ACECQA Newsletter Issue 5 2016
The latest Snapshot report shows that more than three-quarters of children’s education and care services have received a quality rating under the National Quality Framework (NQF).
ACECQA Chief Executive Officer Karen Curtis said this was a significant achievement for the national assessment and rating system, with the number of quality rated services increasing by 42% over the past 12 months.
“The National Quality Standard raised the bar on quality and continuous improvement in children’s education and care, with 69% now rated ‘Meeting’ or ‘Exceeding’ the NQS compared with 66% 12 months ago,” Ms Curtis said.
For the first time the NQF Snapshot reports on changes in quality ratings for services which have been assessed more than once.
“I welcome the inclusion of reassessment data and the results that are coming through. Although few services have been reassessed to date, the results of these are overwhelmingly positive with 67% receiving an improved quality rating,” Ms Curtis said.
This is also the first time that an interactive online version of the NQF Snapshot is available for users to sort and search for information.
This Snapshot is the 13th report on the NQF, both the PDF and online version of the Snapshot are available on our website.
Family Day Care Australia has released the findings of the ‘Perspectives on quality in Australian family day care’ research that was conducted by the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Social Policy Research Centre.
The research, the first of its kind, examined the factors which influence the quality of a family day care service and explored the attributes that high quality services have in common.
Six family day care services participated in the research, which consisted of interviews with educators and parents, visits to services and analysis of what each had in common and how this could constitute best practice for the sector. Five of these services have been rated Exceeding under the National Quality Standard and the other, Wynnum Family Day Care and Education Service, was rated Excellent.
ACECQA’s Chief Executive Officer, Karen Curtis, spoke at the launch, congratulating FDCA and the services involved in the development of this important publication.
See photos from the launch on the Family Day Care Australia Facebook page.
Read ‘Perspectives on quality in Australian family day care’ on the UNSW Social Policy Research Centre website.
The assessment and rating process can be a nervous time for educators and providers.
To coincide with National Family Day Care Week we chatted to Eugenia Gabbiani, a family day care educator at the City of Casey in Victoria, about her experience and advice for educators.
Read more on We Hear You.
We have now passed the four-year mark since the first Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) were completed in April 2012. Services might be reviewing and updating their existing QIPs, thinking about developing a new plan or even submitting a QIP for the very first time as part of the assessment and rating process.
Review and reflection
Reviewing and reflecting on your QIP regularly throughout the year allows you to identify the strengths of your service, recognise and address the areas that need improvement against the National Quality Standard (NQS) and check compliance with regulatory requirements. To meet requirements and track quality improvements, a QIP should be reviewed and revised annually (see Regulation 56) and updated to reflect the results of the service’s assessment and rating visit.
Remember, you do not need to address all standards and elements of the NQS in the QIP. While you are encouraged to be as detailed and descriptive as you can about your strengths and improvement goals, the emphasis is on quality not quantity.
For new services, your QIP should be prepared within three months of your service approval and ready for submission to your regulatory authority on request.
Remember, there is no minimum or maximum length of the QIP. Information, guides and templates are all available on ACECQA’s website to get you started but there are many resources available, so feel free to explore and research to find the right template for your service. One example is the NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Directorate’s Quality Improvement Plan template developed for NSW services. Adopting a workbook approach, it steps services through their suggested approach for developing a QIP.
A collaborative approach
A QIP is designed to be a dynamic and evolving document. The journey of your service and how you create your QIP are part of the improvement process and provides an opportunity for your collaboration with and input from children, families, educators, staff members and the community. If your QIP is a living document, you will begin to notice that the focus will change and shift with time in response to your ongoing learning and the changing needs of your service.
Integrating other plans into your QIP
Many service providers also carry out other types of formal planning, for example, developing Inclusion Improvement Plans (IIP) and a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Developing or revising your QIP is also a good opportunity for you to think about the way you can integrate these plans and others into your service. Each of these planning tools complement one another and assist planning for change and promoting continuous improvement through a reflective planning cycle. Each plan encourages educators to reflect on and enhance their practices in line with approved learning frameworks. Both the IIP and the RAP can assist your service to achieve inclusion related goals from the QIP and inform quality improvement across each of the quality areas. See the below links for further guidance.
