Service providers have described how developing and implementing a QIP has been useful in identifying their strengths and where their efforts should be focused. While many services reflect on and review their plans regularly, if you have not already done so, it may be timely to review your plan, as you are required to update your QIP annually.
The Progress Notes column in the QIP template is there to make the document dynamic and allow for evolution as goals are achieved and new priorities are identified. Remember, you don’t need to use the ACECQA QIP template. You can use any format that suits your service, however, it should address the areas identified in the template as a minimum.
You should use the National Quality Standard (NQS) and the relevant regulatory standards to reassess your service and determine where goals have been achieved and where improvements are required.
If you haven’t already used them, the reflective questions in the Guide to the National Quality Standard are a great starting point for the review and are useful discussion prompts for staff and parent meetings.
Reviewing your QIP does not need to be time consuming; sharing around the tasks then discussing, as a group, is a time efficient strategy. The insights and perceptions of others will enrich this process. As the improvements you are seeking to make are mainly to benefit children, it is particularly important to include their voices in these processes.
The best plans are developed and reviewed collaboratively, involving, wherever possible, children, families, educators, staff members, management and other interested parties, such as those who assist children with additional needs.
It is important to remember that it is not about the length of your plan, but rather the quality. Identify the key priorities for your service and ensure the strategies and goals are achievable. Consider identifying short, medium and longer-term priorities. There is no minimum or maximum number of pages required when completing your QIP.
While it is important to reflect on practice, policies and procedures against the seven quality areas of the NQS, there is also no expectation that all 18 standards and 58 elements will be addressed in the QIP.
If your service is doing particularly well in one quality area you may choose to include statements about how this will be maintained and focus energy on other areas for improvement.
The purpose of the QIP is to guide quality improvements to the service. Now that you have revised the plan, it is important to keep the momentum going by reviewing progress and updating the plan regularly. The Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan, on the ACECQA website is a useful resource to assist in the planning and documenting stages.
This article first appeared in Early Edition — Childcare Queensland’s magazine.