ACECQA Newsletter Issue 2 2023
Welcome to our February newsletter.
This month, we continue sharing new resources and information to help you navigate ‘what is new’ in your busy and important roles. The start of a new year is always particularly hectic as new children, families and staff are welcomed into your service and so information and resources in our monthly newsletter have been designed to help prepare and remind you of changes as the year progresses.
The planned updates to the National Quality Framework (NQF), following the 2019 Review of the NQF, will occur over the next several months and, this month, we cover the transportation requirements update. As a foundation for new staff and a refresh for experienced staff, we also provide a reminder about our NQF Induction Program and the link to our resources that explain your obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
Last month, we were pleased to release the refreshed approved learning frameworks on behalf of all governments and with thanks to the dynamic consortium of experts from Macquarie University, Edith Cowan University and the Queensland University of Technology. The refreshed approved learning frameworks will replace the originals from January 2024 so this calendar year is the opportunity for teachers and educators to consider the changes and additions.
Our suite of resources explains these with the important message that teachers and educators can be assured that the approved learning frameworks are fundamentally the same: ‘refreshed’ components reflect the programs and practices already happening in high quality services around the country and there is also strong alignment between the updated frameworks and the new Australian Curriculum in relation to terminology and language, learning priorities, outcomes and learning area. This alignment supports continuity and amplification of children and young people’s learning, development and wellbeing as they transition between early childhood education, school and school age education and care settings.
Our StartingBlocks.gov.au website has been created to help families both navigate and enrich their roles as their child’s first teachers, be confident in choosing a service that will best meet needs and circumstances, and understand the complex role and responsibilities services have for their children’s optimal wellbeing, development and education. We highlight the website each month so that you can discuss it with your families when the opportunity arises.
Also this month, we share great news about the high quality of approved services in Australia. Internationally, Australia has long been regarded as a leader in establishing the NQF and the quality of approved early education and outside school hours care services. Our latest quarterly NQF Snapshot finds 89% of approved services are rated Meeting National Quality Standard or above. Please take a look at the NQF Snapshot and celebrate with your teams and families. A great achievement despite the last few turbulent years and evidence of your professional dedication and practice.
Approved learning frameworks resources
On 23 January 2023, we released new resources explaining the updates to the refreshed national approved learning frameworks, including an overview of changes online video.
The updates to both framework documents comprise a mix of clarifications and expanded explanations across parts of the original approved learning frameworks, and a smaller number of more substantial changes, including the addition of three new principles and updated practices across all relevant aspects of V2.0 of both national frameworks:
- Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF V2.0)
- My Time Our Place: Framework for school age care in Australia (MTOP V2.0)
The updates strengthen the connection between the national approved learning frameworks and the National Quality Standard in areas such as transitions, sustainability, theoretical approaches, critical reflection, inclusion and embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of being, knowing and doing across all aspects of education and care practice.
The following resources will assist providers and their services transition to the EYLF V2.0 and MTOP V2.0:
- Information Sheet – Approved learning frameworks overview
- Overview of changes online video
- ‘What’s changed?’ fact sheet for the EYLF V2.0
- ‘What’s changed?’ fact sheet for MTOP V2.0
- Approved learning frameworks Update FAQs
- Mapping the updated EYLF to V9 Australian Curriculum
- Mapping the updated MTOP to V9 Australian Curriculum
Free additional supporting materials will be developed and made available by governments and ACECQA throughout 2023 to support the transition to the national approved learning frameworks V2.0.Printed copies of the EYLF V2.0 and MTOP V.20 will be available for purchase soon.
New transportation requirements and other changes from 1 March
As advised in our last edition, new regulatory requirements will apply to centre-based services providing regular transportation from 1 March 2023. We have published new guidance information and resources on the ACECQA website to support implementation of these new requirements:
- Information sheet – Changes to regular transportation of children
- Information sheet – Minimising the risk of children left in vehicles
- Information sheet - Guidance for adequate supervision during transportation
- Safe Transportation of Children Safety Checklist and regular transportation record form
We will also be publishing amendments to the national policy and procedure guidelines and updates to the Guide to the National Quality Framework on 1 March 2023.
Approved providers of centre-based services will now be required to notify their regulatory authority when starting or ceasing to provide regular transport. This can be done through the NQA IT System from 1 March 2023. Step-by-step guidance on how to make transport notification submissions will be made available on the ACECQA website.
National Quality Framework induction program
To support new teachers and educators to build their understanding of the National Quality Framework (NQF), we have developed an easy to use NQF Induction Package which includes:
The package can be used by experienced teachers and educators to refresh knowledge and understanding of the NQF in promoting children’s health, safety, wellbeing, development and learning, and help in mentoring and supporting new team members.
