ACECQA Newsletter Issue 7 2019
Welcome to the July Newsletter.
International research continues to be clear about the vital importance of well qualified, experienced and dedicated educators in building high quality education systems – from early childhood, through school and on to the post-secondary and tertiary sectors.
At ACECQA, we see high quality early childhood education and care services attracting and supporting their educators through induction, in-service professional development, workforce conditions and professional guidance. These services reap so much in return including long staff tenures which have enabled close attachments with children and rewarding relationships between educators, local families and communities.
However, the sector has spoken of the challenges in recruiting qualified educators and Early Childhood Teachers to meet growing demand particularly in some states and territories.
In this edition, we are pleased to share information to help services to address these challenges in the shorter term and also for them to share with families to keep growing understanding about the value of quality early childhood education and care for their young children.
The image above was taken recently at a preschool for children with hearing impairments. It reflects the importance of inclusiveness in services and illustrates the positivity and strength inherent in children. We hope this image will both inspire and help you reflect on how you empower the children at your service.
As always, I hope these articles are of interest to you and your fellow educators.
On 28 June 2019, State, Territory and Australian Education Ministers agreed to extend a number of transitional workforce provisions to address the ongoing challenges faced by the children’s education and care sector in building a highly skilled workforce, particularly in rural and remote areas. The regulations that have been extended are listed in the table below.
Please note: None of these provisions apply in Victoria and Regulation 242 does not apply in NSW if you are working in a centre-based service educating and caring for 30 or more children preschool age or under.
The decision to extend these provisions also considers the requirement from 1 January 2020 in all states and territories, except NSW, that providers of centre-based services have a second early childhood teacher or a ‘suitably qualified person’ in attendance when 60 or more children preschool age or under are being cared for.
To ensure the consistent application of this requirement, governments also agreed to make a number of technical amendments to the National Regulations, for example including additional ‘suitably qualified person’ guidance in line with existing early childhood teacher guidance. These amendments will be made before the end of 2019.
During 2018, ACECQA supported the sector and regulatory authorities on changes to the National Quality Standard (NQS).
Included in these changes was a revised approach to how the Exceeding NQS rating level is calculated.
From February 2018, every standard in a quality area must be rated Exceeding NQS for the quality area also to be rated Exceeding NQS. Before the change, the 2012 NQS required at least 60% of Standards to be rated Exceeding NQS for a quality area to also receive that rating.
There was no change in the way the overall rating for Exceeding NQS is calculated. To be rated Exceeding NQS overall, all quality areas must be at least Meeting NQS, and four or more quality areas must be rated Exceeding NQS, with at least two of these being quality areas 1,5,6 or 7.
In addition, three new Exceeding themes were introduced and are required to be met for each Standard for it to be rated Exceeding NQS. These themes replaced the 58 Element-level Exceeding NQS descriptors.
As a result of these changes, it is more challenging for a service to achieve a rating of Exceeding NQS under the current (2018) NQS than it was under the previous 2012 NQS. However, more than 4500 services have been assessed and rated against the revised version and while Exceeding NQS is a high benchmark under the 2018 NQS, almost a fifth of services are achieving this rating.
A range of relevant resources are available on the ACECQA website.
Further reading and resources
Guide to the NQF – Exceeding Theme Guidance (P. 331)
ACECQA – Educational games – Exceeding National Quality Standard
ACECQA – Educational games – Exceeding NQS themes activity
ACECQA’s family focused website, Starting Blocks, provides families with trusted information on early childhood education and care and tips on what can be done at home to encourage children’s learning and development.
Recently, Starting Blocks has published two articles that you can share with your families at your education and care service. These articles are described below.
- Brain development in children – this article details the ongoing influence that families, communities and service environments have on children’s development during critical stages of their growth.
- What is inquiry-based STEM education and why is it important? – this article explores how STEM learning and encouraging curiosity in children can help shape their healthy development.
For more resources to share with your families, visit the Starting Blocks website. Watch and share this video to find out more about what Starting Blocks is all about.
How is your service surviving the cold and flu season? If you haven’t already, now might be the ideal time to reflect on the practices and procedures your service has in place to manage illnesses, and to consider what steps to take to better support prevention and to control the spread of infectious diseases.
A review of your service’s current practices and procedures around effective hand washing, hygiene and cleaning routines, and appropriate exclusions of unwell children, educators and staff will help you to maintain the requirements of the national legislation.
Reviewing what records are kept about illnesses, and your service’s notification process in the event of illnesses or outbreaks of infectious diseases, will help confirm how your service is meeting the recommendations for exclusion periods, as outlined in Staying Healthy: Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2013).
When speaking with families about hygiene, and the service’s infection control practices and procedures, take the time to explain the procedures and practices your service has established to keep them informed, and to keep children, families and educators healthy and well all year round .
Share with your families the Starting Blocks fact sheet on illness in services with your families as a resource to help them through the basics, including the reasons children may become ill while attending the service and the ways they can lower the risks of their child contracting an illness.
For more information on how your service can ensure a healthy community, visit the ACECQA website National Quality Standard Quality Area 2 page or download Staying Healthy 5th edition from the NHMRC website.
Resources to support a healthy community
ACECQA – Occasional Paper 2: Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety
National Health and Medical Research Council: Staying Healthy – Preventing infectious diseases in early childhood education and care services 5th edition
Starting Blocks – Fact Sheet – Illness in child care services