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Staff Managment (HR)

Are your educators lacking passion?

We can help your educators get the passion back by teaching them how to create meaningful learning that they will enjoy doing. We teach them the proper way to document that is the real EYLF and takes less time. We can guarantee you that parents will read it, comment on it and add to it. Your educators will feel appreciated and in turn it will give them the energy and confidence to go even further. Call the office today on 1800 440 102 to book in an after work 2 hour In-Service. See the difference now. Get the passion back.

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Time Bandit Busting! – Time Management strategies

Last week’s Blog, we identified who and what is stealing your time and how to document everything that you are doing throughout your day and provided strategies in tabulating and prioritising your time.

This week’s Blog focuses on eliminating your Time Bandits!

Guidelines for Time Bandit Busting!

Time Out

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How to leave work on time and get your weekends back!

Your time is your life.

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day, yet some people accomplish a great deal more in their day than others. Although, most people rarely think of it this way, ‘time’ is simply another word for ‘life’.

This week’s blog helps you with time management. Identify who and what is stealing your time and strategies to track the flow of your day and ways to become more productive.

Click the link below to read the article and for free templates relating to time management.

How to leave work on time and get your weekend back!

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Educators – Are you overwhelmed by documenting children’s learning?

Approaches to Assessment for Learning – in this article, Matthew provides an insight into how Educators can engage in interactions with children to promote learning using the principles and practices of the EYLF as well as developing inclusive assessment practices with children and their families.

Matthew provides a FREE Learning Story Checklist.

Approaches to Assessment for Learning





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Educators – Are you working as a team?

We provide tips and strategies to help you create and maintain an effective team of Educators.

Three mature businesswomen working in office, standing by the table, showing muscle on their hand. Empowering women. Wearing casual clothes. Caucasian ethnicity.

View the full article here: Are you and your Educators working as a team?

Posted in Directors, Family day care, Long Day Care, Nominated Supervisors, OSHC, Preschool and kindergarten, Room Leaders | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nominated Supervisor – Guidelines for Effective Delegation

Delegation is not ‘dumping’ work on other people. If you have ever been on the receiving end, you know ‘dumping’ work doesn’t feel good. As well as you’re not very likely to be willing, or even able to, give that task your best effort.

As a Nominated Supervisor, how can you and your Room Leaders think about delegation so that it not only makes people feel valued and respected, but also produces the result you want?

Click here to view the full article.

Nominated Supervisors – Initiating the Agreement – Guidelines for Effective Delegation


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The essence of EYLF and MTOP

I had an inteboy thinkingresting chat with my car mechanic the other day. He was telling me some funny stories about some of the things people thought were wrong with their car, only to find that they’d accidentally changed some feature of the car or didn’t fully understand what the feature did. read more

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Review of the NQF

In July, Centre Support made a submission to the Federal Government’s 2014 review of the NQF. The submission included 11 recommendations for changes to the NQF to address issues we have identified directly or through consultation with our customers.

It is very pleasing to see that many of our recommendations have been included in the Regulations Impact Statement (RIS) that has been released for public consultation.  An RIS assesses the impact of the proposed options for change. Some of the options include:

Centre Support RIS

Complexity of NQS

Reduce the number of NQS Quality Areas

Complexity of NQS

Reduce the complexity of the NQS through a draft revised Standard. The draft NQS in the RIS contains 15 standards and 40 elements (currently 18 standards and 58 elements)

Streamline requirements and common criteria

Streamline ratio and qualification requirements so all services are assessed against common criteria

Restrict any move for greater differentiation in the NQF across jurisdictions and ensure future changes provide increased unification of the NQF.

All Authorised Officers undertake professional practice in a centre for 6 weeks; 2 weeks in a baby’s room and 4 weeks in a Nominated Supervisor’s role.


Streamline requirements and common criteria

Streamline the  national approach to assessment and rating, including through supporting templates and documents and further rigorous training of authorised officers.


Expertise in particular settings

Authorised Officers with current practical experience in particular settings, for example 4 weeks as the Nominated Supervisor in an OSHC service, undertake assessments in that setting.


Expertise in particular settings

Amend Regulation 74 so that services that educate and care for children over preschool age must keep documentation about development of the program, rather than about individual children’s development


Do not amend Regulation 74 but retrain authorised officers to regulate and assess OSHC services in a manner that better recognises the context of OSHC services

Rating changes

Remove the overall service rating and rely on individual Quality Area ratings. Replace the ‘Working Towards’ rating level with a more positive term such as ‘within range’ or a code such as P1, P2 or P3.

