ACECQA Newsletter Issue 9 2017

New Guide to the National Quality Framework 

In partnership with all governments, we have published a new guide to support the education and care sector to understand and prepare for changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) from 1 October 2017*.  

The new Guide to the National Quality Framework consolidates the NQF Resource Kit and Operational Policy Manual (OPM), forming one resource for service providers, educators, service leaders and regulatory authorities.

It supports providers to adapt operations to the revised National Quality Standard (NQS) that will commence 1 February 2018 and includes information on:

  • applications and approvals
  • the revised NQS and guidance on the Exceeding rating level
  • the assessment and rating process
  • operational requirements
  • regulatory authority powers.

For more information read the Guide and check for any updates on the ACECQA website. Guidance materials – including a range of new information sheets – are also available on the ACECQA website.

*Changes to the National Law and Regulations will be implemented from 1 October 2017 in all states and territories, except Western Australia (which will commence by 1 October 2018). A revised NQS will be introduced 1 February 2018 in all states and territories (including Western Australia). 


The revised National Quality Standard: Key concepts

Children conducting plastic bottle and coloured water experiment


The revised National Quality Standard (NQS) will come into effect on 1 February 2018 and introduces concepts to strengthen a shared understanding among providers, educators, service leaders and regulators on the main focus of each standard and element.

This month on We Hear You, we look at these key concepts and the important role they play in continuous quality improvement.
 


Extension of transitional provisions for staffing arrangements 

Female educator reading to three young children

The Education Council has agreed to extend several transitional provisions in the National Regulations primarily relating to staffing and qualifications arrangements in the children’s education and care sector.

These provisions were originally included in 2012 when the National Quality Framework was introduced (Regulations 240 and 242 were extended and Regulation 239A inserted in the National Regulations in 2014). They were aimed at addressing the disparity between jurisdictions, particularly in rural and remote areas, and the difficulties in securing early childhood teachers (ECTs).

Since that time there has been significant growth in the proportion of ECTs with qualifications, however, attracting and retaining qualified ECTs remains a challenge, particularly in rural and remote areas.

Extending the provisions to 2020 will allow for sector continuity and certainty, and support the availability of qualified educators to maintain current quality safeguards for children’s education and care. It will also enable governments to assess workforce requirements going forward.

The following provisions are to be extended:

  • Regulation 239A (WA, QLD, TAS, SA, NT and NSW) was due to expire 1 January 2018 and  extended to 1 January 2020 – addresses attendance of an ECT at a service in remote and very remote areas
  • Regulation 240 (WA, QLD, TAS, SA) was due to expire 1 January 2018 and extended to 1 January 2020 – addresses qualification requirements for ECTs in remote and very remote areas
  • Regulation 242 (WA, QLD, TAS, SA, NT, NSW, ACT) was due to expire 1 January 2018 and extended to 1 January 2020 – relates to persons who are actively working towards an approved ECT qualification
  • Regulation 264 (ACT) was due to expire 31 December 2017 and extended to 31 December 2020 – discusses general qualifications for educators for services
  • Regulation 300 (QLD) was due to expire 1 January 2018 and extended to 1 January 2020 – relates to educator-child ratios for children aged 15-24 months.

The provisions are not being extended in Victoria in recognition of the progress made in developing the qualifications of the early childhood workforce.


Promote your NQS rating to families and the community

Seedling Child Care Centre staff with their Exceeding logo

Have you requested your National Quality Standard (NQS) rating logo?

A growing number of services and providers are using their logo on promotional materials, such as their website, social media page, email signature, signage and letterhead to promote their overall rating. Use or display of the logos is voluntary.

In addition to the Excellent rating logo, there is a logo for Exceeding, Meeting and Working Towards NQS. We are excited to see them cropping up around the country, like this one at Seedling Kids Child Care Centre in Croydon Park, NSW.

The logos were designed to raise awareness of the ratings for families and the wider community and be a conversation starter that leads to greater understanding of the National Quality Framework. Helping families understand the context of the NQS and the importance of quality for their child’s development and education will support them to better understand your role as educators and your service’s strengths and commitment to quality improvement.

The ACECQA website and Starting Blocks, ACECQA’s family focused website, have a number of resources to help educators share important information with families:

If your service is rated Working Towards, Meeting or Exceeding NQS, you can request your logo from the national registers and follow the steps on the ACECQA website.  


Sleep and rest policies

Children asleep at an education and care service

Looking for information and guidance about developing or updating your sleep and rest policy?

We have developed comprehensive information to support education and care services to meet the new legal requirement for service policies and procedures on sleep and rest by 1 October 2017. The new Safe sleep and rest practices page on the ACECQA website outlines the requirements, principles to inform procedures and current recommended evidence-based practices.

For services that have an existing policy in place, the Queensland Government has produced a video providing tips and ideas for communicating with families when their wishes conflict with recognised guidance and information. The video, which is also a handy resource to share with families, focuses on the importance of educators and families working in partnership to share information and support healthy sleep or restful alternatives for children.     


NQA IT System maintenance

We will be performing maintenance on the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) from 6pm Friday 29 September to Sunday 1 October 2017. The NQA ITS will be temporarily unavailable during this time and is expected to be back online by 1 October 2017.

Any saved forms that have not been submitted prior to the maintenance period will not be available after this time, so make sure all in progress forms are submitted before 7pm Friday 29 September 2017.

For any incidents, complaints or events that require notification within a 24 hour period under the National Law, please contact your regulatory authority while the website is under maintenance. For all other applications/notifications, please wait until the system is back online.


Online forms required for education and care providers 

Sticks of coloured chalk and drawing on a brick path

From 1 October 2017, the majority of application and notification forms for education and care providers will need to be submitted through the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS).

For NSW and Victoria, there are no changes as both jurisdictions already only accept applications and notifications submitted using the NQA ITS.

The removal of paper-based forms will streamline the current application and notification process and help reduce administrative work for service providers.

First timeusers of the NQA ITS will need to create an account and link it to their provider before submitting forms online. See our Getting Started Online guidance or view our online training videos for more information and support.

More information is available on the ACECQA website.