There are four eLearning modules with each covering a different aspect of the NQF:
- Introduction to the children’s education and care sector
- Overview of the NQF
- Law and Regulations
- National Quality Standard
It may be helpful to add these free resources to your service’s Induction or Orientation information package. They can be accessed from the ACECQA website.
Next update to the Guide to the NQF due 1 March
As well as content updates to explain the new transportation requirements and national approved learning frameworks, we will continue to provide the latest updates to the Guide to the NQF on our website.
As there will be sequential updates to the Guide to the NQF to reflect the introduction of NQF Review changes later in 2023, we encourage you to use the online version of the Guide to the NQF. This will ensure that you will be referring to, and using, the latest authorised version.
Resources to build understanding of the DDA
Equity, inclusion and diversity underpin the National Quality Framework (NQF) and are embedded throughout the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the approved learning frameworks. The NQF promotes the view that every child has the right to participate and be included in all aspects of community life, including through education and care.
On the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) resources page of our website there is a suite of resources to support approved providers, service leaders, teachers, educators and staff to understand and fulfill their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). We encourage all children’s education and care services to use these free DDA resources.
In the coming months, we are planning to release two additional resources:
- the DDA Team Meeting Package provides six self-paced team meeting sessions to help services to unpack disability discrimination, reflect on current practice and plan for continuous improvement.
- the DDA Recruitment and Induction Package focuses on the importance of recruiting for mindset as well as developing accessible recruitment processes in your service.
89% of children's education and care services meeting or exceeding standards
Standards of children’s education and care services continue to rise. Our latest quarterly NQF Snapshot finds 89% of approved services are rated Meeting National Quality Standard (NQS) or above – the highest proportion since quality ratings began in 2012. The report summarises quality rating results and other information about education and care services operating under the National Quality Framework (NQF).
There has been a marked rise in the proportion of services rated Meeting NQS and above since quality ratings were first published – from 56% in 2013 to 89% today. There has been a two-percentage point increase in the past year alone, reflecting the coordinated efforts of approved providers, teachers, educators and other service staff to improve programs and practices to deliver better outcomes for children and families.
Additional figures providing more detailed analysis continue to be added to the Online Snapshot. These include the number of services approved under the NQF and the proportion rated Meeting NQS, Exceeding NQS or above over time as well as the number and proportion of long day care services with a staffing waiver.
Public information about quality
The NQF Evaluation Framework provides an agreed way for governments to understand how the National Quality Framework (NQF) is meeting its objectives. It also gives governments and all sector stakeholders a common reference point when considering research activities in the spirit of continuous quality improvement.
Our research and evaluation activities align to one or more of the objectives of the NQF.
This month, we focus on Objective 5 of the NQF:
- To improve public knowledge and access to information about the quality of education and care services
We continue to contribute evidence to improve public knowledge and understanding of quality programs and practice in approved services including through:
- NQF Annual Performance Reports
- results from our quantitative and qualitative families research are available in the 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 editions of this report. We plan to run another quantitative families survey in mid-2023, with results reported in the 2023 NQF Annual Performance Report
- Families Research Project Pilot Study 2014 (Hall & Partners Research)
- We commissioned this research to inform the creation of our family focused website, StartingBlocks.gov.au
- Families Qualitative Research Project 2018 (Hall & Partners Research)
- the results of this commissioned qualitative research explored themes including influences on parents’ and carers’ selection of a service and provided feedback on the evolution of StartingBlocks.gov.au.
Universities, research institutions, governments and other stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the NQF evidence base by commissioning, undertaking or supporting research in line with the NQF Evaluation Framework.
You can find out more on our Research and reports page, which also provides a wide range of NQF related research and evidence.
Most popular resources for families in 2022
Our website for families, Startingblocks.gov.au, has been providing useful information and resources for families about quality early education and care since 2015 and has grown to become the one free national government website for families to find quality services.
The most popular resources on StartingBlocks.gov.au in 2022 were:
- Find Child care
- Fees Estimator
- The importance of play in children’s learning and development
- Your child’s development 3-5 years
- Service quality ratings
We encourage services to continue sharing these popular free resources with families to support them as their children develop and grow.
Significant days in March
Children belong to and are active agents in their local communities and our democratic society. March is packed with occasions that provide opportunities to acknowledge and celebrate events that link children and their families to our wide and diverse culture. Here are some links you may find helpful:
- World Wildlife Day (3 March)
- International Women’s Day – Embrace Equity (8 March)
- National Close the Gap Day (16 March)
- International Day of Happiness (20 March)
- Harmony Week (20 to 26 March)
- Earth Hour (25 March)