National Quality Framework - Department of Education and Early

Report
National Quality Framework
Forum for education and care services
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Quality Assessment and Regulation Division
25 and 27 June 2012
Overview of today’s presentation
 Update: National Quality Framework implementation
 Assessment and rating process
 Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010
 Education and Care Services National Regulations 2011
National Quality Framework:
History
2009
Dec 2008
COAG Commitment
July 2009
National Early Childhood Development Strategy
Dec 2009
National Partnership Agreement
1.National Law
2.National Regulations
3.National Quality Standard
2012
Incorporating
Early Years Learning Framework, My
Time, Our Place and Victorian Early
Years Learning and Development
Framework
Oct 2011
ACECQA established
Jan 2012
National Quality Framework commences
Regulatory Authorities established
Objectives of the National Quality
Framework






To ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children
attending education and care services
To improve the educational and developmental outcomes for
children attending education and care services
To promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality
education and care services
To establish a system of national integration and shared
responsibility between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth
To improve public knowledge, and access to information, about
the quality of education and care services
To reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for
education and care services by enabling information to be
shared between jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.
Principles of the National Quality
Framework
 The rights and best interests of the child are paramount
 Children are successful, competent and capable learners
 Equity, inclusion and diversity underpin the Framework
 Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are
valued
 The role of parents and families is respected and supported
 Best practice is expected in the provision of education and
care services
Australian Children’s Education and
Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)
Current priorities:

publishing information resources and guides

addressing policy issues that are relevant for all jurisdictions

determining qualifications for educators and assessment of
equivalent qualifications

establishing the criteria for assessing and rating services as
‘excellent‘.
The Regulatory Authority in
Victoria: DEECD
Current priorities:

developing and publishing information resources and frequently
asked questions for Victorian education and care services

building key skills in the Regulatory Authority workforce relating
to conducting monitoring and compliance visits, including
assessment and rating visits

monitoring and compliance activities

preparing to assess more than 235 education and care services
in 2012.
Authorised officer training
 Includes a comprehensive national training package
comprising:
 National Quality Framework, including the
National Law and National Regulations, the
National Quality Standard
 monitoring and compliance
 assessment and rating.
 Additional training for authorised officers in Victoria.
Update: Implementation of the National
Quality Framework
• Provider approvals, service approvals and supervisor
certificates are being distributed.
 The National Quality
Agenda IT System is
expected to be available
to services in August
2012.
• Invoices for the annual approval fee will be sent to services in
late August.
Education and care services
 Approximately 3000 educators and service leaders
attended National Quality Framework information
sessions in 2011.
 Since 1 January 2012 education and care services will
have:
̶
̶
reviewed previous policy and practice and implemented the
minimum standards set out in the National Law and
National Regulations
completed a self-assessment against the National Quality
Standard and a quality improvement plan.
Assessment and Rating Process
11
What is the assessment and
rating process?

Education and care services are assessed against the National
Quality Standard, the National Law and the National
Regulations.

All approved education and care services will be assessed and
rated by 2015.

Services receive a rating in each quality area and an overall
rating:
– Exceeding National Quality Standard
– Meeting National Quality Standard
– Working Towards National Quality Standard
– Significant Improvement Required.
Excellent rating

Services that achieve the rating Exceeding National Quality
Standard may apply to ACECQA to be assessed for the Excellent
rating.

The ACECQA Board has decided that the overarching criterion
for an excellent rating assessment is that ‘a service
demonstrates excellent practice and sector leadership'.

ACECQA has sought comment on draft criteria for the Excellent
rating and is currently finalising these criteria.
National Quality Standard
 The new National Quality Standard is divided into 7
quality areas that contribute to the quality of early
childhood education and care
1.
Educational program and practice
2.
Children’s health and safety
3.
Physical environment
4.
Staffing arrangements
5.
Relationships with children
6.
Collaborative partnerships with
families and communities
7.
Leadership and service
management
Approved Learning Frameworks
Early Years Learning Framework for
Australia
 for educators working with
children aged birth to 5
 5 learning outcomes
 pedagogy, principles and practice
My Time, Our Place
 for educators working in school
aged care
 5 learning outcomes
 Belonging, Being & Becoming
reinforced
Victorian Early Years Learning and
Development Framework
 For all professionals working with
children from birth to 8 years
My Time, Our Place
My Time, Our Place: Educators Guide to the
Framework for School Age Care in Australia is now
available from the website of the Department of
Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
www.deewr.gov.au.
Important information about
assessment and rating visits

Assessment and rating visits to services commence in Victoria in
July. The first group of services have been notified about
upcoming visits.

