Making the most of monitoring visits – guidance from SA Regulatory Authority
While monitoring visits for some early childhood education and care (ECEC) professionals can be daunting, the Education Standards Board (ESB) has released information and guidance for services, outlining the support and guidance available during a monitoring visit.
Although the advice has been issued from a South Australian agency, much of the information and context will be applicable to those in other states and territories.
In South Australia monitoring visits involve education and care services receiving a visit (or call) from an authorised officer of the Education Standards Board in between assessment and rating visits. The visit may be expected or unannounced.
The purpose of the visits is to help services meet the National Quality Standard and the National Law and Regulations and achieve better outcomes for children. The authorised officer usually asks for a tour of the service and then checks documents and talks to staff.
To demonstrate the various elements of a monitoring visit, the ESB spoke to Stacey-lee Meader, Centre Director, of Imagine Childcare and Kindergarten, Blakeview, who shared that “100 million different thoughts” were running through her head when she received a monitoring visit.
“As it was my first time having a monitoring visit, I was unsure of what to expect and was a bit hesitant.”
Despite her hesitance, when the visit was complete, Stacey-lee reflected that it had built her confidence, as someone who is new to the director role.
She said the authorised officer was “really friendly”, listened and answered any questions they had.
Sandra Trimper from Kin Kin Early Education has been through several monitoring visits and found them very positive, sharing that without the monitoring visits and calls, she would not have the knowledge she currently holds.
“I appreciate every moment that I have had with authorised officers,” she said.
“They have helped shape me into the type of director I wanted to be. With the correct knowledge and support behind me, I have been able to lead an amazing team of educators.”
She said the service had gained “important knowledge and feedback” from each visit and call they’d received. This led the service to reflect on and adapt operations and daily practices.
“Before entering this role, I was under the impression that monitoring visits were a negative sign of the centre. But now I personally encourage them as a constructive learning experience for myself and our educators.”
“The most challenging thing that comes from visits is the stress that is felt within the whole centre,” she added.
“I think that this is an issue that can be improved not only within our supportive environment and professional development as a team, but within the educator culture as a whole in this industry (sic.).”
“These visits are conducted to help education and care services to improve, understand and develop themselves in every quality area.”
To learn more about the work of the ESB, please see here. A list of regulatory authorities in each state and territory may be found here. Information about what happens at a monitoring visit follows this piece.
What happens at a monitoring visit?
Monitoring involves an authorised officer visiting an education and care service in between assessment and rating visits.
The authorised officer arrives at the service either unannounced or announced and will usually ask for a tour of the service and then check documents and have discussions.
The authorised officer checks for compliance matters that may need to be addressed and answers questions the service may have. Certain regulations may be targeted, based on trends we have noticed.
Any compliance matters must be addressed by the service by a due date. The service will need to submit evidence showing how the matter has been rectified.