Published by CELA on 24 Aug, 2021

We remain frustrated by the continuing complexity under which ECEC services are operating. Of particular concern is insufficient funding to support early education, which would enable services to retain education teams so that families can be supported on the other side of lock down. 

Yesterday, CELA, along with other representatives of the NSW Early Childhood Advisory Group, sent a letter to the Premier of New South Wales.  

Topics addressed in the letter: 

Clear directive around access 

We requested a clear directive within the Public Health Order (PHO) to limit access to early education and care to essential workers, including those working at home, disadvantaged children and those who cannot reasonably supervise their children.  

This would mean that the decision is taken out of the hands of parents and provide clear direction about who can and cannot attend, alleviating the pressure currently experienced by Directors associated with managing this with parents. 

Suitable funding 

We also requested suitable funding for early education and care services, so that they are financially sustainable.  

Many of our community providers have small nest eggs accumulated over many years and this lockdown has seen them draining their reserves because they are not eligible for current government funding. Yesterday’s announcement of Continuity Funding will help some services; however, many will still need to make significant operational changes to survive an extended lockdown. 

Workforce 

The economy is critically connected to the sustainability of early education. We fear that the consequence of not taking the PHO one step further will result in services across NSW experiencing unsustainable financial and workforce loss. Ensuring safety and viability of services now, preserves the workforce and avoids a predicted high number of educators leaving. Loss of workforce means that the sector will not have the qualified educators needed to meet the early education and care places required that parents will need on the other side of restrictions. 

Health and safety 

On Friday, over 130 services were closed, and the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network is providing medical care to 700 children across NSW, with 223 children infected with COVID between 0-9 years of age. We requested clear advice on NSW Health findings related to health and safety for ECEC services based on the known risks of transmission of the Delta strain of COVID-19, including transmission by children. This is critical information which shapes how services operate in the current environment. 

Download the letter

Representing you at state and federal levels 

The joint letter to the Premier is only one aspect of our advocacy. We continue to place a strong emphasis on workforce retention, wellbeing, safety, and financial sustainability of early education services as we represent you at State and Federal levels. 

How to stay informed: 

Members can stay up to date about key COVID information and advocacy on our Member News page, which can be accessed from our homepage, or via the member hub. We regularly update this page to reflect changes to rules, policies and advocacy as the situation evolves.  

Member News

Non-members can follow us on Facebook for advocacy and news updates. 

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We would like to share our appreciation for the regular communication provided by the NSW Early Childhood Education Directorate, to all service types across NSW. Since the beginning of the Delta outbreak their collaboration with sector representatives and communication to services have been highly responsive and effective in helping interpret how each change impacts operational requirements. 

CELA will continue to advocate for our sector. We appreciate your regular communication about your issues and challenges. We thank you for the critical work you are doing in supporting children’s learning and development, whether face to face, or at home, in one of the most historically challenging periods in recent memory in our country. 

About CELA

Community Early Learning Australia is a not for profit organisation with a focus on amplifying the value of early learning for every child across Australia - representing our members and uniting our sector as a force for quality education and care.

Stacey Smith
Posted on 25 Aug, 2021
THANK YOU! During the whole pandemic, this would have to be the very first time I have felt like we are truly being considered. The mental strain on directors health is taking a toll. We are situated in a small community where we know our families on a very personal level. Having no formal mandate on who can and can not attend makes the conversation very difficult. To have a clear, enforceable directive around access to services would alleviate the stress, worry, and general anxiety for those having the difficult conversations with families. While we understand we must be here to provide an essential service, and the best option is to have children access early education, the risk to staff, other children, our hospital system, and the wider community outweighs this option at this time - during a pandemic. Again - THANK YOU xx
Julianne
Posted on 25 Aug, 2021
Thank you for representing us. As a Director....it is so hard to protect our educators, keep children safe who do need to attend. I have many families with both parents at home, and sending their children. They are openly discussing how they visit their extended family or the whole family goes to the local shopping centre. These families are moving around our community. Being in an LGA of concern, I am being disappointed with their selfish behaviour which is undoing all the hardwork of building great relationships with families. I am being placed in a horrible position. I have become disillusioned with our community and angry with our Government for not supporting us when all we want to do is support them !!!
Geata Jarrett
Posted on 24 Aug, 2021
Thank you for your advocacy for early childhood services to the government. It is much appreciated.
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