05 May 2014
Professional development fund a boost to early childhood sector
A $200 million professional development fund announced for approved long day care providers will help improve the quality of teaching provided in centres, according to the national children’s peak body, Early Childhood Australia (ECA).
The Assistant Minister for Education Sussan Ley has released details of the Long Day Care Professional Development Programme (LDCPDP) announced last year, which will allocate services up to $10 450 of funding per educator for professional development purposes.
‘Any investment to assist services with the cost of providing educators with adequate training is welcome, and will have a long term effect on the quality of early childhood services’, said ECA CEO Samantha Page.
‘It can be difficult for services with tight budgets to provide their employees with the opportunity to access training and development. Enabling educators to attend mid-week sessions can also be difficult for providers who need to backfill staff to meet the required staff to child ratios.
‘The increased funding for services in rural and remote areas is particularly welcome, recognising the additional challenges these services face in accessing appropriate professional development.
‘This fund will be greatly appreciated by the 6500 long day care providers looking to improve the delivery of services and keep up with the latest developments in early years learning.’
Funding for the program was taken from the former government’s planned Early Years Quality Fund, which was designed to boost wages of early childhood educators.
‘Wages are a significant issue within the early childhood education and care sector. Despite the relatively high daily fees charged to families, award rates are well below comparable professions which makes it hard to attract and retain staff’, said Ms Page.
‘While ECA supported the Early Years Quality Fund as a first step in addressing appropriate remuneration, the inherent inequalities of the funding meant it would have failed to increase wages across the sector in the long term.
‘We would encourage the government to support the Equal Remuneration Order currently before Fair Work Australia to ensure we recognise the role these educators play in the lives of Australian children.’
Resource: Early childhood Australia