Safe Teacher to Child Ratios

A common question for churches and ministry programs for children is whether there is a “proper” teacher-to-child ratio. While there’s no legal requirement for churches to have a specific ratio, there are good guidelines for similar organisations. As all things in this area, the legal requirement for churches and ministries is to provide an appropriate duty of care.

A good starting guideline is the Early Childhood Education and Outside School Care Centre-based ratio requirements set by the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority.

While these are a good start, it’s worth considering how something like a Sunday School program is considerably different to a pre-school or after-school care program;

  • The children’s parents are usually very close to the classrooms
  • The children are only in their classes for usually an hour or under
  • There is usually scope to easily combine classes if one is small and another unusually large

Therefore, it’s worth churches and children’s programs setting a minimum ratio that they think is reasonable for their duty of care in their particular situation.

A good way to ensure this ratio is suitable is to set an annual date to meet with the leaders and review the ratio; How has it been working? Should it be adjusted one way or another? This way you’ll be able to show the ratio has been regularly considered for your particular circumstance.