The next step
Following the development and revision of your plan, remember to keep the momentum going with regular reviews and updates. Your QIP not only allows you to track your improvements and goals but it is also a plan that tracks your strengths and progress, which should be recognised, shared and celebrated.
Further reading and resources
- ACECQA – Quality Improvement Plans
- Community Child Care Co-operative – Writing a Quality Improvement Plan
- National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program – The quality improvement process
- National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program – Self-assessment, reflective practice and quality improvement processes
- Gowrie South Australia – Continuous cycle of improvement
- ACECQA – National Education Leader: Reflecting on and planning for inclusion
- Reconciliation Australia – Narragunnawali
- KU Children’s Services / Include Me – IIP Information and Resources
- KU Children’s Services / Include Me – The Inclusion Improvement Plan (IIP) Guide
- KU Children’s Services – IIP videos
Digital technologies have become an integral part of many children’s education and care services. Increasingly, educators are using technologies not only to plan for, extend, and document children’s learning, but also to share information and engage with families through websites, text messages, social media and more.
While talking in person is almost always the best way to build relationships and make families feel welcome, there’s no one size fits all approach. Some parents may have specific needs and preferences for accessing information, and educators should be flexible to this. Distance, disability, disadvantage, language barriers and work commitments are all things that may affect a family’s ability to engage.
The Digital Business Kit is an Early Childhood Australia resource helping educators to make the most of interactive technologies. Module 4 on engaging families has plenty of information to assist services to get started and be smart online. There is information on text, email, electronic newsletters and intranets, as well as what to consider for social media policies and more.
Link to the NQS
- Consider the following reflective questions around standard 6.1 when planning for and developing respectful and supportive relationships with families.
- How do we facilitate communication with families who have specific or diverse communication needs?
- How can we find out if our communication strategies are reaching all families?
- What strategies are in place for information sharing between families, educators and coordinators, during orientation, settling in and on an ongoing basis?
- How can we listen to families and include their perspectives in the educational program?
- How do we encourage families to contribute to service activities and to their child’s experiences in ways that are meaningful for them?
ACECQA reached 20,000 likes on our Facebook page in late April and we would like to thank everyone who has helped us to build such a strong community.
Our page is a source of information, advice and news for educators, directors, coordinators, service providers and families. Recent posts include:
- Practical ideas for programming
- Advice on how educational programs can foster cultural awareness and honour diversity
- Thinking about the Early Years Learning Framework.
To mark this milestone and ensure we continue to provide valuable content, we want to hear from people who have visited our Facebook page or subscribed to our email newsletter (or both). The survey is completely anonymous, should take less than five minutes and can be completed here.
Early childhood teachers in NSW need to provide the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) with evidence of their ACECQA approved or recognised qualification and a current Working with Children Check clearance before 18 July 2016 to meet new compulsory accreditation requirements.
See the BOSTES website for information about how to do this.
The Victorian Government has launched a research trial, Every Toddler Talking, to help babies and children develop their communication, language and social skills.
Investigating the link between these skills and success in later life, the two-phase trial provides early childhood educators with evidence-based strategies to help children aged under three. Phase two of the trial is currently being tested in 21 early childhood education and care services across the state.
See the Victoria Government website for more information.
Bookings are open for our Victorian workshops focusing on agency of the child and the remaining NSW workshops focusing on educational leadership.
Led by ACECQA’s National Education Leader in partnership with local Professional Support Coordinators and regulatory authority staff, the free sessions are open to all educators and providers.
Register on our National Workshops page.
The fee is payable in full for all service approvals held by the provider regardless of any subsequent transfers, suspensions or closures.
Contact your regulatory authority for more information.