Advice for schools
Schools may come across these issues in the operation of their early intervention programs.
The Education and Care Services National Regulations do not apply to early intervention classes.
Regulation 5(1)(e) of the Education and Care Services National Regulations excludes early intervention services from the definition of an education and care service under section 5(1) of the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law.
Children enrolling in early intervention classes have the same immunisation requirements as children enrolling in schools. They do not need to meet the requirements that apply to other education and care services.
Early intervention units are required to have procedures and guidelines in place around vaccine-preventable disease consistent with NSW Department of Education requirements. Refer to the Immunisation enrolment toolkit or NSW Health for further clarification.
Preschool-aged children who are temporary visa holders may enrol in early intervention under the same conditions as Australian citizens. However, temporary residents who hold visitor/tourist visas are not eligible for enrolment. The schedule of visa subclasses and enrolment conditions provides eligibility information on the temporary visa subclasses.
Early intervention has no fee and the program is free to children on visas as indicated on the schedule.
The maximum caseload for a full-time early intervention support class teacher position, including children in class and resource support is 21 children.
The placement panel determines that children with severe disability or significant physical or behaviour support needs who are offered a support class session are counted as 1.5 places against caseload.
Children with severe disability or significant physical or behaviour support needs who are supported through resource support are counted as one against caseload.
Examples of a full early intervention caseload
Placing children later in the year
Children can commence in an early intervention support class or resource program at any stage of the school year. They do not need to start at the beginning of the year.
As early intervention positions become available, inclusion and wellbeing staff may offer the position to the next child who has been deemed eligible and next highest priority through a placement panel process.
Placement panels may need to consider circumstances when placing children in the early intervention program in the semester prior to commencement of school in light of children and their families also being involved in kindergarten orientation and transition support programs.
Children who will not be moving on to kindergarten may benefit from commencing in the program in Term four as they can continue into the following year.
Release from face-to face
Early intervention support class teachers are entitled to release from face to face (RFF) on the same basis as all teachers. Teachers take this release outside of session time. Teacher relief is not required to cover the RFF.
It will be important for schools to consider managing breaks for the support class teacher and the school learning support officer when electing to run a five-hour session.
Local program names
Early intervention will continue to be known officially as an early intervention support class in the school where it is based.
Schools have the flexibility to give their early intervention support program a local name that reflects the school and the local community. An example is Moss Vale Public School early intervention support class where the school emblem is an oak tree, and the local name for early intervention is 'Acorn Cottage'.
If using a local name, schools should choose a name that is respectful of the local community and engages with the community when deciding on a name. For example, a local community may select an Aboriginal name out of respect for the land in the area where the school is located.
Final consultation must include the school principal and the director, educational leadership.
The support class official name will remain as the school name and early intervention support class, such as Moss Vale Public School early intervention support class.
Department preschool and early intervention on the same site
The department is committed to making inclusive education real for all students with disability and encourages inclusive practice between department preschools and early intervention.
Where a department preschool and early intervention support class are located on the same site, there are opportunities to collaboratively plan and deliver programs that promote inclusive practice and positive outcomes for all children.
Department preschools implement the law and regulations relevant to the entire early childhood education and care sector.
In NSW these are the:
Schools considering combining early intervention and preschool cohorts on the same site are advised to contact early learning preschool advisors on 1300 083 698 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to review their school’s situation to ensure they will be operating within the regulatory requirements.