Proficient early childhood teachers:

How to maintain your accreditation

Members have indicated that the amount of funding offered to individual preschools has been woefully inadequate.

As 2021 begins, Organiser Lisa James unpacks the matters crucial to the sector. In November 2020, NESA announced changes to its Maintenance of Accreditation procedures for 2021:

For teachers whose maintenance period is due to finish on 17 July 2021 (you were already a teacher in July 2016 and your status with NESA states you are employed full time), NESA has advised you can finalise your maintenance any time between 17 February 2021 and 17 January 2022.

If your NESA status states you are employed on a part-time or casual basis, your maintenance period should finish on 17 July 2023.

NESA has confirmed that the basic requirements, including completion of 100 hours of professional development and completing a declaration that the Teacher has maintained their practice as per the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST), will remain. It is important to familiarise yourself with these requirements:

Early childhood teachers accredited under 2016 transition arrangements (all early childhood teachers who were employed as teachers before the introduction of accreditation) will be covered by new the new transition arrangements:

NESA’s recommendation is that these teachers should continue working towards completing their 100 hours of professional development as per the Maintenance of Accreditation Policy. NESA has assured the IEU that no teacher will be disadvantaged by the new process.

Professional development

As of 2021, the only professional development that will be NESA accredited must be those in the priority areas of:

delivery and assessment of the curriculum (Early Years Learning Framework)

student/child mental health

students/children with a disability

Aboriginal education/Supporting Aboriginal students/children.

You can find out more on Accredited and Elective professional development here:

NESA has confirmed that any professional development you complete and log (both NESA Registered and Teacher Identified) prior to 5 February 2021 will still contribute to the required 100 hours of PD for the purpose of maintaining accreditation.

Find us on Facebook

The IEU is aware that some posts on Facebook about teacher accreditation have been misleading. Our early childhood Facebook group is exclusively for members and is a useful source of accurate information vetted by our early childhood team. We invite you to join this group:

Pay rises and free preschool

In November 2020, the NSW Government announced $120 million in additional funding to community and mobile preschools to provide free preschool to families in 2021.

Unfortunately, members have indicated that the amount of funding offered to individual preschools has been woefully inadequate – several preschools have stated they anticipate a deficit for 2021 of between $50,000 and $100,000. A few preschools say they may not still be in operation by 2022 unless their funding is increased.

The IEU is aware that some management committees have sought to delay pay increases they had previously agreed upon. If pay increases are contained in an enterprise agreement, they are legally binding and we recommend you contact the union if this issue arises at your preschool.

In preschools where the enterprise agreement has reached its nominal expiry date, no further increases are guaranteed and existing rates of pay may continue providing they do not fall below the award.

Preschools that do not offer 'free preschool' to families will not be able to access any of the $120 million in funding. While preschools may continue to charge fees by 'opting in' to receive free preschool funding, families are extremely likely to remove their child and enrol them in a nearby preschool that does offer fee-free preschool in 2021.

This means the viability of preschools is being challenged in multiple ways. One preschool director suggested that if all the preschools in their local area refuse the funding and continue charging fees, they would avoid a situation in which some preschools are 'fee free' in 2021 and others charge fees; however, none of the other preschools they approached agreed to this.

Given that management committees are made up of parent volunteers, it is hardly surprising they are committed to implementing free preschool.

Lisa James