The past fortnight has again delivered some very big issues for our early childhood sector, and we have continued to unpack these issues with our members and address these in our advocacy to the Department and other regulatory and government representatives.
We continue to witness a growth in engagement on our Facebook page; where we see people sharing their thoughts, asking questions, making comments, and advocating in their own right. We consciously use this platform to help keep the sector informed and up to date on the latest information.
I have talked to many members one-to-one over the last few months and our team engage daily with members through each of our business units. All this information informs us of what actions is required, how we can best continue to support you and how we can influence decisions and policy made by government.
I continually take your stories and issue to the government tables, and we also continue to engage with the Minister’s office regularly; no issue is too small or too trivial. We have the ability to especially focus on what it looks like on the ground for standalone community managed services and privately owned and operated services impacted by policy changes. Financial viability, impacts on the workforce and access and attendance for children remain the key issues at the top of the list.
We recently conducted a survey to determine the impacts of the current COVID restrictions and lockdowns. Thank you to everyone who responded; this has provided me with interesting and important first-hand data to share with the Department and other Government representatives when advocating on your behalf.
Some of the key headline finding of the survey are:
- almost all responding services have remained open during the lockdown period
- in the two weeks prior to the survey being conducted 66% of respondents had between 50% and 100% of children not attending the service
- while most services have retained permanent staff, 51% of respondents have reduced staff hours and 42% of respondents have reduced staff hours by more than 50%
- over 50% of the staff at the services participating in the survey have received one or two doses of COVID vaccine
- 60% of respondents cited waiting time of more than 4 weeks for a vaccine, demonstrating that vaccine supply continues to be problematic, especially for rural services who comprise 60% of the survey responses
- health concerns or other factors such as the need to attend to home schooling arrangements made up 20% of survey responses.
As a member of the Early Childhood Education Advisory Group, CCSA has jointly requested a meeting with the NSW Premier to raise ongoing concerns about the lack of clarity in COVID rules for the sector, in particular in relation to public health orders and attendance. The survey results further support our call for clearer guidelines.
Please remember that we are here for you, and you can contact us here for management support and information, to provide feedback or comments, or just for a chat.
Stay strong, stay safe and be kind to yourself, and enjoy the Spring whether which means we can get outside more often.