19 MarELAA CEO Update 19 March 2020
Dear members and friends
Coronavirus and frequently asked questions
We have all been affected by the current Coronavirus emergency and there has been an enormous amount of communication regarding the virus – both in the news media, social media, and early years sector communication channels – a lot of which is useful although some inaccurate. The amount of information, however, has been somewhat overwhelming. ELAA has now published a Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions page on the ELAA website.
Given the amount of information services have had to deal with in the past couple of weeks, we have deliberately kept the information on this page just to the essential questions that are being asked by early childhood services. I encourage you to regularly visit our Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions page and ensure you read it in conjunction with the Victorian Department of Education’s Victorian Department of Education and Training Coronavirus Advice page .
Coronavirus and Vic DET funding to services
Services may have already seen the reassuring update from the Victorian Department of Education and Training’s Deputy Secretary for Early Childhood Education, Kim Little, that went out last Friday. In the update Ms Little noted re funding to services:
Where children are absent from the kindergarten program and/or where services are required to close due to coronavirus, the Department of Education and Training will continue to provide all existing streams of kindergarten program funding. This includes School Readiness Funding, as per normal through the Kindergarten Information Management (KIM) system.
To ensure kindergarten services receive their maximum eligible funding, the Department strongly encourages service providers to complete their Annual Confirmation through KIM as soon as possible.
In addition, there may be periods when it is not possible to deliver the scheduled funded kindergarten program hours. In these circumstances, the Department is relaxing the requirement to deliver 600 hours across the year and services will not be required to provide make up sessions as per current practice.
ELAA will continue to advocate for increased support for early childhood services and their staff in the coming months, particularly in light of the potential parent fee revenue gap as a result of reduced enrolments.
Rescheduling of ELAA events during the Coronavirus emergency
In view of recent Australian Government directives regarding mass gatherings, ELAA has decided to postpone its Learning Brought to Life event (previously known as the Early Childhood Education Conference). The event was scheduled for 31 July but will be postponed until March 2021. An exact date will be provided in the near future. Delegates that have already registered will be notified individually and provided an option for a refund or to hold their ticket for 2021. ELAA feels this is the best approach for this major event and we will continue to provide updates on new speakers as they are added to the program so keep your eyes on www.learningbrought2life.org.au – it will be something really special to look forward to once the Coronavirus emergency has passed.
Other ELAA Professional Development events such as OHS and Governance for Committee sessions will be rescheduled and / or switched to online delivery only. If you have already registered for any of these events ELAA will contact you to discuss arrangements.
ELAA is continuing to provide full service and support to members and the sector
In line with current organisational practice across Australia, ELAA has taken steps to reduce the amount of personnel in our office during the Coronavirus emergency by enabling remote access for those who can work from home. However, we have some staff in our office, particularly our member services team, who are still operating at full capacity so members will continue to receive the usual level of service and support.
While the Coronavirus situation is of the highest concern, following official medical advice and adhering to government directives is the best way to restrict the virus’ potential. Early Childhood Education and Care still is and will always be a priority for the community and ELAA looks forward to supporting members and the sector through this emergency and in to the future.