Staffing waivers rise to new highs, quality continues to rise: Latest ACECQA snapshot
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Staffing waivers rise to new highs, quality continues to rise: Latest ACECQA snapshot

Staffing waivers rise to new highs, quality continues to rise: Latest ACECQA snapshot

by Jason Roberts

November 07, 2022

The percentage of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services with staffing waivers in place has jumped to a new record level of 9.3 per cent according to the latest Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) NQF Snapshot. 


The Snapshot, which is released quarterly, provides data from across the ECEC sector including waivers information, NQF ratings and supply data, with the most recent release highlighting that the workforce shortage related challenges being experienced in the ECEC sector are still much in force. 


Across all settings in the sector 9.3 per cent of services have applied for and been granted a staffing related waiver, up from 8.5 per cent in the June quarter and 7.5 per cent last year. 



Although the sector wide increases are concerning, the lion’s share of waivers continue to be extended to long day care (LDC) services. 


As of the end September 16.2 per cent of LDC services had a staffing waiver compared to just 2.9 per cent for preschools, 2.2 per cent for outside school hours care (OSHC) and 0.4 per cent for family day care (FDC).



Queensland led the larger states by a substantial margin, with 27.8 per cent of its LDC services having a staffing waiver, followed by New South Wales at 15.4 per cent and Victoria at 3.8 per cent.


Western Australia came in at 25.2 per cent, another high number, with South Australia and the ACT recording less stressed environments with 12.7 and 8.0 per cent each. 


Although there will be a seasonal component to the spike in waivers as occupancy demand peaks in the second half of the year, the overall increases across LDC settings serves as a reminder of just how challenging providers are finding the current conditions when it comes to filling rosters. 


Quality ticks higher as reassessment numbers return to pre-pandemic levels


The proportion of services rated as meeting the National Quality Standard (NQS) or above increased by 1.0 per cent in the quarter to a new record level of 89 per cent, with all jurisdictions largely maintaining their upward quality trajectory.



Across the different settings 87.0 per cent of LDC, 96.0 per cent of preschool, 85.0 per cent of OSHC and 61.0 per cent of FDC services are rated as meeting and above, with preschool and FDC showing a gain in this quarter of 1.0 per cent each. 


When categorised by governance type not for profit community run services, other not for profit organisations, council run services, and those services connected with Catholic schools remain the clear leaders from a quality perspective, with all achieving over 90 per cent of services meeting or exceeding, compared with for profit services recording 85 per cent. 


All quality related activity in the period was set against a backdrop of a pick up in the number of assessment and rating (A&R) visits and also reassessments following the restrictions imposed from the COVID-19 pandemic. 



A total of 1,183 A&R visits occurred in the three months to September 2022, the highest level recorded since 2017, with the number of reassessments also seeing a substantial bounce back but not to the same degree as the overall visit numbers. 


As COVID-19 recedes as a primary mitigant to accessing services, regulatory authorities are stepping up their activities as they seek to normalise activity in a post COVID environment. 


To read the latest snapshot visit the ACECQA website here

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