Woodlands - Educator and Management Policy
Woodlands believe that a service that provides consistent high-quality care and education is only able to do so when, reciprocal, respectful and effective relationships can be developed where all parties have the same goals, and clearly understand the expectations and requirements needed to achieve these goals.
National Quality Standard (NQS)
Quality Area 4: Staffing Arrangements
Staffing arrangements enhance children’s learning and development
Continuity of Staff
Every effort is made for children to experience continuity of educators at the service.
Management, educators and staff are collaborative, respectful and ethical
Management, educators and staff work with mutual respect and collaboratively, and challenge and learn from each other, recognising each other’s strengths and skills
Professional standards guide practice, interactions and relationships
Quality Area 7: Governance and Leadership
Governance supports the operation of a quality service
Service philosophy and purpose
A statement of philosophy guides all aspects of the service’s operations
Systems are in place to manage risk and enable the effective management and operation of a quality service
Effective leadership builds and promotes a positive organisational culture and professional learning community
Development of professionals
Educators, co-ordinators and staff members’ performance is regularly evaluated and individual plans are in place to support learning and development
Education and Care Services National Regulations
Children (Education and Care Services) National Law NSW
Education and care service must have policies and procedures
Policies and procedures to be followed
Policies and procedures to be kept available
Woodlands aims to ensure that positive working relationships are formed between all educators and management. Educators and management will at all times conduct themselves in an ethical manner and strive to make all interactions positive and compliant with the Woodlands philosophy
This policy applies to children, families, staff, management and visitors of the Service.
Code of Conduct
The Approved Provider, Nominated Supervisor, Educators and Staff, Volunteers and Students will adhere to the Early Childhood Australian Code of Ethics, National Regulations and Quality Standard and Service policies and procedures at all times, promoting positive interactions with Woodlands and the local community.
Respect for people and the Service
Employees and Management are committed to the Woodlands philosophy and values, inclusive of best practice in early childhood education and building positive partnership with children, families and staff.
Effective, open and respectful reciprocal communication and feedback between employees, children, families and management is conveyed.
It is important to treat colleagues, children and families with respect. Bullying or insulting behaviour, including verbal and non-verbal aggression, abusive, threatening or derogatory language or intimidation towards other employees, children, visitors or families is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Employees are committed to valuing and promoting the safety, health and wellbeing of employees, volunteers, children and families.
Employees are committed to an Equal Opportunity workplace and culture, which values the knowledge, experience and professionalism of all employees, team members and managers, and the diverse heritage of our families and children.
Expectations of Employees
Employees will ensure their work is carried out proficiently, harmoniously and effectively. They will act in a professional and respectful manner at all times whilst at work, giving their full attention to their responsibilities and adhering to all Woodlands policies, procedures, laws, regulations and National Quality Standard.
Employees will act honestly and exercise attentiveness in all Woodlands operations. They will carry out all lawful directions, retaining the right to question any direction, which they consider to be unethical. If uncertain they can seek advice from the Nominated Supervisor, Approved Provider or the Ombudsman.
Employees will have a solid understanding of Woodlands’ policies and procedures, if uncertain about the content of any policy or procedure with which they must comply; employees should seek clarification from the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider. Management will inform employees about essential information and make documents readily accessible to them.
Employees will be courteous and responsive when dealing with colleagues, students, visitors, children and families.
Employees will work collaboratively with colleagues
Employees will be mindful of their duty of care towards themselves and others
Employees will be positive role models for children at all times
Employees will respect the rights of all children
Employees will respect the confidential nature of information gained about each child participating in the program.
Expectations of Leaders and Management
In addition to the above responsibilities, leaders and management are expected to:
Promote a collaborative and interconnected workplace by developing a positive working environment where all employees can contribute to the ongoing continuous improvement of the room and Service.
Promote leadership by working with employees to improve professional development and growth
Provide ongoing support and feedback to employees
Model professional behaviour at all times whilst at the Service
Implement supportive and effective communication systems, consulting employees inappropriate decision making.
