Safe Teacher to Child Ratios

A common question for churches and ministry programs for children is whether there is an official 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.