ACECQA Newsletter Issue 10 2016
In addition to the existing Excellent rating logo, a new suite of logos has been launched for services and providers to promote their National Quality Standard (NQS) rating.
ACECQA, in collaboration with state and territory regulatory authorities and the Australian Government, has developed the logos to support families to understand the quality ratings, particularly those using education and care for the first time.
Services are encouraged to use the logo on promotional materials and talk with families about the NQS, the service’s strengths and goals for improvement. Use of the logos is voluntary and will not replace the ratings certificate that all assessed and rated services must display.
The suite of logos was developed following a growing number of services and providers enquiring about how they can promote their rating. Feedback was sought from some of the sector’s largest providers and peak bodies throughout the development process.
If your service is rated Working Towards, Meeting or Exceeding NQS, you can request your logo from the national registers on the ACECQA website.
Once you’ve submitted the request, ACECQA will securely send the logo files and accompanying brand guidelines to the email registered in the NQA IT System. To update your email address please log into the NQA IT System.
When visiting the national registers you may also be interested to find two new fields that identify the date that a service’s assessment and rating report was issued, and whether that service is a family day care or centre-based service.
Building Belonging: A toolkit for early education educators on cultural diversity and responding to racial prejudice
Megan Mitchell, Australia’s first National Children’s Commissioner, writes on We Hear You about the launch of a new comprehensive toolkit by the Australian Human Rights Commission to help encourage respect for cultural diversity and tackle racial prejudice in early childhood settings.
In September 2016, the ACECQA Board decided to extend an existing transitional measure that will allow educators to be recognised as equivalent to an early childhood teacher until the end of 2019.
The ACECQA Board agreed that a person who holds all of the following will be recognised:
- a primary teaching qualification that includes at least a focus on children aged 5 to 8 years old (e.g. a qualification with a focus on children aged 3 to 8 or 5 to 12)
- current teacher registration in Australia (called ‘accreditation’ in New South Wales)
- an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) education and care qualification.
After the end of 2019, this transitional measure will cease, however educators who had obtained this combination of qualifications prior to the end of 2019 will continue to be recognised under this provision.
Read more about the Board’s decision on the ACECQA website.
Staffing and staffing arrangements are often one of the areas that the education and care sector seeks the most clarification. Staffing is not only a key component of the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations, but it is also an important part of the National Quality Standard (NQS). The Guide to the National Quality Standard encourages service providers to focus on how the qualifications, numbers and arrangement of educators affect quality outcomes for children and families, with a strong emphasis on adequate supervision.
The arrangement of educators should focus on ensuring children’s health, safety and wellbeing, in addition to facilitating enhanced learning opportunities for all children. This includes decisions made about how educators are rostered and replaced throughout the day, as well as the impact of staffing arrangements at the beginning and end of each day.
Service providers are encouraged to reflect on strategies that maximise staffing arrangements to allow educators to develop warm, respectful relationships with children; create safe and interesting learning environments; encourage children’s active engagement in the educational program; and ensure children are adequately and appropriately supervised at all times. This can involve some complex decision making and communication skills and goes beyond just calculating the minimum number of educators required to educate and care for children for the purposes of section 169(1) and (3) of the National Law.
Prompts to guide reflection:
- What arrangements are in place to ensure educators are available at the beginning and end of each day to engage in meaningful conversations with families to share information, ideas and suggestions?
- How are the groupings arranged at transition times (including the beginning and end of each day) to maximise opportunities for children to be engaged meaningfully in the program and to have agency?
- How are relief educators supported to ensure continuity of learning and wellbeing for children? How is this support embedded in the orientation process and throughout their time in the service?
- Are the current rostering arrangements meeting the needs of staff, children and families?
- Considering the service context and ages of children, what does appropriate and adequate supervision look like in this service?
- What additional strategies can be implemented to use professional standards (or Code of Ethics) to support decision making on staffing and staffing arrangements?
- How do staffing arrangements ensure educators have sufficient time, space and resources to complete planning, documentation, assessment and research necessary to meet the requirements of Quality Area 1 of the NQS?
- What staffing and staffing arrangement strategies are in place to ensure families are provided with, and aware of, regular opportunities to engage with educators?
- What opportunities are there to network with relevant organisations, such as other services, specialists and local organisations? How can staffing arrangements be organised to better support and encourage educators to meaningfully engage in relevant networking opportunities?
- For Family Day Care – What additional opportunities in the placement decision making process are there to better match educators and children? What supports are in place to ensure continuity of learning and wellbeing for children requiring alternate education and care arrangements?
- For Outside School Hours Care – Educators employed on a casual or temporary basis are important to the effective operation of many outside school hours care programs. What additional strategies can be implemented to ensure these educators are included, empowered and supported in a way that promotes continuity and positive outcomes for children?
Other questions to consider:
- What changes could be made to the current staffing arrangements to further support all children to feel they belong in ways that support their being and becoming?
- How do staffing arrangements and communication between nominated supervisors, leaders, educators, staff, families and children support consistent practice and quality improvement?
- How well does the service philosophy reflect and articulate the service’s commitment to staffing for quality outcomes for children? What additional strategies could be implemented to ensure the service philosophy guides decision making about staffing arrangements?
While staffing arrangements are the focus of Quality Area 4, staffing can affect all quality areas of the NQS. There are many resources available to help educators and providers understand and meet the standards and elements of the NQS, including the Guide to the National Quality Standard which provides additional information, examples and reflective questions related to Quality Area 4. In addition, the Early Childhood Australia Getting to know the NQS video series and Staffing for Quality e-newsletter provide useful information.