Take appropriate action if a breach of the code of conduct occurs
Share skills and knowledge with employees
Give encouragement and constructive feedback to employees, reflecting the value of different professional approaches
Reporting a breach in the code of conduct
All employees are required by law to undergo a Working with Children Check, which is verified by the employer
If employees become aware of a serious crime committed by another person, they are required to report it to management
All employees must report the possible risk of harm to children or young persons to management. Employees will report any concerns they may have about inappropriate actions of any other employee that involves children or young people to management
Managing Conflict in the workplace
Management will remain objective and impartial when managing conflict in the workplace
Management has a responsibility to address a possible breach of the code of conduct by any employee as soon as they become aware of the breach.
Allegations will be investigated and can result in remedial action, or disciplinary action ranging from a caution to dismissal.
Management will consider all relevant facts and make decisions or take actions fairly, ethically, consistently and with appropriate transparency. If they are uncertain about the appropriateness of a decision or action they will consider:
whether the decision or conduct is lawful
whether the decision or conduct is consistent with our policies and objectives
whether there will be an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest involving obligations that could influence the business relationship or conflict with business duties
Adhering to Service confidentiality
Unless authorised to do so by legislation, employees must not disclose or use any confidential information without appropriate approval
All employees are to ensure confidential information must be not accessed by unauthorized people
Employees will adhere to the Woodlands 'Privacy and Confidentiality Policy".
Woodlands does not provide babysitting services outside normal operating hours
Should employees undertake private babysitting arrangements with families, Woodlands takes no responsibility for any private arrangements between staff members and family. However, we do expect staff to inform management if they are babysitting or caring for a child that attends Woodlands.
We require employees and families to sign a copy of the Code of Conduct, which will we keep
on file for the child and staff member
We have a rigorous recruitment and suitability processes in place to ensure that we employ competent and professional members of staff and maintain our duty to safeguard children whilst on our premises and in the care of our staff. We have no such control over the conduct of staff outside of their position of employment. Parents should make their own checks as to the suitability of a member of staff for babysitting.
Woodlands will not take responsibility for any health and safety issues, conduct, grievances or any other claims arising out of the staff member's private arrangements outside of the Service hours. The member of staff will not be covered by Woodlands insurance whilst babysitting as a private arrangement.
Out-of-hours work arrangements must not interfere with the staff member's employment at Woodlands.
All staff are bound by the contract of Woodlands Privacy and Confidentiality Policy, where they are unable to discuss any issues regarding Woodlands, other staff members, parents or other children.
The Woodlands Approved Provider and the Nominated Supervisor are responsible for:
supporting the Nominated Supervisor or Approved Provider, Responsible Person, Director of Teaching and Learning, Lead Educators and educators in their role.
keeping all service families up to date with relevant issues.
recruiting and selecting educators and other staff members.
ensuring educators and staff members have the correct qualifications.
ensuring educator ratio and qualification requirements are met.
ensuring all educators and staff understand their responsibilities under the education and care law and regulations, the National Quality Standard, the Early Years Learning Framework.
developing service policies and ensuring all educators follow our policies and procedures.
ensuring all educators, staff, visitors and volunteers are aware of and comply with our Code of Conduct investigating and managing grievances from educators, staff members, families or volunteers (including incidents of workplace bullying) in accordance with our Grievance Procedure.
implementing effective communication and consultation procedures with educators and staff members about workplace issues.
promoting the diverse skills and achievements of educators and staff (eg at educator meetings, through regular feedback, by sharing information with families and the community through notices and newsletters.)
providing or organising appropriate information, instruction, training or supervision to educators and staff
maintaining the financial viability of the Service.
