhood education and training. Whilst we are experiencing workforce shortages, we should not be reducing quality in response but investing in workforce development, and ensuring we have the pay and conditions to attract and retain our staff. We hope the future workforce strategy will provide significant support to these issues.
Implementing options, such as raising the 60 days of backfill or extending this to Certificate III educators, is likely to have a harmful effect on children’s learning outcomes. Staff who are actively studying are already able to
backfill, and this provides services with significant flexibility.
I welcome further guidance to ensure that staff who are actively studying progress to completion and believe that the majority of the workforce in each centre should be fully trained.
Despite the challenges in filling workforce vacancies, it is vital that all children have access to quality teachers and educators. We welcome the opportunity to input to the NQF Review, and trust that changes made to the NQF will have children’s safety and outcomes at the centre.
Where to submit
There’s a template here from the review which is optional to use.
Your submission can be uploaded here: www.nqfreview.com.au/written-submissions/survey_tools/written-submissions1
Please also send your submissions to us at email@example.com, as we want to hear your views.