Rating changes

Remove the Significant Improvement Required rating, with the quality assessment rating process ceasing where it is determined that there is an unacceptable risk to children’s health, safety or wellbeing


Retain the Significant Improvement Required rating but amend its definition so that it refers to a rating that may be applied if there is significant non-compliance, rather than where there is unacceptable risk to children

More information about the options and the RIS is available at http://www.deloitteaccesseconomics.com.au/uploads/File/FINAL%20Education%20Council%20-%20Consultation%20RIS%20for%20NQF.pdf



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Is the NQS “a Market for Lemons”?



I recently read a fantastic article about parents’ ability to correctly assess quality in US children’s services. This article ‘Can consumers detect lemons? An empirical analysis of information asymmetry in the market for child care’ by Naci Mocan makes some very interesting points:

  • parents assess the quality of room and centre characteristics, which may or may not be those that child development professionals think are important
  • parent characteristics, like education and marital status, affect how accurately they predict quality
  • parents from minority groups rate quality higher when educators come from the same minority group
  • quality services can be costly to run
  • if parents cannot evaluate the quality of a centre, they won’t be willing to pay a premium for high quality, and high-quality services may not be viable.  p 773-774

If parents can’t accurately predict quality, the market for centre-based children’s services has, as Mocan puts it, ‘aspects of a market for lemons.”

Now in Australia under the NQF, we have always been told that one of the reasons for assessing and rating children’s services is to provide accurate information to parents about the quality of each service. We know it is hard for parents to accurately assess quality education and care. We have professionals who do it for them and then we publish those ratings to provide transparent information about each service.

Or do we?

As at 22 September 2014, only 46% of services in NSW have been assessed (source ACECQA website). This leaves a staggering 2639 (as at 22nd September) to be assessed and rated.

From previous figures NSW DEC is assessing 100 services per month. If this continues it would take a further 2 years and 2 months to get through the remainder. This doesn’t include the reassessment of services that were rated working towards or meeting, and are supposed to be assessed again after 1-2 years under NQF guidelines.

Let’s just stop and think about this for a minute.  We have children who have been through the early childhood system from 6 weeks and are now at school, and their service has not been assessed. At Centre Support we know of long day care services that have not been assessed for well over 5 years – under the NCAC or NQF. Services like these could be operating for 7 years with no quality checks whatsoever.

Why was the NQF created? Something about giving children the best start in life??? How can this hold true when the figures or so horrific? What are services doing between a potential 7 year visit?   This mess and poor planning has left us in a situation where the figures can’t be used to support reliable research data.  Perhaps more importantly, parents can’t make informed choices. Moreover, does the backlog pressure assessors to rush assessments and ratings? What type of assessment ranking would you get with a rushed assessment?

What is really going on with assessment and rating. It’s clearly failing from a NSW DEC point of view.

Matthew Stapleton

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NQS and Bureaucracy

Centre Sup497585051port talks to many services across Australia and some educators are becoming angry about the NQS. It’s not hard to see why.

In NSW a service was assessed and their teacher wasn’t recognised, even though the teacher had been a NSW public school kindergarten (first year of school) teacher for the past 30 years.

Why was this a problem? The assessor went to teachers’ college with this teacher; same year, same class, same qualification.  So with this qualification the assessor can assess the service but the teacher can’t be recognised as an early childhood teacher without further lower level studies?

These stupid bureaucratic inconsistencies are another part of the slow destruction of the NQS.

Just stop and think about how angry you would be if you were in this situation. Your classmate can judge you as inferior. You are not recognised as an early childhood teacher by your classmate.

What is going on? Is it one rule for some and another rule for others? Where will this lead us?

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others” say the pigs…― George OrwellAnimal Farm

Matthew Stapleton

Posted in Long Day Care, Preschool and kindergarten | Tagged as: , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in Family day care, Long Day Care, Preschool and kindergarten | Tagged as: , , , , | 1 Comment

Assessment Inconsistency

Is ACE464453763CQA’s lack of action to address consistency destroying the NQS?

ACECQA says ‘we hear you” but are they really actively listening to what is going on out here in EC? Maybe they don’t want to hear what is really going on.

While many of our clients are deservedly achieving ‘exceeding,’ we are also seeing regular inconsistency in other clients’ ratings. For example, there are comments in reports that clearly show assessors lack of understandings and abilities, perhaps qualifications or experience. THIS IS UNFAIR and is also the topic of many NQF forums and social media sites. Inconsistency and lack of some assessor’s knowledge and understanding is destroying the NQS.

