SIPs and QIPs: How an inclusion focus helped an OSHC service to excel in their A&R
Inclusive practice does not exist in a vacuum. In fact, strong inclusive practice can broadly benefit your service in ways you may not expect. We got in touch with The Loop OSHC service and their Community Child Care Association Inclusion Professional Lara to see how connecting their strategic inclusion plan (SIP) to their quality improvement plan (QIP) helped them blitz assessment and rating (A&R.)
The Loop is a 60-place outside of school hours care (OSHC) service based in Kyabram, Victoria. Their inclusion journey kicked off when their educational leader, Sharelle, and director, Claire, attended Community Child Care Association (CCC)’s OSHC Conference in 2019 and met with the Inclusion Professionals (IPs) who would help them get the ball rolling. Since then, with support from their current IP, Lara, they have grown their understanding of inclusion and worked hard to identify a broader range of areas for improvement.
‘Back in 2018, I knew we needed help with inclusion at The Loop – but being in our first year of operation, we had little knowledge of how to source it. Five years later and our inclusion needs have moved from children to families to cultures and everything in between,’ says The Loop director, Claire.
A key area of focus for The Loop more recently has been to utilise support from Lara to build a strong connection between their SIP and their QIP to prepare for A&R.
‘Prioritising inclusion has a very natural follow-on effect for Exceeding practice, as so many of those Exceeding themes are linked to flexible and holistic approaches which are able to provide an environment that diverse individuals can thrive in,’ says Lara.
‘Linking your SIP and QIP and using them as the live documents they are intended to be, results in an “inclusion ready” service. When critically reflecting on these two documents, services have a clearer picture of how accessible their service is and needs to be.’
Drawing these connections has involved deep collaboration between the service and their IP – both to shift staff’s understanding of the supports available to them, and to put practical strategies into practice.
‘We know now that our understanding of the connection between A&R, inclusive practice and inclusion support before working with Lara was very two-dimensional and lacked flow,’ Claire explains. ‘We had limited knowledge of the depth of support there was out there for services, families and children. We also didn’t realise the symbiotic relationship between these areas.’
Lara has supported the service to identify beneficial funding opportunities (such as Innovative Solutions funding), supported their ‘Statement to the commitment of inclusion’, facilitated online and face-to-face network meetings that The Loop has attended, attended the service to provide recommendations and resources, and completed SIP reviews to improve both inclusive practice and quality service delivery.
‘Lara has been there to strengthen our SIP and help with its reflection. Leading up to A&R, Lara reminded staff about the relationship between the SIP and our QIP, and the importance our SIP had on a positive A&R outcome,’ says Claire.
In their A&R review this year, the service scored an impressive Exceeding rating in six out of seven quality areas, with an overall rating of Exceeding – a significant improvement since their first review in 2019. Along with their fantastic A&R review, staff have also achieved a strong sense of improved confidence and skill development at a personal level.
‘Working with Lara has enabled our educators to have a stronger voice troubleshooting new ways to ensure inclusivity in all facets of life,’ says Claire. ‘Our confidence supporting families with the right information has grown exponentially, allowing staff to tailor-make information to suit each family’s path.’
Lara has also highlighted Claire’s success in supporting and inspiring other educators through her shared contributions in networks, to show what is possible for services to achieve if they prioritise an inclusive lens and innovate.
Lara and The Loop are now working on extending the reach of their inclusive practice even more widely, through an Innovative Solutions project with a focus on embedding Indigenous perspectives through art form. This new project will tie into The Loop’s Reconciliation Action Plan, QIP and SIP.
Want to find out more about how your IP can support your way forward with inclusive practice, and how that could build your capacity for your next A&R? Call VIA on 1800 177 017.
This piece was first shared in VIA’s Embrace magazine and has been reshared here with permission. Learn more about Embrace here.
CCC is holding a specialised OSHC conference in May 2024. Learn more about the conference here.
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