Save Parent-Managed Out of School Hours Care in NSW: Act Now!

Save Parent-Managed Out of School Hours Care in NSW: Act Now!

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Gemma Quinn started this petition

The NSW Department of Education announced on 13 December 2021 that parent-managed Not For Profit OOSH Services on public school sites will be put out to commercial tender. 

Network of Community Activities, peak body for Out of School Hours Care (OOSH) in NSW, strongly objects to this change in policy and will continue to fight for the interests of children, families, and the OOSH workforce.

Background

Not For Profit parent-managed OOSHs (Incorporated Associations) and P&C-operated OOSHs have previously been considered the Department of Education's prefered model of care, and as such have been granted exemptions from going to tender to operate on public school sites. The history of Out of School Hours Care in NSW is deeply rooted in parent-involvement, with high quality providers of OOSH on public school sites having operated for decades.

The Department of Education is quickly pushing through a policy change to only allow P&C-operated OOSH Services to be exempt from tender - giving existing parent-managed NFP Incorporated Associations no option but to close, or engage in a tender process that is stacked against them. Parent-community funds will need to be expended to competitively participate in the tender process.

The Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning, the Hon. Sarah Mitchell, has assented to this change in policy - failing children and families that use or will use Out of School Hours Care.

Network of Community Activities holds grave concerns for the quality of care in NSW, and predicts a 'race to the bottom' that limits parental involvement in public schools and prioritises dollars over children.

This is already a matter of public interest:
https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/focus-on-childcare-bottom-dollar-leads-to-more-safety-breaches-report-finds-20211005-p58x9a.html

We fundamentally believe that parent-managed Approved Providers shouldn't be forced to choose between winding up their Association and competing against corporate Providers to provide education and care to students in public schools.

The Hon. Sarah Mitchell's NSW Department of Education has failed children with this change of policy that will result in the closure of high quality Out of School Hours Care Services. 

Action 

We are calling on the NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet, to intervene in order to arrest the corporatisation of the NSW Out of School Hours Sector.

We are calling on the Premier to:

  • protect all existing parent-managed/community based NFP Out of School Hours Services;
  • ensure that existing parent-managed/community based Out of School Hours Services can continue to operate on public schools grounds without having to compete in an open tender;
  • to expand existing protections to ensure that parent-managed/community based Out of School Hours Care Services can continue to grow and thrive in NSW.
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At 15,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!