ACECQA Newsletter Issue 6 2019

Educator with children outside winter sandpit

 

ACECQA CEO Foreword

Welcome to the June Newsletter.

In this edition, we’re sharing some good news about how the world sees children’s education and care quality improvements in Australia, and asking for your help in our ongoing quality journey.

Rhonda Livingstone, our National Education Leader, shares her reflections on the interest we have received from many countries about how Australian services have achieved quality improvement.

Many educators and staff have brought to our attention the challenges in staying up to date with what is happening in the national quality system.  We thought a good place to start might be reminding you ‘who does what’ in our sector - we have a short quiz for you and your teams.

We also want to increase the effectiveness of our support for families and help them grow their understanding of the importance of children’s development and high quality education and care. We’re seeking your help in encouraging families to participate in our survey just for them – please see the details below. In this newsletter, you will also find information on the National Quality Framework Evaluation Framework we have developed as well as a workforce and sector resources survey open to educators, and in particular teachers  in early education and care settings.

As always, please share any articles with others who you think would be interested.


How well do you know the National Quality Framework?

Close up hero shot girl outdoors

The National Quality Framework (NQF) was developed as a result of an agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children.

At ACECQA, we play an important role in assisting governments in implementing the NQF.

 

The NQF includes:

  • National Law and National Regulations
  • National Quality Standard
  • Assessment and quality rating process
  • Approved learning frameworks.

To help you understand the NQF and what we do, we’ve put together a short true/false quiz for you to try. The answers are at the bottom of the newsletter. Give it a try now!

Question 1: ACECQA works with Australian and state and territory governments to monitor and promote the consistent application of the Education and Care Services National Law. True or false?

Question 2: ACECQA assists services and regulatory authorities by publishing resources such as the Guide to the NQF and the quarterly NQF snapshots. True or false?

Question 3: ACECQA assesses and rates services against the National Quality Standard (NQS). True or false?

Question 4: The NQS includes 7 quality areas that contribute to quality outcomes for children. True or false?

Question 5: Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework. True or false?

To find out more visit our website and stay tuned to our future newsletters for more opportunities to build your knowledge of the NQF.  

On our website you will also find an interactive activity that you can use to build your (and your team’s) knowledge of the NQF and roles and responsibilities of key organisations, such as ACECQA.  Why not download a copy of our NQF – Who Does What resource to prompt discussion and have some fun at your next team meeting?


The NQF and Australia’s national quality system recognised internationally

Child outside in snow Canada

The commitment and effort of the Australian children’s education and care sector in implementing the National Quality Framework (NQF) and improving outcomes for children and families is gaining recognition internationally. With almost four out of every five quality rated services holding a rating of Meeting National Quality Standard or above, and more than two thirds of services initially rated as Working Towards NQS improving the rating at reassessment, the sector has a lot to be proud of and we have a positive and inspirational story of continual quality improvement to share and celebrate.

Recently, ACECQA has hosted delegations from Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and Germany eager to learn more about the NQF. As well as contributing a video presentation to a quality standards conference in USA, we have also accepted invitations to showcase the NQF and Australia’s quality improvement journey from the:

  • Canadian Government (February 2019, Early Learning and Child Care Data and Research Conference, Ontario)
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) (April 2019, Technical expert meeting to review draft global standards for nutrition and physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for early childhood education and care settings, Temuco, Chile)
  • Shanghai Municipal Education Commission (July 2019, Early Childhood Education Training Program for Preschool Directors, Shanghai).
  • Brazilian Association of Educational Evaluation (ABAVE) (August 2019, The Educational Assessment in Brazil: the challenges of reaching quality standards, São Paulo)

In Canada, we participated in the conference hosted by Canadian Government Ministers. The Australian NQF journey and experiences were shared on a panel with experts from Norway, Quebec and the OECD in a session focusing on promising practices in early learning and care.

Of most interest to participants was that Australia had successfully implemented a national system of quality assurance paying attention to both structural quality (for example educator to child ratios and qualifications) and process quality (for example relationships between educators and children and the educational program and practices) to ensure positive outcomes for children and their families.

The visit also included time spent in a centre for Inuit children and families in Ottawa and a centre in Quebec (Inuit refers to members of the Indigenous peoples of Northern Canada).  While there were many similarities (for example issues related to workforce planning), there were also some differences between our two countries, as the photo above suggests. 


