Educational Leader: How supported are they in Out of School Hours Care?

One of my strengths, reflecting, is also a weakness. I find I over think and over reflect to the point of all i’m doing is reflecting.

But one area I’ve been reflecting deeply on over the last 10 weeks is the Educational Leader role and how that role is supported in our service.

This role is so important it’s reflected in the National Quality Standard (NQS), Quality Area 7 and integral to Quality Area 1.

These two Quality Areas (QA’s) for OSHC are the areas that are the worst performing in Assessment & Rating with 21% Working Towards QA1 and 19% Working Towards in QA7  (http://snapshots.acecqa.gov.au/Snapshot/detailedratings.html).

This is a tricky role as it does look different service to service, but one thing I really thought about that is the same at every OSHC service:

  • How supported is the Educational Leader and what significance is placed on their role?
  • How do leaders, Directors / Management, support the Educational Leader?
  • We all must have an Educational Leader, but why is the importance of this role so varied service to service?

As a Director, I’ve been reflecting on how I can better support our (amazing) Educational Leader and thought I would share my changes.

Whilst thinking about the Educational Leader role, I was also doing a restructure of our Senior Educators (Level 4). Previously I had the Senior Educators focused on generic areas to support myself as a Director (admin). This got me thinking on what support does the Educational Leader have? Our Educational Leader already has a Senior Educator to support their work, but I thought for how great their role is, that this wasn’t enough.

I wanted to build up and support the Educational Leader even more. Have you ever read what the expectations of the Educational Leader is? Word for word? There’s a lot that this role is to achieve.

“Studies show that leadership can positively impact on the quality of the centre as a workplace, the quality of the education provided and the developmental outcomes achieved by children over time. Waniganayake et al (2017)”

The Educational Leader is expected to ‘collaborate with educators and provide curriculum direction and guidance’.

The Educational Leader is expected to ‘support educators to effectively implement the cycle of planning to enhance programs and practices’.

The Educational Leader is expected to ‘lead the development and implementation of an effective educational program in the service’.

The Educational Leader is expected to ‘ensure that children’s learning and development are guided by the learning outcomes of the approved learning frameworks.’

This is just some of the expectations placed on the Educational Leader and this was enough for me to re-think that even though our Educational Leader has flexible hours to program (can use as little or as much time as they need), can take shifts off the floor as they desire and is supported by a Senior Educator to help with programming and planning (securing resources). That this was not enough.

The Educational Leader role is so important when you look into it, they are integral to the service and in my reflections even more important than the Director role in most areas (this is in all honesty for me). In my reflections at our service, I felt the Educational Leader needs more support than I do.

The Educational Leader help lead, support and guide the Educators, they create programs and ensure outcomes are being met, they communicate with families and in my eyes – they make the centre what it is. Without a great supported team of educators, great program and happy children / families / community – what do you have as a service?

With our restructure, and in consultation with our Educational Leader and staff, this lead me to give the Educational Leader more support. I’ve now restructured to give our Educational Leader three, yes three, Senior Educators to support their role. As Director, I now have no Senior Educators supporting my role – again this emphasises how important I see this role in our service.

The Educational Leader will now have three Senior Educators to support their role in:

  • Senior Educator: Inclusion and Diversity (plays an important part in supporting the program and educators).
  • Senior Educator: Training and Development (plays an important part in supporting Educators at the service).
  • Senior Educator: Program & Resourcing (plays an important part in ensuring the program is complete, we program weekly, and resources are ready).

Questions I would like to leave and get others thinking:

How is the Educational Leader supported at your service?

How could they be supported better?

Service notes: 150 place service, structure of Director, 3 Assistant Coordinators (Educational Leader is a AC) and 4 Senior Educators.

Suggested reading:

https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-05/QA7_TheRoleOfTheEducationalLeader.pdf

https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-03/TheEducationalLeaderResource.pdf

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