ACECQA’s 2018-19 Annual Report highlights year of progress amidst two major reviews
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) have released their 2018-19 annual report detailing a broad range of initiatives and confirming another year of progress for the agency responsible for overseeing the delivery of nationally consistent and high quality early childhood education and care under the National Quality Framework.
This year’s report follows on from confirmation by the Federal Government that they will continue to fund ACECQA for a further three years from July 2020 after a review of the agencies functions assessed the work of ACECQA as “fit for purpose”
Following the traditional format dictated by the Education and Care Services National Law the 2019 report was submitted to the Education Council to be tabled in South Australian Parliament, as the participating jurisdiction.
Commenting on the events of 2019, Judy Hebblethwaite, Chair of ACECQA said the year had provided two important opportunities to consider the work undertaken by ACECQA as an agency, and the positioning of ACECQA within the broader sector, through the Education Council’s commissioning of the 2019 ACECQA Review and the 2019 NQF Review.
“Both reviews offer an opportunity for considered reflection by staff, management and the Board on past achievements and importantly the challenges and goals we would like to set for the future” Ms Hebblethwaite said.
ACECQA Board switches up, with four new appointments joining the team of eleven
Over the course of 2018-19 four Board members stepped down having completed their terms, or through resignation,and four new board members were appointed to replace them.
Those stepping down due to term endings or resignations were:
- Ms Catherine Hudson
- Dr Sandra Cheeseman
- Dr Robyn Layton AO QC
- Professor Joce Nuttall
Those appointed were:
- Mr Selywn Button
- Dr Anne Glover AO
- Ms Sandra Lambert AM
- Mrs Amanda Price-McGregor
The incoming board members will join Ms Judy Hebblethwaite, Professor Ann Farrell, Ms Maree Bredhauer, Ms Jenni Perkins, Mr Michael White, Ms Jackie Wilson and Mrs Naomi Wilson who continue to serve the Board from last year.
Excellent rating applications fall and second tier review applications rise in 2018-19
The awarding of Excellent ratings to services is one of several key functions of ACECQA as stipulated by the National Law with consideration for an Excellent rating only available to a service that has received a rating of Exceeding the National Quality Standard in all seven quality areas.
In the 2018-19 period ACECQA received 21 applications, a significant step down from the 64 applications received in the 2017-18 period. ACECQA attributed the considerable reduction to a function of changes to the eligibility benchmark from an overall rating exceeding in three or more quality areas to exceeding in all areas.
Of the 21 applications six were from services eligible to reapply and 15 were from services applying for the first time with eight services ultimately being successful in their application.
With respect to second tier reviews – the appeal mechanism in place for services who do not agree with their rating level awarded – there were 19 applications for review compared to just 3 in 2017-18 period.
Of the finalised applications, which numbered 14, three saw their overall rating amended, two saw partial amendments which did not affect the overall rating and nine saw the ratings allocated reconfirmed.
Investment in tech and comms pays off with big jumps in web based engagement
A second key function of ACECQA as per the National Law is to educate and inform stakeholders with the preferred vehicles to do this being the ACECQA and Starting Blocks websites, social media pages, newsletter and resources.
Traffic to the ACECQA website increased by 19 per cent to 102,000 unique visits per month, Facebook followers increased by 18 per cent to 45,000 and newsletter subscribers jumped37 per cent to 37,000.
These are very substantial increases and highlight a successful communication strategy that is placing ACECQA at the centre of the sectors regulatory and best practice needs.
This improvement is further confirmed by a total of 52,000 downloads of resources that will be drawn from a suite of material that includes but is not limited to their educational leader resource, self assessment tool, updated quality improvement planner template and exceeding themes guidance.
In addition Starting Blocks, their family focused brand hosted over 420,000 sessions in 2018-19 which represented a 100 per cent increase on the year before as well as a 105 per cent increase in visitors.
ACECQA CEO, Gabrielle Sinclair said that in reflecting on 2019, it was the dedication of the staff team which was a constant source of pride.
“I would like to acknowledge their diligence and commitment to children’s development and education. For a national authority, we are relatively small and, without strong partnerships with government partners, national peak bodies, teacher registration bodies, providers, educators, higher education and registered training institutes, and families, the national quality system would not be flourishing and attracting such interest worldwide” Ms Sinclair said.
To review the report in full, please see here.