ACECQA Newsletter Issue 2 2018

Close-up of soap bubble and red wand.

Changes to the NQS commence in all states and territories  

From tomorrow, education and care services will be assessed and rated against the 2018 National Quality Standard (NQS).

What’s new and what can you do to prepare?

The 2018 NQS uses clearer language with the same focus on quality education and care. The number of standards has been reduced from 18 to 15, and the elements from 58 to 40.

There is a new rule for determining the Exceeding NQS rating for quality areas. All standards within a quality area must be rated Exceeding NQS for that quality area to be rated Exceeding NQS.

There is also new guidance for services and assessors on determining the Exceeding NQS rating for standards. From today, this new guidance will be used in quality rating assessments. Familiarise yourself with the three Exceeding themes and find out more in the National Quality Standard and Assessment and Rating chapter in the Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF). 

Education and care services should also consider updating Quality Improvement Plans (QIP) to the 2018 NQS. QIPs must be updated at least annually and are taken into account in determining rating levels. Download an optional template.

Information sheets and resources | ACECQA Newsletter | Visit your regulatory authority website | Frequently Asked Questions | Summary of changes

New website

To coincide with the implementation of the 2018 NQS, ACECQA has refreshed its website. The website offers a better user experience when accessing information about ACECQA and the NQF.

Contact the Enquires team if you cannot find the information you need. We welcome your feedback, comments and enquiries: [email protected] or 1300 422 327.    

Are you exceeding the 2018 National Quality Standard? 

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 2: Exceeding NQS logo

From 1 February 2018, new guidance on determining the Exceeding National Quality Standard (NQS) rating level for standards will apply to quality rating assessments.

This month on We Hear You, we explore how evidence will be assessed, including how services will need to demonstrate the three Exceeding themes for each standard to be rated Exceeding NQS.

National Partnership Annual Performance Report

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 3: Little boy playing on cup stilts

The National Partnership on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care requires ACECQA to publish an annual performance report in collaboration with all governments.

The report, one of two to be produced, analyses progress made against the objectives and outcomes of the National Partnership.

The eight chapters of the report are:

  1. Safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care services
  2. Educational and developmental outcomes for children
  3. Social inclusion and children from vulnerable and disadvantaged backgrounds
  4. Families’ and general public knowledge and access to information about education and care service quality
  5. Efficiency and cost effectiveness of the regulation of education and care services
  6. Regulatory burden for education and care service providers
  7. Skilled education and care workforce
  8. Governance.

The report describes achievements and performance trends for each objective and outcome, and draws on information from a range of sources, including the National Quality Agenda IT SystemAustralian Early Development CensusNational Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Census, families research undertaken by the Australian Government and ACECQA, and regulatory burden research undertaken by ACECQA.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Education and care service providers across Australia have demonstrated a commitment to continuous quality improvement, with the National Quality Framework continuing to be highly regarded by providers.
  • The proportion of services Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard has increased over time, at both the overall quality level and for each of the seven quality areas.
  • With more than 14,000 education and care services having a publicly available quality rating, it is apparent the NQS is achievable for all service types in all geographic and socio-economic areas.

The recent changes to the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations address some issues referred to in the report. The report also has implications for governments and ACECQA about the need for more effective communication with families and the Australian public about the importance of high quality education and care, and the difference it can make in optimising children’s learning and development.

The hardest question in early childhood: Raising the profile

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 4: Two small children talking with a female educator

Given the importance of the early years in the development of children, how is it that early childhood education and care doesn’t have a higher profile in Australia?

ACECQA General Manager, Strategy, Communications and Consistency, Michael Petrie, explores the importance of early childhood education and care, and reflects on the communication challenges impacting the public value of the sector and its educators on We Hear You.

Guide to the National Quality Framework 

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 5: Paint brushes in a pot next to a pallet

The new Guide to the National Quality Framework can now be ordered in hard copy via the ACECQA secure online payment portal system.

While the option to order a copy is available, ACECQA encourages the use of the online PDF as it is possible some updates could be made in the future (notification of updates will be provided in the ACECQA Newsletter).

Minor updates have recently been made to reflect the revised National Quality Standard (NQS) which will commence in all states and territories, including Western Australia, from 1 February 2018. Some regulation references have also changed.

There is new guidance on notifying physical or sexual abuse, registering or engaging family day care educators, and guidance on family day care venue approvals. Small changes have been made to the titling of the NQS and Assessment and Rating chapter, and the Operational Requirements chapter, making it easier to read (previously titled Part A and Part B).

The Guide supports providers to adapt operations to the 2018 NQS and includes information on:

  • applications and approvals
  • the 2018 NQS and guidance on the Exceeding rating level
  • the assessment and rating process
  • operational requirements
  • regulatory authority powers.

For more information about the NQF and 2018 NQS, read the Guide and download guidance materials, information sheets and resources on the ACECQA website. 

Transitioning to the 2018 National Quality Standard 

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 6: Three little girls playing with sketch pad on an easel

Education and care services and providers are preparing for the 2018 National Quality Standard (NQS). Your service’s current Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) will continue to be valid after 1 February 2018. QIPs can be requested by the regulatory authority at any time and must be reviewed and updated at least annually. For more information, download the Transitioning to the revised NQS information sheet.

You may wish to use the QIP template (available from the ACECQA website) when updating your service’s QIP to reflect the standards and elements in the 2018 NQS and updated National Law and Regulations.  

SkillsIQ training package review   

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 7: Skills IQ logo

The Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) has commissioned SkillsIQ to review six children’s education and care qualifications, including the national Certificate III and Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care. We would encourage employers, educators and staff at registered training organisations (RTOs) to take the opportunity to provide feedback on the training package.

The national consultation is open until 14 February 2018 and includes forums, webinars and opportunities for online feedback.

More information is available on the SkillsIQ website

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