Your questions on NQF updates answered

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Your questions on NQF updates answered

30 November 2023

 These questions have been created based on updates to the National Quality Framework (NQF). For further inquiries please contact the Education Standards Board (ESB).

Where can I find updated resources to help navigate the NQF changes? 

The webinars available on ESB website, are a start to help unpack the changes to the NQF. There are information sheets and other resources available to unpack these further on the ACECQA website. You can also find these through the QR code.

It is recommended to begin with what your staff need most support in (where most of the questions lay) before deciding what avenue may be best. However, we will have continual educative webinars available on our website. Please keep an eye out for these to register as they come up.

NQF Changes Overview - ACECQA website

How do I update my policies with all these changes?

With all policy and procedure reviews, it is recommended you engage in your service’s existing policy review process. Considering the information about the changes to the NQF will help support your journey in taking a thorough review of your current processes and what will need to improve or be amended to meet your legislative requirements. ACECQA has updated a set of guidelines to step you through preparing and reviewing policies and procedures, that are contextualised to your service. 

How can I best support our staff and families when implementing the changes?

The first step is to inform your staff and families of the changes. Once they are informed, it is about deciding how the service and your families might explore these changes and decide upon the best ways for your service to meet the requirements. This will include taking on different perspectives and working together to meet the requirements while supporting the best outcomes for children.

What do the changes look like from the ESB point of view and what are assessors looking for?

Authorised officers use the Guide to the NQF to determine what to observe, discuss and sight when visiting services to assess quality outcomes for children. The Guide has been reviewed and approved by all state and territories to reflect the 2019 NQF Review changes. Its purpose is to guide approved providers, services, and authorised officers on practices at the Meeting NQS rating level with additional information provided for achieving an Exceeding rating. This shared approach provides transparency and consistency.

Why do we need to have asthma and anaphylactic training? What are the currency periods of first aid?

The National Regulations outline the mandatory requirements for services in relation to first aid qualifications, anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training. These qualifications and training are in place to support the health and safety of children and other people in our professional workplace and to support the best outcomes of children.

The qualification needs for each service type in relation to first aid, asthma and anaphylaxis training can be found on the ACECQA website.

This training is considered current if the qualification or training was undertaken within the previous three years - except in the case of emergency life support training and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation training which must be completed within the previous year to be considered current.

Approved providers have until 1 April 2024 to undertake any necessary training to ensure first aid qualifications and anaphylaxis and asthma management training are current.

What are the timeframes for the implementation of the changes?

Throughout 2023, there were staged introductions of the changes between March, July and October All changes are now in effect. The only changes that have a period to implement are in the currency of qualifications. These relate to first aid, asthma and anaphylaxis training which is detailed above.

What is the impact to transitions for OSHC?

In relation to supporting children through travel or transport from one education and care service to another, we recommend watching the webinar if you haven’t already done so to understand the impacts of these changes.

Could you provide some greater clarity about who should be a person with management or control (PMC) on a kindergarten council or community child care management committee?

There are many different people who may be considered PMCs. It will depend on their role and the influence they have over the activities or delivery of the service. 
At a minimum, the Chair and Treasurer of the council or committee will meet the definition, because they have significant authority and responsibility for the delivery of a service.

Other examples of PMCs could include:

  • Chairs of any subcommittee (this can sometimes occur in OSHC environments where they are connected to the committee of the school)
  • a person employed by a third-party management company or a volunteer.
  • a person in a management position of the business, with the authority or responsibility for, or significant influence over, decisions affecting the delivery of children’s education and care (such as a state or area manager, or principal of the school)
  • any person without a formal or contractual role who, by their actions, has significant influence over the planning, direction or control of the activities or the delivery of the services.

A centre director or educational leader would be very unlikely to meet the new PMC definition, unless they had other responsibilities that do make them a PMC.

More resources about this can be found in ACECQA Factsheets below,

How should we implement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives based on the changes? 

There are many ways to support the implementation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander perspectives based on the changes. The recommendation is to connect with any local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representatives and have genuine engagements with them. Discussing the changes with them and having an open dialogue as to what this may look like could be a supportive way to genuinely implement Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Do you have any transportation of children policy guidelines?

ACECQA has prepared a ‘Safe transportation of children’ policy guideline which may support your needs.

What are the changes to the names of the rating levels?

Work on any potential change to the name of the quality rating levels is still in progress, in its research phase. Once this change comes into place, you will be informed.

