Speculation and confusion about ACECQA’s self-assessment tool

The Penelope team has the good fortune of speaking to hundreds of Educators each week. A common source of confusion in recent times has related to the role of ACECQA’s optional self-assessment tool. Particularly for services preparing for assessment and rating in New South Wales.

Much of the confusion has stemmed from inaccurate or misleading press releases. Some common misconceptions include that, from February 2020, using the optional self-assessment tool would become mandatory and that the tool would completely replace the need to submit a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) through the assessment and rating process.

Through direct correspondence with ACECQA, we can confirm that:

  • The self-assessment tool will remain an optional resource. There is no obligation to use the tool now or beyond February 2020.
  • The self-assessment tool prompts for the same information that the optional QIP template does. Therefore, completing the self-assessment tool also results in documenting the Quality Improvement Plan within the same document.

NSW providers have been emailed asking them if they want to opt in to using the optional tool. There has been further confusion stemming from this correspondence as some services have interpreted this as having the choice to opt out of self-assessment completely.

The purpose of the optional tool, and related correspondence, is to reaffirm that self-assessment is a regulatory requirement in developing a QIP. Aside from this the tool itself identifies the following on page 7.

‘Choose a self-assessment documentation process that suits your context and planning approach. Every service context and community is unique. This tool is only one way to document self-assessment and inform your QIP. You may need to adapt the tool to suit your service type, for example, consider how family day care educators might access and use it.

Self-assessment documentation is not required to be submitted to the regulatory authority. However, evidence must demonstrate that self-assessment has informed the service QIP.’

This is underpinned by the requirements of the National Quality Framework and is not a new or recent development.

The good news for the 1800+ Australian services subscribing to Penelope is that we’ve designed their quality program to step them through a comprehensive and collaborative ongoing self-assessment that automatically informs their real-time digital QIP. Our role is simplifying the 636-page Guide to the National Quality Framework and tailoring self-assessment schedules to reflect the make up of each subscribing service. Any changes to the requirements for assessment and rating are included in updates to the platform ahead of their implementation so that our partner services are always aligned with current regulation and accepted better practice. We streamline and improve on the format of ACECQA’s optional tools and do the hard work involved in developing solutions to transition through regulatory change so that our members can simply log in on their computers, phones or devices and be guided through what they need to know and do.

For New South Wales providers, we are waiting on return contact from the Department of Education and will share any relevant updates through our regular newsletters.

If you’re unfamiliar with Penelope and would like to find out more, please feel free to reply to this email, phone us on 1300 435 962 or sign up for a free trial now at penelope.com.au.