Latest ACECQA Snapshot confirms continued A&R challenges for exceeding centres
The percentage of all services retaining their exceeding rating at reassessment has fallen to a new low according to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Authority’s (ACECQA) latest NQF Snapshot, marking the continuation of a trend that started in ernest in the first quarter of 2018 after the introduction of revised “assessing exceeding centre” guidance.
51 per cent of all exceeding services reassessed as at the end of June 2019 managed to retain their rating compared to 65 per cent of services as at the end of March 2017 with the majority of unsuccessful services seeing their rating reassessed as meeting.
Although it is unclear how this trend is playing out across setting types, it is clear that maintaining exceeding at reassessment continues to pose challenges for significant numbers of reassessed services.
Family day care sees rise in percentage of services rated meeting or exceeding
With respect to overall quality ratings across setting types the key standout this quarter was family day care where, although still low relative to other settings, the percentage of services rated meeting or exceeding rose by 2 percentage points to 48 per cent.
The increase is most likely a function of quality improvements borne out of ongoing pressure from state based regulators and also the reduction in the overall size of the family day care community as unscrupulous providers are closed down.
Elsewhere, the stand alone preschool setting continues to have the largest proportion of services rated meeting or above followed by long day care (LDC) with levels more or less consistent with previous releases.
Percentage of centres rated working towards constant for 4th consecutive quarter
The percentage of all services rated working towards, regardless of setting or governance type, was 21 per cent as at the end of June 2019 for the fourth consecutive quarter, having fallen relatively consistently in the prior eighteen months.
Although the sector numbers appear to have flatlined there has been movement in the sub sectors ie: different settings and governance types.
For example, the percentage of for profit services rated as working towards fell again this quarter to 27 per cent, which although still high compared with not for profit services, is 9 per cent better than the level recorded in March 2017 and the lowest percentage to date.
Another notable area of change has been in LDC services operated by Catholic Schools which recorded 40 per cent working towards in March 2017 and are now down to 24 per cent.
From a setting perspective, LDC has seen the largest reduction in working towards centres having fallen from 28 per cent of all centres in March 2017 to 20 per cent currently.
WA continues to record highest percentage of working towards, QLD lowest
Western Australia (WA) has the highest proportion of all services with a working towards rating at 32 per cent and Queensland (QLD) has the lowest at 15 per cent.
Over time the Northern Territory (NT) has seen the largest improvement in terms of the percentage of centres rated working towards. In March 2017 it had 44 per cent of all centres with a working towards rating compared to the current level of 28 per cent.
South Australia (SA) has seen falls of a similar magnitude and now has 18 per cent of services rated working towards. SA also happens to have the highest percentage of exceeding centres at 48 per cent.
A relatively slow improvement rate in WA sees it remain as the state with the most working towards rated services in Australia.
For more information on the quality dynamics of the early childhood and care sector in Australia please click here to access ACECQA’s latest snapshot.