The Nominated Supervisor, or Responsible Person will ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all children by:
ensuring visitors are only allowed entry to the service if they can be adequately identified. Tradespeople, business representatives and early intervention specialists or professionals, or support workers provided by early childhood agencies, must carry appropriate identification. Family members and family friends who, for example, attend service events or assist with learning activities may be identified by the parents of children at the service.
requiring all visitors to sign in and out of the service for work health and safety and child protection reasons
ensuring visitors, including long term visitors, are never left alone with any children being educated and cared for. Visitors will be supervised by educators or staff members at all times
ensuring visitors have or obtain a child protection clearance if required by the child protection law before being allowed entry to the service http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/
Ensuring specialists or professionals engaged to support a child are only allowed to visit and engage with the child if written authorisation has first been obtained from the child’s parents. Authorisation may form part of an education or support plan.
To allow effective communication and consultation to take place with educators/staff the Centre Manager will use various methods of communication including:
phone communication including SMS messaging if appropriate.
a communication diary.
other forms of written communication eg letters, notices, emails.
educator appraisals and reviews.
Woodlands will hold one educator meeting a month. This will take place after hours so all educators can attend and educator to child care ratios are not jeopardised.
Meetings will follow this structure:
they will run for approximately 1.5 to 2 hours but can run longer if more issues need to be discussed.
the Nominated Supervisor will chair the meeting and give a report.
the meeting agenda will be forwarded to all educators the Friday before; any educator who wishes to speak can add their name.
in the meeting educators may:
negotiate solutions for any grievances.
receive, share and discuss new information.
In regard to the decision-making process:
if a decision cannot be reached about an issue the Nominated Supervisor will make an informed decision or
if there is insufficient information an educator will be chosen by the Nominated Supervisor to research the issue.
all decisions made will be made on a trial basis and their effectiveness will be discussed at the next meeting.
minutes will be taken/ recorded at all meetings and forwarded to all educators within a week of the meeting.
Professional Development and Performance Management
Woodlands employ caring, loyal and capable educators who bring a high skill level, appropriate qualifications and a wide and varying amount of experiences to help implement our curriculum and philosophy. To maintain our commitment to quality education and care, we will implement a performance appraisal process.
The Director of Teaching and Learning will complete a performance appraisal for all educators and staff every 12 months. In addition the Director of Teaching and Learning will complete a performance appraisal for new educators and staff after they have completed 3 months at the service. The educator or staff member and the Director of Teaching and Learning will agree on a mutually acceptable date at least 2 weeks prior to the appraisal meeting.
The appraisal process will be used as a tool:
- to ensure educators and staff are aware of their duties and responsibilities.
- to discuss the level of performance expected. (The appraisal process is the best way to show evidence of continued poor work performance and allows formal written warnings to occur if necessary.)
- for identifying professional development and training needs.
- The appraisal meeting will be linked to the educator’s position description and will include:
- an appraisal of the educator’s performance in relation to their position description.
- review and if necessary clarification of the job role and its expectations.
- self-assessment of performance by the educator or staff member.
- two-way feedback between the Director of Teaching and Learning and educator or staff member.
- discussion of future opportunities within the position.
- discussion on an action plan for further training.
- feedback about how the appraisal process could be improved.
The Centre Manager and Director of Teaching and Learning will any funds required for training and development needs with the Owner of the Centre. Training will be provided on an equitable basis to all educators and staff and will include training about:
identifying, assessing and minimising risks
our policies, procedures, code of conduct, philosophy
compulsory training required by industry standards or legislation
pedagogy, the approved learning framework, the NQS, National Law and Regulations
child protection and reporting obligations
Training may be delivered through:
- mentoring by appropriate educators/staff
- in-house workshops run by an external trainer
- external workshops, seminars etc.
- formal TAFE, college of University courses
- on-the-job training (eg through changes in role or through exchange of information between educators/staff)
- educator and management exchanges between services
- provision of appropriate resources (books, movies, documentaries etc).
Work, Health and Safety Issues
Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment
Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than others because they have a particular characteristic or belong to a particular group of people, such as age, race or gender. Harassment involves unwelcome behaviour that intimidates, offends or humiliates a person because of a particular personal characteristic such as race, age, gender, disability, religion or sexuality. It is possible for a person to be bullied, harassed and discriminated against at the same time.
