2021 Roadshow

The NSW Department of Education Early Childhood Education Virtual Roadshow: May 2021 sessions were held online 11 to 20 May. In total, 7,666 participants attended. View the list of sessions and presentations below.

Child safe seminar

Child safe seminar

- Good morning, everyone. And welcome to our first child safe seminar for leaders in the early childhood education and care sector and the OOSH sector. And we've had well over a thousand people registered for this, this morning. So thank you so much for making yourselves available. My name is Sharon Gudu, and I'll be facilitating this morning. I'm the executive director of quality assurance and regulatory services at the department of education. And my team and I are responsible for regulating, monitoring, and supporting early childhood education, and care services across New South Wales. Of which we have over 5,700. Our work is to ensure that all children, get the best start in life. And our highest priority is the health, safety, and wellbeing of children. Before we begin, I'd like to play a video acknowledging the original custodians of the lands, on which we meet today.


- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today, and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.


- And now I'd like to acknowledge that I am hosting the seminar for the lands of the Gadigal people, of the eora nation. And to pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging. And to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues with us here today. Today's seminar will include some mentions and a discussion about child sexual abuse, which some participants may find distressing or triggering. On the slide, our range of options for support, but please do step out of the session if the content is too much for you today. We will also provide this information at the end of the presentation, and in follow up communications. Okay, I'll just go over the agenda quickly. First, we'll have a quick welcome message from the minister by video. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to join us in person today. Then we will have an opening address by Robert Fitzgerald, a former Royal Commissioner, from the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. We will then have reflections from the parent of a survivor of child sexual abuse, Debbie, which is not her real name. We'll then hear from Janet Schorer, the children's guardian. And then from Kate Alexander from DCJ. The department of communities and justice. And then our speakers will be on a Q and A panel. And so you will be able to enter questions and answers into the Q and A function of Zoom. So not the chat function, which has been disabled. But the Q and A function you should see it on the bottom of your screen. You can type a question into the box. If you can please be specific about who you want to direct your question to, if it is for someone in particular, or feel free to make it more general if that's what you want. You can also vote on other people's questions, by clicking the thumbs up icon next to their question. Questions with the most votes, will automatically come to the top of our list, and will help us prioritise these, to be addressed by the panel. I can imagine we will get a lot of questions, and we won't be able to answer them all, but we will do our best to collect them afterwards, and send out an FAQ. So please do put your questions in. We will have a break after the first Q and A panel, and then we'll go on to two other speakers, Debbie Dickson from KU, and Glenda Buckley from our team giving the regulatory perspective. And we'll then have another short Q and A panel. And then that we'll be the end of a wonderful session. So stay tuned. Okay, so our first presentation is a short video, from Sarah Mitchell, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Learning.


- I would like to begin by acknowledging that I'm recording this speech, from the traditional land of the Gadigal people. I also acknowledged traditional custodians of the various lands, from where all of you are situated today. And I pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples viewing today's session. The safety, health, and well-being of all children in early childhood education and care services across New South Wales is paramount. And is one of our key priorities. That's why I'm pleased that following the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, the commission has recommended 10 child safe standards for organisations. By drawing on its findings, research and consultation about what makes organisations child safe. These standards provide a benchmark for your organisations to assess their child's safe capacity, and set performance targets. In early childhood education, and outside of school hours care contexts, the department supports all services to play a crucial role in providing a child safe environment. Protecting children from harm, abuse, and neglect. And swiftly responding to, and reporting incidents, suspected incidents, and concerns. Today's child safety seminar provides each of you a simulative from the sector, with an opportunity to consider the ways you can drive a child safe culture, adopt strategies, and act to put the interests of children first, to keep them safe from harm. I thank you for your commitment to this important issue.


- Now, I would like to welcome, Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald, as our first speaker. Robert served on the Royal Commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, from 2013 to 2017. He has also spent time as productivity commissioner, and community and disability services commissioner. And is currently the New South Wales ageing, and disability commissioner. We'll be hearing from Robert about the importance of discussing and raising action plans to mitigate child sexual abuse, reflecting on his experience. Thank you very much Robert and welcome.