How often do we hear or see comments about ‘doing something’ because that’s what the assessor wanted at another service when is not true …. A childcare whisper?
How much do services dread certain assessors in certain regions because their reputation precedes them? Other services hope they get the assessors they know are knowledgeable, not opinionated and able to accurately identify and assess the way in which the service uniquely meets the standards. Why are we putting up with this? Hasn’t this all got a bit crazy; one person’s opinion deciding the standard of a service? How do we even know what they understand? Is a four day training course and a yearly reliability test good enough?

After all, if they haven’t undertaken current university level studies how are they expected to have the knowledge to accurately assess QA1?

Assessors have no qualification requirements like those applying in EC. So why is this OK? Why is it accepted that an assessor can assess a service when they have less qualifications and experience than those people they are assessing? What do they not understand? Why are they allowed to make comments which demonstrate ignorance and bias, or which confuse EC professionals and demean practice?

We hear the National Educational Leader (ACECQA) speak about QA1 and documentation, everything Centre Support also says, yet some assessment officers are out there looking for something else based on their opinion and ignorance. Maybe the focus should be on educating them so they don’t confuse those they assess. Too often we hear of services changing their curriculum documentation or practice to comply with an assessor’s incorrect understanding.
Now we are hearing of services using the Guide to the NQS as a QIAS checklist after a government employee of a regulatory authority was quoted saying ‘unpack the NQF kit’. So is she suggesting this Guide is a recipe to ensure all services are exactly the same or is she saying it’s the law? Ticking off every suggestion in the Guide will not make you exceeding. This is simply not true.

I know that studying at a university level gave me a higher level of understanding. More importantly, it has provided me with knowledge on which to base my practice and to make professional judgement and use expertise. But the subjective assessment process used by some assessors is shutting this down. Telling educators to follow every suggestion in the NQS Guide, for example, is shutting down EC professional expertise to embrace standards in the most appropriate way for a particular service, children and families.

I speak to services everyday about the ludicrous statements that some assessors make. Educators are devastated and gutted! In fact many who have had these experiences have given up and don’t care about the NQS or their rating – the direct opposite of what the NQS is all about.

When EC culture changes to this extent the NQS has FAILED. Maybe the sector is divided on their experiences but once again this is not the intent of NQS. So why aren’t ACECQA and/or the regulatory authorities acting to resolve the constant inconsistency?
Services and Centre Support send in feedback and correspondence to these authorities but they refuse to act. Why are they silent? Why is EC allowing this to continue when these are government employees who have a code of conduct and we fund their wages through our taxes?
Why don’t we speak up? Are we frightened of the repercussions?

Where is ACECQA’s or the regulatory authorities Quality Improvement Plan? Maybe we should rate their performance against standards we develop for them.
It’s time for consistency and accuracy of the assessment process to be questioned and addressed.

Valerie Tillett
CEO Centre Support

Posted in Family day care, Long Day Care, OSHC, Preschool and kindergarten | Tagged as: , , | 1 Comment

There is no manual or book of evidence that can make you exceeding.

Let’s get s121202298omething straight.


The NQS is outcome based. So it is about using professional judgement and expertise to make informed decisions about how you meet the standards based on reflection, assessment and improvement, as long as you meet the regulations and relevant legislation in your work. If we have a list of evidence to work on we would all be the same and we would stay the same.

Embrace your professionalism and research and new contemporary practices to be the best.

How are you building your QIP?

After numerous conversations with educators around the country it makes me wonder how some services build their QIP.  Is it only created by ‘what goes wrong’?

That’s just crisis management.

The quality improvement plan should be much more that. It should build quality improvement across all elements and standards. If you do not reflect and assess each element how do you know if or how well you may or may not be meeting the element. Some may say that’s not necessary but what will happen if we don’t.  You will have a QIP created by the nominated supervisor only where improvement is very limited, not embedded or consistent and usually based on what we have always done in the past. Most of the educators, families and children will not have a clue about what is even in the QIP.

Let’s look at some options to create a QIP.

Imagine this…….

Centre A chooses to build their QIP built on the crisis basis based on what is a problem in the service based on what they have always done ‘the historical cultural beliefs’ and of the educators, training of the past, some ‘childcare whispers’ and some readings about the issue.

Their quality improvement is limited to areas of need and the educator’s research about fixing an issue. Occasionally they recognise a strength and note it in the QIP. They rely on what they have always done, what they learnt during their training undertaken many years ago. Limited improvement occurs.

