ACECQA Newsletter Issue 12 2016

From soaring towers to inclusive playscapes

This month on We Hear You, Bridget Isichei, an early childhood educator and former director of UnitingCare Jack and Jill Preschool Grafton and area manager for Goodstart Early Learning, shares the journey of children’s participation in an exciting council playground project.


ACECQA farewells inaugural CEO Karen Curtis

After five years at the helm, we say goodbye to ACECQA’s inaugural CEO, Karen Curtis.

Since her appointment in 2011, Karen has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of education and care, collaborating with the states and territories and the Australian Government to successfully implement the National Quality Framework (NQF).

The conclusion of Karen’s tenure at the end of December also marks the fifth anniversary of the NQF. In her final We Hear You blog, Karen reflects on the core objectives of the NQF and the successes and challenges of quality assessment and rating, while leaving us with her future vision for both ACECQA and the education and care sector.

ACECQA thanks Karen for her leadership, commitment and outstanding contribution and wishes her the very best for the future.


How to find a vocational education and training course that is right for you 

An important part of having a successful career in education and care is having the right qualifications. With a new year fast approaching, it may be the perfect time to think about starting or furthering your studies. If you are choosing a vocational qualification, it is important to have a good grasp of the vocational education and training (VET) sector and your rights. This knowledge will help you find and decide on the right training course for you.

Choosing a registered training organisation

When choosing a registered training organisation (RTO), make sure you review the ACECQA list of approved qualifications to ensure the qualification you wish to study is recognised under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

To find an RTO that is right for you, visit the MySkills website and review the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) fact sheet. Keep an eye out for organisations that specialise in education and care qualifications, and that offer modes of training delivery suited to your individual needs. Take the opportunity to ask your prospective RTO questions, such as:

  • How is the training delivered and how long does it take? It may be that being able to access elements of the training online suits your individual circumstances. You should also consider if the course offers you sufficient face to face training. Typically, a Certificate III level qualification can take around 12 months to complete and a Diploma level qualification around 18-24 months to complete. If an RTO is offering qualifications in a much shorter time period, ask them how they are ensuring that all the necessary skills and knowledge are covered.
  • What relationships do they have with local education and care services? RTOs with strong local relationships are better placed to offer high quality training placements where you will get to experience the day to day running of an education and care service, and where you will be effectively supervised and assessed.
  • What qualifications and experience do their trainers have? RTOs with high quality trainers who have relevant and recent experience of the education and care sector are better placed to offer high quality training that reflects the requirements of the NQF.
  • What feedback do they get from their students and local education and care services? Is your prospective RTO well regarded by graduates and employers? Undertaking a qualification at an RTO with an established reputation for high quality training increases your chances of finding future employment.

Online courses

Considering enrolling in an online only course? Read about the pros and cons in this article by the consumer group Choice.

Information on choosing the right course on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website may also be helpful.

VET Student Loans

VET Student Loans will commence on 1 January 2017, replacing the current VET FEE-HELP scheme. More information is available on the Department of Education and Training website. VET Student Loans will only be available for Diploma and above qualifications. There will be three loan cap bands of $5000, $10,000 and $15,000, which will apply irrespective of whether the course is being delivered face-to-face, online or via mixed delivery modes. Loans for both the Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care, and the Diploma of School Age Education and Care will be capped at $10,000.

Recognising on-the-job experience

Do you have on-the-job experience but not the relevant formal qualification? Your experience is valuable and may contribute towards Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Should you choose to pursue study, your experience might earn credits towards an approved qualification.

Contact prospective RTOs to see what options are available to you.

Making a complaint or reporting a concern

Having a problem with your training provider? If you are unhappy with the service they are providing, the first thing to do is talk to your trainer or their manager. Often problems can be resolved informally.

If you are still dissatisfied with your training, or if you are a prospective student, recent graduate, employer or other stakeholder with concerns, you can contact ASQA through its website.

Employers

Employers play a crucial role in vocational training, by providing guidance and support to educators choosing and studying a qualification, and by offering work placements. Having strong links with local RTOs will help ensure high quality training, which in turn helps ensure a high quality education and care workforce.  By championing high quality training and voicing concerns about poor quality training, both to the RTO in question and to ASQA if necessary, employers significantly contribute to the success of the VET sector and the goals of the NQF.


ACECQA's Occasional Paper 3 

The latest Occasional Paper in ACECQA’s series on the National Quality Framework (NQF) examines the activities to promote consistent outcomes and efficiency in the implementation and administration of the NQF.

Striving for consistency of outcomes and efficiency is a collaborative effort between the eight state and territory regulatory authorities, the Australian Government and ACECQA. This paper highlights the breadth and depth of collaboration to identify, implement and review approaches to promote consistency and efficiency under the NQF. It also includes case studies to illustrate in more detail how certain activities contribute to consistency and efficiency.

Download Occasional Paper 3: Promoting consistency and efficiency under the National Quality Framework.


NQA ITS changes are here

Reporting serious incidents via the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) has changed to support better information capture. Drop down menus have been introduced to the SI01 Notification of serious incident form to complement the current open field text boxes.

To support services in gathering information about incidents prior to completing the serious incident notification, the Incident, injury, trauma and illness record has been updated. For those still using hard-copy forms, the paper-based SI01 form has been redesigned to align with the online changes.

If you have any questions, please contact the ACECQA Enquiries team


New updates to online resources

To ensure you have access to the most up-to-date information, ACECQA’s online resources are regularly updated.

Updates were recently made to the Guide to the National Law and Regulations (Chapter 4: Operational Requirements) and the Guide to the National Quality Standard (Quality Area 2: Children’s health and safety) with some additional guidance about safety in family day care services.

The Operational Policy Manual for regulatory authorities was also updated with the following new information: 
 

  • a sample First Tier Review Decision Notice template, to assist regulatory authorities during the first tier review process
  • information about approved providers who seek to engage management companies
  • additional guidance on safety precautions in family day care services. 

While print-outs and hard copies can be handy when you are busy at your service, remember our online resources provide the latest up-to-date information. 


ACECQA Annual Report available online 

ACECQA’s 2015-16 Annual Report has been published in accordance with the Education and Care Services National Law.

The report details ACECQA’s work during 2015-16, including the focus on promoting quality practice through research and analysis; continued enhancement of data intelligence capability; the consolidation of stakeholder engagement activities; increased support, training and guidance for authorised officers; and the second round of National Workshops for educators delivered in collaboration with jurisdictions.

An assessment to 30 June 2016 of the implementation and administration of the National Quality Framework is also included in the report.

The Annual Report is available as an online version and a downloadable PDF


ACECQA online testing activity 

As part of a research project to help us understand the goals of people accessing our website, ACECQA is conducting user testing on a potential layout of information on our site with people from a range of roles across the education and care sector.

This testing will be coordinated in January 2017 by Adelphi Digital, a digital agency we have partnered with for this activity, and can be conducted in their Sydney office or via screen sharing technology. The test should take no longer than 30 to 40 minutes to complete.

If you are interested in taking part, please let us know.