- Thanks very much, Sharon. And I must say it's a great joy to be with you. And I'd also like to share in the acknowledgement, of the Burramattagal people here in Parramatta, who have been associated with the Parramatta River for 60,000 years. So it puts our daily concerns into some context. Look, it's a great privilege to be able to share some thoughts with you this morning. And let me congratulate the department of education on hosting this important seminar. Indeed, this is a journey we're going to go on this morning. And in particular, just in the session that I'm going to do. I want to start off on a very positive note. I really do want to thank the New South Wales department of education, department of communities and justice, the children's guardian. And also so many providers for the responses, that they've made since the Royal Commission. And let the be no doubt at all, that there's been a lot of activity right around Australia and in New South Wales, in trying to respond to the really shocking findings that came forth during the Royal Commission. And we've been by no means finished in terms of the reforms that are necessary, nor the measures that are required right across this nation, in every organisation that has a responsibility for, or deal with children and young people generally. And the truth of the matter is, child sexual abuse is a never ending story. It never has an end point. There is no point in your life, or my life, where the issues that we're talking about today, will be any less important or significant. There will never be a time when we take for granted, the safety of our children, and our young people in our care. And so this is simply part of an ongoing process. If we can step back just a little bit in relation to the Royal Commission without going into too much detail. It's now three years, just over three years since its findings were released and its recommendations made. During that time 8,000 people came forward, and did private sessions with individual commissioners like myself. And those private sessions took place across Australia and over three or 400 of those, took place in jails, and custodial facilities with prisoners who had been abused as children. Of those 8,000 people, they told us a story of abuse in over 4,000 organisational institutional settings. In country and regional areas. They told us a story about the difference between government-run, and non-government run services. 30% made up were abused in government settings, 60% in faith based settings, and 10% in secular non government organisations. They also told us about the type of abuse that had occurred and who were the abusers. And 30% of the abuse, was alleged to have been occurred by teachers. And in this case, both at schools, and early childhood. 30% of the institutions named were schools, and early childhood centres. Although early childhood centres were a very tiny percentage of that. And most alarmingly, the average age of abuse, was just over 10 years of age. For those in the early childhood space, it's important to know that 10% of girls were abused under the age of four, or four and under. And about 4% of boys. But they in fact, the most abused group where those of between five and 10 years of age. And again, just in terms of numbers, 37% of women who were abused as children, were abused in that category. And about 28% of boys. So what we're talking about is abuse that took place at a very young age. Either preschool, or during the early days of school. And so those figures we don't know whether they reflect the broad understanding. There's no prevalence starter available in relation to this area. But what we do know is a couple of things, that since the time of those abuse allegations, most of which were historical, but some very, very contemporary. We believe the level of sexual abuse in institutions generally has reduced. That is not true in our community. And it's not true of sexual abuse of children within the family. We also know that a number of measures have happened across Australia, as I've indicated, which would indicate that should be the result. It didn't happen simply out of good luck. It didn't happen because society is fundamentally changed. It happened because governments, service providers, community groups, took action. And that's what we're talking about today. Since the Royal Commission, there's been a lot of activity or indicated, and one of the most important ones has been the acceptance by all governments, of a national set of mandatory child safe principles. Which are now being rolled out right throughout Australia and including in New South Wales. And the children's guardian, we'll talk about that a little later. Those standards are essential. And they're essential that every single provider, every single service that works with children, implement those appropriate to, and adapted to, the particular setting and circumstances. But other things have also happened. Reportable conduct regimes have been rolled out, more extensively than they were in some areas. We've seen changes to the criminal law, that actually holds leaders of providers, actually accountable for the failure to report, but also the failure to act where there is a high risk of abuse to a particular child. We've seen changes to civil litigation, and the removal of statutory limitation. So it doesn't matter when the abuse occurs, a person can come back into the civil system, and have their contentions tested. We've seen redress schemes for victims of sexual abuse, both historical and more contemporary abuse. And we've certainly seen a growing education right throughout all sectors. But the way to start this, I think is also just to look at some of the failures. And the case study that we did. The second case study of the Royal Commission that took place in the first year of its operation, was all an organisation that ran an out of school hours care facility. A reputable organisation. But I don't wish to do this in relation to the organisation but I just want to read a couple of the findings. And I want you to think about your own organisations, when I read this through. It said here in the finding, to keep children safe, an organisation must create and maintain a protective environment, that minimises rather than accumulates the risk of abuse. The fact that the abuse occurred in the way it did at the centre, calls in to question the child safety practises, of the organisation. The actions of the centre during and after the particular workers offending, are not the actions of a child safe organisation. Now remember this, every single organisation that was mentioned in the Royal Commission, would have said to the community, would have said to the parents, we're a child safe organisation. And we know that's not true today. Today the community demands not that you simply say your child's safe, but that you prove it. You demonstrate it. And yes, there has been a loss of trust in organisations dealing with children. And that trust can be regained by what you do. In that finding it talked about these failures. The failure in the recruitment of the particular individual, the failure to do an adequate check. The failure to adhere to background checking procedures of staff generally. The failure to effectively induct centre staff, particularly in relation to child safe methods. A failure to train centre staff in child protection matters. A failure to implement its own child protection policies, including in relation to the prohibition of babysitting, and outside activities with families that attended the centre. The tolerance for babysitting. Inappropriate touching of children, including children sitting on a staff members lap. And inappropriate use of mobile phones, and other electronic devices. A failure to comply with staff, child rescission. An absence of an effective confidential reporting system. The absence of a culture of shared responsibility for child protection. The lack of procedures to ensure that staff were kept informed, and supported. And a lack of ability to inform parents in a prompt way, following the allegations. And then in the relation to the organisation itself, it found this. And again I'll let you just to reflect. It failed to the organisation, failed to accept responsibility for staff not reporting policy breaches and other concerning behaviour. Failure to know the requirements of the then commission for children and young persons act, relating to carrying out background checks. A failure to implement their child protection policies, which they had themselves established. And then a failure to properly analyse the events leading to the offending in relation to recruitment, induction, training and supervision. If you think about your own organisations, you may well say that hang on, some of those ring true in our own organisations or did. But if we look at the failures, we've also got to look at the positive measures. And what's very encouraging is the material and resources provided by the department of education in New South Wales, and indeed other departments like communities and justice. It's first rate material, informed by the work of the children's guardian. And today no organisation involved in early childhood, or in fact in out of school hours care, could possibly say that they are ill informed in relation to this matters. Unless of course they choose not to be informed. And the biggest challenge in child sexual abuse, and child abuse more generally is the culture and leadership of organisations. So let me just take a few points in relation to that. The first is to understand that the changing of people's attitudes, particularly men, is not going to be achieved in the short term. 92, 93% of offenders, sexual offending, is done by men. And that's the truth in Australia. And it's the truth throughout the world. There's been no significant change, no evidence in significant change yet, in the general attitude of men. In this session today, I know that I'm talking to people that have been deeply affected by sexual abuse in their own lives. In their families. Or they've had friends that have been accused. And I know that it is possible, while I'm talking to people that have a propensity to, in fact commit child sexual offences. That is true in every audience that I address. But the point is a provider, is that you can't change the attitudes, but what you change is behaviours and opportunity. So child sexual abuse in institutions, organisations, childcare centres, preschools, and so on, is all about changing the environment, in order to reduce the capacity to offend, and also changing the behaviours and identifying behaviours which are unacceptable in your school. I would like to think we can change over time the attitudes of those who may be at risk of offending, and perhaps we will. But right at the moment, child sexual abuse can only be prevented in institutional settings, if we change the environment, and the behaviours and conducts that are appropriate. And so much attention is paid to that. The second thing is that child sexual abuse needs to be normalised as a topic within your particular centre. It isn't a special topic. It's not a topic to be talked about once a year and then forgotten. And it's certainly not a topic to be talked about in the dark. We need to develop a community of knowledge. That is knowledge about what are the risks of abuse, what leads to abuse, and how we can seek to prevent it. And that knowledge needs to be shared right across the organisation. From the board and the advisory committee level, through to the most senior managers of those organisations, to every single staff member, including gardeners and maintenance crews, right through to parents. And of course, ultimately in an age appropriate way to children themselves. If we don't have that community of knowledge, and the minimum child safe standards in fact embrace that we fail. If this is not a topic that's talked about regularly, actively discuss with staff, part of induction processes, part of just about every board meeting, and advisory committee meeting, then in fact, we will fail. It is the normalisation through knowledge that's important. The third thing is that normalisation, how do we look at it? The best way that I can say to us is to look at, it in terms of workplace health and safety. When I was growing up