ACECQA Newsletter Issue 7 2018

Female educator sitting with three children playing at a sand-pit desk

The important role of the educational leader

The Guide to the National Quality Framework identifies that an educational leader who has adequate time and support to perform their role will be able to focus on delivering quality practice and improvements for children and their families (Standard 7.2).

The National Quality Framework (NQF) recognises the uniqueness of each service, educator and leadership team and community and allows for creativity and innovation in meeting the standards, while recognising the role may vary from service to service. It is recognised that the person who holds the title of the educational leader may also undertake the roles of nominated supervisor, the director/coordinator, or the approved provider. How the educational leader role plays out in practice may also be influenced by the service size, type and the location. While there are many variations to consider, the responsibilities of the educational leader are clear in the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the National Regulations.

Educational leaders have the important role of leading educators in the development and implementation of an educational program and assessment and planning cycle, as well as leading the educator team’s reflection on their practice to identify opportunities for improvement.

In this article, we will begin to explore some opportunities and models the educational leader can implement to assist in meeting expectations and managing competing roles, tasks and responsibilities within the education and care service.


Effective leadership is vital to the success and quality of an education and care service. Your approach to leadership may differ between the leadership roles you hold within a service. For example, the way a nominated supervisor leads the service through compliance processes will differ to how a director or coordinator undertakes performance reviews. In considering your leadership style as an educational leader, it is important to think about:

  • being inclusive
  • identifying and acknowledging the individual strengths of educators and building on those strengths
  • empowering educators and identifying opportunities for them to succeed
  • being open to learning and other ways of knowing and doing while keeping up to date with changes to research and best practice approaches
  • setting a positive example to drive continuous improvement
  • acting as a mentor, supporting, encouraging, affirming and challenging pedagogy and practice in the role of a critical friend (Waniganayake et al, 2017).

There are many strategies you can implement to be effective as an educational leader if you also hold other roles such as the nominated supervisor.

Each role plays an important part in the service, and each role comes with its own complexities. Emerging research, reflected within the NQS, recognises that for an educational leader to be successful in contributing to quality outcomes for children and educators, they need to be supported in their role. One way to be effective as an educational leader while undertaking other leadership roles might be to consider the implementation of a distributed leadership model within the education and care service. 

Distributed leadership

Distributed leadership allows an educational leader to build on individual educator’s strengths and skills, while also being supported as they undertake the tasks associated with the role. This leadership model also supports the development of a culture of a shared pedagogical approach and the promotion of a positive organisational culture and professional learning community.

An educational leader holds the responsibility of leading the development and implementation of an effective educational program in the service. Recognising and understanding an educator’s strengths, and understandings of learning theories and styles, will allow the educational leader to develop the educator’s professional skills and confidence.

Prompts to guide distributed leadership

  • What tasks do you think may be shared with others within the service to ensure the effective implementation of a quality educational program?
    • Who does this need to be discussed with before assigning these tasks?
    • What are the benefits of sharing these tasks with others in the educator team?
  • Have you considered the strengths of individual educators within the service? Think about the educators who have the attributes, interest and skills, or the capacity to further develop their skills, to:
    • be a mentor to other educators in their approach to programming and documenting children’s learning
    • research professional development opportunities for educators
    • collaborate with educators to guide them through the approved learning framework
    • develop experiences and events for children to maximise their learning
    • support educators to understand all steps of the planning cycle
    • collaborate with families about individual children’s needs to ensure inclusive practices are effectively implemented
    • establish and build a collaborative and meaningful relationship with your local community, including your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Communication is key in informing others of the intent of the educational leader and undertaking the distributed leadership model. Ongoing and open communication between the educational leader, educators, the approved provider, the nominated supervisor and others within the service leadership team will ensure the effective implementation of the model.

  • What communication systems will you need to put in place to ensure educators clearly understand expectations and responsibilities and tasks are being completed across locations or within an individual service?
    • How can you communicate effectively with those you have shared tasks with?
    • How can they communicate with you, to provide feedback, updates, pose questions, or seek further guidance on the task you have assigned to them?

The distribution of leadership model will allow an educational leader to demonstrate how they are leading the educator team in working collaboratively and effectively together in the development of the curriculum/program. It will support educators to develop skills, knowledge and confidence and demonstrate how the service team is building high expectations for teaching and learning. It also allows educators to demonstrate how they, as individuals, are an active member of a team that consistently delivers an educational program that sets high expectations for each children’s learning (2018 NQS, Quality Area 7).

