50% of families have limited awareness of service ratings
A recent survey conducted with 648 parents by KindyNow found that nearly 50 per cent of those surveyed had little to no awareness of the service ratings under the National Quality Framework.
The findings will be of interest to those working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, as well as to those providers who make use of the assessment and rating outcome in promotion of the service.
Of the 648 parents, 23 per cent described themselves as “not very familiar” in response to the question “How familiar are you with your childcare service’s quality rating under the National Quality Framework (NQF)?”
A further 28 per cent of respondents rated towards the bottom of the scale, in terms of familiarity. These results are consistent with the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) final report of the Families Qualitative Research Project which confirmed that parental awareness of the National Quality Standards (NQS) and quality ratings remains very low.
ACECQA commissioned the report to understand more deeply the extent to which families used the NQS and quality ratings to inform decision making about which early childhood education and care (ECEC) services was right for their children.
Key findings of the report were as follows:
- Parents were not aware of the NQS or quality ratings but appreciated their usefulness when informed
- Parents understood the importance of the early years for children’s development but found selecting a centre stressful and emotive
- Parents confirmed the decision making process was multi layered; firstly, do we seek formal care; secondly, what type of care is suitable; thirdly, what centre do we choose?
- Parents relied heavily on subjective sources such as other parents, family members and social media to support decision making
- Parents assessed “quality” on an intuitive level focusing on safety, belonging, growth, connection and stability related factors
- Parents were not aware of the Starting Blocks website despite having conducted meaningful online research in the early stages of their search
The findings indicate that services, as well as ACECQA, have some ground to make up in terms of supporting families to understand the contents of the NQF and its value in determining which service to use for their child.
A range of resources are available to support families to understand the role of the NQF and NQS in providing quality early learning, education and care to children, including:
- Raising Children: Understanding the National Quality Framework
- ACECQA: Starting Blocks
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