in Australia people went to work and never came home. They died, or they were severely injured. And whilst people were aggrieved by that, that's what happened and we accepted it. And then Australia changed. Australia said no, it is not acceptable. We want workplaces that are safe. Safe in every way. And we've created both state and Commonwealth regimes in relation to work place health and safety. Some say we've gone too far, perhaps so, but at the end of the day, we now do have in fact a culture of safety within your workplace. And that is exactly how we have to approach issues in relation to the sexual and other abuse of children. We have to treat it as a core part of safety. Indeed, the Royal Commission contemplated putting some of the aspects of child safety into the workplace health and safety regime. And in some time to come, that may happen. But to try to have an understanding, you have to think of it in those terms. And not be frightened of it. And not in fact try run away from it, but to normalise it. And if you don't, you will fail. Another aspect is in relation to building resilience within children. Now, of course, very young children are complex, and some of the stuff the parents and others talk about as abuse, is not abuse. It may in fact be perfectly normal and harmless activity, or alternatively, it may be problematic behaviour which needs to be addressed in some way, shape or form. And particularly as we start to move into the primary school years, and in out of school our settings, this may become more prominent. But we do have to have a way of having a language with children of all ages. And again, for young children, it's very much about what some people call a traffic light system, understanding what is in fact acceptable for that age group, and what is not. And of course that is contentious. Parents, educators, workers generally all have different opinions. And that's why it's so important that organisations like the education, and others give good sound, sensible, common sense guidance to workers within the early childhood sector. It's very important that we don't in fact send the wrong messages. And that we don't in fact exemplify conduct that is otherwise normal. Equally it would be completely inappropriate to miss the signals and signs. And I've indicated to you in the centre that I was talking about, one of those was in relation to babysitting. Sitting on people's laps, being over-friendly with children. But those issues became identifiable frankly much earlier. And the other staff took little notice even though the policies themselves were quite explicit about that. So again, it is a community of knowledge with children, with parents, with workers and with other people generally. The next point I want to make really is that it is not about your opinion, it's about your judgement . I want to be very clear about this in the Royal Commission what we found is putting aside the motives of the abuser. Many, many, many organisations fail to respond when it was clear that something was not right. And as a community, as human beings, we tend to look at conduct and say, well, it's a bit odd. It's a bit different. It's not quite what we'd expect. But we refuse in our minds to say, that's actually abuse. Because if you do, you have to act. If you actually come to a view that somebody is abusing, or neglecting another person, there's a moral imperative for you to act. And so we sit just below that. So what we discovered is people would say to us, oh I didn't know abuse was taking place in my school. In my childcare centre, or in my church, or in my swimming club. But when you actually explored that, they did know a lot of stuff, and they were uncomfortable. So the first thing is, it's not about you forming the view that abuse is taking place, it's forming the view that something's not quite right. That the code of conduct is not quite being implemented. That something is different and unusual that's taking place. And then to escalate those matters through the system. The second part about it is not your opinion about the staff member who may report it. We had numerous examples where teachers and others, were concerned and reported the matters to the next level in the school, or in the centre. But what we found is the personal view of that worker, by the managers, impacted. In a school in relation to kids with disability, the teacher was absolutely spot on that there was very problematic behaviour occurring between students of a severe nature. Because that teacher was out of favour with her supervisor and the principal, they refuse to act on her advice. Ultimately, she was proven correct. And ultimately the matter was reported. But those personal opinions of staff members or reporters, or parents, get in the way of making good judgement . But the third thing is, if there is in fact an allegation of abuse, what we tend to do as humans is we immediately form an opinion. There are four opinions. The first is he could never have done it, he's a wonderful person. All the children love him, the parents adore him. He couldn't possibly do it. The second is, well, I'm not sure about, but those people are always complaining. For teenage children it's worse. It's she or he is always making up stories. For young children it's very different situation. The third is, I'm not sure. And the fourth is, I always thought something was wrong and he's as guilty as hell. What we've discovered in the Royal Commission is those preconditions, or those opinions you form had an impact on the investigation and reporting of the abuse that took place. And so my view to you is your opinion doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. What matters is, if you observe conduct that is inappropriate, is against the codes, is against the minimum standards, then you need to act. And your need to allow the investigation to take their course. And whilst you will always have that opinion, and I can never change your opinion about that person. You need to exercise good judgement , and exercise excellent judgement in relation to what you actually do with that complaint. It's the only crime that I know of. And I'm a lawyer by background. Well, nobody changes their opinion, even if a person is convicted, or acquitted in a court of law. My view is, your opinion doesn't matter but your judgement does. And that's a very important thing for managers, for boards, for leaders of organisation to understand. In this case that I hate to say it in a sense, process is your friend. Now process can get in the way of doing a good job sometimes but in this space process is your friend. And those processes will be informed by the work in the many of child standards that we're talking about later that Janet and others will refer to. And of course, it matters because it's of the practises and the practise frameworks, and the practises that you incorporate into your particular centre and organisation, will inform how you are to respond. Now in relation to early childhood, I actually met a number of parents were children were abused in childcare. I've also met a number of the child sex offenders, who in fact perpetrate abuse against very young children. It is a complex area. The younger the child, the more complex it is. The evidence is more difficult. The opinion of parents, more subjective really, and less objective. Nevertheless, we have good guidance and good practise that should allow workers, and volunteers, boards and management committees to respond in this way. And I urge you to let process be your friend in relation to this matter. The last point I want to make in terms of overall prevention is in relation to the culture and leadership in the organisation. We make a big deal about culture in organisations, and that's because Royal Commission, after Royal Commission has indicated that the culture of the organisation, and the attitude of its leadership including boards, management committees, CEOs and others, actually is the most critical element in the whole child safe framework. If the culture is permissive of conduct that is inappropriate. If it is permissive of favouring particular staff, over other staff and allowing them to get away with things that other staff would not be allowed to do. If it's a culture where it assumes the centre is safe, but doesn't actually constantly review what it's doing, and how it's doing, and having feedback loops. Then in fact, these permissive cultures of bad conduct will occur. I accept absolutely that most people did not know the perpetrators were actually abusing in many of the circumstances. What I don't accept and won't accept is that they didn't see anything. Many did, but failed to understand that was abuse, or alternatively fail to appreciate that they needed to respond in a particular way. My last comment is actually about child sex offenders generally. The one thing you don't know, and I don't know is who they are. If we have these thousand participants faces on the screen could you pick a child sex offender? The answer is you couldn't. Because child sex offending has many motives. Some are actually paedophiles. That is that they have a mental health condition that attracts them to young children under the age of puberty. Others it's about the inability to have intimate relationships with adults. And this was particularly to, in religious communities. Where instead of having sexual, or intimate relations with adults, they would find it easier, and necessary to have it with children. Completely and absolutely abusive in character. Nevertheless, they would see it differently. And the third of those that would never offend outside of the institutional environment, that is surrounded by children. If they weren't in a school, or an educational centre, they would never actually offend anywhere else. And there are multiple variations on that. So the one thing is you don't know who the offending person will be. So I go back to where I started. We can't change the attitudes of those likely to offend quickly, although we hope so over time. We can certainly reduce the opportunities, through the environmental factors. And we can certainly be much more prescriptive in relation to behaviours that are acceptable, and unacceptable. But ultimately at the end of the day, it's how you respond. I think that in New South Wales and in other states and territories, we now have the resources, and the capacity to educate leaders, staff, volunteers, in an appropriate way. Sometimes it will be too much, sometimes too little. And sometimes you'll feel the regulations have gone way too far. Those are matters that we can work through. But ultimately I think we are in the best position we've been, to be able to seriously address the abuse of children generally, within institutional or organisational settings, and in particular, in relation to sexual abuse. My very last comment is, there often within these environments of problematic behaviours between children, they're often two victims. One of the things we noticed, when we did a number of case studies in relation to schools by primary and secondary schools, both government and faith-based, but also early childhood was in fact that many of the kids are coming through also have abuse in their life, in their own family circumstances. Many of the kids were coming from families where there was already dysfunction. Sometimes abject poverty, certainly distress and trauma. And so it is a complex environment with which we're dealing. And children's themselves have their own vulnerabilities. One of the great challenges for us as a society, is to reduce those factors, reduce significantly the level of family and domestic violence. Respond much more appropriately earlier, to the mental health needs of children. And certainly be far more responsive to their needs, where in fact their particular family, is in a state of distress and ultimate breakdown. You as a childcare centre can't deal with that, but you have to be attentive to the fact that that's the environment with which we work. So I just wanted to conclude that by saying, I think we're on a path. A journey that will never end. And your own vigilance, your good judgement , your common sense, and your willing to let process be your friend. I think you've shown a fighting chance to be safer today, than they were in the past. Thank you very much.


