Quality levels continue their march higher according to latest ACECQA snapshot
84 per cent of all early childhood education and care (ECEC) services in Australia are now rated meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standards (NQS), a new record, according to the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) NQF Q1 2021 Snapshot.
The strongest gains were seen in the private for profit governance type category, outside school hours care (OSHC) setting category. From a state and territory perspective, New South Wales recorded a two percentage points drop, to record lows, in centres rated working towards the National Quality Standard (NQS).
ACECQA’s Quarterly snapshot provides extensive data on the performance of the sector on the whole from a quality perspective as a means to gauge progress of quality improvement over time.
Private for profit leads governance category gains, gap with NFP’s continues to close
Private for profit services, which includes long day care (LDC), OSHC, and family day care (FDC) settings saw a two percent increase in services rated as meeting or exceeding the quality standard, rising to 84 per cent, a new record.
From a meeting or above NQS trend perspective the gap between not for profit (NFP), both community managed and corporate managed, and their private for profit peers has narrowed substantially over the course of the last three years.
That being said, the NFP categories still have significantly more exceeding services as a percentage of total services than the private for profit category, with the bulk of the private for profit gains coming from services rated working towards improving to services rated meeting.
85% of LDC services now rated meeting or exceeding NQS, OSHC close behind
The percentage of LDC services rated as meeting or exceeding has now reached 85 per cent, with OSHC services above 80 per cent for the first time after a significant overall improvement in the quarter.
Drilling down into the governance types, not for profit and government LDC’s maintained their strong quality ratings with on average around 90 per cent of services rated as meeting or exceeding the NQS, although private for profit LDC’s did show the largest improvement with a 2 per cent increase to 82 per cent.
Interestingly, private for profit OSHC services have a higher proportion of services rated as meeting or better (at 84 per cent) than their not for profit peers, but still lagged behind the Catholic schools and State/Territory and Local Government managed services at 86 per cent and 89 per cent respectively.
New South Wales records another big drop in centres rated working towards
Across the states and territories of Australia, New South Wales once again recorded a large decrease in the percentage of services rated as working towards, with the state now closing in on the three better performing regions namely, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia.
The Northern Territory is also notable after a big improvement towards the end of 2020 which has been sustained into the first quarter of 2021.
Overall, across governance types, settings and geographies quality improvement as measured by performance against ACECQA’s National Quality Standards continues to improve reflecting the efforts of both the sector and the regulators as they apply the key tenet continuous improvement embedded into the National Quality Framework.
To read the latest NQF Snapshot please click here.