Report finds national increase in children’s education and care quality
Today the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), in collaboration with all governments, released its third Annual Performance Report on the National Quality Framework (NQF).
With around one million families accessing almost 16,000 services, children’s education and care is a vital and growing part of Australia’s education sector.
“The NQF was introduced in 2012 to drive quality improvement,” said ACECQA CEO Gabrielle Sinclair. “This report shows the NQF is achieving a number of its objectives and overall service quality has risen markedly in the past seven years.”
Examples of quality improvement highlighted in this year’s report include:
- More services are meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard than ever before – 79% in 2019, compared to 56% in 2013
- Educational program and practice, the most challenging area assessed under the National Quality Standard, has improved across all service types
- Services in the most disadvantaged areas have improved in their assessment and rating results, meaning children in most need are benefitting from increased quality.
The report also examines the ongoing challenges of:
- raising public awareness and understanding of service quality ratings
- attracting and retaining a highly skilled workforce.
The demand for, and supply of, early childhood teachers and educators has been the subject of much discussion across the sector in the past year. The issue was also on the agenda of the recent COAG Education Council meeting, with a decision made to progress a new national workforce strategy for the sector.
Ms Sinclair indicated that the analysis undertaken by ACECQA highlights that “there is a clear link between the children’s education and care sector’s ability to attract high quality educators and teachers, and broader community perceptions of the sector and its value.”
“As the national authority, we’re committed to helping parents and communities recognise the importance and value of quality early learning and care, and the professionals delivering this, to secure a sustainable workforce into the future.”
“Australia’s children’s education and care sector is increasingly being viewed as world leading and this is something we should all be proud of.”
“The joint regulatory system we operate under continues to evolve and adapt, creating a more nationally consistent approach for service providers to operate within, as well as an environment that promotes high quality learning for children”.
Education and care services approved under the NQF include long day care, outside school hours care and family day care services, as well as most preschools/kindergartens.