What are the new duties I need to consider when transporting children using a vehicle?

In addition to legislative requirements for regular transportation already in place prior to 1 March 2023, the approved provider and nominated supervisor of a centre-based service must ensure:

  • a nominated supervisor or a staff member (other than the driver) must:
    • be present when children embark and disembark a vehicle at the service premises.
    • account for each child when they embark and disembark a vehicle at the service premises.
    • complete and record an examination of the interior of the vehicle after all children have disembarked to ensure there are no children are left on the vehicle.

What are some ways to strengthen practices around child safety and wellbeing?

The National Principles for child safe organisations are an important resource to reflect upon.

Along with the National Principles for child safe organisations you may find the ‘Protective practices for staff in their interactions with children and young people’ resource useful to strengthen your practices.

You could use your self-assessment tool and quality improvement plan to analyse any gaps and determine your next actions. Throughout this process you should include reviewing your practices against Quality Area 2 of the National Quality Standard.

You may also like to review the information sheets and resources regarding the changes to align with practices on the ACECQA website.

We also recommend that you read the ESB bulletins,and subscribe to the ACECQA newsletter for latest news and updates.

How do we embed the NQF changes into day-to-day planning and programming?

Many of these changes will impact service delivery rather than the day-to-day planning and programming of the curriculum with children. There will need to be careful reflection with your service stakeholders on the changes, to consider if planning and programming is impacted. For instance, if transportation is affected due to the changes in regular transportation, this may impact your curriculum decision-making. Each service context will differ, and individual services will need to clarify the impacts the changes may have on their day-to-day planning and programming.

When transitioning towards the use of the national Approved learning frameworks (ALFs), version 2, we recommend using the information sheets and the updated frameworks to consider how you are currently implementing practices reflective of these updates and what you may like to explore more of, to transition successfully by 1 February 2024.

How detailed does the sleep and rest risk assessment need to be? I feel like we have added so much information into this, but I am still unsure if it is covering everything.

There is information detailed in the ACECQA factsheet on Sleep and risk assessment. It provides guidance on risks to reflect upon and a template you may choose to use.

A risk assessment must consider the matters set out below.

  • The number, ages and development stages of children being educated and cared for, including at each education and care service and FDC residence or approved FDC venue of the service.  
  • The sleep and rest needs of children at the service (including specific health care needs, cultural preferences, sleep and rest needs of individual children and requests from families about a child’s sleep and rest) including at each education and care service and FDC residence or approved FDC venue of the service.  
  • The suitability of staffing arrangements required to adequately supervise and monitor children during sleep and rest periods.  The level of knowledge and training of the staff supervising children during sleep and rest periods
  • The location of the sleep and rest areas; including the arrangement of cots and beds within the sleep and rest areas; including at each education and care service and FDC residence or approved FDC venue of the service  
  • The safety and suitability of any cots, beds, and bedding equipment* and having regard to the ages and developmental stages of the children who will use them.
  • *Note that bassinets must not be on the education and care service premises (including centre-based and FDC services) at any time that children are being educated and cared for by the service.
  • Any potential hazards in sleep and rest areas or on a child during sleep and rest periods
  • The physical safety and suitability of sleep and rest environments, including temperature, lighting and ventilation at each education and care service and FDC residence or approved FDC venue of the service.  

For FDC services that provide overnight care to a child, any risks that the overnight care provided at the FDC residence or approved venue may pose to the safety, health, or wellbeing of the child.

There is also a dedicated section on the ACECQA website regarding sleep and rest legislative requirements which may support your reflections.

What are the requirements of sleep and rest policies for a preschool service where children rarely sleep? 

Sleep and rest policies are a requirement under regulation 168 for all services. The service context can be considered by using relevant considerations in the resources provided to the previous question.

Will services require a new QIP template to ensure it is reflective of the updated NQS?

The self-assessment and QIP templates provided on the ACECQA website will be updated shortly with the introduced and changed legislative links updated. 
The NQS has not changed, and there is no requirement to update your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) template. However, if you are developing changes to practices to support continuous improvement, it is likely that it will be relevant to use your QIP as part of this work. 

Additionally, you can access the Self-assessment Tool on the ESB website.

Will services require a new QIP template to ensure it is reflective of the updated NQS?

The self-assessment and QIP templates provided on the ACECQA website will be updated shortly with the introduced and changed legislative links updated. 