Assessment and rating visits are announced. Unannounced
visits continue to be undertaken in response to notifications and
complaints or as part of a planned schedule of compliance visits.

The assessment and rating process takes 20 weeks from
notification of the service to the finalisation of the rating.
Education and care services are able to prepare, give feedback
on outcomes of the visit and have that feedback considered.

Ratings will not be made public until evaluation of the
assessment and rating process is complete. This ensures
assessment and ratings are accurate and consistent.
Purpose: assessment and
rating process
 To provide enhanced access to information
about the quality of education and care
services.
 To encourage continuous improvement in the
quality of education and care services.
 To raise the standard of quality against which
services are assessed.
 To promote high expectations for continuous
quality improvement.
Raising the bar for quality

The National Quality Framework represents a shift in emphasis
from minimum standards to quality outcomes for children,
regardless of the education and care setting.

Services may take time to achieve the rating of Meeting
National Quality Standard.

Assessment and rating reports will give services guidance and a
focus for continuous improvement.

The highest rating to be given by a Regulatory Authority,
Exceeding National Quality Standard, may be earned by a small
number of services.
National trial of the
assessment and rating process
 In 2010 and 2011 the assessment and rating process was trialled across
Australia.
 Many education and care services performed strongly in the following
quality areas:
2. Children’s Health and Safety
3. Physical Environment
4. Staffing Arrangements
5. Relationships with Children
 Challenges:
1. Educational Program and Practice
7. Leadership and Service Management
Quality improvement plans

Each service must have completed a self-assessment against the
National Quality Standard and have a quality improvement plan
available at the service (regulation 55).

Quality improvement plans are most effective when their
development is a shared responsibility, and when they are
referred to and refined regularly.

Services are required to submit their quality improvement plan
prior to their assessment and rating visit.

They must be reviewed at least annually and when directed by
the Regulatory Authority (regulation 56).

The outcome of the assessment and rating visit influences
further development of the quality improvement plan.
Quality Improvement Plans
‘It gives practical value for those services who want to
improve’
- Assessment and rating national trial participant
(service)
‘A valuable document for services to identify
areas to improve’
- Assessment and rating national trial
participant (assessor)
‘Yes, we all used it, and will continue to use it as a living document’
- Assessment and rating national trial participant (service)
Assessment and rating visits –
centre-based services

The length of visit is determined by the size of the service.

The recommended minimum length of an assessment and rating
visit is 6 hours or 2 sessions. Longer visits will be required for
services with 4 or more rooms (up to 2 or 3 days in total).

Generally each room in a service will be assessed. In large
services the assessor will ensure that each age group is
assessed.

Both indoor and outdoor spaces will be assessed during the
visit.
Assessment and rating visits - FDC

The initial letter of notification will request that a copy of the family day care
register is provided to the Regulatory Authority. This will be used to randomly
select residences and/or approved venues to be assessed and rated.

The number of residences or approved venues to be visited is determined by the
service size:
Number of educators in the service
1–30
31–60
61–90
91–120
121 plus
Number of educators assessed
3
5
7
9
11

On the first day of the visit the service will be advised which residences and/or
approved venues will be included in the assessment and rating visit.

The length of visit will be influenced by the number of family day care educators
to be visited and is expected to be in the range of 1-5 days. This includes time
spent at the principal office at the beginning and conclusion of the visit.
Assessment and Rating Process
Steps
Process
1: Notice to
submit QIP
Advice to providers with request to submit a Quality
Improvement Plan. Providers will have 6 weeks to submit.
2: Notice of
visit
Providers will receive advice that QIP has been received and
notifying the date for the site visit.
3: Site visit
Site visit occurs around week 12.
4: Draft
assessment
report
Approved provider will be sent a draft of the assessment
report by week 15. The provider will have an opportunity to
provide comment, and submit evidence of compliance within
10 working days.
5: Feedback
considered
Feedback on report considered by Regulatory Authority
(week 18).
6: Final
rating
Report is finalised and final rating determined. Report is sent
to approved provider (week 20).
Assessment and rating visits
During the visit:
Authorised officers use ‘observe’, ‘discuss’ and ‘sight’ techniques to assess
the service against each element of the National Quality Standard and the
national regulations.
Observe: The Authorised Officer will observe what children, families,
educators, coordinators and staff members are doing.
Discuss: The Authorised Officer may engage with the key contact person,
educators coordinators, family day care educator assistants or other staff
members about the practices within the services.
Sight: The Authorised Officer sights documentation required by the
National Law and National Regulations and other documentation as
evidence to support assessment against relevant standards.
Issues that may arise during a
visit
Minor adjustments

A service may be given a short time to address an issue identified
during the assessment and rating visit.