- [Sharon] Thanks very much, Robert. Some really powerful messages there from Robert. And I think the one we'll keep in our minds for the rest of the session is that we can never take safety for granted and we are all responsible for taking action. Okay, next we'll be hearing from Debbie, who is the parent of a survivor of child sexual abuse. We'll be using the pseudonym Debbie, to protect the identity of her and her family, and she is going to keep her camera off as well. Welcome Debbie, to share your reflections with us and thank you so much for being brave enough to talk about this really difficult topic.


- [Debbie] Thank you, Sharon. Can I just check that you can hear me?


- [Sharon] Yes.


- [Debbie] Okay, great, thank you. Thank you, and thank you to the directorate for inviting me to share my family's story with you all today. I apologise for having to talk with you anonymously. My family's experience of a child sexual abuse is still the subject of a legal case. And within that, I'm not able to identify myself today. When Sharon told me initially that the directorate were aiming for around 500 attendees today, I was really happy to see the faith that they were showing in the sector's commitment to increasing safety for children in early childhood education and care settings. When I heard last week that the numbers were up over a thousand, and I was literally blown away. My experience of walking through the systems and regulations governing the sector 10 years ago, was far from the response the sector has shown to this initiative today. Please keep the momentum for change alive and moving forward from today's seminar. Before I start with my story, I would like to acknowledge those with us today, whose lives have been impacted in any way by child sexual abuse. I admire your courage and commitment to being part of this significant change needed to break the vicious cycle which impacts far too many of our lives. I would like to begin by talking about the impact of child sexual abuse, through the lens of my family's experience. Some things I'll share with you, it won't be easy . The impact of child sexual abuse is never easy to hear. But the fact that it's not easy to hear is why we are here today. Because we care about children, and hearing about the devastating harm they suffer through child sexual abuse, is so far from what we all value as the rights of each child. to this. I'm going to read an excerpt from a keynote speech, delivered to the Australian institute of criminology conference on paedophilia in Sydney way back in April, 1997. This was delivered by Dr. Bill Glaser, who was an American psychiatrist, well-known for speaking out against failures and systems meant to support people with mental health needs. Dr. Glaser, named his speech, paedophilia the public health problem of the decade. Imagine as a society afflicted by a scourge which struck down a quarter of its daughters and up to one and eight of its sons. Imagine also that this plague not immediately fatal looked in the bodies and minds of these young children for decades. Making them up to 16 times more likely to experience it's disastrous effects. Finally imagine the nature of these effects. Life-threatening starvation, suicide, persistent nightmares, drug and alcohol abuse, and a whole host of psychiatric disorders. What would the society's response be? The scope that we are speaking of is child sexual abuse. It has accounted for probably more misery and suffering than any of the great plagues of history. Including the bubonic plague, tuberculosis, and syphilis. It's effects are certainly more devastating and widespread than those of the modern day causes, which currently take up so much community attention and resources. Such as motor vehicle accidents, heart disease, and now aids. Yet the public response to child sexual abuse in now is fragmented, poorly coordinated and generally ill-informed. A massive public health problem, like child sexual abuse demands a massive societal response, but firstly, we need to acknowledge and understand the problem itself. And this is sadly enough, a task which both professionals and the community have been reluctant time to take. Despite the glaringly obvious evidence in front of us. As Dr. Glaser pointed out 24 years ago, we are very bad at acknowledging and trying to fully understand child sexual abuse. Because as I said, it's not easy. It's one of the most challenging things we can put our minds to. It's confronting, it's emotional. And you may witness how emotional it is for me at times over the next 20 minutes. But I feel no shame in showing how emotional it is for me. Conversely, I would feel shame in not speaking out about this. But for generation after generation, it has been too confronting to have these conversations. This has created a void of silence, which has only empowered perpetrators and failed our children. One by one, 100 by 100, 1000 by 1000, over and over again. I believe in this generation strength and courage to change this. And you as a sector can be very powerful proponents of this much needed change. My daughter was one of multiple girls who were preyed upon by the co-owner of their childcare centre 10 years ago. In one way my daughter was fortunate in that the perpetrator was in the grooming phase with her when we heard about the first criminal charge against him. She did not suffer any of the sexualized behaviours which some of the other girls disclosed, but she still suffered extreme early childhood trauma. Because part of the grooming process, is using fear tactics to silence children. In my daughter's case, that meant the perpetrator telling her that I would go to jail, if she told anyone about anything the perpetrator did to her. So when my daughter opened up to me about some inappropriate particularly behaviours, knowing that there were already criminal charges against this perpetrator involving two girls, I took her along to a police interview. At some stage in that interview her four year old established the thought that she had been tricked. And what he said was true. And I had been taken to jail. She ran out of that interview and jumped into my arms in a trembling sobbing state. Said mama I thought you'd gone to jail, and I'd never see you again. She instantly started displaying the behaviours of a one year old. Was diagnosed as in regression by our child protection unit counsellor and was in a deep state of trauma for many, many months. There was a complete loss of her sense of safety. She spent months not wanting to be away from me in any way as her brain had decided that each time she said goodbye to me, I would go to jail and she'd never see me again. There was complete loss of emotional regulation, which of course meant extreme behaviour challenges. She would have very aggressive meltdowns multiple times a day, lashing out, hitting herself and hitting me. There were night terrors. My four year old, my daughter went from being as the supremely confident, strong and vital four year old girl, to an empty shell of herself. Talking like baby babal, chewing on a blank key, not able to go to beloved dance, and gymnastics classes. And needing to carry at least six of her cuddly toys whenever she left our home. She went from being an eating machine who would eat pretty well anything, to only wanting two favourite meals night after night. A few months before starting primary school just when she was showing very strong signs of healing. She broke down at night, go to bed saying, mama I'm not going to go to school because the principal will be like him. For weeks I had to let her think that she didn't have to start school the next year, because she simply did not have the safety to hold that thought in her head. I worked with our counsellor to support her through this. And she eventually got off to a great to start to school. She has descended into trauma twice. The first time was after I was a witness in a Royal Commission public hearing when she was nine. After four months of counselling again with the child protection unit, she walked out of that phase stronger than ever. She then powered through life until last September. When our civil case against the perpetrator was heard in the supreme court. We are currently still walking through this second regression. There has been six months of anxiety, depression, and significant school avoidance. Once again, my daughter has been transformed, from someone who has always loved school so much that she hated having to stay home when she was sick, to someone who has extreme anxiety about being at school. Someone who was supreme social to isolating herself. Two months ago, her depression hit the point of us having one scary night of suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, over the past month, she has stepped up into a recovery phase. With her strength slowly but surely returning. If we weren't on this better trajectory, I have no doubt that I would not have been in a space to be able to be part of today. This is just a snapshot of my daughter's trauma. And we were fortunate enough to have had access to a specialist supports we needed. I was fortunate in having an awareness of the importance of reaching out to those supports to provide my daughter with the specialist guidance she needed to be able to walk through her trauma, and find herself again. Unfortunately, there are many children or families who do not have access to the support. Or who lack the awareness of the importance of reaching out to them. I know of one girl who was abused by the perpetrator in that centre. Whose family chose to move on with life without accessing any supports. Truly believing that was the best path for their daughter. Very sadly, this young girl is now struggling with drug abuse, which started when she was 13 years of age. The research tells us that this is all too common. This is the impact of children not being protected from those who harm them. This is the reason why in Sharon's words, you as a sector need to shine a spotlight, on child sexual abuse. In the weeks and months after my daughter's abused, I did a lot of reflecting. One thing I reflected on was why did the perpetrator only start grooming my daughter a few months prior to all of this coming to the surface. When she had been at that centre for two years, and the other girls had disclosed long-term abuse. I reflected on the fact that, in the lead up to the period where my daughters grooming began my mother had passed away. Not long after that I had separated from my children's father. My daughter had lost hope in love. Men and her family life had drastically changed. She was in a state of emotional turmoil. And I was communicating all of this to the center's director who was the perpetrator's daughter. I was doing this in the trust that the centre would respond appropriately to my daughter's changing emotional needs. However, this meant that the perpetrator was privy to all of this private information about my daughter, about her vulnerabilities, about my vulnerabilities. Is no coincidence that I started seeing the early signs of change in my daughter around about this time. I feel this is a very important point for those of you who are center-based to think about not every child, a perpetrator targets will be displaying signs of vulnerability. But the research does tell us, that children experiencing vulnerabilities are more at risk. If you are aware of children in your care experiencing vulnerabilities, I encourage you to increase your observations of that child and keep open communication with parents and carers. In my reflections, I would also replay moments in time from that centre over and over again in my mind. I gradually began to see signs. Signs that something was not right. It was like an insidious jigsaw puzzle randomly coming together in my head. There were signs that I should have seen, that I should have reacted to. But I didn't see them because I didn't know they were signs. I had no knowledge of the grooming behaviours perpetrators use to gain trust of parents, and about other adults. Including other educators. Ultimately, this trust gives them access to children. Naturally the guilt I felt as a mother going through those reflections was intense. And it took me many years to find a place where I could sit with that. I want to say to you today, as people responsible for the safety of children, as people who care about the safety children, you do not want to ever have to have to feel the toxicity knowing that you miss signs that children in your care were at risk of harm. Knowledge is power in this. You need to commit to knowing what grooming behaviours look like. Leaders need to ensure they enable educators to understand grooming behaviours and patterns. Know the signs to look for, and respond to. Having awareness of the signs of potential risk to children is one thing. But what if people with that awareness don't know how to speak out, or don't feel safe in speaking out. Or feel they will be ostracised by other staff if they speak out. Or maybe they feel they may lose their job for being a troublemaker. Or maybe they just feel their concerns will be dismissed. The sector needs to commit to providing cultural safety for all to speak out about concerns, about potential risk of harm to children. There needs to be clarity of policies and processes for speaking out. And all of this needs to be viewed through one lens. What is in the best interest of all children in our care? This question needs to be asked at every step through every reflection in each planning meeting, through each policy review. No decisions should be made without being framed around this question. Cultural safety needs to be driven from the top down. Leaders need to lead in this. For larger organisations, this begins with the governing board. Board members need to ask themselves, what are we doing to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children? How much do we know about child safe practise? What conversations should we be having at the board level around child safety? Do we preface each decision around the safety of our children? How are we communicating our focus on child safety down to our senior leaders, to empower them. To empower our educators in child safety. To give them permission, to make child safe decisions, which may at times seem to go against our business instincts. Senior leaders need to constantly reflect on the conversations they are having around child safety. They need to ask are our policies and procedures all embedded in child safe frameworks? Does each policy truly reflect the best interest of each child in our care? Do our educators have the awareness and supports they need to identify signs of potential risk to child safety? Do they know how to raise concerns? Do they feel safe in raising concerns? Do they know that they can go above me with a concern? If they feel that is in the best interest of the child. Do they know they will be heard and responded to appropriately? Do they know that they are valued for the vital role they can play in preventing harm to children. And educators need to ask what conversations are we having amongst ourselves to continually improve our collective child safety capacity. Am I committed to speaking out about my concerns, and to keep speaking out about them until someone responds appropriately. Ensuring everyone in this sector is armed with this awareness, safety and clarity, has a double-edged impact. It empowers those who protect children, and disempowers those who harm children. The policy practise regulatory and legislative frameworks which underpinned the early childhood education and care and out of school hours care sector. And the protection of children more broadly have evolved across bygone eras in which the best interest of the child lens was far from being on the radar. This means that unfortunately there are still systemic failures across each of these frameworks. I personally have come across many systemic frameworks over the last 10 years, in my quest for answers as to how so many children were allowed to be harmed by the perpetrator in that centre. And how, even though at least six girls disclose the harm the perpetrator had caused some, our criminal case dragged out for 18 months charges to be dropped. The week before the case was finally due to go to court. This quest has taken me into some very dark places where the absolute lack of a work is in the best interest of the child lens, was so shocking that it had a very detrimental impact on my own mental health. I learned through this journey, that the only way to drive change is speaking out and persisting. Finding a way of sitting with a feeling that you are being an absolute nightmare in the face of system apathy. And some people just want you to go away. We will never fix all the historic systemic failures if we just go away. And we need to challenge ourselves in this. We need to ask have I in the past trusted a system or process which wasn't in the best interest of children. Do I still go along with systems processes, because it's just what we do. Without questioning it from a child specific perspective. Have I been part of what needs to change? Am I still part of what needs to change? One example there's for me was the police interview process which led to my daughter emerging from the room. From that room in a deep state of trauma. I did not question the process at the time, as I trust the system to do what was in the best interest of my daughter. But I was devastating wrong about this. When we arrived home from that interview, my daughter laying on our lounge in a state of shock asked me why I had let her go into that room with two strangers without me. I explained to her that the police had rules, just like we have rules at home. She looked me directly in the eyes and said, that's a stupid rule mama. Don't ever do that stupid rule ever again. My four year old daughter was able to call out a stupid rule. A rule that adults had made to support the system's need for evidence, with no concern for the best interest of the child. We as adults of today, need to call out stupid rules. You as individuals charged, with keeping children safe. Need to call out stupid rules. So if a policy goes against the best interest of children in your care, call it out. If a process goes against the best interests of children in your care, call it out. If a regulation goes against the best interests of children in your care, call it out. If the legislation goes against the best interest of your children in your care, call it out. I would like to finish by sharing with you some words from the public speaking speech my daughter did when she was in new six. When encouraged by her teacher to do a speech on something that was personally important to her. She chose to do the speech on child sexual abuse. The conclusion to her speech resonate strongly with some of the messages that I would like you to take away from my talk today. She finished her speech with these words. So please stand with me to stop child abuse. And remember, rules are meant to be broken. The laws are meant to be changed. And mouths are meant to be spoken. Thank you.


