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School operations

Outside School Hours Care — Decision Making Regarding the Provision of OSHC

Policy

This policy outlines school council responsibilities regarding the decision to operate or establish an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service. 

Summary

  • The school council is responsible for decision making regarding establishing or operating an OSHC service.
  • School councils determine the operating model of the OSHC service, that is, whether the school council or a third-party provider will operate the Outside School Hours Care.
  • School councils are encouraged to establish an OSHC subcommittee to support community engagement, decision making and monitoring or management of the service.
  • Regardless of the operating model, the school council has legal responsibilities and oversight of the OSHC service.
  • School councils seeking a third-party provider for an OSHC service are advised to use the Department’s templates for expression of interest (login required) and OSHC licence agreement (login required) to ensure all requirements are considered.
  • Detailed guidance (in the Guidance tab) has been developed by the Department to support school councils to provide an OSHC service. This guidance includes OSHC operation by both school council and a third-party provider.

Details

It is a school council decision to establish an OSHC service, and whether the service is school council managed and operated or delivered by a third-party provider. Regardless of the operating model, school council have legal responsibilities and oversight of the OSHC service.

If a school council is establishing, engaging or changing an OSHC provider, it is expected that the school council consults with the school community.

It is recommended that school council establish an OSHC subcommittee to:

  • undertake initial scoping work and needs analysis, coordinate the collecting of information and address the interests and concerns of all stakeholders
  • understand the roles and responsibilities of operating an OSHC service
  • report back to the school council for decision making

Regardless of the operating model, if the school council decides to provide an OSHC service, it is recommended that the OSHC subcommittee remain in place to assist with the establishment and ongoing management or monitoring of the service.

If selecting a third-party provider, school councils are strongly encouraged to conduct an expression of interest process using the Department’s OSHC Expression of Interest template.

Once school council selects a preferred provider, school councils are strongly encouraged to use the Department's OSHC licence agreement to engage the third-party provider (login required). This ensures relevant legal aspects are considered.

Guidelines

Detailed guidance (in the Guidance tab) has been developed by the Department to support school councils to provide an OSHC service. This guidance includes OSHC operation by both school council and a third-party provider. This guidance outlines the processes, roles and responsibilities and includes:

  • both school council managed and third-party operating models
  • the requirements when transferring service providers or changing operating models
  • draft OSHC subcommittee terms of reference and meeting templates for schools to adapt and use

Definitions

National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care
The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for early childhood education services (including OSHC) across Australia. The NQF includes:

  • national law and national regulations
  • National Quality Standard
  • assessment and quality rating process
  • national learning frameworks
  • a regulatory authority in each state and territory responsible for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their state or territory
  • a national body, the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), which guides the implementation of the NQF and works with regulatory authorities

National regulations require early childhood education services (including OSHC) to develop and follow a range of operational policies and procedures.

Outside School Hours Care
An Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service provides education and care for children (generally ages 5 to 12 years) outside of scheduled school hours and during school holidays. OSHC services may also provide education and care to children on student-free days. OSHC services are usually located at or close to primary schools. They may also be offered in locations such as community centres, halls, neighbourhood houses or recreation centres.

Relevant legislation

Outlines school council obligations regarding the decision to operate or establish an Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) service

Reviewed 04 October 2020

Policy last updated

15 June 2020

Scope

  • Schools
  • School councils
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