Monitoring: What’s in it for you?
Services can gain invaluable knowledge and support from monitoring visits, even if they feel concerned initially.
Monitoring visits involve education and care services receiving a visit (or call) from an authorised officer of the Education Standards Board in between assessment and rating visits. The visit may be expected or unannounced.
The purpose is to help services meet the National Quality Standard and the National Law and Regulations and achieve better outcomes for children. The authorised officer usually asks for a tour of the service and then checks documents and talks to staff.
Stacey-lee Meader, Centre Director, Imagine Childcare and Kindergarten, Blakeview says “100 million different thoughts” were running through her head when she received a monitoring visit.
“As it was my first time having a monitoring visit, I was unsure of what to expect and was a bit hesitant.”
While feeling uncertain initially about a monitoring visit is common, many services find them helpful. This is the case for Imagine Childcare and Kindergarten.
“I believe it built my confidence, as I am taking on a new director role. It made me feel more confident in my abilities,” said Stacey-lee.
She said the authorised officer was “really friendly”, listened and answered any questions they had.
Increases knowledge and support
Sandra Trimper from Kin Kin Early Education has been through several monitoring visits and found them very positive.
“Without these monitoring visits and calls, I would not have the knowledge that I have now. I appreciate every moment that I have had with authorised officers,” she said.
“They have helped shape me into the type of director I wanted to be. With the correct knowledge and support behind me, I have been able to lead an amazing team of educators at our wonderful service.”
She said the service had gained “important knowledge and feedback” from each visit and call they’d received. This led the service to reflect on and adapt operations and daily practices.
Seeing monitoring differently
However, Sandra hasn’t always seen monitoring this way.
“Before entering this role, I was under the impression that monitoring visits were a negative sign of the centre. But now I personally encourage them as a constructive learning experience for myself and our educators.”
Sandra would like to see monitoring promoted in her industry as being primarily about improvement.
“The most challenging thing that comes from visits is the stress that is felt within the whole centre. I think that this is an issue that can be improved not only within our supportive environment and professional development as a team, but within the educator culture as whole in this industry.
“These visits are conducted to help education and care services to improve, understand and develop themselves in every quality area.”
Ease comes with experience
Over at Blue Skies Child Care Centre, Modbury North, Director Alison Runner said she and her team felt more at ease with monitoring visits now, having experienced many.
“In the past I have felt that there should be amazing, groundbreaking changes to show for quality improvement validation. But after having conversations with authorised officers, I now see the importance of the ‘little’ steps and feel more confident in showing our growth as a service.”
How to get the most out of it
So what tips do they offer services for their next monitoring visit?
Stacey-lee encouraged services to see them positively: “Don’t feel frustrated or like you have done something wrong. They are just here to ensure everything is going in the right direction.”
Sandra agreed: “Embrace monitoring visits as a positive opportunity and encourage your educators to be confident during these sessions.”
For Alison it’s about keeping it in perspective. “Our service aims to normalise the visits. We have always said it’s ‘just another day’.
“Have the conversations with the authorised officer and take on board their feedback with a view to helping you grow and improve.”
The Education Standards Board conducts approximately 300 monitoring visits each year.
- Monitoring involves an authorised officer visiting an education and care service in between assessment and rating visits.
- The authorised officer arrives at the service either unannounced or announced and will usually ask for a tour of the service and then check documents and have discussions.
- The authorised officer checks for compliance matters that may need to be addressed and answers questions the service may have. Certain regulations may be targeted, based on trends we have noticed.
- Any compliance matters must be addressed by the service by a due date. The service will need to submit evidence showing how the matter has been rectified.