These issues must not pose an unacceptable risk to the safety, health
and wellbeing of children.

They must be able to be quickly and easily rectified and may, if
rectified, result in the service receiving a higher rating against a
standard.

The adjustment must be made prior to the finalisation of the
assessment and rating report. Evidence of the adjustment must be
provided to the Regulatory Authority.
Issues that may arise during a
visit (cont/d)
Inconsistent quality

The term ‘inconsistent quality’ refers to situations where different
levels of quality in service delivery are identified across a service e.g.
in different rooms or sessions.

The impact of differing levels of quality on the experiences of each
child in the service informs the final rating.
Significant Improvement Required

A service receives a rating of Significant Improvement Required where
there is an unacceptable risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of a
child or children being educated and cared for by the service.

In these cases, the Regulatory Authority will take compliance action to
immediately address relevant issues.
Guides and resources: assessment
and rating process
The following documents have been published on the ACECQA website:
 National Quality Standard Assessment and Rating Instrument
 Guide to Assessment and
Rating for Services
 Guide to the National
Quality Standard.
Resources for all education
and care services are available at
www.acecqa.gov.au
National Law and National Regulations
30
Regulatory Authorities
In addition to assessing approved education and care services against
the National Quality Standard and the National Regulations, the
responsibilities of Regulatory Authorities include:
 monitoring and enforcing compliance
 receiving and investigating notifications of serious incidents
and complaints
 considering applications for provider, service and certified
supervisors
 providing advice and guidance about the National Quality
Framework to services and the community.
Monitoring services
 Compliance visits will assess service compliance with the
National Law and National Regulations.
 Notifications of serious incidents and complaints will be
investigated. Serious incidents must be notified to the
Regulatory Authority in writing within 24 hours.
 An investigation may include the following:
 a compliance visit
 collection of relevant documentary evidence
 statements from witnesses, parents, other relevant person(s)
 interview of the approved provider and any other person(s)
directly involved in the alleged incident
 collection of evidence from other relevant sources.
Responsible persons
 A responsible person must be physically
present at a centre-based service at all times
the service is educating and caring for
children.
 A responsible person is:
 an approved provider
 person with management or control
 a nominated supervisor
 a certified supervisor.
Family day care
staffing requirements
 Family day care services must ensure that:

an approved provider or person with management or
control; or

a nominated supervisor; or

a certified supervisor
is available to educators including being contactable
by phone at all times that children are being educated
and cared for.
Fit and proper persons

Certain individuals must satisfy the Regulatory Authority that they are a fit and
proper person to be involved in the provision of an education and care service.

The process used for assessing fit and proper
person varies according to the role and level of
responsibility.

Approved providers and nominated supervisors
may be required to attend an information
session and regional interview.

Certified supervisors will usually be asked to
attend an information session and submit an
application (generally no interview required).
Educational leader

A service must designate, in writing, a suitably qualified and
experienced educator, coordinator or other individual as
educational leader at the service to lead the development and
implementation of educational programs in the service.

In centre-based services the educational leader should spend a
significant amount of time at the service. In family day care
services the educational leader should spend a significant
amount of time with all family day care educators.

The staff record must include the name and other prescribed
information about the educational leader.
Natural environments
37
Natural environments
 The National Regulations and the National Quality Standard contain requirements for
natural environments.
 Natural materials can be incorporated into
both indoor and outdoor spaces.
 Examples of natural environments include:
 gardens where children can grow their
own plants
 sandpits and water play areas for
sensory, symbolic and physical play
 small pits of pebbles, gravel, course
sand and smooth river rocks for fine
motor and imaginative play
 trees which provide shade
 worm farms and compost areas for
environmental education.
Natural environments
Natural Environments (practice note) available at www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/educareservices.
Criminal history requirements –
centre-based services

Requirements for criminal history vary according to the role approved providers, nominated supervisors, certified
supervisors, educators and staff members.

Approved providers must read (or ensure the nominated
supervisor or person in day-to-day charge of the service) has
read an educator’s current Working with Children Check before
they are engaged as an educator.

Details of current Working with Children Check must be
recorded in the staff record.