The NQS has not changed, and there is no requirement to update your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) template. However, if you are developing changes to practices to support continuous improvement, it is likely that it will be relevant to use your QIP as part of this work. 

Additionally, you can access the Self-assessment Tool on the ESB website.

Are there any changes directly relevant to preschools?

Throughout the webinar recording and this FAQs document, you will notice links to centre-based services. All changes that relate to centre-based services will directly affect preschool settings.

Are there any changes to child protection training requirements to support the understanding of inappropriate behaviours?

Child protection training requirements are not changing as a result of the NQF review.

What are the changes to water hazards?

FDC residences with swimming pools can continue to operate with additional safeguards to ensure active supervision and regular review of risks.

The changes include approved providers being required to conduct a monthly inspection of any swimming pool, water feature or other potential water hazard at a FDC residence or venue. An inspection will need to identify and assess any risks to the health, safety, and wellbeing of children. Factors to consider include adequate fencing and maintaining a safe environment to minimise the chance of children accessing any water. An approved provider can nominate a person to conduct the inspection, provided the nominee is not a resident or a FDC educator or FDC educator assistant working at the residence or venue.

A written inspection report is required to be completed based on the inspection, identifying, and assessing any risks.

In SA we have a lot of school-based preschools. How do the latest NQF changes align with SA legislation and with the Department of Education's policies and procedures?

The Department for Education, along with all other approved providers, should update their policies and procedures to align with the changes to the NQF.

How can OSHC services show they are meeting the Standards in Quality Area 1 with the changes to OSHC documentation requirements?

The approved provider of services that educate and care for children over preschool age is no longer required to keep documentation of individual evaluations of school age children. Instead, approved providers must ensure that evidence about the development of the educational program for a child over preschool age is documented.

Services should still understand each child and their strengths, ideas, abilities and interests and their progress across the learning outcomes as part of the planning cycle. This can be reflected in documenting how and why the educational program has been developed to support all children to participate in the program.

Just a reminder that there is no prescribed method in the National Law or Regulations for documenting the educational program, assessments, or evaluations. There are many different electronic, visual, and paper based ways to do this. A service can explore a range of styles and methods to determine what works best for their children, families, and educators.

In preparing documentation, it is important to consider:

  • the period of time a child is being educated and cared for by the service.
  • how the documentation will be used by educators at the service
  • how the learning outcomes outlined in the approved learning framework are reflected
  • whether the documentation is understood and available to educators and families.

It is recommended to engage in critical reflection on the practice of ‘assessment and evaluation for wellbeing, learning and development’ detailed within My Time, Our Place (MTOP) V2.0 on pages 26-29.

Access further information here: Documenting programs for school age services

Do we need to have a Safe Arrival of Children policy and related risk assessments, even though we do not offer this as a service? Is it a prescribed requirement for Long Day Care (LDC) services?

Yes, the policies regarding the safe arrival of children and related risk assessments are required under regulations 102AAB, 102AAC and 168(2)(gb).
The information may be contextual to your service whether these are individual policies or information about safe arrival of children, located within other relatable policies in your service.

Could you give some more insight into the "actively working towards" qualification changes?

There is strengthened guidance to assist approved providers to understand how to gather evidence that staff are "actively working towards" qualifications and making suitable progress.

Staff records should include evidence of any relevant qualification held by staff members or evidence of staff members who are actively working towards a qualification such as a transcript or letter from the course provider. Approved providers may discuss this with ESB.

When checking whether the requirements are being met, authorised officers may ask to see the following documentation:

  • The record of educators working directly with children (for centre-based services)
  • The record of staff, FDC co-ordinators and FDC educator assistants (for FDC services).

Documentation which approved providers may gather as evidence to support the understanding that an educator is making satisfactory progress in working towards a qualification include:

  • a confirmation of enrolment
  • a letter of offer
  • an academic transcript of units/modules completed.
  • examination results
  • a verified and dated letter from the course provider.

The approved provider should regularly review and request updated evidence from the educator, depending on the circumstances – for example, annually or at the end of each study period (semester or trimester).

How many staff need to do Food Safety Training when we are a lunch box centre? We now have a food supervisor with the new regulations coming in December, and some staff have done the food safety training.

Whilst this change has not been implemented through the National Law and National Regulations, education and care services may be impacted by the changes. More information can be found at SA Health.