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The latest in early childhood news

Making news this fortnight… school banking programs questioned; researchers examine what an overhaul of the early childhood education and care sector (ECEC) could look like here; and educators in Canada speak out about the failings of the ECEC system there. New legislation may affect casual workers and their employers; and the Uluru Statement from the Heart has been translated into over 60 languages. Finally, SNAICC seeks abstracts for its upcoming conference and findings from a study reveal how educators manage data collection.

This is the last issue of WebWatch for 2020; we will be returning from 20 January 2021. We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Find the latest in state and territory news and jump down to read what ECA teams have been doing.
Sector overhaul
Researchers from the Mitchell Institute examine what an overhaul of the early childhood education and care sector would look like, and how this could benefit children, educators and families. Sector voices affirm it must respect and value early childhood educators, notably following G8 Education's self-reported underpayment to staff.
School banking
As Victoria ends school banking programs, this article examines their impact, or lack thereof. Recent research revealed that one-third of adults still use their childhood bank accounts but that the program had no long-term effect on their money management skills. 
Casual work changes
Under new legislation, casual workers who have been employed for 12 months would be eligible to request part- or full-time work from their employer—a request which could not be unreasonably refused. The legislation, to be voted on in 2021, also aims to change enterprise bargaining rules and simplify awards
Heart translation
The Uluru Statement from the Heart has been translated into more than 60 languages as part of a project with the University of New South Wales’ Indigenous Law Centre and SBS Radio. With 4.9 million Australians speaking a language other than English at home, the project hopes to make the statement more accessible to all Australians.  

Universal inequity

Burnt-out Canadian early childhood educators share what life has been like pre- and-post pandemic, and the systemic issues that are causing educators to leave the profession.
Abstracts open
SNAICC seeks applications to present at its national conference, to be held on the Gold Coast from 30 August 2021. All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations as well as interested government bodies, child welfare leaders, practitioners, policymakers and researchers are invited to send applications by 19 February 2021.
Data collection report
Researchers from Macquarie University have published findings from a data collection survey recently completed by ECEC professionals. Findings indicate more educators would benefit from training in quantitative data collection and aggregation to assist decision-making. 
In state and territory news...

The New South Wales Education Standards Authority has announced new requirements for professional development accreditation from 2021. An audit of NSW schools finds that 175 have a ‘medium or high’ risk of being damaged or destroyed by bushfires—this includes schools in regional NSW and greater Sydney, including Asquith, Pennant Hills, Wahroonga and Frenchs Forest. 

The 2020–21 Queensland Budget has been handed down. Among $17.5 billion for education and training, the government is investing $21 million in raising the cut-off age for free TAFE and apprenticeships from 21 to 25, and $200 million in the ‘future skills requirements’ of Queenslanders. 

In Victoria, a new $19 million strategy will help support students with autism. A Diverse Learners Hub will be established to provide professional learning and encourage schools to create learning environments that help children with autism thrive. Congratulations to the winners of the Victorian Early Years Awards, including the Early Childhood Teacher of the Year, Josette Nunn. Senior early childhood teachers will earn more than primary school teachers following an agreed pay deal between the state government and education union. 

Family day care is set to be privatised in South Australia. The services are currently run and managed by the state’s Department for Education.

Woonyoomboo, a new interactive e-book, documents the Nyikina Dreaming of Woonyoomboo to preserve the story of the Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) in WA’s Kimberley region. Under new regulations, swimming pools and spas in family day care services will be gradually phased out.

Finally, the Tasmanian government has established a Commission of Inquiry to examine the actions of Tasmanian government agencies ‘in relation to the management of historical allegations of child sexual abuse’. Commencing in early 2021, the inquiry will complement rather than substitute the work of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, according to the Premier.
Happy holidays from Be You 
In 2020, educators have been doing amazing things to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing. Thank you for all you do. We look forward to supporting you further in 2021. Register here.
Program released
We are thrilled to release the program for the 2021 ECA National Conference. With over 80 sessions across three days, hear from leaders such as Sir Kevan Collins, Toni Christie, Professor Marilyn Fleer, and the National Children’s Commissioner. Register here.
New Anti-Bias
A new edition of The Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood, edited by Red Ruby Scarlet, is now available—plus save 15% on hundreds of ECEC resources and get set for 2021 with ECA’s Early Years Planner
Privacy practices
When was the last time you reviewed your privacy practices? Does everyone in your service know how important privacy is? Catharine Hydon presents this informative webinar examining how ECEC services can maintain compliance with the Privacy Act, including the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme. 
Attuned Routine Experiences
What are attuned routine experiences? Authors Katherine Bussey and Michelle Richardson share how to establish routine experiences that encourage children’s interdependence in the latest title from the Everyday Learning Series. 
STEM superstars and craft
Dr Holly Tootell is part of the recently announced STEM Superstars and will be working closely with ECA to link her research to early childhood education. Karen Hope encourages educators to reflect on more than just art and craft of Christmas in early childhood settings.
ECA WebWatch—Issue 346, December 2020.