ECEC quality improvements pause after run of gains says latest ACECQA snapshot
The percentage of all early childhood education and care (ECEC) services rated meeting or exceeding was steady in the three months ended September 2021 after a run of quarterly increases according to the latest Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority’s (ACECQA) NQF snapshot.
Overall 86 per cent of services were rated as meeting or exceeding the NQS for the second consecutive month, equalling the record set in the previous quarter and marking the end of a broad based improvement in quality ratings that began in earnest towards the end of last year.
Within the various categories private for profit, not for profit other, council, outside school hours care (OSHC) and family day care (FDC) services were all steady in Q3 2021 relative to Q2 2021, with the preschool and long day care categories showing small decreases and community not for profit a small increase.
Post reassessment rating improvements also pause after broad migration to meeting
The broad based increase in the proportion of working towards services being reassessed as meeting post their second or more assessment and rating paused in Q3 2021 at 55 per cent with a similar trend was recorded for working towards services being re-rated as exceeding with 12 per cent recorded.
Despite the steady performance this quarter overall improvements in working towards quality ratings since 2017 has been strong with 67 per cent of services seeing an improvement at a reassessment event.
“More than two-thirds of services rated Working Towards NQS improved their overall quality rating at reassessment,” Ms Sinclair noted.
“This shows clearly that the continuous improvement in service quality the NQF intends to foster is taking place. The concerted efforts of service providers, teachers and educators to improve their programs and practice are reaping rewards.”
Working towards services reducing but gains in exceeding remain muted
Although a welcome reduction in the percentage of working towards services across settings and governance types is evident and the percentage of services rated exceeding continues to contract with 27 per cent of services achieving the exceeding rating down from a high of 33 per cent in early 2018.
Across the states and territories the ACT and South Australia continue to have the highest proportions of exceeding centres and Western Australia the lowest.
That being said Western Australia is the only state to demonstrate some stability in the proportion of services rated exceeding at around 18 per cent for almost the last two years whilst all other states have seen reductions of varying degrees.
To read all NQF snapshots, including the most recent, please click here.