While the role of the educational leader is clearly defined within the 2018 NQS, finding ways to balance this role with others you may hold will take time to develop. Remember that taking the time to invest in your own professional development and think about the connection between your various roles, to critically reflect on your own practice and leadership approach or model will help you build these quality improvements.

Further reading and resources

ACECQA – Information sheet – The role of the educational leader

ACECQA – Information sheet – Educational leadership and team building

Gowrie Australia (2012) Issue on leadership and pedagogy, Reflections, no. 49.

Gowrie South Australia research summary – Team building

Lewis, J. & Hill, J. (2012) ‘What does leadership look like in early childhood settings?’, Every Child, vol. 18, no. 4.

Waniganayake, M., Cheeseman, S., Fenech, M., Hadley, F., & Shepherd, W. (2017) Leadership: Contexts and complexities in early childhood education, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne.

We Hear You – Quality Area 7 – Something in it for everyone

Developing Narragunnawali Reconciliation Action Plans and Exceeding the National Quality Standard

Male Aboriginal educator talking to a group of children sitting around an outdoor fire

Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) are formal statements of commitment to reconciliation that provide a framework for actively valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. But how can your service’s RAP also allow you to effectively engage with the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the three Exceeding NQS themes? Reconciliation Australia talks to We Hear You about a number of approaches and strategies.

Administrative burden perception survey

Little girl looking at items in a bowl through a magnifying glass

All approved providers of education and care services are again invited to complete an administrative burden perception survey. This is the fifth time ACECQA has run this survey to identify changes in the perception of regulatory burden experienced by approved providers over time. The survey asks providers about their perceptions of burden associated with the administrative requirements under the National Quality Framework (NQF). Providers will be able to complete the confidential survey until Friday 20 July.

The results of the research will be included in a report on the performance of the NQF and published, subject to endorsement by Education Ministers.

If you are an approved provider, you should have been emailed a link to complete the survey. Only one person from each approved provider should complete this survey.

If you are an approved provider and you and your colleagues have not received your survey link, please contact [email protected]

New Quest for Quality knowledge game extension pack

Exceeding National Quality Standard logo

Are you looking for a fun and engaging way to find out more about the Exceeding National Quality Standard (NQS) rating level?

Building on our Quest for Quality knowledge game, the new extension pack explores the Exceeding NQS rating and the Exceeding NQS themes.

The extension pack features a range of questions, activities and scenarios to help you reflect on, improve and describe your service’s practice in relation to the Exceeding NQS themes.

The extension pack is available now to print as a free download (or for purchase in the coming weeks) on the ACECQA website.

Updating your details in the NQA IT System

Four outside school hours care boys using a computer

Do you need a refresher on how to update your provider or service information on the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA IT System)?

Approved providers can notify their state or territory regulatory authority of any changes via the NQA IT System.

Online forms can be submitted against your provider or service once you have registered and logged into the NQA IT System

If you need to resume updating a saved form, click on Saved Forms and select the form. Modify the contents as needed following the instructions through to submission. (Note: Once a form has been submitted, it cannot be updated again.)

More information is available on the ACECQA website and in our Getting Started Online guidance.

More services join the Excellent rating list

Excellent rating logo

The Excellent rating, which is awarded by ACECQA and the highest rating an education and care service can achieve, recognises services for their exceptional practice and outstanding commitment to improving quality outcomes and meeting the unique needs of their children and families. It is an opportunity for the sector to celebrate excellence, promote the value of education and care, and draw inspiration from accomplished practice, continuous innovation and creativity.

The following nine services have achieved the Excellent rating during the first half of 2018:

Additionally, Uniting Preschool Grafton was successful in their reapplication, with the service being awarded the Excellent rating for a second time.

ACECQA congratulates these services on their outstanding achievement.

More information about the Excellent rating and how to apply is available on the ACECQA website.

Annual fee invoices issued

Cane baskets filled with pencils and rulers

All providers should have received their annual fee invoices via email for the 2018-19 financial year. Providers who have not received their invoice can view and pay it by logging into the National Quality Agenda IT System.

Fees for the 2018-19 financial year are payable in full for all service approvals held by the provider regardless of any subsequent transfers, suspensions or closures.

The complete list of indexed prescribed fees can be found on the ACECQA website. If you have any questions, contact your regulatory authority

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