Various anti-discrimination, equal employment opportunity, workplace relations, and human rights laws make it illegal to discriminate or harass a person in the workplace. Work Health and Safety laws include protections against discriminatory conduct for workers raising health and safety concerns.
Bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour towards a worker or a group of workers. Woodlands will not tolerate bullying in any form because it may have a detrimental effect on the psychological, emotional and/or physical wellbeing, health and safety of our educators and staff. Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 make it illegal to bully a person in the workplace from 1 January 2014.
Unreasonable behaviour includes actions that victimise, humiliate, intimidate or threaten and may be intentional or unintentional. It can occur directly and by using information technology such as email, texting and social media. While one incident of unreasonable behaviour is not considered to be workplace bullying, it may escalate and it will not be ignored. Examples include:
- abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments.
- unjustified criticism or complaints.
- continuously and deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities.
- withholding information that is vital for effective work performance.
- setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines.
- setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level.
- denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources that adversely affects a worker.
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours.
- changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.
- excessive scrutiny at work.
- Reasonable actions taken by the Centre Manager or Director of Teaching and Learning to direct or control the way work is carried out is not bullying behaviour. Examples of reasonable behaviour include:
- setting reasonable performance goals, standards and deadlines.
- rostering and allocating working hours where the requirements are reasonable.
- transferring a worker for operational reasons.
- deciding not to select a worker for promotion where a reasonable process is followed and documented.
- informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance when undertaken in accordance with any workplace policies or agreements such as performance management guidelines.
- informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential way.
- implementing organisational changes or restructuring.
- termination of employment.
The Nominated Supervisor and Director of Teaching and Learning will:
ensure all educators, staff, visitors and volunteers are aware of and comply with our Code of Conduct.
investigate and manage incidents of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination in accordance with our Grievance Guidelines.
consult with educators, staff and volunteers during staff meetings when:
- identifying the risk of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- making decisions about procedures to monitor and address workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- making decisions about information and training on workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- proposing changes to the way work is performed or rosters managed as this may give rise to the risk of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- provide appropriate information, instruction, training or supervision to educators, staff , visitors and volunteers to minimise the risks to their health and safety from workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- contact the Police if there are incidents of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination that involve physical assault or the threat of physical assault, or a visitor engages in bullying behaviour, harassment and discrimination and refuses to leave the Service.
Educators, staff, visitors and volunteers will:
- consider whether something they do or don’t do will adversely affect the health and safety of others
- comply with any reasonable instruction, policy and procedure given by the Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor in relation to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- report all incidents of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination using our Grievance Procedure.
- talk to the Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor if they have any questions about workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Identifying Workplace Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination
The Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor will minimise the risk of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination occurring by:
- Identifying the risk of workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
- talking to educators, staff and volunteers (or conduct an anonymous survey) to find out if bullying is occurring or if there are unreasonable behaviours or situations likely to increase the risk of bullying, harassment and discrimination.
- monitoring patterns of absenteeism, sick leave, staff turnover, grievances, injury reports, workers compensation claims and other such records to establish any regular patterns or sudden unexplained changes.
- watching for any changes in workplace relationships between educators, staff, volunteers, visitors and/or managers
- seeking feedback on the professionalism of workplace behaviours in exit interviews and from supervisors and where relevant families.
- monitoring issues raised by our health and safety representatives and health and safety committee. See Work Health and Safety Policy for more information.
- Implementing measures to prevent and respond to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
- implementing a Code of Conduct.
- providing educators, staff, volunteers and visitors with information about our bullying, harassment and discrimination policy and relevant procedures at staff meetings, via email and by displaying anti-bullying posters.
- implementing grievance procedures which deal with bullying complaints in a confidential, reliable and timely way (see Grievance Procedures).
- implementing effective performance management processes.
- clearly defining jobs and seeking regular feedback from educators and staff about their role and responsibilities.
- reviewing and monitoring workloads and staffing levels.
- including educators and staff in decision making which affects their roles and responsibilities.
- consulting with educators and staff as early as possible about any changes that affect their roles and responsibilities.