- Thanks very much, Debbie that was incredibly overwhelming. There's been a lot of acknowledgement from the audience and the Q and A about their appreciation for your braveness in speaking about your story. And those really powerful messages as well about speaking out. So thank you again. Our next speaker today is Janet Schorer. Who's the New South Wales children's guardian. Janet has a long-held passion and commitment to making sure the most vulnerable members of our communities are recognised, as an integral part of society. Janet's passion letter to train as a nurse with children's hospital before gaining qualifications as a child and adolescent psychologist. Janet has played a leading role in the development and implementation of Aboriginal child and family centres, across New South Wales. And led negotiations with the Australian Government, as the Executive Director of NDIS reform in New South Wales. Today Janet will be presenting on the child safe standards and what they mean for our sector. Thank you, Janet.


- Thank you very much, Sharon. I wanna start by acknowledging that I'm on Dharug country today, and paying my respects to elders past, present and emerging. And extend that respect to Aboriginal people who are online today. I also want to just pay tribute to Debbie and to her courage. And the courage she hoped, I think she'd never have to do what she's had to do, for her daughter and for her family and herself. And I think for me in the role I'm in, and for us, hearing as you said, Debbie, the stories, the experience of children who have been through what your daughter has been through, and to keep learning and making change is so important. So thank you for telling your story. Thank you for speaking up. It's also a reminder to me that this is not an issue of the past. This is not something of history. This is an issue that is today. And as Robert said earlier, child sexually abuse, and the abuse of our children, is something that will be part of us, as long as there is humanity. And so the challenge for us is how do we get better at implementing measures, and improving our systems so that we are better able to protect children. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Janet Schorer, I'm the New South Wales, children's guardian, and head of the office or the children's guardian. And so what I want to talk to you briefly about today, is our role, and our vision for how to create safe organisations for children. The OCG is an independent statutory agency. We have regulatory oversight and investigative functions. And what we really want to do is make sure that we act to create high standards of children being safe in New South Wales. We have a range of functions in the organisation. We regulate the statutory out of home care system, and adoption services. We administer the working with children check, and the NDIS worker check. We also are responsible for the reportable conduct scheme in New South Wales and for the official community visitors alongside the ageing and disability commission. And we the lead on developing other work around the child safe standards in New South Wales. And sets a really exciting piece of work for us. You have already seen and heard some of the work within the department of education to implement those standards in early childhood. As you've heard already this morning from Robert. the child safe standards were recommended by the Royal Commission to provide a best practise evidence-based framework, to guide safe practises that put children and young people at the centre of an organization's operations and purpose. They are ultimately about improving organisational culture, operations and environment to prevent all forms of abuse. So sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, ill treatment and neglect from occurring. And to be able to respond when that does occur. This means that child safety will be a focus of regulatory oversight for the early childhood sector and others as we move forward. In November 2019, the New South Wales parliament passed the children's guardian act. This was an act that was the first step in consolidating our regulatory functions to create the foundation for the oversight of all child related organisations and practise in New South Wales. The first part of that was to transfer the reportable conduct scheme to us from the New South Wales ombudsman. And to be able to have that scheme and all of the insights that we can gain from it, to apply into the child's safe context. The Royal Commission recognised that there's benefits from having child safe functions alongside working with children check. Having confidence that the people who work with our children are safe to do so, and reportable conduct that we have visibility of when there are allegations and how they're managed, all sitting within the same agency. And for us, that's really helped to streamline not only how we do that oversight with organisations, but helps us to really understand where there are trends, and patterns and gain insights from how we can equip and support organisations to be safe. So bringing those together, those functions together really helps us to influence and lead building the capacity with leaders and peaks and organisations to be child safe in New South Wales. As part of our work in implementing the standards, we have also been looking at the next stage of the amendment to the children's guardian act, to legislate the New South Wales child safe scheme. Subject to passage through parliament, the plan is that the standards will be embedded in legislation and further strengthen the oversight of child related organisations. And I think that really is a key feature of a preventative and future looking change that the Royal Commission recommended, and we want to honour and keep a focus on that. I think we've heard already this morning that organisations on their own, even with good intentions, can't manage the strengths and the preventative work on their own. That enables them to be continuously improving and accountable for the sort of change we need. And so what we have seen in doing this work is being able to proactively address the gaps that we see in systems and processes that can prevent future abuse. This game is really guarded by the standards that came out of the Royal Commission. And what we wanna be able to do is respond in a proportionate way through the availability of our strength and powers to be able to monitor. Investigate when we need to act with enforcement powers against those standards. What that will mean for the early childhood education sector is that it'd be an expectation that organisations are child safe, and that you have in place a range of measures against those standards to protect children from harm. We've been on a nearly two year journey of consultation and taking a lot of feedback from stakeholders in the most recent round from December to February this year. And that feedback has been overwhelmingly positive about the intent and the purpose of the standards, and the objective of the scheme. Particularly in being able to be flexible. There is no... We are specifying exactly how organisations must meet the standards. There are thousands of organisations that work with our children and young people every day, from education providers, religious organisations, sporting groups, many others. And we need to be able to apply that, and implement those standards in different ways consistent with the situation. With the risks that organisations are managing, with their own values, and with their own communities expectations about how children are to be safe. One of the guiding principles that for us in our work in developing the child safe scheme, has been to reduce duplication and to avoid over fragmenting the system further where there are multiple agencies doing the same thing. Because we know that creates regulatory burden, it fragments, it duplicates, and we're not interested in that. We wanna make this as easy as possible for organisations who are delivering services to children. To value children and their safety, and do that simply. What we have proposed to do is that certain New South Wales government agencies will develop a child safe action plan, that will provide us with detail about the strategies that they have in place. To build awareness in the community, about the importance of child safety. To build the capability of organisations to implement the standards within their remit. And to improve the safety of children, by implementing the standards. So we're asking government agencies to take a lead role in not only shaping their own practise, but to speak to their community, their stakeholders, about the importance of child safety. And to really be change agents, to be champions, and drive the sector that they influence for reform. For the early education and care sector in the department of education, as well as the regulator of early childhood, education and care. They will prepare their own child safe action plan to guide how they will influence change, and embed child safe practise with their existing regulatory functions. So it will be something like a memorandum of understanding that has the roles and responsibilities that each organisation will have, and to how that will look in child safe practise. Those negotiations will start later this year, but we really are guided by the desire to reduce fragmentation duplication. We are also guided by work underway currently as part of the national quality framework review, which is considering how the national principles, which are the same as the standards will be embedded into the national quality framework. You probably know the Australian human rights commission released the national principles, for child safe organisations, and they've been endorsed by COAG. But both the standards, and the principles describe the same elements for child safe practise. The organisation, the OCG considers organisations in New South Wales that are implementing the principles will be implementing the child safe standards because they are pretty much identical. Hopefully many of you have participated in the consultation about the national quality framework review, and you've provided your feedback about how the national principles can be embedded in the framework. And I think there's already a significant alignment between the framework and the principles, but maybe there's some work to do to address gaps. Around organisational culture, as preventative for child abuse and how the online environment in particular, can be safer for children and young people. So we'll be watching this closely into the future so that we can work out the roles and responsibilities for my office alongside the quality and regulatory services in the regulation of the child safe standards, given the opportunity that we have to create a much more aligned environment to support you. Another consistent theme from our consultations on the child safe scheme is that stakeholders want more resources and support to be able to implement the standards. Capability building and support, rather than prescriptive compliance, is really the foundation of the scheme from our perspective. The office of the children's guardian continues to develop new guidance material on the standards which we make freely available via our website. And we provide support for you through online training. These are materials across a range of subjects that promote a consistency as to how the standards can be interpreted. We produced the guide, to the child safe standards last year to encourage and support every child related organisation to implement the standards. They provide you with some practical examples and outline how you might put each standard into practise. We've also produced a guide to developing a child safe code of conduct, and empowerment and participation guide is now available for download. There are new e-learning modules also available on how to respond to reportable allegations. And those have been very actively taken up in the early childhood sector, which I commend you for. And we will continue to roll those out, and refine those over the rest of this year. Some of the other resources and support, that we'll be developing over this year will be template policies and procedures, which give you detail about how you can build or adapt to resisting systems. Or your policies and procedures. We will include examples about how to do a risk management guide, how to write a good child safe policy, and a complaint handling guide. We're also starting this year to deliver more face-to-face training, including cross regional and remote New South Wales. As we get into the second half of this year which will focus on training on the standards, and what we are calling skill builders. How to take particular aspects of different standards and focus skill development around how to apply them. Short bite-sized focused content, that allows you to add your staff to select areas where you need the most help. We're also running two hour workshops, that use our child safe resources as a guide. And covering the most important topics. So things like a code of conduct, your child safe policy, your risk management plan, and your compliance and reporting policy. What I hope that you get a sense of for you as early education sector, is that you aren't alone in implementing child safety standards. My office will have resources and training in place to support you in your effort to be child safe. And we wanna also work with quality and regulatory services to develop resources that are specific to you, and supports your needs in the work you do with children. I'm sure that you're aware we have a child safe coordinator for the early childhood sector, Rachel Norman. Now she's been working really hard to build awareness of the importance for the child safe standards in your sector. While this work has been focused on building awareness of the standards, as we progress with the legislative framework, we're taking it up a notch. We started a pilot capability building project, that involves Rachel visiting services to informally discuss and assess how you're implementing the standards. This will help inform where you need support most. Participation in the pilot is entirely voluntary and strengths-based, where you can showcase your best practise, and get feedback on aspects of implementation as to how you can make improvements. We hope that as well as helping services meet the standards prior to any legislator's game, it will also inform and enhance your existing quality improvement plans. Given the alignment between the standards and the national quality framework, these informal assessments with the child safe coordinator may also help your writing under the framework. I recognise that starting something new can be daunting but I'm confident that the early childhood sector is responding well, and we've seen evidence of that already. We've been really encouraged to hear so many stories about services already implementing the standards. Some family daycare providers sharing their rigorous processes about child safe recruitment. Where they go above and beyond what they're required to do under legislation. Implementing standards doesn't need to be complex. We've been taught about providers who have a doing character references of household members, and providing child protection training for household members, as part of their recruitment practises in family daycare. With services and modifying their physical spaces, and the times where therapists are working with children in their centres. So they can maintain line of sight, and keep children safe. When they're with children outside of their employment. We know not all services are at this point and this is a journey, but we will continue to share best practise examples to show you how child safe practises are achievable. We receive regular calls from service providers asking for advice and support about how to implement certain aspects of the standards that go beyond meeting their reporting obligations. This illustrates to me your sector's strong commitment to improving child safe practises. We still have a few steps to go before the child safe scheme as intended by the Royal Commission, is in implemented New South Wales. Including the child safe amendments bill, that we hope will go through this year. Subject to that parliamentary process, the child safe scheme is in intended to commence later this year, or early next year. At that time, my office will begin negotiating the child safe action plans with the department of education and we'll keep early education stakeholders up to date on those negotiations. But the child safe scheme is about continuous improvement. Looking at what you already do in your day-to-day work to see what can be adjusted, and if there are gaps in practise against the standards, how do you fill those? The focus of the first two years of the implementation, will be about ability building, and support. So we encourage you to actively use the child safe resources and support, or get in contact with our child safe coordinators, if you have questions. We also encourage you to keep moving along the journey. Keep progressing, and keep asking yourself questions, guided by the standards and all the principles so that we can bring the rights, and the wellbeing of children to the forefront. And support their safety as you care for them each day. Thank you


