New requirements under the Education and Care Services National Law will commence on 1 March 2023 relating to regular transportation.
The 2019 National Quality Framework (NQF) Review identified that transportation can still present heightened risks to the safety of children (particularly very young children), often during the period of movement between a vehicle and an education and care service premises. Despite educator-to-child ratios during periods of transportation and the requirement to conduct a risk assessment, there are still over 4,500 transport-related injuries in children every year.
Serious incidents have occurred when children get on or off vehicles and are checked into or out of the service. Most notably, when a child has been left alone inside a parked vehicle.
As there is heightened risk surrounding the safety of children getting in and out of vehicles, the following new regulatory requirements will apply as of 1 March 2023 to centre based services that provide regular transportation:
- Approved providers and nominated supervisors must ensure a staff member or nominated supervisor (other than the driver) accounts for children as they get in or out of a vehicle at an education and care service.
- Approved providers and nominated supervisors must ensure records are made showing children are accounted for as they get in or out of a vehicle at the education and care service.
- Approved providers and nominated supervisors must ensure records are made confirming a check of the inside of a vehicle was completed at the service after all children have left to ensure no children remain.
- Approved providers must notify the regulatory authority when they start providing or arranging regular transport, and again when they finish. This can be done through the NQA ITS.
To read more about the regulation changes, click here.