Advice on meeting QA7
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Advice on meeting QA 7 – establishing and maintaining quality service operations

Advice on meeting QA 7 – establishing and maintaining quality service operations

by Freya Lucas

May 02, 2024

The New South Wales Department of Education has released a series of tips and advice in relation to meeting Quality Area 7 – establishing and maintaining quality service operations.


The importance of supporting and developing educators and other staff in their roles as part of a service’s governance and leadership is highlighted in elements 7.1.1, 7.1.3 and 7.2.3 of the National Quality Standard.


Establishing a culture of accountability, collaboration and continuous improvement to support the effective operation of a quality early childhood education and care (ECEC) service doesn’t happen by chance,” the Department notes. 


“You need to identify a collective vision, clearly define each person’s role, build clear expectations, and encourage learning and development for all members of staff.”


The following is a series of ideas designed to help leaders to “get their team working in the same direction.”


Statement of philosophy – identify a collective vision and guide decision-making


The National Quality Framework (NQF) requires all ECEC services to have a statement of philosophy to articulate their shared beliefs. Is it time to revisit yours and make sure it is a living document?


ACECQA suggests reviewing this philosophy every 12 months or after changes in the service or the sector, such as the introduction of updated Approved Learning Frameworks.


Families, children and educator voices should be reflected in this philosophy. As noted in the Guide to the NQF, in relation to Element 7.1.1 – “When the educational leader, nominated supervisors, co-ordinators and educators contribute to the review of a philosophy statement, it is more likely to be owned by all members of the team. It encourages commitment and willingness to put it into practice.”


Use the philosophy as a guide


The Department encourages services to “make a conscious effort to use your philosophy when your team needs to make difficult decisions, establish effective policies and procedures, foster the culture of the service or identify improvements.”


When thinking about the governance and leadership of your service and elements 7.1.3 and 7.2.3, services are encouraged to go back to their philosophy and check what it says about what educators should know and what their roles should be. 


“Does your philosophy say you value mentoring or that educators seek to be lifelong learners? Can you use these values to design your practice?”


Services are encouraged to measure their current procedure and decision making processes against the philosophy, and ask if they are able to act in ways that are in line with the philosophy, and if not, to ask what is getting in the way. 


Roles and responsibilities


Clear expectations can set everyone, from children and families to staff, up for success. 


Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of all employees will support a good understanding of procedures, expectations for performance and the operation of a quality service. There are several strategies service leaders can implement to support a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities, such as:


  • clarifying organisational culture and its focus on child safety, including requirements for reporting concerns, ensuring all staff understand their obligations


  • creating individualised job and role descriptions


  • delegating specific roles throughout the service


  • developing induction procedures that are thorough but not overwhelming. You may choose to stagger the onboarding process to allow time for educators to familiarise themselves with their roles and responsibilities, while ensuring mandatory obligations are covered upfront


  • offering training specific to roles and responsibilities


  • providing mentoring


  • supporting discussions during regular team, room and 1:1 meetings


  • using communication platforms to share reminders or messages about roles and responsibilities


  • providing service handbooks, including your Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics. You may choose to keep these digitally to allow for quick referencing and ease of updating


  • supporting educators’ understanding of the NQF


  • engaging educators in discussions about how their personal philosophies reflect the values and beliefs of the service’s philosophy.


Developing professionals – encourage learning and development for all team members


Regular performance evaluation and the implementation of individual development plans support educators’ development of skills and professional knowledge. The Department highlights the importance of ensuring that all team members are included in performance evaluation, professional development and training.


Effective performance evaluation may:


  • be linked with the employee’s job/position description and the service philosophy
  • include a review of the employee’s previous plan
  • acknowledge the employee’s achievements and contributions to the service
  • include participation by all educators, educational leaders and staff members in professional development activities to build their capacity and confidence.


Individual development plans may:


  • outline realistic and achievable goals with consideration to the position of the employee, their qualifications and skills
  • relate to any further development or training that the employee may require to perform their role or indicated further training requirements
  • identify leadership opportunities
  • identify strategies and approaches for support and mentoring
  • outline timelines for goals to be measured and progress to be revisited
  • link to other related documents such as the service’s Quality Improvement Plan
  • document regular review and updating of all educators, educational leaders and staff members professional strengths and objectives.


Additional resources 


The Department has a range of articles to support, including Tips to meet Quality Area 7: Governance and Leadership and Continuous improvement – the real meaning behind self-assessment.


There is also a feature article to learn more about how reflective practice supports service governance and leadership by CELA’s early education specialists.


ACECQA also has a resource to support – access it here Introduction – Quality Area 7 Governance and leadership

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