This month Be You talks to We Hear You about their national initiative for educators and how engagement with their program can help education and care services to demonstrate the Exceeding National Quality Standard (NQS) themes.
Be You promotes mental health and wellbeing of children aged from the early years to 18. Led by Beyond Blue, with delivery partners Early Childhood Australia and headspace, it offers educators evidence-based online professional learning and an effective whole-learning community approach to mental health and wellbeing.
Exceeding National Quality Standard themes and Be You
Be You can support education and care services to reflect and demonstrate the three NQS Exceeding themes.
What are the Exceeding NQS themes?
A rating of Exceeding NQS means that the service is performing above and beyond the requirements of the NQS.
The three Exceeding NQS themes are used to determine if approved education and care services exceed each of the fifteen NQS quality standards. Services must demonstrate these themes in practice for a standard to be rated as Exceeding NQS. The themes are:
1: Practice is embedded in service operations
2: Practice is informed by critical reflection
3: Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community
This determination occurs during the assessment and rating process undertaken by state and territory regulatory authorities. Authorised officers use ‘observe’, ‘discuss’ and ‘sight’ techniques to gather evidence that is used to assess if the Exceeding NQS themes are evident in practice. All three themes must be demonstrated for a standard to be rated Exceeding NQS.
How can Be You support services with the demonstration of the Exceeding NQS themes?
Be You has shared some examples of ways it can help services to reflect and demonstrate the three Exceeding NQS themes.
- Participation in Be You involves positive professional learning actions to support the mental health and wellbeing of children (NQS Standard 2.1) and staff (NQS Standards 4.1 and 4.2).
Participation also involves embedding these actions within service policies, procedures and practices. Through Be You, high quality practices can be established, sustained and consistently implemented, and this can support the demonstration of Exceeding NQS Theme 1 – Practice is embedded in service operations.
- Critical reflection is a very important part of the Be You implementation process.
Be You has a variety of implementation tools which serve as triggers for, and ways of documenting, critical reflection. For example, when promoting children’s mental health and wellbeing, the Be You Reflection Tool, Action Plan or Always Be You Learning Map could provide supporting evidence to demonstrate Exceeding Theme 2 – Practice is informed by critical reflection for Standard 2.1. These tools will also support educators and teams in their ongoing reflective practice for all standards. Critical reflection is also central to Standard 1.3 and a key pedagogical principle of the approved learning frameworks.
The three learning modules within the family partnerships domain can help services identify meaningful ways to engage with families. Be You surveys can also assist in canvassing families’ voices as to how well the service supports them to feel welcome and have a sense of belonging and connection. Reflection on the modules and survey results can be used together to identify areas for growth in communication and relationships with families.
This could then be used to demonstrate Exceeding Theme 3 – Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community for particular standards.
Register to learn more
It’s FREE to register your learning community with Be You and gain access to the program’s implementation tools and resources and the support of Be You Consultants. To learn more about how to connect to Be You and the Exceeding NQS themes, book for one of the Essentials or National Check-In events.
In our follow-up NEL blog, we’ll share some case studies from education and care services that could help in your understanding of the connection between engagement with Be You and the demonstration of the Exceeding NQS themes.