5 Priority Areas for Sustained Quality Improvement

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  Published on Tuesday, 21 July 2020

5 Priority Areas for Sustained Quality Improvement

Library Home  >  Leadership & Service ManagementGovernment Policy & Quality Standards
  Published on Tuesday, 21 July 2020

ACECQA recently published findings from a Quality improvement research project, undertaken during 2019, which focused on the characteristics of long day care services that had successfully improved their overall quality rating at reassessment.

The research, conducted by Macquarie University in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and Edith Cowan University, paid particular attention to quality gains in Quality Area 1 – Educational program and practice and Quality Area 7 – Governance and leadership of the National Quality Standard (NQS).

According to ACECQA, the study found that genuine and sustained quality improvement is a shared responsibility, with approved providers, service leaders, educational leaders, teachers and educators all playing an important role.

The report identifies five priority areas to support and sustain quality improvement:

  1. The role of the approved provider and organisational support
  2. Service leadership
  3. The role of the educational leader
  4. The involvement of individual educators
  5. NQS assessment and rating.

ACECQA CEO Gabrielle Sinclair said, “the research provides valuable insights into key areas that services can look at, as they seek to improve the provision of quality early childhood education to children and families.”

“Everyone involved in a service, from the approved provider to the individual teachers and educators, has a role to play in leading quality improvement. Genuine and sustained continuous quality improvement is a shared responsibility,” said Ms Sinclair.

What can service leaders do to support continuous quality improvement

1 Leaders can ensure the service philosophy is the foundation for quality improvement and:

  • is informed by theory and research
  • is used for critical reflection on practice
  • reflects the local service and their community

2 Create and maintain a supportive workplace by:

  • providing time for collaboration between teachers and educators on programs and practice
  • scheduling regular meetings between the educational leader, team and individual teachers and educators
  • providing access to quality professional development
  • mentoring the team through training
  • engaging with other professionals.

3 Recruit and support an effective educational leader who:

  • has extensive knowledge and understanding of curriculum and pedagogy
  • can lead learning, collaborative critical reflection, teamwork and practice change
  • ensures learning is visible in-service planning (e.g. Quality Improvement Plan) and practice
  • knows and works with individual teachers and educators to support professional growth and goals.

Researcher observations in services exceeding NQS standards

  • The educational leader is likely to have an early childhood teaching qualification.
  • The approved provider values and supports the role of educational leader, providing training, resources and time to ensure the role helps lead quality improvement.

What can teachers and educators do to support quality improvement?

According to the ACECQA findings teachers and educators need to be proactive in their own learning, support the professional learning of others, engage in critical reflection of practice and embed continuous quality improvement in their practice.

Researcher observations of educators in services exceeding NQS standards

  • Quality improvement is a team effort.
  • Qualified and skilled educational leaders provide direction and support.
  • Teachers and educators see quality improvement as a professional responsibility, with all team members accountable to each other.
  • An embedded culture of shared learning, critical reflection and commitment to continuous quality improvement is seen across the team

To access the full report and read additional recommendations visit  ACECQA’s Research and reports page.

This child care article was last reviewed or updated on Wednesday, 21 October 2020



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