August update from the Chief Executive

Chief Executive and Registrar, Kerry Leaver

August update from the Chief Executive

23 August 2023

As we are now eight months into the delivery of our current regulatory strategy and priorities, which was released in December 2022 by the Education Standards Board (ESB), I would like to update you all on our activities and outcomes so far.

Our Regulatory Practice Statement, released at the same time, outlined who we are and what we do. In April 2023, we released our Compliance and Enforcement Policy to provide our position on supporting voluntary compliance and how we respond to non-compliance. 

To further assist in building transparent and collaborative relationships with the sector, we have developed a regulatory posture. 

A regulatory posture describes how a regulator approaches undertaking its functions. Our posture builds upon our Practice Statement and Compliance and Enforcement Policy by providing additional detail on how we regulate. 

Its purpose is to set ourselves expectations as we undertake our legislative functions and to set expectations for how providers, services and educators, as regulated parties, should experience the ESB. 

Our approach is structured into four areas:

ESB'S Regulatory posture


During 2023-24, our team is focusing on the Evaluate quadrant, to strengthen our internal quality assurance processes and review current practices to continuously improve our performance. 

Assessment and Rating activities

Prior to the release of our strategy, we targeted our resources to assess and rate services rated as Working Towards the National Quality Standard (NQS) and adopted a regulatory approach of earned autonomy for services rated as Meeting or Exceeding the NQS. Our strategy changed this and since January 2023, we have been focused on assessing and rating services that were rated under the 2012 NQS, who have not been assessed in 10 years.  Sixty-two percent of assessments published in South Australia between 1 January and 30 June 2023, resulted in a Working Towards rating, as opposed to 15% of ratings published nationally.

In response to this outcome and feedback from providers who have been assessed and rated recently, we have proactively engaged in critical reflection and made recent changes to our process, including: 

  • introducing an educative monitoring visit prior to the formal Assessment and Rating process to provide more support and direction to sites to help them identify and rectify areas of non-compliance and provide targeted guidance to support voluntary compliance;
  • increasing Quality Improvement Plan notes within the final report to support services in their continuous improvement journey;
  • providing additional detail to you about how we manage your feedback to the draft report, with clear reasons given for the outcome of our assessment of any further evidence or information you have provided; and
  • refresher training and guidance to our Authorised Officers on the appropriate use of the minor adjustments and inconsistent practice.

While the safety, health and wellbeing of children at early childhood and care services remains our primary concern, there is an opportunity for us to work more closely with services to support their continuous improvement and voluntary compliance with National Quality Standard.

In our August Bulletin, you can find further information about what to expect when undergoing an assessment and rating, a summary of the top three NQS elements that are receiving a Working Toward rating, along with resources to support services in critically reflecting on their practice in these areas, to support voluntary compliance. 

It is important for the integrity of the National Quality Framework in South Australia that services trust their overall rating. Your feedback is taken seriously. If you have questions or concerns about your draft report, please provide feedback through the draft report process. It should be clear to you why an element has been rated as not met, with reference to the requirements of the NQS. If you remain unclear or unsatisfied with the outcome of the final report, I encourage you to lodge a first-tier review application

I would like to hear from the sector about your experiences with us and how we are progressing with implementing our posture to assist us in our reforms. If you would like to share your experiences, please email me on

I look forward to providing you further updates in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Chief Executive signature