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Strategic plan

The Board's strategic priorities for 2022-24 support the delivery of the statutory functions under s29 of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011. These include: 

1. Regulate schools, student exchange organisations and early childhood education and care services (services) with a risk-based approach

2. Positively engage with stakeholders

3. Support our people and improve our business. 

See the full strategic for 2022-24:  

Strategic Plan Education Standards Board 2022-24

Annual report

The Education Standards Board provides an annual report to the Minister for Education, Training and Skills each year under s279 of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Stanards) Act 2011. This report is tabled in the South Australian Parliament and made available to the public (s280 the Act). 

Education Standards Board 2021-22 Annual Report (pdf)

View 2021-22 Annual Report online

See past annual reports

Regulatory data

Publishing regulatory data provides transparency around the Education Standards Board's work and encourages voluntary compliance and improved service quality by regulated parties (approved providers, education and care services and educators). Regulatory data is also published in our annual report, and includes schools and international education. 

Early childhood sector performance 2021-22

Unless otherwise stated the figures provided below relate to South Australian education and care services regulated under the National Quality Framework. 

Sector profile

National Quality Framework Providers

On 30 June 2022 there were 426 approved providers, a minor decrease from 430 approved providers in 2020-21. Eighty-five percent (363) providers operate a single service.

In SA, 39% of approved providers are government operated, compared to 11% of state/territory and local government providers nationally.

Approved early childhood education and care services

There are 1252 NQF approved services in SA at 30 June 2022, an increase of 2% compared to the previous year. The increase included 16 long day care, one preschool and eight out of school hours care newly approved services.

Residual services

There are 117 residual services regulated under state legislation that are outside the scope of the NQF. Of these, 93 (83%) are provided by the South Australian Department of Education.

Residual service type

Number of services

In-home care

9

Mobile care

6

Occasional care

102

Quality

As at June 30 2022, 96% of services have a quality rating, compared to 90% nationally. There are 465 services rated under the 2018 National Quality Standards and 740 currently rated under the 2012 National Quality Standards. Forty-six services are approved and not yet rated as they are within the first 12 months of operation.

South Australia has 13.5% of services rated ‘Working Towards’, compared to 12.5% nationally. The number of services rated Meeting or higher has steadily increased year on year over the past four years.

Quality ratings of services by year at June 30 2022

Year

Working towards

Meeting

Exceeding

Excellent

Total

2018-19

205

18%

370

33%

545

48%

8

1%

1,128

2019-20

168

15%

428

37%

558

48%

8

1%

1,162

2020-21

166

14%

469

40%

546

46%

5

1%

1,186

2021-22

162

13%

507

42%

533

44%

4

0%

1,206


Proportion of quality ratings by service type compared to national average at 30 June 2022

Working Towards

Meeting

Exceeding*

SA

National

SA

National

SA

National

Long day care

15%

12%

47%

63%

38%

25%

Preschool

2%

5%

24%

38%

74%

57%

Outside school hours care

23%

16%

56%

73%

21%

12

*Exceeding also includes services rated as Excellent

Applications

Total applications received in 2021-22

All applications are assessed fairly, consistently and efficiently in accordance with our risk-based approach to early childhood regulation. This helps safeguard and preserve a high level of compliance in the early childhood sector.

Application type

Number

Waiver applications

540

Amend service approval

163

Out of scope applications*

110

Service approval

53

Transfer of service approval

40

Provider approval

36

Voluntary suspension of service approval

21

Amend provider approval

10

Review of ratings by the regulatory authority

8

Total

981

*Out of scope applications include applications from residual services under Schedule 2 of the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act 2011, which fall outside the scope of the National Law.

Waiver applications

Approved providers can apply for a waiver of an element of the requirements of the Law or Regulations. Once approved, waivers allow services to continue to provide compliant education and care while dealing with special circumstances or unexpected events. Most waiver applications are for temporary waivers, where the issue can be addressed within 12 months. At 30 June 2022, 9% of services in SA had a temporary waiver in force.

Proportion of services with a waiver in force at 30 June 2022

Waiver category

SA

National average

Physical environment

0.3%

3.0%

Staffing

8.9%

8.5%

Total

9.3%

11.1%

Proportion of services with a waiver in force by service type at 30 June 2022

Service type

SA

National average

Long day care

12.1%

18%

Preschool

2.2%

3.2%

Outside school hours care

13.8%

5%

Family day care

0%

1.2%

Notifications and complaints

Services are required by the National Law and Regulations to notify the Board of incidents and complaints from caregivers, educators, members of the public and external organisations.

Where reporting indicates an unacceptable risk to children’s health, safety and wellbeing, the Board takes action to respond to that risk and bring service back to compliance.

Notifications in 2021-22

In 2021-22 the Board received 4884 incident notifications, compared to 2369 in the previous reporting period. This high number of notifications includes non-regulatory notifications related to COVID-19. The majority of notifications lodged require no further action as the notification does not reflect concerns or risk to children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Incident notifications received by the Board in 2021-22

Outcome

Number received

No further action required

3498

Action required

1386

Total

4884

Serious incidents are a subset of incidents and include an injury or illness where a child does or ought to seek medical attention, when children are missing or unaccounted for, locked in or out of the service or removed from the service without authorisation.

Serious incident notifications received by the Board in 2021-22

Outcome

Number received

No further action required

1798

Action required

196

Total

1966

Complaints received in 2021-22

Service type

Direct to Education Standards Board

Notified by service

Long day care

182

245

Out of school hours care

22

21

Preschool

7

16

Family day care

6

6

Residual service

0

2

Unknown service

11

0

Total

228

290

The Board received 518 complaints, a decrease from 550 complaints received in 2020-21. A complaint can be raised both directly to the Board and at the service.

Monitoring and enforcement

Regulated parties are willing and able to comply most of the time. When a regulated party is found to be unwilling or unable to comply with their regulated obligations, voluntarily or with reasonable assistance, the board uses regulatory tools to direct or enforce compliance.

Top five breaches of the National Law and Regulations 2021-22

National Law and Regulations breached*

Number of breaches

s165 A nominated supervisor must ensure all children are adequately supervised at all times when children are in the care of the service.

101

s174 Offence to fail to notify certain information to the Regulatory Authority – notification of serious incidents and complaints

42

r79 Service providing food and beverages

37

r90 Medical conditions policy

24

r97 Emergency and evacuation procedures

23

Breaches of the National Law were addressed through 154 caution letters and 21 statutory compliance actions.

Statutory compliance actions issued by type and year

Statutory compliance action

2021-22

2020-21

Emergency action notice

11

5

Compliance notice

6

9

Direction to exclude inappropriate persons

2

0

Show cause for prohibition notice

1

0

Prohibition notice

1

2

Total

21

16

* Notified under regulation 175(2)(c) of the National Law: ‘any circumstance arising at the service that poses a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of children’. The Guide to the National Quality Framework lists ‘outbreak of an infectious disease’ as an example of such a circumstance. In South Australia we follow the SA Health advice regarding notifiable infections and only expect services to notify the Board of an outbreak if they have a requirement to notify SA Health.