- Thanks very much, Janet. And thank you so much as well for highlighting the importance of how the OCG, and the department work together, to avoid duplication or fragmentation. And that is something that we've started to do strongly in partnership. And we'll continue to do, through the implementation of these standards. They have been a couple of questions in the chat and we'll come back to those in the Q and A panel in a little while. I also just wanted to say, cause it's come up a lot. I may not have said it the beginning, this whole seminar, this morning is being recorded, and will be made available to everyone. Okay, so our final speaker before the first Q and A, is Kate Alexander, from the department of communities and justice. Kate is the executive director office of the senior petitioner for community services, and has worked in the child protection field for more than 20 years in a variety of roles. Including therapeutic casework and management. Today Kate will be presenting a practise focus session, regarding child protection and the role of DCJ in protecting children. Thanks very much, Kate.


- My name is Kate Alexander and I'm the senior practitioner of the department of community services and justice. I start today by thanking the Gadigal and Wangal people, on whose land I work. I acknowledge that Aboriginal people fought for their lands in battles of unwinnable odds. And that they've fought for their children every day since. I acknowledged the resistance and courage of Aboriginal people. And I thank them for all they have taught me in our practise. What I would like to talk about today is DCJs work, and our practise framework, which sets the scene for how we're working with all of the children, and all of the agencies that we take reports from. When I started in my career I was a social worker in a sexual assault service. And in those years I only worked with children who'd been hurt by sexual assault. And I later moved into child protection, and obviously worked with children with risk from physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect as well. And as you all know, they're often forms of risk and harm to children, often combined together and it's hard to isolate one from another. For years I asked children about their feelings. How did you feel when your brother touched you? What was it like for you when the police talked to your dad? I don't remember real answers. Certainly not ones that came with words. But I can't forget the shame. Real shame, knowing a way where it had no place behind shrugs in difference and avoidance. I wish I hadn't asked all those questions. They made no dent in that shame. How I wish I knew then, what we know now. Today we are working differently with children who have been hurt by abuse and violence. We are taking on shame in new ways, and with fresh hope. Thanks to the Royal Commission. We in DCJ have apologised to a lot of people who resisted and survived institutional abuse. They're our best teachers, the bravest people, the most deserving of our regret, the most entitled to our shame. They have taught me what's important about the ways they are heard and remembered. They have taught me with unmatched power, to uphold dignity by honouring resistance. If you scan the transcripts of the hearings of the Royal Commission, you'll see the fervent and collective motivation of survivors to come forward best described by this man. I told my story so that terrible things to children stop happening. His resistance, our responsibility. Understanding the importance of resistance has changed our view of the work. Why did one woman tell the Royal Commission that as a little girl, she would dress herself in several layers of underwear and clothes before going to bed. I don't know, but I'm guessing she did because she didn't just want people to know she had been sexually abused. She wanted them to know, she did everything she could to stop it happening. When one man described how he learned to read by listening into the other children's classes in the boys home where he was put. I suspected he wanted it on the record that he did his best. When a girl at Parramatta girls' home carved the walls. Carved the words into the sandstone walls that she was locked in overnight. I love my mother, and another wrote I hate this place. They left their struggles and defiance, in an indictable form. They demand to be remembered. When that remembering hones in on acts of resistance, we uphold dignity. We in department of communities and justice don't run horror homes anymore. But the power we hold has not changed. Nor has our duty to use it well for children. The work of modern child protection is so different. It's all about assessing, motivating and partnering with families for better outcomes. This is our new practise framework, and it does a very simple job of showing all that we're trying to do in our work to partner with families, and the sector differently. It at it's core, are five principles. And I'm just gonna show you the principles really quickly. The principles are what you note at workforce. We are the largest child protection system in the Southern hemisphere. About 2,300 caseworkers operating out of 80 offices all over New South Wales. We're a diverse workforce, often described as a multidisciplinary workforce but it's not really a true description. We bring people in from a range of qualifications. We have a wide entry gate into our systems, of professional qualifications. And we put a caseworker hat on everyone. And in some ways had expected people to practise in the same way. What the practise framework did, and we introduced it in 2017. The principles at the heart of it, aim to unite that culture, and aim to unite our workforce. And most importantly they aimed to help us partner differently with families, and to work with families as a form of motivation. The first slide, the first principle next is about culture. And it's a very simple statement that says we respect all culture. We are deeply sorry about the impact of the stolen generations. Being sorry means we're committed to making sure we do not repeat past injustices. The second slide is about language. The one about this principle that is so important is that we've really worked hard, to clean up our words. And the words that we are working to clean up, are words around... These that are nicely grouped under these headings. We're really working to change words that minimise mutualise, pathologise, sanitise, and bureaucratise. This is about the way we talk about children. And it's the way we write about children and the harm that has been caused to them. This is the sort of sentence that has littered child protection files and health records and police records, for years in the way children have been described. Jessie was exposed to incidents of domestic violence between her parents. Jessie is a seven year old girl, and she can read her father's mood the second she walks in the door. She might be on her feet, distracting him, calming him, controlling him. She's masterful. Sometimes it works and when it doesn't, and she knows what comes next. She takes her little sister to their room, and closes the door. She puts her arm around her sister, and . She speaks softly with fast words to reassure them both over and over, mum will be okay. This little girl is way more than exposed to violence. She lives with it. Is on constant alert, and she does her creative, and courageous best to manage it. In the morning her well practised takes a quick inventory of the hurt. This fear is not left her, and it is surely no incident. It is all she has ever known, and she cannot see an end. And when she worries about whether her mum will be able to get up out of bed to take her to school, It's sure as hell is not because of violence between anyone. We are getting better at saying who did what to whom, we are getting better at calling out differences in power. And we are using plain language to describe awful things. We are working hard to help our workforce come out from behind words that kept us safe, and distant from the children we are here to serve. Next, we are asking less about feelings and more about actions. Wherever there's oppression there is resistance. It's powerful knowledge and skillful hands. The right questions can pave the way for new understanding and they honour resistance. And for those of us responsible for making decisions about children, the right questions are only fair. What did you do when your dad hurt you? What did you do after it happened? Those questions help children describe their actions to resist and survive. It helps children see themselves as survivors and copers. And it helps the workforce around them move children from victims to survivor. It upholds dignity and it's a much easier way to get children talking. These are some examples of the sorts of sentences that we're really trying to target in our work around language. Jade has a history of violent relationships with men. Jack absconded from his placement. And Tara was subjected to sexual intercourse without her consent. Next, the last sentence there, I want to look at, Tara was subjected to sexual intercourse without her consent. Was a sentence I took straight out of a coronial inquiry I was involved in. I've obviously changed the name. Tara was a 14 year old girl. And in evidence she was described with this sort of language. It's about us really encouraging more real words. If we could jump ahead, please, and you'll see the different descriptions and the way we're helping people speak in more plain language. When we talk about children who are 12 and 13 and 14, being in sexual relationships with adults, what we do is we really are describing X without agents. And we are not describing where their responsibility lies. Sophie he was in a sexual relationship with a 28 year old man. Or Sophie was sexually exploited. The differences in those two sentences, are palpably obvious in the way that where they lay responsibility. And we're really helping our staff in the way they write, and the way they talk. The other bit about this principle, about languages, the importance of encouraging our staff to speak to families