Currency of Working with Children Checks should be checked
regularly at www.online.justice.vic.gov.au/wwc-online-check
Criminal history requirements
– FDC

Requirements for criminal history vary according to the role approved providers, nominated supervisors, certified
supervisors, co-ordinators, family day care educators, family day
care educator assistants or residents.
 The approved provider, nominated supervisor or person in day
to day charge of the service must, prior to engaging or
registering a person as a family day care educator:
 read and consider a person’s current criminal history record check
issued not more than 6 months before the date of the
engagement; and
 read a person’s current working with children check (r358).

Currency of Working with Children Checks should be checked
regularly at www.online.justice.vic.gov.au/wwc-online-check
Responding to children at risk
of neglect or abuse

Approved providers of education and care services must ensure that
nominated supervisors and staff members at the service who work
with children are advised of the existence and application of the
current child protection law; and any obligations that they may have
under that law (regulation 84).

The National Quality Standard requires educators, co-ordinators and
staff members to be aware of their roles and responsibilities in
responding to every child at risk of abuse or neglect (element 2.3.4).

Protecting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people (Child
Protection Protocol) is a resource to promote and support the safety
and wellbeing of all children in Victorian licensed children’s services
and schools.

The protocol and an online training package is available at
www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/educareservices.
Waivers – FDC

A family day care co-ordinator is a person employed or engaged
to monitor and support the family day care educators.

Each service must ensure that the number of co-ordinators is
sufficient to support, monitor and train family day care
educators and ensure the service is operated in compliance
with the National Law.

Where an approved provider can demonstrate genuine
difficulty in appointing sufficient qualified family day care coordinators, they may apply for a waiver that allows a person
actively working towards at least an approved diploma level
qualification to be engaged as a family day care coordinator.
Waivers – centre-based
services

Where an approved provider can demonstrate genuine difficulty in
meeting a requirement of the regulations they may apply for a waiver.

Approved providers of services previously operating with an
exemption granted under the Victorian children’s services legislation
should consider whether a waiver may be necessary.

Ministerial exemption for qualified staff member requirements,
including staff members operating under the ‘window of opportunity’:
 educators holding letters of equivalence may continue to work in
relevant roles
 approved providers should apply for a waiver for other educators
previously employed under this exemption in order to count them
in diploma-level educator to child ratios (if the educator’s
qualification has not been approved by ACECQA).
Breaks

Guide to the National Law and National Regulations includes
provisions for breaks where each educator may take a break of
up to 30 minutes per day.

Services utilising this provision must consider meeting the
needs of the children, maintaining adequate supervision and
ensuring every reasonable precaution is taken to protect
children from harm and hazards.

Where an educator has a half hour ‘break’ it would be expected
that they be replaced by another educator. The educator
replacing a diploma qualified educator taking a half hour break
would not need to be a diploma qualified educator.

The educator on the break should remain on the premises.
Excursions and regular outings

Excursions: outings organised by a service taking children
outside the service to specific venues or activities; or occurring
from time to time.
̶

Does not include an outing organised by the service provided on a school
site if the children leave the service premises in the company of an
educator or do not leave the school site.
Regular outing: a walk, drive or trip to and from a destination
that a service visits regularly as part of its educational program,
and where the circumstances relevant to the risk assessment
are the same on each outing.
Excursions and regular outings – risk
assessment

A risk assessment must identify and assess risks that the excursion may pose to
the safety, health or wellbeing of any child being taken on the excursion and detail
strategies for minimising and managing those risks.

Consideration must be given to a number of
factors including the proposed activities, water
hazards and risks associated with water based
activities, the number of children involved in the
excursion and the number of educators or other
responsible adults to provide supervision.

Further information is available in the fact sheet
Excursions and regular outings available at the
Department’s website.
Water hazards – FDC

All family day care services require an assessment of each
family day care residence or approved venue that considers any
water hazards, water features or swimming pool at or near the
residence or approved venue.

Different requirements regarding swimming pools apply
according to jurisdiction. In Victoria, family day care services
decide if they will permit swimming pools in family day care
residences or approved venues.

Relevant requirements include
 policies and procedures in relation to water safety
 policies and procedures in relation to the assessment and approval
and reassessment of approved residences and venues .
DEECD Website
www.education.vic.gov.au/ecsmanagement/educareservices
ACECQA website
www.acecqa.gov.au
Regulatory Authority in Victoria
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
Quality Assessment and Regulation Division
can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Ph: 1300 307 415

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