Early childhood: Assessment and ratings process
On 29 November the IEU met with Glenda Buckley (Director Statewide Operations Network Early Childhood Education) and Kim Hoskins (State Manager) from the Department of Education regarding concerns about the Assessment and Ratings process raised by the IEU in writing earlier this year.
The Department of Education indicated they understand that there is a high level of mistrust in the current A&R process and their relationship with the EC Sector is in need of repair. In response to feedback provided by Teachers and Educators, Approved Providers and Peak Bodies including the IEU, Ms. Buckley stated that going forwards the Department is committed to genuine consultation. Assessment and Ratings will have a strengths-based focus, acknowledging that those who work in services know their own service best. Authorised Officers who do not have a background in early childhood are undertaking additional training.
The new process will involve:
- Centres may opt-in to using their completed Self-Assessment Tool as their Quality Improvement Plan
- Authorised Officers will read their the centre’s QIP prior to the A&R visit
- During the visit, Authorised Officers will observe educational practice and interactions to confirm what was stated in the QIP
- Service type will be taken into account when correspondence is sent. Preschools should no longer find they are required to respond to the Department during non-term time.
- Authorised Officers will have the opportunity to develop a relationship with individual services and will provide Teachers and Educators with advice and suggestions for quality improvement, rather than focusing exclusively on compliance.
The Early Childhood Team would like to thank our members for providing detailed feedback about their A&R experience to the IEU and the Department of Education as this feedback is directly responsible for the proposed changes above.
Member concerns are reflected in the latest NQF Report showing the % of services rated Exceeding NQS reversed their upward trajectory (as measured from 2014 onwards), decreasing after June 2018. Hopefully this will turn around due to the new process.
The IEU would appreciate feedback from members who undergo the new Assessment and Ratings process. Any members that continue to experience serious issues are encouraged to contact the IEU Early Childhood Team as we have undertaken to advise the Department of any ongoing concerns.