with respect, and about them as if they're in the room. Now, this has been an important principle and we're working hard all across the state to really encourage our caseworkers to buy into this. To buy into it, they have to understand its importance. And what it means is that any conversations about families that take place in cars, in group supervision, in the coffee queue, in the kitchen, in the workplace, need to happen in a way that if the family could hear themselves being talked about they would feel respected. I might not agree with what was being said. It doesn't mean we can only say nice or positive things but it does mean they need to feel respected. It's important because we know that if you change the way people talk, you will change the way they think. And we're hopeful that will spill over into their interactions with families. We need to remember that in working with child sexual abuse we're asking a whole lot of families. And we're asking a whole lot about how we need families to step in and support children. For years whereas a child protection system have asked a lot of mothers, and we've expected mothers sometimes to believe and accept something horrendous has happened to their child by someone they may love and trust. And we've asked them to move out, or to take out an AVO or to act quickly or suddenly. And we may have judged them if they are not able to do that straight away. The most important thing I learned about child sexual abuse very early on, is that disclosure is a process not an event. And what that means is that most children have reasons all sorts of reasons. Not least which one is it talking about things makes them real. Most children will have periods where they will describe or disclose and later withdrawal what they said. And retracting is very, very common. And there's good research to back that up. We need to work with parents, non offending parents with the same generosity of thinking. Not incident based, but with time to help people understand and accept and take on the unimaginable. I remember working with a mother many years ago who was non-believing when her daughter disclosed. And it was easy for the system to want to be critical of her very quickly. And the conversation about should the child be taken from her care was on the table within hours really. And when you look back, it was really important for us to understand that the father of this child, the father who perpetrated sexual harm to his daughter, had been painting his daughter as someone who was not to be believed for years. The day we arrived. And the day that courageous young girl described sexual abuse. And we arrived on the scene to ask the mother... To put the story to the mother it's not surprising. It's not surprising that she took time and she needed space to believe what her daughter said. She had the choice of accepting the most horrendous thoughts and feelings about her own child, and about the choices she had made, and about what their future looked like. She could live with that knowledge, or she had the choice to accept a view of her daughter that her husband had been painting for years. And we needed to give her the time. And that woman did come to accept the truth of her daughter. And she did come to support her. And she did come to separate from the husband but she needed time to do that. And we needed to do that through relationships that created change, and restored dignity. So the importance of this principle is really about the second sentence there that says we persist and take responsibility for the quality of the relationships we formed. That's about encouraging us as a department, not to blame children and families. If our work with them doesn't seem to be meeting their needs. We no longer say things like children are sabotaging the placement, or parents are disengaged. Or parents are hostile or resistant to working with us. If we are wanting to talk like that, we rely on group supervision to challenge our caseworkers, to say hold on a second, Let's not blame the family. If our intervention doesn't appear to work, let's question ourselves about what we might need to do differently. It's about persisting and taking responsibility. So the importance of this principle is obvious. Is encouraging the workforce to be open to thinking that we might've got it wrong. And to be more than open to apologising. And I started by talking about the importance of the Royal Commission to the way it's changed practise for this department. We've got good at saying, sorry. And that is flowing right through to our workforce. And where we've got it wrong, or where we've used our power poorly, it's important to stepping in to say, sorry. So that's just really about giving feedback and accepting alternate views from the sector, and using groups, supervision, and family group conferences to bring those disparate views together, and to value them. And understand that children need people to collaborate for them. And that might mean that they don't always agree. And we need to tolerate ambivalence, and we need to tolerate ambiguity in our work with families. So I just wanna finish up on this one, which is about ethics and values, being integral to good practise. And this is really where I started, with how the work of the Royal Commission has changed our work as a department. And it's about how we've really think about the enormous power, statutory power we hold, when we walk into families doors. We're walking on sacred ground, we say all the time to our caseworkers. And the importance of ethics and values is really helping our workforce see that their compassion and their skills, are as important as their statutory powers. And how they work with families when they knock on the door is trying to help them work with skills as much as their statutory powers, and leave their powers in their back pocket. Is what we often say. Until there are times when children really need us to step in with that. It's also about remembering where there is oppression there is resistance. And that is what we call dignity driven practise. And it's a really important part of the way we're trying to work. It's about being curious, about dignity, preserving strategies. It's asking children what they did, and asking children how they've coped. And it's bringing out a different picture that helps us see children's pain differently. I end with a story from my colleague and good friend, Alan Wade, who I must mention because his approach response based practises, really been incredibly important to the formation of our framework. Alan Wade told a story of a work he did with a woman who had been sexually abused for years. And by the time she came to work with him, she'd had a number of labels attached to her. Personality disorder, oppositional defiance, disordered, you know the labels. Pretty ugly words to label what was essentially her coping skills. And the example she gave is that he asked her what she did when her father sexually abused her. And she said, what do you mean, I couldn't do anything. And he said, well, what did you do to survive? And she said, well, I went somewhere else in my mind. I used to pretend I was a bird sitting on the branch outside my window. And he said, well, that was an amazing skill in surviving. That was your way of resisting. And she said, in all these years, I thought I was fucking crazy. And that's what we used to do, was pathologise women and children who had been hurt by sexual harm and men. And our way of working is about honouring resistance. Resistance doesn't always equal safety, we know that. But it's a really valuable way of working and partnering with families. I need to finish up. I just wanna finish up by saying what we say every day in this place, rules and tools do not keep children safe. People do. And I really want to keep the hope for all of you in the work we do together. How we collaborate together. And how we take the learning from the Royal Commission. And how we keep the spirit of safety explicit in our work with children. Thank you.


- Thanks very much, Kate. There were so many things that Kate said that you could really apply to the early childhood sector including some of those finishing up words around, is people that keep children safe. It's not the rules and tools although certainly those are needed as well. But I also, was thinking about when Kate was talking just about how we listen to children and families, and how we make sure not to blame them, but to actually give them a voice and to work with them respectfully. But there are many, many other observations that I'm sure people will have made through that. So all of our speakers have been fantastic this morning, and I'm sure generated a lot of food for thought. We are now gonna go into the Q and A session, we've got about 20 minutes. And we'll get our panellists to turn on your cameras. If you're able to. I know that Kate, you had a little bit of trouble, but for anyone who's oh, we can see you now Kate. Wonderful. And then Robert and Janet, if you able to turn on your cameras, that would be great. Now I'm just gonna go to the questions. So if people can feel free to type some questions into the Q and A, during this session. But the first one I think it's really, it's aimed at myself as a regulator and Janet as... A core question, I should say. Which is very appropriate because we are in the process of working out how we co-regulate. So the question is about how the child safe standards will be mandated and governed? And asking whether the department of education will be including this in their monitoring visits and or assessment and rating. Or will the OCG be somehow overseeing and monitoring? It's a really good question. It's something that we are talking about how to do in the best way possible. And Janet had talked about the development of a child safe action plan, which operate in the sense of an MOU between our two agencies. And Janet did make the point several times as well, that we don't want to over-regulate or over-complicate or fragment the system of how we monitor and so forth. The aim is to be supportive, and integrated. So Janet, can I throw to you to add anything to that?


