NSW IEU sees lack of trust in assessment and rating process, meets with Department

by Freya Lucas

December 17

After speaking with the New South Wales Department of Education, the NSW branch of the Independent Education Union (IEU) has detailed how the department plans to improve its Assessment and Ratings (A&R) process after IEU raised concerns earlier this year.  


A meeting between the two bodies was held with Glenda Buckley (Director Statewide Operations Network Early Childhood Education) and Kim Hoskins (State Manager) on 29 November, with Glenda Buckley (Director Statewide Operations Network Early Childhood Education) and Kim Hoskins (State Manager) present. 


In communications released around the outcome of the meetings the IEU indicated that the NSW Department of Education “understand[s] that there is a high level of mistrust in the current A&R process and their relationship with the early childhood sector is in need of repair.”


Responding to feedback given to the Department by teachers, educators, approved providers and peak bodies, Ms Buckly is said to have stated that “going forwards the Department is committed to genuine consultation. Assessment and Ratings will have a strengths-based focus, acknowledging that those who work in services know their own service best. Authorised Officers who do not have a background in early childhood are undertaking additional training.”


The new process is said to involve: 

  • Services being able to ‘opt-in’ to using their completed Self-Assessment Tool as their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)


  • Authorised Officers reading the centre’s QIP prior to the A&R visit


  • During the visit, Authorised Officers will observe educational practice and interactions to confirm what was stated in the QIP


  • Service type will be taken into account when correspondence is sent. Preschools should no longer find they are required to respond to the Department during non-term time. 


  • Authorised Officers will have the opportunity to develop a relationship with individual services and will provide Teachers and Educators with advice and suggestions for quality improvement, rather than focusing exclusively on compliance.


The magnitude of members issues was reflected in the latest NQF report, the IEU said, which showed that the percentage of services rated as exceeding the National Quality Standards had fallen since 2014, with a notable drop after June 2018.


The IEU NSW Early Childhood Team thanked their members for providing detailed feedback about their A&R experience to the Department of Education via the Union, as the feedback was “directly responsible for the proposed changes above.”


To view the statement as written by the IEU NSW, please see here.