The New Year is upon us and we are faced with a raft of changes and initiatives for the sector. New ratios for toddlers come into effect and while there has been some negativity in the media about this and the rise in fees – it is certainly the best thing in regard to quality and meeting the educational and care needs of children and families. We must fight to maintain all these gains and not let them be eroded by scaremongering in the media.
In 2014 the NSW Government introduced reforms making accreditation by BOSTES mandatory for all primary and secondary teachers, the reforms will now be uniform across the sector. Early childhood teachers will now be accredited by BOSTES and they will be required to have qualifications from government approved universities and complete ongoing professional development to maintain their accreditation.
If you haven’t as yet received any information in regard to this follow this link –otherwise you will not be accredited and you will be unable to teach.
The IEU and the sector have long lobbied for this change. One of the biggest issues facing early childhood teachers is pay parity. The recognition we have worked so long for has led to accreditation and is a great platform for teachers to continue to press for pay parity.
It is also an opportunity to further impress on the wider community the importance of early childhood education and the role early childhood teachers play in this. This is another step towards lifting the profile of early childhood education and early childhood teachers.
Accreditation also means recognition as the professionals we are and have always been. We have been a long forgotten sector in NSW for many years and if not for the strong lobbying of the sector and IEU we may still be left behind.
As well we have an announcement that the Federal Government is injecting $840 million into the sector so children can access 15 hours per week of preschool education in the year before they start school.
It made the offer to states and territories to extend the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education in 2016 and 2017.
It is interesting to read that the Federal Government is considering funding preschools the same way it funds schools, under a model to be discussed by the Council of Australian Governments.
Under the proposal, preschool would be treated like the first year of formal schooling.
It also notes recommendations to improve access, choice and convenience for working families.
What does this mean for the sector? Interesting times ahead. Let’s hope they are positive.