Quality Support Program – Dual Program Pathways

An initiative of the NSW Department of Education, in partnership with ACECQA to support ongoing quality improvement in NSW children's education and care services.     

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority
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About the Quality Support Program – Dual Program Pathways

The Quality Support Program (QSP) - Dual Program Pathways is a professional learning partnership between ACECQA and the NSW Department of Education as the NSW Regulatory Authority (RA) for children’s education and care services and providers.

The program was established to support the ongoing quality improvement of eligible children’s education and care services in NSW rated as Working Towards National Quality Standard (NQS) and/or with identified compliance support needs. It commenced in July 2022 and aims to enhance participating services’ capacity and capability in delivering quality children’s education and care. Participating in the program will enhance participants’ knowledge and confidence in providing quality practices and the NQS. It will also support their compliance with the NQF, including quality practices and/or regulatory standards, good practice leadership, management, and governance.

This high value program offers free tailored support and professional learning, delivered by ACECQA. Each participating service will be allocated an experienced and dedicated support facilitator who will work alongside service leaders to coach and guide them through the improvement process. The tailored professional learning and support program may also include face to face, online and telephone coaching support, online learning modules and workshops and other informative resources to support quality outcomes for children and each unique service context.

Eligible children’s education and care services can apply to participate now.

Dual Program Pathways consists of two support pathways:

  • The Quality Support Pathway is a 14-week program supporting eligible children’s education and care services located in NSW with a current rating of Working Towards NQS. This Pathway supports services’ ability to meet and/or exceed the NQS and will focus on priority quality areas. ACECQA will work alongside service leaders to continue building knowledge of the NQS, co-design quality improvements and support ongoing confidence with embedding quality practices, with the goal being quality outcomes for children. ACECQA is currently seeking expressions of interest to participate in the Quality Support Pathway.
  • The Compliance Support Pathway is a 6-week program supporting children’s education and care services with identified compliance support needs. The Compliance Support Pathway will help services to understand the root cause of non-compliance instances and to co-design implementation plans, processes and management systems that support children’s health and safety as well as governance and leadership. In doing so, this pathway aims to build participants’ capabilities to ensure a sustained approach to compliance that will result in better outcomes for children, services and providers. This pathway is by direct referral only. Services participating in this pathway will be directly referred into the pathway by the NSW Department of Education. The Department will refer services by using regulatory data that highlights a need for improvement in the areas of children’s health and safety and governance and leadership.

Who can participate in these programs?

Who is eligible to participate in the Quality Support Pathway?

The Quality Support Pathway is being offered to approved children’s education and care services including early childhood, family day care, preschools and outside school hours care services including vacation care services that meet the following criteria:

  • located in NSW
  • are currently rated Working Towards NQS.

Priority will be given to services with six or more elements of the NQS rated as ‘Not Met’. Consideration will also be given:

  • based on the number of elements rated ‘Not Met’
  • to services in more disadvantaged areas
  • to services rated Working Towards NQS for a period of longer than four years and/or have received this rating twice or more.

Please register your interest if your service is eligible and would like to be considered for participation in the Quality Support Pathway. Places are limited so we encourage you to complete the expression of interest early.  Services that have previously participated in the QSP and continue to meet the eligibility criteria are welcome to express interest in participating.

Please note: If you are a provider with several services and would like more than one of your services to participate, please complete a separate registration for each service.

Expressions of interest will be assessed by the NSW Department of Education.

Who is eligible to participate in the Compliance Support Pathway?

Participation in the Compliance Support Pathway is by direct referral from the NSW Department of Education. The Department will refer services by using regulatory data that highlights a need for improvement in the areas of children’s health and safety and governance and leadership.

This mobile service participated in the NSW funded Dual Programs Pathway in 2022 

Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 Preschool has been providing high quality education and care to the Fairfield City community for the past 20 years  

We use two venues - Cabramatta Public School and Cabravale Leisure Centre, and we operate from Monday to Friday for 48 weeks each year. We are active within our community, participating in school and local events and linking families with support services they may need.

 We aim to:

  • be well-informed of local support organisations and actively connect families to them, especially vulnerable or disadvantaged families 
  • support families who are new to Australia, and assist them with enrolments and documentation support many children with additional needs, and our strong proactive relationships with schools support their educational journeys.

Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 Preschool aligned with the National Quality Framework (NQF)

While our mobile preschool has been providing the children and community with the highest quality education and services whilst informally applying NQF standards since 2012, we are excited about formally aligning with the NQF because:

  • it’s an opportunity for our team to showcase and promote how a mobile service provides quality and consistent care and education to children, families, and the community from various locations 
  • our families have the reassurance that their children are receiving quality teaching practices through our co-designed Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) to enrich the early childhood experience 
  • our children enjoyed being part of the consultation process as we prepared for the upcoming Assessment and Rating (A&R) and celebrated our achievements with the authorised officers.

Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 participated in the A&R process in 2021

You can imagine the flurry of emotions the mobile preschool experienced as we supported children and families returning to the service and ‘normal life’ when we came out of COVID-19 lockdown.

While preparing for the A&R process, we were initially concerned about how we would meet the same NQF expectations as the centre-based and purpose-built services – as we had to demonstrate the same compliance whilst operating a mobile service, which has its challenges.  

However, we received a rating of Meeting NQS across all areas and felt relieved, pleased, and challenged as to how to improve our service moving forward.  

The biggest learning opportunity for the Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 team was having our service acknowledged as a quality educational setting

Our educators extended their professional knowledge relating to A&R and observed how the children and families at the service worked closely in partnership with educators and management to achieve our rating together.  

We took pride in having the opportunity to show and explain our service’s daily practices and achievements, and we celebrated our achievements once the A&R was completed.

Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 is aiming to achieve Exceeding NQS next

Our service is critically reflecting on the A&R visit feedback we received and continuously altering practices in consultation with children, families and management based on the changing needs of our community.  

Ensuring that our self-assessment supports practice changes through critical reflection extends our pedagogical thinking and supports achieving the best outcomes for children.  

Our Centre Director will consistently implement action research in partnership with our preschool community to identify practice changes to holistically enhance the service.

We will aim to achieve a rating of Exceeding NQS for our next A&R and embrace the opportunity with excitement and passion.  

Fairfield City Council Best Start Education & Care Mobile 2 is supported and operated by a local government approved provider

We are supported and operated by a local government approved provider, and we are one of the few mobile services with a strong support network. Most mobile services are isolated, operating out of the back of a van in rural areas and supporting some of their most vulnerable and marginalised communities.

We would like to support mobile services to connect and share experiences through a social media channel. This could help educators working for mobile services feel connected to peers, share their daily challenges and barriers, and gather ideas when reflecting on practices. 

The QSP experience

Shared experiences of the QSP 

Learn more

Since 2018, the previous QSP has helped improve quality in over 600 children’s education and care services in NSW. To learn more about the success of the QSP, read the Stage Evaluation Report on the ACECQA website.

Contact us

ACECQA’s Dual Program Pathways team is always happy to answer your questions about the program.

Please email your questions to [email protected].