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.
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.
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.
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.