Overall quality boosted by working towards improvement says latest NQF Snapshot
The percentage of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services across Australia rated meeting the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the percentage of services rated meeting and exceeding the NQS have both recorded new highs at 50 per cent and 80 per cent respectively of all services, according to the latest NQF Snapshot released by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
The increases have been driven by a significant jump in the number of centres who were previously rated as working toward the NQS being rated as meeting or above on reassessment. After several quarters of no change, 200 of the 300 centres assessed saw their rating improve.
The December quarter 2019 saw the largest improvement in quality ratings since Q3 2017, the net effect of which was to take the percentage of all services rated meeting and the percentage of all services rated meeting or exceeding to new highs at 50 per cent and 80 per cent respectively.
From a governance type perspective there was improvement across the board, but particularly strong improvement in the independent schools and catholic schools categories, with the former now recording 83 per cent of services rated meeting or exceeding, up from 81 per cent and the latter 78 per cent up from 75 per cent.
From a settings perspective Outside School Hours Care (OSHC) and Family Day Care were the main drivers, with both showing 2 percentage point increases to 74 per cent and 49 per cent.
Exceeding to exceeding reassessment rates tick higher for first time since Q3 2018
Of those centres that were assessed and were previously rated as exceeding, 51 per cent retained their exceeding rating post reassessment which was the first time an increase had occurred since Q3 2018 which saw a 1 per cent improvement to 53 per cent.
Although overall retention rates did improve at the margin in Q4 2019, of the 265 centres rated exceeding that were reassessed in Q4 2019 around 46 per cent (143 centres) managed to retain their rating, which with the exception of Q4 2018, was the lowest percentage since the introduction of new exceeding rating guidelines in Q1 2018.
WA continues to see positive change in working towards centre reductions
Western Australia saw a further 2 percentage point fall in the number of services rated working towards and signals that the trend of quality improvement that had been evident in WA over the course of the last three years is continuing.
WA has the most working towards services compared to other states and territories but has made significant strides in raising quality which has seen the percentage of centres rated working towards fall from 38 per cent in Q2 2017 to the 28 per cent now.
Only South Australia and the Northern Territory have bettered WA’s rate of improvement with respect to working towards rating reductions but regardless of their outperformance the overall trend across Australia continues to be one of improvement as highlighted by the overall numbers detailed above.
To read the Q4 2019 ACECQA snapshot please click here.