Update: Ongoing issues with JobKeeper eligibility
Family Day Care Australia (FDCA) has become aware of an escalating trend whereby the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is contacting educators that had registered with a service between 1 January 2020 and 12 March 2020, that initially qualified for JobKeeper payments but are now having them ceased and are being required to pay back JobKeeper payments already received to date. The rationale provided is that they could not show an amount of assessable income for the 2018-19 income year in relation to carrying on a business, or supplies or sales made between 1 July 2018 and 31 December 2019.
FDCA disagrees that this eligibility assessment is legitimate in the family day care context, given our previous negotiations with the ATO that secured eligibility based on the automatic reduction of income through the implementation of the ECEC Relief Package base continuity payments.
We would advise that educators that have received this notification not take action prior to clarification being received from the ATO. Please keep an eye out for our communications relating to this matter if it affects you or educators within your service.
ACECQA releases Occasional Paper - quality ratings by socio-economic disadvantage rating
ACECQA has released its Occasional Paper, the seventh in a series on the National Quality Framework (NQF). It explores the quality of children’s education and care services based on the socio-economic status of the area in which they are situated. The research used the Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)1 Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD), which is used by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to classify services by the level of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage of their local area.
Key findings include:
- While the proportion of long day care services remains relatively steady across all socio-economic areas, the proportion of preschools/kindergartens and family day care services increases as the level of socio-economic disadvantage increases. Conversely, the proportion of outside school hours care services decreases.
- The proportion of ‘Private for profit’ services decreases as the level of socio-economic disadvantage increases, while the proportion of ‘Government’ and ‘Private not for profit’ services increases.
- The proportion of services in disadvantaged areas increases in regional and remote Australia, and the size of services (as measured by the number of children a service is to educate and care for) decreases as the level of disadvantage increases.
- Services located in more disadvantaged areas are more likely to have a waiver relating to the staffing requirements of the NQF. Conversely, services located in more advantaged areas are more likely to have a physical environment waiver in place.
- While there is only a relatively small difference in the proportion of services rated Working Towards NQS in the most and least disadvantaged areas, there is a marked difference in the proportion of services rated Exceeding NQS.
- Family day care services exhibit the greatest difference in the proportion of services rated Working Towards NQS across socio-economic areas, while preschools/ kindergartens exhibit the greatest difference in the proportion of services rated Exceeding NQS.
- The quality of services in the most advantaged areas of major cities is markedly higher than the quality of services in the most disadvantaged areas of those cities.
- Services in the most disadvantaged areas find the following three quality areas particularly challenging – educational program and practice, staffing arrangements, and governance and leadership.
- Services in the most disadvantaged areas are also less likely to receive a higher quality rating and more likely to receive a lower quality rating after reassessment.
Click here to access the full report.
QLD Health’s COVID-19 Unmasked survey: seeking caregivers of children 1-5 across Australia
Australian researchers have begun the COVID-19 Unmasked survey to learn how the pandemic is affecting young children, their parents, carers and broader family life.
The research team includes infant and child psychologists and psychiatrists from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health and Children’s Health Queensland, and researchers from several Australian universities. This project will help build a picture of how COVID-19 and other recent disruptive events have affected young children, their parents, and family life.
The research team is seeking caregivers of children aged 1–5 years from across Australia able to complete an anonymous online survey four times over the next year. Each survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. Participation is completely voluntary and participants can choose to stop at any time. Find out more about the study here (link is external).
Critical reflection: recovery, vision and hope
As communities start to navigate out of COVID-19 restrictions, ACECQA is encouraging services and educators to reflect on what can be learnt or what you are still learning from this experience. Critical reflection is an everyday education and care sector tool to help think about what has happened, support the road to recovery and apply learnings to shape the future.
As ACECQA explains: “Educators and service leaders have shown dedication, resilience and a commitment to continuing to deliver quality education and care to support children and their families. Individuals and teams have adapted by introducing new and strengthening current practices that protect the health, safety and wellbeing of children, families and service staff.
As a result, we have seen growing community and media acknowledgement of the importance and value of high quality education and care for children, families and Australian society.”
“There are stories of inspiring leadership and amazing work undertaken by educators and service leaders in the education and care sector that are important to share. Examples include delivering learning and play opportunities online, creating care packages for families, and keeping services open to support essential service workers.”
Given how much has happened over the past months, often very quickly, as a team or as an individual, you might like to critically reflect on the following questions suggested by ACECQA:
- How has the COVID-19 crisis strengthened you or the team’s resilience and flexibility?
- How did your service respond to the challenges of the evolving and often constant level of information and advice?
- What has been the biggest change to your practice?
- How did your health and hygiene practices change, and what will you take away from these changes?
- What is your service's strategy to ensure policies and procedures are reviewed and updated to reflect new advice from reputable authorities such as federal, state and territory health departments?
- What strategies were implemented to ensure the safety and wellbeing of everyone at your service?
- What initiatives provided the greatest benefits?
- What new practices and strategies will you continue?
For links to a range of resources to support your own ongoing critical reflection and learning see ACECQA’s latest newsletter at https://www.acecqa.gov.au/newsletters
JiGSAW cover competition now closed
The winter JiGSAW cover competition is now closed and we would like to thank the hundreds over members who sent in so many beautiful photos.
We are currently going through the very difficult process of selecting a winner and will soon make an announcement on our Facebook page. So stay tuned for an announcement very soon.
You can view a number of the photos that were sent in by clicking here and viewing the comments.