What does assessment and rating look like in family day care? Advice from NSW
The Sector > Practice > Family Day Care > What does assessment and rating look like in family day care? Advice from NSW

What does assessment and rating look like in family day care? Advice from NSW

by Freya Lucas

January 19, 2023

While many early childhood educators will be familiar with the assessment and rating (A&R) process in centre-based services, there is little information available about the process from a family day care (FDC) perspective. 


The New South Wales Department of Education, which serves as the state’s regulatory authority, recently issued a fact sheet outlining the process, a summary of which appears below. 


How much notice do FDC educators have that A&R is coming? 


The FDC scheme an educator is registered with will notify the educator that A&R is coming. The scheme will be given a minimum of five days notice ahead of the visit, and is responsible for notifying the educators. 


What do educators need to do to prepare? 


Aside from having the Quality Improvement Plan up-to-date and ready for review, educators should think about their service strengths, how they meet the National Quality Standard and any areas identified for quality improvement. 


The Guide to the National Quality Framework also includes sections specifically for FDC services. Having digital or hard copies of relevant documents will also support the process. Examples of documents which may be required include: 


  • Visitor records 
  • Documents under regulation 178 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations
  • Documents relating to the educational program 
  • Examples of communication with families 
  • Documents relating to any children with health and medical conditions 
  • Policy and procedure documents 
  • Documents outlining the cycle of planning and assessment for children 
  • First aid kits (including expiry dates) 
  • Vehicles used for transporting children 
  • Hygiene practices 
  • Approved areas for education and care (including sleep/rest areas, furniture, and other areas accessible to children). 


The FDC scheme will also be asked to provide any additional information during a pre-visit phone call and/or email. 


What happens on the day of A&R? 


An authorised officer will arrive at the FDC residence or place of business, introduce themselves, and show identification. 


Once they have signed in, they will outline how the visit will be conducted, ask which areas of the premises are used for FDC, and may request a brief tour. 


From there, they will spend some time observing the interactions with the children, ask to see relevant documents, and have a discussion about any practices which require clarification. There are no set questions that will be asked, but some types of questions include questions about: 


  • The age of the children being cared for 
  • How the program and environment is adjusted to meet the different needs of the children in care 
  • How community excursions and transport is handled
  • What the policy is around visitors 
  • Child protection. 


The self-assessment and quality improvement areas identified by the scheme may also inform questions. Visits can last up to three hours, depending on the needs of the authorised officer. Occasionally the service visit may be longer than expected.


Can educators get any help on the day? 


The scheme may send a coordinator or staff member to support the educator during the A&R visit. This is encouraged by the Department as it helps with supervision when educators are talking with the authorised officer. 


However, it’s not a legal requirement to have support during the visit and authorised officers can still enter a FDC residence for assessment and rating when no such support is available. 


What about school drop offs, or emergencies? 


The authorised officer may attend school drop off and collection with the educator, as this is part of the daily routine. 


If an FDC educator experiences an emergency and is unable to work on the day of A&R usual processes should be followed, such as notifying the approved provider or scheme. They will then notify the officer and a replacement educator will be selected from a list of reserves. 


Support for educators who have English as an additional language


For those educators who have English as an additional language, the Department wants to make it known that A&R is an opportunity to showcase the FDC service. 


Educators should let the officer know if they do not understand a question or instruction, and ask them to repeat or re-phrase the question. Questions are designed to help the officer understand what educators do and how they do it and should not be viewed as a test.


Translation services are available, and the Department should be notified in advance if this service is required. 


Are there any options if educators are unhappy with the A&R outcome? 


Educators can raise any concerns with the officer or with their coordinator and/or scheme.  There are processes in place that allow concerns with the assessment and rating process to be raised at different times, including: 


  • Calling 1800 619 113 during or after the visit (or asking the coordinator to call. 
  • Ask the approved provider to raise concerns in the online survey sent after the visit. 
  • Provide feedback during the draft report stage.


To view the fact sheet in full, please see here

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