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Quality improvement

Quality improvement

Continuous quality improvement is a strong focus of the National Quality Framework.

The National Quality Framework and the National Quality Standard

The National Quality Framework has established a national approach to quality improvement in early childhood and school-age education and care services.

The National Quality Standard sets a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services. Services are expected to know and understand the National Quality Standard and continuously work to meet or exceed that standard of education and care.

Three important aspects that promote quality improvement are:

  1. continuous self-assessment against the National Quality Standard and the relevant requirements of the National Law and National Regulations
  2. development and implementation of a QIP
  3. assessment and rating by the state or territory Regulatory Authority.
Quality Improvement Process
This diagram illustrates the assessment and rating process. It is a continuous cycle of 1. self-assessment, 2. assessment and rating and 3. developing and implementing quality improvement.

Diagram showing assessment and rating process

1. Continuous self-assessment

Self-assessment highlights a service's strengths and areas that can be improved, and is the starting point for planning to improve quality.

Continuous self-assessment means continually looking at policies, procedures and practice within the service to make sure that it

  • meets the requirements of the National Law and the National Regulations
  • meets the elements and standards within the quality areas of the National Quality Standard
  • incorporates all aspects of the approved learning framework being used by the service.

2. Developing and implementing a QIP

Carefully reflecting on practice enables educators to identify areas that may need to be improved.

The QIP is a document that identifies the service's goals for quality improvement and notes strategies for achieving those goals. It provides a focus for quality improvement and helps everyone at the service to stay focused on implementing the strategies needed to achieve the goals.

The QIP needs to be reviewed and updated before being submitted to the Regulatory Authority prior to the assessment and rating visit. This is so both the service's approach to self-assessment and the service's ability to identify areas of quality improvement can be reviewed.

3. Assessment and rating

Services covered under the National Law are assessed and rated by the relevant Regulatory Authority in each state and territory.

The purpose of the assessment and rating process is to determine whether and at what rating level services meet the National Quality Standard and the requirements of the National Regulations (Section 133(1)).

Assessment and rating gives your service and its families a better understanding of the quality of your service. It affirms aspects of the service's practice that are meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard, as well as identifying further improvements that might be needed.


Adapted from

'Best possible start to 2012 for Australian children', Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2012

'Guide 3: Guide to the National Quality Standard', National Quality Framework Resource Kit, Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2013

National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care, Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2014

'Operational policy manual for Regulatory Authorities', Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2015

Abbreviations

  • National Law: Education and Care Services National Law
  • National Quality Framework: National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care
  • National Quality Standard: National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care
  • National Regulations: Education and Care Services National Regulations
  • NQS PLP: National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program
  • QIP: Quality Improvement Plan

The National Quality Framework aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in education and care services and school age care.

Guide 1: Guide to the National Quality Framework, 2013

Supported by the Australian Government.
© 2016 Commonwealth of Australia, unless otherwise indicated
Supported by the Australian Government.
© 2016 Commonwealth of Australia,unless otherwise indicated