ESB to resume face-to-face assessment and rating visits in March
South Australian Regulatory Authority the Education Standards Board (ESB) is aiming to resume assessment and rating visits and face-to-face monitoring visits in mid-March 2022.
ESB had suspended these visits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Services who had previously received a commencement of assessment and rating visit letter and submitted their quality improvement plan (QIP) to the Education Standards Board via the NQAITS, but who had this process interrupted by the pandemic will soon be asked to submit a completed self-assessment (see below) and invited to resubmit an updated QIP if relevant.
An authorised officer will then contact the service to organise their assessment and rating in line with the protocols listed below.
Protocols for service visits in 2022
- Review information provided in the QIP and completed self-assessment tool prior to visit to target areas for the visit
- Undertake pre-visit discussions and request evidence in advance by phone or video call
- Undertake post-visit discussions and request follow-up evidence by phone or video call
- Observe practice in the outdoor learning environments wherever possible
- Conduct monitoring visits through phone or video call, with limited face-to-face visits
- Restrict time spent in playrooms, by using supervision windows
- Wear face masks at all times
- Practice effective hygiene practices and social distancing.
In 2021, the ESB published a self-assessment checklist as an optional tool for services to assess their compliance with the National Law and Regulations. This was to:
- support service’s understanding of and compliance with the National Law and Regulations, especially those that relate to the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard (NQS);
- assist services to meet their legislative requirement to annually self-assess their practices against the National Law and Regulations and the National Quality Standard (QIPs predominantly confirm the service’s self-assessment against the NQS but not against the National Law and Regulations);
- assist services to achieve a rating of Meeting NQS, as some services are rated as Working Towards NQS due to non-compliance identified during the assessment and rating visit and process; and,
- reduce the amount of non-compliance and breaches for services confirmed through both assessment and rating and monitoring visit processes.
In 2022, the ESB is requiring services to complete the self-assessment tool and provide evidence to demonstrate how they are meeting some of these laws and regulations. This requirement aims to deliver the following benefits:
- Services can be more confident they are meeting their legislative obligations that sit under the quality areas of the NQS.
- Authorised officers (AOs) can spend less time identifying and confirming non-compliance during assessment and rating and monitoring visits and more time observing and discussing quality practice.
- Services can plan and prepare better because they know the evidence required of them, rather than being asked spontaneously during a visit.
- Increased health and safety of service leaders, educators, children, families and AOs during the pandemic, as AOs maximise their visit time.
Services will submit the completed tool along with their QIP when they receive their letter informing them that their assessment and rating process has begun.
South Australian services are encouraged to access a copy of the self-assessment tool in preparation for their assessment and rating, to familiarise themselves and practice using the tool.
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