Outside school hours care during coronavirus (COVID-19)

About outside school hours care (OSHC)

Outside school hours care (OSHC) programs are an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service under the National Quality Framework and Commonwealth Family Assistance legislation.

An OSHC service provides education and care typically for primary school-age children (generally ages 5 to 12 years) outside school hours and during school holidays (Vacation Care). OSHC services also often provide education and care on pupil-free days.

We are the regulatory authority for OSHC. The Commonwealth Government subsidises the cost of OSHC through Child Care Subsidy and Additional Child Care Subsidy payments direct to providers.

Vacation care during Term 3 school holidays

In metropolitan Melbourne and rural and regional Victoria, vacation care will continue to operate during the school holidays (Monday 21 September to Friday 2 October) for students who were eligible for on-site supervision at school in Term 3.

Students are able to attend vacation care at a school site that is different to their own school if vacation care is not available at their own school.

School councils and outside school hours care (OSHC) providers are encouraged to continue working together to provide care for children eligible to attend vacation care.

Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) during Term 4

Children will be able to continue to attend OSHC only if they are eligible to attend school. As children return to on-site learning in line with public health advice, they will also be eligible to attend before and after school care.

School councils and OSHC providers are encouraged to continue working together to provide care for children eligible to attend OSHC.

For funding queries, school councils that are OSHC providers are advised to contact the Commonwealth Government through the Child Care Subsidy Helpdesk by email   ccshelpdesk@dese.gov.au or call 1300 667 276.

Parent and carer fees

Current funding arrangements for OSHC

As of July 13 2020, the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) and Additional Child Care Subsidy (ACCS) will restart with the introduction of a number of new measures to support providers and families through this period.

A Transition Payment will be made to all approved providers instead of the JobKeeper Payment, for the period 13 July 2020 to 27 September 2020. The Transition Payment is 25 per cent of fee revenue or the existing hourly rate cap, whichever is lower, during the relevant reference period that has been used during the Relief Package.

From 13 July until 31 December 2020, services open and located in an area of Stage 3 or higher – ‘stay at home’ restrictions in Victoria are permitted to waive families’ gap fees where a child is not attending due to coronavirus (COVID-19), and an absence is recorded.

Children attending the service will be required to pay the gap fee.

Waiving the parents’ gap fees will also ensure the OSHC service maintain their enrolments and continue to be paid the CCS, even if a child is absent for a coronavirus (COVID-19) related reason.

For more details, including additional eligibility requirements please see: Early Childhood Education and Care Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

Additional Viability Support Payment for Outside School Hours Care

The Additional Viability Support Payment recognises that Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) services in Metropolitan Melbourne have experienced significantly reduced attendances because of the ongoing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the move to remote and flexible learning from 20 July 2020.

OSHC services that experience a drop in attendance to 40 per cent or less in the two-week period following 20 July 2020, compared with their reference period, will receive an additional 15 per cent of the average weekly fee charged during the reference fortnight (capped at the relevant CCS hourly rate cap).

For providers to receive the Additional Viability Support Payment, services must:

  • be a CCS approved OSHC service in Metropolitan Melbourne
  • experience a drop in attendance to 40 per cent or less in the two-week period following 20 July 2020, compared with their reference period
  • remain open and continue to offer care, unless closed at the direction of a government authority
  • have submitted their session report for the period 20 July 20 to 2 August
  • be in receipt of Transition Payments in respect of the service, including meeting all conditions of the Transition Payment Guidelines.

The Additional Viability Support Payment will be made as a single lump-sum payment and cover the eight-week period from 20 July to 13 September 2020. It will be made in addition to any Transition Payments that OSHC services receive.

OSHC services in Metropolitan Melbourne wanting more information can contact the CCS helpdesk by emailing ccshelpdesk@dese.gov.au or calling 1300 667 276.

Temperature checks

Requirements for OSHC services to complete temperature check

Many OSHC services have already implemented temperature screening for all children, and all services are now strongly encouraged to start temperature checking as soon as possible.

Services are encouraged to use an infrared thermometer and ensure it is available to temperature screen any child who arrives throughout the service. 

OSHC services should work with schools to access their allocated thermometer if necessary. If services are unable to access the school infrared thermometer, or are having difficulties sourcing a supply please email Early.Childhood.Implementation@edumail.vic.gov.au

Requests from OSHC providers to waive licence fees

School councils responses to a request to waive fees by an OSHC provider

Many OSHC providers have been financially impacted by operating and lockdown restrictions due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and the Commonwealth Government’s new funding settings. They may have difficulty paying money to school councils under the terms of existing agreements and therefore may request a fee waiver or fee reduction. In light of the current conditions, School Councils are strongly encouraged to consider licence fee waivers or fee reductions for Term 3.

To support commercial leasing principles contained in the Victorian COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) (Commercial Leases and Licences) Regulations 2020, licence fees should be negotiated in good faith with providers to ensure the long-term viability and consistency of the OSHC service.

Underlying principles for dealing with requests from OSHC providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

  • School councils should seek to be flexible and responsive to changing business, environmental and community needs.
  • School councils should agree to reasonable requests from OSHC providers in order to ensure where possible that they have financially viable partners when normal business resumes.

Recommended process for school councils

Where an OSHC provider requests a fee waiver or fee reduction under an existing agreement, a school council should:

  1. treat the request by the OSHC provider as a request to vary the existing agreement
  2. review the agreement to identify how the agreement is to be varied - commonly agreements state no variation is valid unless it is made by mutual agreement and in writing
  3. consider the reasons given by the OSHC provider for the requested fee waiver or fee reduction and confirm that the request is only temporary while the State of Emergency impacts business as usual
  4. if the reasons given by the OSHC provider are fair and reasonable in the circumstances and are only temporary, the School Council should consider agreeing to the requested fee waiver or fee reduction
  5. record the terms of the agreed variation in writing, ensuring the variation to the agreement is only for a specified time
  6. the variation can be completed by exchange of letters between the School Council and the OSHC provider. Please refer to Attachment 1 for a Variation of Agreement letter template for school councils.

Staff-to-child ratios

If an OSHC service is having issues meeting the educator-to-child ratios and qualification requirements

In the current circumstances, services should take all reasonable steps to meet the ratios and training and qualification requirements. Services must ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of all children being educated and cared for by the service. This includes:

  • providing adequate supervision
  • taking adequate precautions to protect all children from harm or hazards likely to cause injury
  • conducting a risk assessment to inform decision making
  • designing and delivering an educational program that meets the needs of each child and addresses current circumstances.

Where services are unable to meet the requirements of the educator to child ratios (not the qualification requirements) they must notify the regulatory authority. Notifications for National Quality Framework services should be made via the National Quality Agenda IT System.

The educator to child ratios calculators are available on the educator to child ratio web page.

Please refer to advice on maintaining a safe learning environment for staff and students on physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures - coronavirus (COVID-19) 

OSHC service operating as a single staff model

The National Quality Framework permits single staff models. However, it is important that the service has processes in place to seek assistance if required, particularly should a child or educator become ill. Having school staff available, or someone reasonably close to the service who could be contacted for support, would meet this requirement. The service of course needs to meet the ratios for school aged children which are 1 educator to 15 children.

More information

Specific advice about early childhood education and service operations can be found on our coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for early childhood services webpage.

The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee is the key committee for health emergencies. It's comprised of all state and territory Chief Health Officers and is chaired by the Australian Chief Medical Officer. Updates for early childhood and schools can be found on Australian Health Protection Principal Committee

Department employee policy and guidelines can be found at Working from Home.

Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Package details can be found through the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Child Care Subsidy details are available at frequently asked questions