ACECQA’s National Education Leader, Rhonda Livingstone provides insight into National Quality Framework topics of interest.
In the first instalment of this series, I explored the role of critical reflection in supporting and strengthening self-assessment and quality improvement planning processes. In this next part, I want to focus on the way professional collaboration can strengthen and inform both of these processes.
Part 2: Professional collaboration – Together we can achieve so much
The importance of promoting a positive organisational culture and professional learning community built on a spirit of collegiality and trusting, respectful relationships is well recognised in the National Quality Standard (NQS). Likewise, professional collaboration, building shared professional knowledge and active participation in a ‘lively culture of professional inquiry’ are acknowledged in the NQS, the approved learning frameworks and the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Code of Ethics, as fundamental to supporting continuous quality improvement.
While the National Regulations (Regulations 55 and 56) require the approved provider of an education and care service to prepare, review and revise a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), it is not expected that the provider be solely responsible for all the work, decisions or outcomes. Rather, self-assessment and quality improvement processes should be a shared and collaborative process engaging everyone: the approved provider, nominated supervisor, services’ leaders and management, co-ordinators, educational leaders, educators and other service staff. Your service’s journey of self-assessment and quality improvement should also provide an opportunity for collaboration with and input from children, families and the community (which I will explore further in my next instalment).
Implementing the 2018 NQS provides an opportunity to consider how your self-assessment and quality improvement processes:
- support the development of shared visions and goals
- foster and sustain a culture of collaborative professional inquiry
- empower educators by instilling a sense of ownership and shared accountability.
You might also consider how your service’s self-assessment and quality improvement processes support your team to articulate professional values, knowledge and practice, and assist in building confidence regarding the changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) and what these mean for service practice and continuous quality improvement.
Questions for consideration:
- How are the views and suggestions of all members of your service team used to support self-assessment and the development and review of quality improvement plans? What are some of the challenges to involvement that you have faced?
- How does your service create and sustain a ‘lively culture of professional inquiry’ that contributes to continuous improvement? Are there regular opportunities for self-assessment and quality improvement discussions?
- How do you develop a strengths-based approach to self-assessment and quality improvement planning that recognises the diverse skills, capabilities and experiences of all team members and supports a sense of shared responsibility? Are there opportunities for various team members to be ‘QIP champions’ responsible for aspects of quality improvement goals?
- Are all team members aware of the strengths and quality improvement goals and strategies identified in your service QIP? Is the intent and vision of your quality improvement goals clear and able to be communicated by all team members? Are these discussed at team and/or planning meetings?
Following on from these professional conversations, the next instalment in the series will explore the meaningful collaborations and engagement with families and the community, and the way they can shape your quality improvement processes.