Centre B chooses to build their QIP built on a weekly reflective task on each element which is assessed for strengths and identified issues. Each element is identified, reflected and assessed from different perspectives based on current research, knowledge and perhaps some contemporary practice on a weekly basis. Each group of educators critically reflects on each element, their practice and identifies their strengths, thoughtfully creating a vision of what they want to achieve and their path for improvement to build their QIP.

This is absolutely unique to their service. Each service will determine how they will meet the elements/standards. There is ‘no set recipe’ to follow. Each service will be different and unique. The input from educators, families and children together with the diversity and difference of each service will build improvement and practice which should be as diverse as they are.  In addition to this, the service may identify practice linked to the elements which may be highlighted in the service as a strength or identified issue which will also be added to their quality improvement plan. This service commits to their shared vision, ‘living’ their path to improvement which is embedded and consistent across the service community. They update their QIP regularly and celebrate their steps to success. The changes and improvement in the service is visual and dynamic. The professional expertise and judgement can be seen and your service community is reaping the benefits. The improvement is visual. It is what you do. It is you and your practice. It is not in a folder of evidence. The professional growth is unique and HUGE.

It’s important to always remember this: If the NQS ceased to exist tomorrow we would want to be the best we could be. That’s more important to any dedicated passionate professional.

Are you a Centre A service or a Centre B service? Centre Support has an integrated learning system that can help your service develop an embedded culture of reflective practice and continuous improvement unique to your service. Talk to us today!

Val Tillett

Posted in Family day care, Long Day Care, OSHC, Preschool and kindergarten | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Templates and Documentation

Is it okay toBusinesswoman with paper use templates when documenting children’s learning?

Yes!!! I am so sick of hearing rubbish like “you can’t get exceeding using a template” or “the program has to be in a scrapbook, or on a computer or IPad.” What a load of childcare whispers!

We constantly use templates every day – think about the forms you fill in, the checklists you complete, the on-line programs you may use. Why do some educators have such a fear about using a template for programming? Are templates just misunderstood? Templates are just lines on a page so why all of a sudden have they gone out of fashion?

An open template without a heap of boxes that need completing is perfect for documenting the curriculum. An open template such as a Curriculum Planning Sheet allows educators to document rich and significant learning not just the activities. It is no different from a scrapbook or large art book. It allows professional judgement and open meaningful learning to be documented with evaluation and reflection.

We do not need templates which have boxes for every outcome because learning is holistic and interrelated. If a box is there, educators often have the urge to fill it with information that adds nothing to our understanding of the learning that took place -they just write for the sake of filling a box. We used boxes in the past because we programmed for separate domains in isolation but we don’t do this anymore. We have an open curriculum that allows us to document learning that is significant and meaningful, and which is assessed holistically rather than forced to fit in a box on the page.

So remember – “It is all about the quality of the documentation that matters, not what it is written on.”


Val Tillett

Posted in Family day care, Long Day Care, OSHC, Preschool and kindergarten | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How do you complete your Quality Improvement Plan?

Is your Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) based on a needs approach or a reflective/assessment approach?

 The int451192579roduction of the NQS has led quality improvement across the whole profession. Initially many of us had lots of issues to put in the QIP based on what we were not doing or the elements we weren’t meeting. We often completed our QIP around the ‘catastrophes’ at hand or our imminent rating and assessment once we received ‘the letter” to submit our QIP.

Many of us have now undergone assessment and are ready for our subsequent visit. So how are you reflecting, assessing and identifying strengths and issues with your team now? Are you including your team in the development of the QIP at all?

If Directors/Nominated Supervisors sit in an office and put into the QIP only what is not happening, how can improvement across the standards continue?  How will educators learn, understand their practice, know how to improve or be acknowledged for the strength in their practice? How will they even know about the QIP, how the service meets the elements or how practice can be consistently embedded to the highest level possible?

Some educators say dedicating 5 to10 minutes a day to professional reflection is too much, but isn’t that what passionate, dedicated professionals would do?  After all how many educators have time to discuss their home life?

So please consider how your QIP is being developed. Do all of the team have input into how its development, and is everyone involved in reflecting across the standards and identifying their strengths and weaknesses. A collaborative approach will build knowledge, understanding and drive consistent improvement and embedded practice to meet ‘exceeding’ level expectations.

Next time an educator doesn’t find 5-10 minutes a day to critically reflect on practice, explain why it is important and why their input is needed.

Val Tillett

Posted in Family day care, Long Day Care, OSHC, Preschool and kindergarten, Recognised training | Tagged as: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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