ACECQA has produced a range of information sheets linking to the standards and elements of the National Quality Standard (NQS).
The information sheets offer practical strategies to support services to think about quality practice with references to contemporary research and resources for further reading.
The content has been drawn from information shared with authorised officers to help them identify quality practice and much of it is adapted from resources previously developed by the National Childcare Accreditation Council.
Download the information sheets from the ACECQA website:
More will be released over the coming months.
During October, ACECQA’s We Hear You blog featured another special three-part series exploring the development of ‘The role of the educational leader’.
Considering the history and definition of educational leadership in children’s education and care, the first instalment explores the reasons behind its introduction, as well as the aims, objectives and intent of educational leadership.
In the second instalment, we develop our discussion to consider the ways educational leaders use their skills, knowledge and understandings to lead the development of the curriculum/program. We consider the influence of the service context, the importance of the approved learning frameworks and how they inform planning and practice.
Concluding the series, the third instalment turns its focus on the way educational leaders work with teams to set goals for both teaching and learning that help bring the program to life. Emphasising leadership as a collaborative endeavour, we explore how the role builds the capacity of other educators and team members to contribute rich and meaningful learning and leisure experiences for children.
Read the complete series on the We Hear You blog:
If you know of someone who is providing outstanding education and care to young children, you can nominate them for the 2017 Australian Family Early Education & Care Awards. The awards, which recognise individuals as well as teams/groups and services, support the continuous improvement of education and care in Australia by acknowledging and awarding exceptional educational practice. ACECQA is once again proud to be a Principal Supporter of the awards.
Nominations are open until 10 March 2017.
As the national statutory authority committed to improving educational and developmental outcomes for all children attending education and care services under the National Quality Framework, ACECQA recognises the importance of these outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in particular.
In our new Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we acknowledge the unique place that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures hold in Australia, affirm our commitment to reconciliation, and outline a series of meaningful, achievable and measurable actions to deliver on that commitment.
We hope our own Reconciliation Action Plan encourages education and care services to think about developing or updating their own RAPs to embed respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as well as achieve the inclusion related goals set out in their Quality Improvement Plans and other types of formal planning.
In particular, service providers may wish to consider participation in the Narragunnawali Reconciliation Action Plan program. The program has been specifically designed for schools and early learning services and provides an education based model for action using Reconciliation Australia’s existing reconciliation framework.
Download ACECQA’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.
National Children’s Week (22 – 30 October) is a celebration of children’s rights, talents, abilities and citizenship. Focused around Universal Children’s Day, which is based on promoting the ideals and objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the week is marked in Australia through a diverse range of events and activities. Along with emphasising the needs and accomplishments of children within the family and the broader community, Children’s Week is a call to consider the social conditions affecting the lives and future of children, including education to develop their capacities.
Details about the history, resources and links to national, state and territory and local events are available on the Children’s Week website.
The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has commissioned SkillsIQ to research training quality in the children’s education and care sector. They are currently looking for a broad range of employers, educators and staff as well as registered training organisations (RTOs) to provide feedback on a newly released discussion paper responding to 10 recommendations in the Australian Skills and Quality Authority Strategic Review as well as two short surveys. The collected data will be used to inform future approaches to qualifications in the sector. The consultation period closes 28 October 2016.
As a member of SkillsIQ’s Children’s Education and Care Industry Reference Committee, ACECQA had the opportunity to help develop the discussion paper and surveys, and will also be involved in considering feedback received as part of the consultation process.
More information and links to the surveys and discussion paper are available on the SkillsIQ website.
ACECQA was delighted to help early childhood educators attend the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) National Conference in Darwin this month, through ECA’s Travel Scholarship program. Vanessa Miller from West Bathurst Preschool and Teegan Batey and Murphy-May Nicholson from King Island Child Care & Early Learning Centre found the conference rewarding, informative and inspiring.
“There were so many amazing speakers, but Professor Carla Rinaldi’s paper about every child being intelligent and a citizen of the universe from birth really resonated with me,” said Teegan.
“She spoke about a village in Italy, where when a child is born, the church bells ring and the whole community has a responsibility to that child no matter who they are or what they do.”
For Murphy, meeting Professor Rinaldi and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, as well as learning more about Aboriginal culture, especially in the context of the Northern Territory’s high proportion of children, left her feeling honoured and “overloaded with inspiration to learn more”.
“We were able to venture into totally new territory with cultural perspectives and evidence-based practice, with traditions and new thinking combined to provide the best early childhood education,” Murphy said.
The importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and culture was also a drawcard and highlight for Vanessa, the director of West Bathurst Preschool and a key member of the EarlyStart Kelso Preschool and Family Centre – a community outreach program for children and families living in disadvantaged circumstances.
Drawing parallels between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations in the Northern Territory and Bathurst, Vanessa is now “keen to continue developing the programs, practices and documentation that our service is working on to embed Indigenous culture”.
Another source of inspiration for Vanessa was the address by Associate Professor Richard Fletcher and the related panel discussion on engaging fathers in the early childhood space.
“This is an area I’d really like to look into more deeply; how we can include fathers in services and help them engage in children’s learning and improve outcomes for children generally,” said Vanessa.
Improving learning outcomes for children and providing dynamic and nurturing spaces were sentiments echoed by all three educators, who also made valuable connections with other educators and speakers at the three-day conference attended by over 2,000 delegates.
ACECQA is proud to have been a travel scholarship sponsor of the National Conference.