74% of services meeting or exceeding standard
Education and care services in SA begin 2019 in good stead. Nearly three-quarters (74%) are rated as either Meeting or Exceeding the National Quality Standard as of mid-January.
In addition, nearly half (46%) of all services are rated as Exceeding or Excellent.
SA’s early childhood services (including OSHC) are performing really well and are in line with or above the national average.
Meeting or higher ratings are good for children, so it is pleasing that the majority of services are at this level.
The standard is based on research into what factors lead to the best outcomes for children. Meeting is seen as the level services are expected to get to.
Meeting or exceeding this standard leads to better education, health and employment outcomes for children.
A revised National Quality Standard came into effect in 2018. So it’s been a busy time for everyone in the sector—services themselves and the authorised officers from the Education Standards Board (ESB) who conduct assessment and ratings—in understanding and applying the new requirements.
Our authorised officers received training before the 2018 NQS came into effect and are now well versed in it and this more efficient system. A benefit is that it’s a much more streamlined approach with fewer standards and elements.
Many services that were rated as Working Towards NQS prior to 2018 are now rated as Meeting.
ESB reassessed a number of services that were Working Towards at their previous assessment and found that 63% had improved sufficiently to now be Meeting NQS.
We recognise those efforts to improve their services. We take an educative approach. At any stage, we want to work with services who want to improve.
So what’s ahead for the Education Standards Board in 2019?
Our goal for this year is to take a risk-based approach to the selection of services for reassessment by promoting continuous improvement and recognising the improvements services have made.
The ESB had assessed and rated 99% of eligible services by the end of 2018, up from 92% in 2017. There are 1186 education and care services that come under the National Quality Framework in SA.
Working Towards: The service provides a safe education and care program but there are one or more areas identified for improvement.
Meeting: The service provides quality education and care in all seven of the quality areas that comprise the NQS.
Exceeding: The service is deemed to go beyond the requirements in at least four of the seven quality areas that comprise the NQS.
Excellent: This is the highest rating, and one that services can apply for if they are rated as Exceeding NQS in all quality areas. There are nine services in SA with this rating.