The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) recently received the 300th application from a service applying for an Excellent rating.
Implemented in 2013, the Excellent rating is the highest rating achievable under the National Quality Framework. For approved providers, educators, teachers, children, families and the community, the rating celebrates exceptional practice in delivering quality children’s education and care and, importantly, improving outcomes for children.
Of the 300 applications, 125 services have been named as Excellent since 2013, with 75 of these services located in the most disadvantaged areas of Australia as identified by the Socio-Economic Indexes For Areas (SEIFA). Twenty-eight of the services are in regional, rural and remote locations across the country.
There are currently 35 services with an active Excellent rating. Each service that is awarded the Excellent rating demonstrates:
- active involvement of children and families across service operations
- engagement with children and families to identify and meet their needs
- leadership extending beyond the service
- commitment to continual improvement and sustained exceptional practice.
In honour of the 300 applications milestone, ACECQA asked Excellent rated service leaders for the thoughts of their teams and their community about applying for, and being awarded, the Excellent rating.
Singleton Heights Preschool described the process as “the most interesting, exciting and motivating form of reflection any educational team could engage in.”
“Our engagement with the ACECQA assessment team was positive and supportive. Our phone interview was an opportunity for our team to share our service achievements in more detail and they expressed genuine interest and delight at our stories.”
Goodstart Early Learning Tuggerah said that, as a service, the provider has “achieved so much that we are extremely proud of,” and “have shared our big ambitions for the future which is both exciting and scary however if there is something that we know and can be assured of is that collectively as a community of children, families, educators and community partners we can achieve it and so much more than we could even begin to imagine.”
Children’s thoughts on Excellence
The children of the service also shared their thoughts about what it meant to them to have achieved an Excellent rating, with one adding “it is like Buzz Lightyear on my shirt he plays with all his friends and shows them how to go to infinity and beyond.”
“Excellence,” another added, “is really great and doing good things like making cupcakes and selling them to our friends next door so we have money to save the koalas, we helped them so much.”
Excellence was also described as being “like a superpower” which means that “you can do cool things that no one else can do, like fly or make magic potions,” and “it’s helping someone when they need help, like you help us to learn how to do my ‘e’ properly.”
To learn more about how Excellent rated services are transforming opportunities into improved outcomes for children and their communities, see here. Services may also wish to critically reflect on the practices delivered by Excellent rated services to inspire innovative practices and programs within their own context.
Those who are interested in applying for the Excellent rating are invited to review the Excellent rating Application Guidelines or contact ACECQA on 1800 422 327.
This article was first published by Freya Lucas on thesector.com.au.