Jenni Hutchins

Jenni Hutchins

Jenni is a Chief Executive Officer, Psychologist, Leader, Passionate Advocate for children and
families, older people and communities.

In September of last year, Jenni was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. The Fellowship provided the opportunity for Jenni to travel overseas to investigate best practice models for Out of School Hours Care. Jenni’s philosophy is to scaffold children for success through education, inclusion and enablement and wanted to explore how this was done through Out of School Hours Care services across the world.

Jenni is a strong advocate for children, families and educators. She believes that engagement with both the State and Federal government, Government Ministers and key stakeholders assists in the development of effective policies and regulations and aids the development and navigation of children’s landscapes in today’s changing environments.

Jenni’s Churchill provided the opportunity to explore what Out of School Hours Care looks like in other countries and consider elements of change for Australia. Jenni also explored Intergenerational Practices whilst overseas, to consider enhancing opportunities within Australia. Whilst the report from the Fellowship trip has not been finalised, Jenni will be presenting her preliminary findings.

Previous to her current role, Jenni was the CEO of a medium sized not for profit organisation, operating Out of School Hours Care, early learning and care and community services. Until 2022, Jenni was Co-chair of the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia (ELACCA) working to promote the value of quality early learning and care for children and their families and the value of the educators through engagement and advocacy with Government and Co-Chair of the NSW Early Childhood Education Safeguarding Committee.


International Experiences of Out of School Hours Care

What is the purpose of Out of School Hours Care (OSHC)?  Is it care?  Friendship? Play? Convenience?  OSHC is challenged in Australia by broad perceptions leading to both staff and the service feeling undervalued and lacking a professional identity: words of baby sitting and convenience abound when speaking to stakeholders.  However, the potential for strong outcomes for children who attend OSHC are evident:  increased capabilities, increased social and emotional development, ancillary skills and knowledge:  sustainability, arts, crafts, drawing, teamwork, friendships, social skills to name a few.

Service delivery in OSHC is influenced by various factors, including the surrounding environment, school culture, partnerships, and underlying philosophy. To gain valuable insights and identify potential improvements, I embarked on an international exploration, investigating OSHC practices in various nations to ask myself and others – have we got it right? This presentation offers an early summary of some of the OSHC models and philosophies I encountered in the different countries and aims to foster an engaging discussion on the possibilities and opportunities that could potentially be implemented in the Australian OSHC context. By analysing international approaches, we can uncover valuable lessons and potentially adapt strategies to enhance the child’s experience and the quality and effectiveness of OSHC services in Australia.