- promoting and modelling positive leadership styles eg communicating effectively and providing constructive feedback both formally and informally.
- organising relevant leadership training for managers and supervisors eg on performance management.
- mentoring and supporting new and poor performing leaders, educators or staff.
- facilitating teamwork and cooperation.
- ensuring supervisors act in a timely manner on any unreasonable behaviour.
Reviewing measures to prevent and respond to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
The Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor will implement a review of the bullying, harassment and discrimination policy and procedures if there is an incident of workplace bullying, at the request of a health and safety representative or committee, when new or additional information about bullying becomes available or at the scheduled review date. Information will be obtained from confidential surveys, exit interviews and records of sick leave and workers compensation claims.
Training about Workplace Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination
The Centre Manager or Director of Teaching and Learning will organise face-to-face training, role-plays and group work to ensure all educators, staff and volunteers can recognise workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination. Training will cover:
- our bullying, harassment and discrimination policy and procedures
- measures used to prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination from occurring
- how to report workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination
- how bullying, harassment and discrimination reports will be responded to
- where to go for more information and assistance.
The Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor, and other educators and staff who may be involved in resolving workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination will be familiar with conflict resolution skills and undertake training in that area if required.
To ensure children are exposed to a safe and supportive environment at all times, the Nominated Supervisor/ Director of Teaching and Learning will assist educators and staff members who are adversely affected by issues that happen at home or work to access appropriate support services. They may include internal or external mentoring, mediation, conflict resolution, coaching or training and counselling services. Employees may also be offered flexibility in their working arrangements where this can be accommodated to meet service needs.
Stress Management Guidelines
If an educator feels stressed in any way they should:
- approach the Nominated Supervisor and talk together to see if the situation can be remedied in any way.
- approach their Lead Educator, Director of Teaching and Learning, or if relevant a Union official if the educator feels unable to approach the Nominated Supervisor.
- accept opportunities to have stress alleviated (including counselling if recommended).
The Approved Provider or Nominated Supervisor will:
- discuss the cause of the stress with the educator or staff member and discuss viable options to alleviate it.
- refer educator/staff member to counselling if required.
- monitor and review the effectiveness of educator stress management procedures.
- monitor workloads to ensure educator is not overloaded or overwhelmed.
- monitor overtime hours and regular working hours to ensure educator is not overworked.
- monitor holidays to ensure educator is taking, or at least aware of, their entitlements.
- ensure that bullying and harassment are not taking place.
- be aware that educators may be suffering personal stress e.g. a death in the family or separation and offer additional support.
- raise any issues in a sensitive manner.
- support an educator or staff member on stress leave.
- work with the educator or staff member on stress leaves to set up a return to work plan.
- monitor and discuss with the educator /staff member their stress levels in the workplace after they return to work.
New and Returning/Staff
Before a new educator or staff member commences their job the Nominated Supervisor will:
- Show them around the service, allow them to spend some time in their designated room, introduce them to other educators and staff, children and families.
- Ensure they understand how to adequately supervise children at all times, including during transitions and rest/sleep times.
- Ensure they know where we store the First Aid Kit(s), emergency asthma kits, Epi-pens and children’s medication, which educators who hold first aid qualifications, and who has undertaken asthma and anaphylaxis training.
- Give them a copy of the Staff Handbook.
- Highlight all policies, procedures (including those in our Child Protection Policy and Educator and Management Policy eg grievance procedures), our Code of Conduct and the Woodlands philosophy, and ensure they know where the Policy and Procedures Folder is and how to access it at all times.
- Highlight relevant legislation including the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations, Child Protection, Work Health and Safety (WHS), Anti-Discrimination, Bullying and Privacy and Confidentiality.
- Ensure they know under which industrial award/ agreement they are employed and how to access it.
- Ensure they are familiar with Work Health and Safety (OHS) principles, Child-safe Standards and child protection principles, particularly the procedures and safeguards that apply in the Service.
- Provide them with necessary forms in regards to taxation, superannuation and payment of salary.
