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Is the NQS Failing?

Is the NQS failing? What we see now from ACECQA is not consistent with research. Where is it going wrong?

So let’s think critically. Critical thinking is having the ability to question what we are being told. ACECQA tells us everything is okay and the NQS is for the “best possible start in life”.

If we were to think critically does this statement hold true?

Quality is influenced by higher levels of qualifications. The research to back this up is endless and easy to find. Therefore we can make big, bold statements about the importance of having degree trained early childhood teachers. So the more early childhood teachers the better right???

But when we become critical and look at the facts and figures something isn’t adding up. Let me show you what I’m talking about. In NSW we need an early childhood teacher at the service when there are 25 children. We need another when the numbers of children reach 40, again another at 60 and another at 80.

In every other state and territory they only need 1 early childhood teacher (although some States require more for preschools or kindergarten programmes).

Based upon research it should be easy to say NSW should be running higher quality services – but no.

Let’s look at the ACECQA facts and figures regarding quality.

Percentage of services with working towards, meeting and exceeding ratings in each State/Territory

                                                             Working Towards     Meeting         Exceeding
ACT                                                                   60                      18                       22
NSW                                                                 47                      34                        19
NT                                                                     82                         9                       10
QLD                                                                  29                      32                        38
SA                                                                      34                      26                        38
TAS                                                                   61                       19                        19
Vic                                                                     22                      48                         30
WA                                                                    54                      22                         22

Source: http://files.acecqa.gov.au/files/Reports/2014/2014_ACECQA_Snapshot_Q2_Final.pdf

Critical questions

• How can NSW services have a lower rate of Exceeding ratings when in some cases they have 300% more degree trained early childhood teachers?
• How can we believe these facts from ACECQA when so much other quality research shows that higher qualifications result in better quality education and care?
• Can we believe anything about quality in the NQS?
• How are parents going to make an informed choice about quality with these types of inconsistencies?
• What are taxpayers of Australia really paying for with the NQS? It isn’t consistency.
• What is ACECQA doing about this alarming inconsistency?
• Who is correct and who is wrong? NSW assessors? South Australian assessors? Queensland assessors?
• Is this inconsistency related to ACECQA training of assessors?
• Are the states doing whatever they want?
• Are the wrong people employed to be assessors?
• Are the wrong people employed in ACECQA to look after consistency?

This type of inconsistency needs investigating immediately.

With these disturbing facts not reflecting quality research we can’t use the NQS for anything. It can’t inform parents, researchers will not be able to use the figures and no assumptions can be made about quality. The only question we can answer is our first question. “Is the NQS failing?”

That’s a great big YES.

Matthew Stapleton

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