ACECQA Board extends recognition as an ‘equivalent early childhood teacher’

Educator with child outside

In June 2019 the ACECQA Board decided to extend an existing transitional measure that recognises registered/accredited primary school teachers who have completed an approved diploma (or higher) education and care qualification as equivalent early childhood teachers until the end of 2021.

The Board’s decision to extend the arrangement responds to ongoing workforce pressures and challenges, particularly in rural and remote areas, experienced in a number of states and territories.

The ACECQA Board agreed that a person who holds all of the following will continue to be recognised as an ‘equivalent early childhood teacher’:

  • 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)
  • 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 2021, this transitional measure is scheduled to cease, however educators who have obtained this combination of qualifications before the end of 2021 will continue to be recognised under this provision.

More information about this decision is available on the ACECQA website.


Evaluating the National Quality Framework  

Colourful pencils in tins on table

We developed the National Quality Framework (NQF) evaluation framework in collaboration with the Australian and state and territory governments to provide an agreed way of understanding how the NQF is meeting its objectives. This gives governments a common reference point when considering research activities.

Universities, research institutions, governments, and stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to the NQF evidence base by commissioning and undertaking research in line with the NQF evaluation framework.

Our own research and evaluation activities align to one or more of the objectives of the NQF, contributing evidence in answer to the key questions in the evaluation framework. This is detailed in our 2017-2021 research and evaluation strategy and implementation plan.

You can find out more on our Research and reports page, which also provides a wide range of NQF-related research and evidence.


Families’ survey

Families interacting with educator

Following on from our 2017 survey, this year’s survey will help us understand more about the factors families consider when choosing an education and care service for their child and the information they use to make their decision.

The survey is for both current and prospective users of education and care services, including preschool / kindergarten, long day care, family day care and outside school hours care services.

The results will also help us improve the information and guidance materials we provide.

The survey is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Please encourage families to participate by sending them the link.

The survey is open until Monday 22 July 2019.

If you have any questions, email research@acecqa.gov.au.


Workforce and sector resources survey

Educators around a table having discussion

We want to hear from educators and in particular teachers to understand more about the workforce in our sector, including how you find and use information and resources about the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Your answers will help ACECQA and governments inform future workforce planning, and improve the information and resources about the NQF.

The survey is anonymous and takes about 10 minutes to complete.

We encourage all educators, approved providers and employers at services to have their say and complete the survey, which is open until Monday 22 July 2019.

If you have any questions, email research@acecqa.gov.au.


Starting Blocks resources for your families and communities

Educator playing with baby

ACECQA’s family focused website, Starting Blocks, has a range of free, downloadable resources that provide useful information and tips for families. All the fact sheets and infographics on the website are available as easily accessible web pages and printable PDFs. 

Recently, Starting Blocks has published the following resources that can be shared with your families:

  • A brief guide to the Assessment and Rating process – this information sheet provides an overview of how children’s education and care services are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard (NQS) and answers a range of questions that families may have about this process.
  • Reading with preschoolers – this resource provides insight into the benefits of reading to children and how this helps prepare children to learn to read when they start school.
  • Family Day Care or Centre-Based Care (Long Day Care) – which one to choose? – this resource tackles key questions that families may have when deciding which type of education and care service their children should attend.

To access these resources and other information and tips to share with families, visit the Starting Blocks website.


Answers - How well do you know the National Quality Framework?

Boy selecting book from book shelf

Below are the answers to the 'How well do you know the National Quality Framework' quiz. 

Question 1: ACECQA works with Australian and state and territory governments to monitor and promote the consistent application of the Education and Care Services National Law. True or false?

Answer: True – ACECQA does do this!

Question 2: ACECQA assists services and regulatory authorities by publishing resources such as the Guide to the NQF and the quarterly NQF snapshots. True or false?

Answer: True – ACECQA does do this!

Question 3: ACECQA assesses and rates services against the National Quality Standard (NQS). True or false?

Answer: False – the Regulatory Authority in each state and territory is responsible for this.

Question 4: The NQS includes 7 quality areas that contribute to quality outcomes for children. True or false?

Answer: True – the 7 quality areas of the NQS are: Educational program and practice, Children’s health and safety, Physical environment, Staffing arrangements, Relationships with children, Collaborative partnerships with families and communities, Governance and leadership.

Question 5: Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework. True or false?

Answer: True – more information can be found on the Approved learning frameworks page on our website.