- Advise them about the Woodlands management structure.
- Provide them with a copy of their Position Description and go through it with them.
- Clarify any questions they have.
The Nominated Supervisor will meet with the new educator or staff member at the end of their first week to clarify any questions they may have or resolve any issues that may have arisen including any training needs they have identified.
We will use an Induction-Orientation checklist to ensure all steps of the induction process are covered.
Return from Extended Leave
The Centre Manager and Director of Teaching and Learning will work with both the educator who has been on leave and educators at the Service to ensure a smooth return to work by:
- encouraging the educator to visit a few days before they return to work to reacquaint themselves with the environment and take in any changes.
- notifying the educator of any policy changes.
- notifying families of the educator’s return.
- offering training and development if necessary.
- discussing any special conditions or considerations and drawing up an appropriate plan to manage these.
- If the period is due to an illness the educator must produce a medical certificate stating they are fit to return to work.
Work Experience Students and Volunteers
Woodlands is happy to support Work Experience Students and Volunteers in their efforts to become Early Childhood Professionals. They will be encouraged to obtain the qualifications necessary to work with children under the National Quality Framework.
Work Experience Students and Volunteers MUST follow all policies and procedures at the service.
- maintain open communication with Work Experience Students and Volunteers along with their practicum teachers.
- support all students and volunteers undertaking work experience during their placement.
- pass relevant skills and knowledge onto each student and volunteer.
- ensure all educators are provided with relevant feedback about tasks that the student is required to complete in the service as part of their practicum.
- be aware of student and volunteer expectations.
- have the time and capabilities to support each student and volunteer in their placement.
Work Experience Students and Volunteers will:-
- learn about the children through observation and practical experience.
- develop the skills and abilities needed to care for and educate children.
- learn about working as part of a team in the Early Childhood Profession.
- learn strategies employed when working in a team environment.
- learn skills already acquired by qualified educators in the Service.
- become familiar with families and children in the Service.
- keep educators aware of all written work requirements.
The Director of Teaching and Learning will appoint an educator to be ‘Student Supervisor,’ arrange a pre-placement visit for the student or volunteer and inform those at Woodlands when this will occur. Families will also be informed when Work Experience Students and Volunteers are present at the service and about their role and hours they will be spending at the Service.
During the visit the Supervisor will:
- give the student or volunteer times/hours and dates of the placement.
- give the student a student package.
- take the student or volunteer on a tour of the Service.
- introduce the student or volunteer to educators and their Room Leader.
Work Experience Students and Volunteers will:
inform the Student Supervisor in writing of what will be expected of them by their training body, University or School, or any other training organisation, and provide timesheets and evaluation forms. If this has not happened during the pre-placement visit it will occur on the Student’s first day.
work different shifts to gain knowledge of different aspects of Service operations.
bring in a photo and a short statement with:
- the time they will be at the Service
- what it is they are studying.
- discuss with the Student Supervisor any problems they may be experiencing.
The Room Leader will:
- discuss the progress of written work and performance with the Director of Teaching and Learning
- discuss the progress of written work and performance with the student and volunteer.
- discuss any issues raised by the student with the Student Supervisor.
If educators feel that the student is at risk of failing their practicum, the following steps will be taken:
- Lead Educator will alert the Director of Teaching and Learning of any concerns with the student.
- Both the Director of Teaching and Learning and the Lead Educator will discuss these issues with the Student.
- The Director of Teaching and Learning will arrange for the students teacher to visit the Service and discuss issues that have arisen.
- The student’s educational institution will ultimately determine the outcome of the practicum.
Termination of Practicum
Termination of student’s placement will occur if the student:
- harms or is at risk of harming a child in their care.
- is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- has disregard for the Service and fails to notify the Service if unable to attend
- is observed using repeated inappropriate behaviour at the Service.
- does not comply with all policies and procedures addressed in the student package.
does not provide the photo with an introduction on commencement.
Next review Date
New Policy added to library
Branding and formatting
Policy statement added
Centre specific information adjusted