Regulation must not rule out diversity in sector

Diversity is very much a central theme in this edition of Bedrock. The strength of the early childhood education sector comes from its diversity.

There is diversity of the students, diversity among teachers and assistants, and the diversity of the programs provided in centres each and every day.

This diversity of programming is fundamental to providing our youngest generation of Australians with the support and skills they need as they begin their education and development journey.

Having such diversity of programming sets up our children for a life of learning and should not be overruled by onerous regulation of the sector.

Nor should that diversity be narrowed by increasing requirements on early childhood education employees that limit their ability to use their professional judgements in their interactions with their students.

While the provision of centres that deliver quality education in a safe environment is paramount for our students, we clearly have a problem with some of the regulatory frameworks being imposed on our sector and our profession.

It is alarming, as Lisa Bryant writes on page 7 of this edition of Bedrock, that “57% of services that were previously assessed as Exceeding the National Quality Framework prior to 2018, have now been downgraded to Meeting the NQS – or even worse – Working Towards”.

When such ratings can be so radically altered within a year – and given the significant flow-on impact this has for our centres and our members as early childhood education professionals – one must as surely question the system being used.

Any regulatory system should facilitate and reinforce the professional nature of teaching, not diminish it just for the sake of uniform measures which fundamentally fail to acknowledge the depth and importance of diversity within our sector.

Terry Burke
QLD NT Secretary

John Quessy
NSW ACT Secretary