National Quality Agenda Review Outcomes Announced.

Advocacy In Action

Monday 13th February 2017

National Quality Agenda Review Outcomes Announced.

Dear Members

In  2014 the federal government commenced the NQA Review to determine if the goals of the NQF to improve the quality of education and care in Australia are being met in the most efficient and effective way.

Many of you paticpated in consultations some years back.  Along with FDCAQ submitting our written response as part of the consultation process.  Our response FDCAQ RIS Submission 2015 outlined some key points that members highlighted as critical.

The State and Territory Ministers have now agreed to the NQA outcomes.  These decisions can be found in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement for changes to the National Quality Framework January 2017.

Some of the key changes are:

  • A revised National Quality Standard (NQS) to strengthen quality through greater clarity, remove conceptual overlap between elements and standards, clarify language and reduce the number of standards and elements from 18 standards to 15, and 58 to 40 elements. 
  • A reduction in documentation requirements for children over preschool age attending early childhood education and care to reduce the administrative burden for these services (applies in Queensland, NSW and NT only)
  • Introducing a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing education and care to school age children to align with Queensland’s current requirement for OSHC services.
  • Removing supervisor certificate requirements so service providers have more autonomy in deciding who can be the responsible person in each service, and to reduce red tape.
  • Improving oversight of the FDC sector with requirements that predominantly align with Queensland’s current regulatory practices with a focus on maintaining the safety and well-being of children.
  • Requiring all early childhood education and care services to have sleep and rest policies and procedures for children and infants in response to recommendation from a Queensland coronial inquest.

Regarding the outcomes for FDC, FDCAQ fought hard to ensure that services delivering quality practice are not required to meet the same Practice Mentor/Coordinator to Educator ratios as services who do not meet the National Quality Standards.  Existing services will be required to meet a 1 to 25 ratio, whilst new providers or services with serious non-compliance may have tighter ratios applied to their approval conditions.  This already occurs in Queensland.

We also advocated strongly against the recommendation that educators in FDC must have their full Certificate III prior to commencement.   Again we were successful, as this recommendation has not been taken up by the government.

The increased oversight on assessment of new providers being required to demonstrate their suitability and capability are changes that we as a Peak Body fully support.  We want to see more families using FDC, as it is the best for their child. Not because of an influx of providers taking advantage of government funding. We want to ensure the very best is available and that the negative stories over the past few years in the media are no longer about FDC.  

Many of you already have in place policies and procedures for sleep and rest and as your peak body we have training both online and face to face to support the development of best practice for supervision, including how educators manage their environments for sleep and rest. Our training is called Supervision- More than What You See. Check out the link for our next webinar in April or give us a call if you would like some face to face training.

Changes to the legislation will commence from 1 October 2017, subject to the passage of legislation, in all states and territories except Western Australia. A revised National Quality Standard will be introduced on 1 February 2018 in all states and territories (including Western Australia). Other changes will take place in October 2017

ACECQA have developed a Information Sheet | Changes to the National Quality Framework.  Decision_RIS_Summary_Of_Changes_To_The_NQF or for further information go to their Decision RIS information webpage.

We will be meeting with the Queensland State Regulator to consult on the transition period for FDC and confirm how these changes will be implemented . We will keep you updated as this occurs.

Yours in perseverance

Peta 

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