ACECQA Newsletter Issue 10 2020
There are several components – characteristics and conditions – that are needed to build a high quality education and care system. The National Quality Framework provides these building blocks through the National Quality Standard (7 quality areas), the National Law and Regulations (including qualifications, child to staff ratios and independent assessment and rating) and the approved learning frameworks.
The major contributing condition for high quality education and care is the skills and experience of the teacher/educator.
If Australia is to attract and retain more high quality early childhood teachers and educators, there needs to be a collective effort on behalf of all stakeholders and agencies to bring about positive change.
In this month’s newsletter, we provide the report to Education Council that resulted in the decision to develop a new national workforce strategy in partnership with stakeholders. We also share new resources – case studies and shared stories from the field – that will help you in your important role in the delivery of high quality early education and outside school hours care services.
Finally, and most importantly, Friday 30 October 2020 is Australia’s celebration of World Teachers' Day.
Congratulations to all the early childhood teachers in our services and schools on choosing such a vital stage in children’s learning journey. Thank you also for your dedication, courage and resilience this year. Our children will flourish because they have you.
In our last newsletter we shared our new Exceeding NQS guidance, including case studies offering practical guidance on what high quality practice may look like at a service. You can access these resources on our new Exceeding the NQS web page.
This page shares case studies such as this, which offers a practical example of high quality Assessment and Planning (Standard 1.3) practice in a school age education and care context:
At this inner city before and after school care program, educators wanted to improve their educational program planning process to ensure it reflected children’s strengths, interests and abilities. As a starting point they set up a working group, which included children and educators, to review the service’s enrolment form. This was to ensure it captured key information from children and families, to strengthen knowledge of and relationships with children and to inform their program decision-making. Read more.
We will continue to develop more case studies and want to make sure they are as informative and useful as possible. If you have read the case studies and have feedback to share, or ideas for high quality practice aligned with the Exceeding NQS quality rating that you think could be used in future case studies, please send an email to [email protected].
Last year we undertook research and analysis to identify the problems facing education and care providers in attracting and retaining high quality early childhood teachers and educators. Our report to governments identified multiple issues and challenges across a number of themes including retention, community perceptions, workforce capacity and leadership capability, and qualifications.
Developing a new national workforce strategy
At the end of last year, the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council endorsed the development of a national workforce strategy. In recognition that the complexity of workforce issues cannot be addressed by any one jurisdiction or organisation, the strategy will be developed and owned as a joint partnership between governments and the sector.
We have been asked to lead the development of the strategy and supporting action plan which is expected to be endorsed by Education Ministers in mid-2021.
Public consultation on the draft strategy will take place next year and there will be a range of opportunities to contribute. Subscribe to the ACECQA newsletter to stay informed about the development of the strategy.
We strive to continually improve the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) and its usability and we’re inviting feedback from users through the NQA ITS satisfaction survey.
The annual survey focuses on system usability, effectiveness of system guidance, and the quality of the support offered by our IT service desk.
If you are a registered user of the NQA ITS, you should have received a link to complete the survey via email. If you are a registered user and have not received your survey link, please contact us via email at [email protected].
We would appreciate getting your views through the survey.
Please note that the last day for completing the survey is Friday 4 December 2020.
While our Educational Leader Resource is reflective of all service types, additional guidance for educational leaders in family day care is now available in this recently released addendum. It brings to life the stories and experiences of educational leaders in family day care from around Australia.
We recognise that the role of the educational leader in family day care has unique aspects that provide challenges and opportunities worthy of recognition and celebration through its own addendum.
Each story in the addendum highlights a critical strategy that builds the effectiveness of educational leaders’ practice. The stories come from practitioners working in a diverse range of services and highlight practices that confirm the essential role of educational leaders in family day care.
The ideas and strategies outlined in the addendum speak directly to those in the educational leader role in family day care services, those who are considering taking on the role and those who support them.
Educational Leadership in Family Day Care: Stories from the Field is free to download from the ACECQA website to add to your existing Educational Leadership Resource. A second addendum is being developed for outside school hours care educational leaders.
Singleton Heights Pre School - delivering exceptional practice to children
Singleton Heights Pre School, New South Wales, has recently been awarded the Excellent rating. The service leaders, teachers and educators have established shared values that reflect the unique service context in a mining and defence town. These values and the professionalism of the service team have helped to steer the service’s continuous improvement journey.
A key service practice is resourcefulness. Developed over time, the service has been able to respond to challenges faced within their community, including drought and teen suicide. The service practice reflects the cultural and community context, and meaningful and committed relationships with children, families and the community have been established. In their application, the service demonstrated how these relationships help them to respond to community challenges and develop practices, long term programs and targeted training to support educators, children, families and the wider Singleton Heights community.
In response to the increasing demand from local families to enrol their children, the service successfully applied for funding to build an additional room. Children and families were involved in the design, and extensive consultation occurred with community members, local Aboriginal Elders and support services to ensure inclusive design features were included. After 12 months of planning, the service has welcomed access to an additional 20 children per day, many of whom were soon to start school and had not previously been able to access a preschool program.
The service has established a rehabilitation partnership with a local mining company. The partnership has a focus on promoting sustainable practices within the community. The service has established a greenhouse and every year is given planting materials and seedlings. Children care for seedlings which are then sold back to the company for regeneration planting, with profits from the sale of the seedlings going back to the service. Children have also assisted the company to plant the trees they initially grew. Children are provided regular updates about the planting rehabilitation program.
The resourcefulness of the service has also allowed them to improve their play and outdoor facilities by building a partnership with a local master craftsman. A local woodworker spent time with children to design and build outdoor furniture with local materials for their play space. The children’s interest in woodwork grew and the service further developed this partnership. Sourcing more funding, the children and craftsman designed and installed a woodworking shed equipped with woodworking tools and materials for children to create their own pieces.
We acknowledge the innovative and inspiring approach of Singleton Heights Pre School’s continuous improvement journey, resulting in the delivery of improved outcomes for the children, families, service and local community.
New operational activity data on skilled migration assessments
As part of our ongoing commitment to openness and transparency, we continue to make information publicly available about a number of our operational functions:
- Excellent rating applications
- qualification assessment applications
- second tier review applications.
We also publish data on skilled migration assessments – a function we commenced in late 2019.
As of 30 September 2020, we have received:
- 174 skilled migration assessment applications for the Child Care Centre Manager and Child Care Worker (Group Leaders only) occupations
- 673 provisional skills assessments for the Child Care Centre Manager occupation.
We will continue to publish detailed operational activity data (including applications by month, location and outcome) each quarter.
Quality early learning videos for families
We have commenced the rollout of a series of exciting quality early learning videos for families and the community about the importance, value and benefits of early childhood education and quality early learning.
Showcasing a number of education and care services around Australia, the suite of videos has been developed in line with six themes that highlight:
- children’s voices, agency and perspectives
- children’s development, including physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language skills
- the benefits of quality early learning
- the important role of parents and families
- the benefits of play-based learning, and
- connections and relationships between children, teachers, educators and families.
Topics explored in the most recent video releases include:
- Why are positive relationships important for early learning?
- Children’s ideas and opinions contribute to quality early learning
- Quality early learning values every child’s unique interests
These videos are ideal resources for conversations about quality early learning, development of children’s skills, relationships with parents and families, and your role as a professional educator.
For more information about these new and exciting quality early learning videos and resources to support your families, visit StartingBlocks.gov.au.