- Yeah, thanks Sharon. I think, yeah, I'll just agree. It's it is very much a work in progress, and I don't foresee that my office will be out on site in every organisation every year. We're anticipating that's about 25,000 organisations that will all within the scheme. So you can imagine that's not what going to be where we are. What we hope is that we will have some form of self-assessment, that people can do. And that we will then use that to focus on whether it's either a sector-based, or a location-based, or a way we see trends of different standards not being done well, that we will focus our effort around those sorts of factors rather than... And that might be with a particular government department for example. Rather than us, being in every organisation every year, all the time. That isn't what's going to happen. And I don't think that really drives culture change. As Kate said, it drives compliance. It doesn't really speak to prevention. So the partnership will really be about, because you already have a national quality framework. What is the link between the quality of care that you expect to see under that, and how that's regulated. And how does that tie in with the standards, and how do we use each other's information helpfully in doing our respective work, but how do we also just stay out of each other's way. I guess, so that we do the bits that we need to do well, and not overburden organisations, and centres unnecessarily.


- There's just another question for Janet about what training will be provided by OCG. And I think you touched on that. But if you could just reiterate that as well.


- So we've already... As I said we'll revamp, and we reinvigorate our face-to-face training. And the second half of this year we move to... Obviously for the last 18 months we've been online. So we'll still offer a fair amount of what we do online. The training will be, as I said around different aspects of the standards. There are many other people who train in the child safe standards in New South Wales, and nationally. So we're not the only. We're the free people, but we're not the only people who do it. And we will do more specific, shorter courses around particular skills or particular aspects of standards that might go to aspects of governance, leadership, how you do work around risk assessment, and risk management in particular organisations or particular sectors, that sort of thing. So a fairly wide, but we're always open to suggestions. Our communities have practise. And the webinars that the child safe coordinators hosts, are really... As much for us to get intelligence from you about what you need, in terms of training, results, development. We do all of that in-house. So whatever you need, we're fairly able to turn that around and resource you with what you need. So always we're willing to hear what you need in terms of resources and training, but the programme will really ramp up in the second half of this year.


- Thanks, Janet. And I'll just mention that we've been working on a set of guidelines in partnership with OCG that should be published in the next couple of weeks. Just to bring to life the child safe standards in our sector. There's a question here for... There are plenty of other questions I should say, but I'm not gonna get through them all, but I'm just gonna pick some out. And then we will send out the FAQ's with the answers after this as well. But a question for Kate, can you explain what is expected from DCJ caseworkers in relation to the early childhood sector? And on what level should we be working with them? And what information should we be provided as the child's care service?


- Thanks, Sharon. So couple of things about our relationship with the sector, and particularly the early childhood one. Two things of importance with this. In the last six months, we've completely overhauled our caseworker development programme. So when our brand new caseworkers come in to the agency, they have a whole new 16 week induction to the way they're on board as they say. As caseworkers, what's different about that, that's relevant to the question is they get a whole lot more information about how they work with sector partners. So our ability to bring in, and connect, and respond to reporters who are concerned is improving. We surely hope because we're putting a lot of work into it. The other part of it is the importance of the way the sector works through child wellbeing units, and through to us as the helpline. So as you know, we run the 24 hour helpline, and we take reports from mandatory reporters, and concerned members of the community. And really it's incredibly important for people to remember that anyone can call the helpline. And anyone can rise concerns with the helpline if they want to. Going online is our mandatory reporter guide. And all you need to do is type in the mandatory reporter guide, if you haven't had that easily available through your own workplaces. And the beauty of the mandatory reporter guidelines is that it will help you step through, when you need to be concerned, and when you need to report to us. We have had an experience in recent years where we receive a lot of reports that actually don't reach our threshold for risk. And sometimes when they come from the sector, the education sector, the early childhood sector, for example. And we've said to people, have you used the mandatory reporter guide? And we've started asking that question out of curiosity. And often reporters will say to us, yes, we used it. And we'll say, what did it say? And they will say, it said not to report it didn't reach threshold . But there is clearly a sense that people still wanna report even if the mandatory reporter guidelines showed that it wasn't and reaching the threshold for risk. And that's an important thing about us as a community. It says there is something we know in reported behaviour, that telling the department makes people feel less worried for children. It makes them think, oh, well because they know about it, maybe that helps, the department might know something else about this child. So if I add my bit to the story, it's sort of completing a picture. But we really encourage people, if the mandatory reported guide says not to report, we really encourage that people use their support services and their supports within their own agency, about what else they might be able to do to support families. I'm not sure if that's enough information there. We are trying to do our bit to improve the way we work with the sector. And we really try to encourage the sector to use those services. To help them think through when they make a report. And then when they do make a report, asking whatever they need to about their worries with the helpline is absolutely the right way to do it.


- Thanks, Kate. There are so many really interesting questions here. I'm sort of working out which ones in our few minutes left. But there is one that I think is really worth getting some thoughts on from probably Robert and then Kate. Is that conversations with the children in early childhood can be difficult to navigate. As you know, the little ones. Are there training of resources that are available through DCJ, or DOE that can support educators. But drawing on the statement that Robert made about having those discussions with children every day.


- So Kate can answer the more detail. What we discovered is that many of the people that came to the Royal Commission, including those that reported that they were abused at a very young age, indicated that they believe they had disclosed. But that people didn't understand what they were saying. And that was the great challenge. And I think Kate's teams would understand this very well. Most of them actually thought they had disclosed what was happening, but they did it in ways that adults, caring adults yet alone those that don't care. Couldn't quite understand, or didn't respond to. So one of the great challenges in the early childhood space and the early primary school base, is how do we pick up those signs? How do we allow that disclosure to take place in a way that is safe and supported. But it was a clear message. And even very contemporary. Kids in high schools today, had exactly the same message. We had a lot of research with children. Children today maybe are saying exactly the same thing, that they were actually thinking they were describing but nobody was responding. And it often was a more than a miscommunication. But Kate can answer what's the tools available.


- [Kate] Thanks Robert.


- Thank you.


- I'm not sure I can give a comprehensive answer about what we do to train the sector in those conversations because there are no real formal programmes that I'm aware of for that. We certainly work with the association of children's welfare agencies, and we are looking at ways we can partner better with some of those skill-based programmes. But there are no formal programmes that we run for the early childhood sector, in how to have those conversations. I completely agree with Robert about the number of children who have described that they said things like, I don't want to go to netball with dad anymore. And they thought they were disclosing. And of course it wasn't obvious to other people. The importance of where today's session started around the language of child safe organisations, when we hear things like that, and all that information is combined together, the little messages children might be giving, and our line would be that teachers... We wouldn't expect teachers of early childhood teachers to see themselves in the role of facilitating disclosures or asking questions. But what do they do if they're worried? What do they do, if there's something about a child and encouraging child safe organisations, where it's seen as completely appropriate to talk to someone about your worries, because you're focused on children's safety. So it's all those little examples. If they're brought to a team leader, they're brought to a manager, and they're a call to a child wellbeing unit. A call to our helpline. People are always open to talk about that. We have caseworks. What we call casework specialists in all our districts across New South Wales. Their job is to do training. So a local casework specialist, in a local region could easily come out, and run sessions about how we work together. When people are worried about what children might be trying to tell us


- Can I jump in there, Sharon?


- [Sharon] Sure.


- So there's this three things that I'm aware of that might be helpful. And happy to provide links for them in the FAQ's that go out. The first is that there was a guide developed on fairly certain by the national office of child safety about handling complaints, but doing so in a way, and concerns. And doing so in a way that was about how to interview and get complaints from children. I'm fairly sure that's published. It was done in partnership with the New South Wales ombudsman's office. So we can make that link available after the session. The second would be the empowerment and participation guide that we released last year. That draws on the research from the university of South Australia. that was commissioned through the Royal Commission. And we have released that in partnership with the commission for children, young people in Victoria, and whilst that's about the participation of children and young people, and what a child safe organisation looks like. I think if you are having those conversations and using that tool, I think there is a likelihood which the guide alludes to, that you will unearth some of the worries that children have and that disclosure comes. At the end of that guide, there is different games you can play. Different age appropriate sessions you can have with children and young people about what a child safe organisation looks like. So those might be another tool to look at. The third is our five heroes. And I know many early children... I've been to sessions in lots of early childhood centres using those particularly for younger children, to talking about having the five heroes. Five people in their life that they can talk to independent of each other, about what's worrying them. But often the conversation obviously leads to something that is going on for chart. And I know that's part of the training that we do when we do that in person, but that's moved online. But that might be another resource that has a different purpose, but it leads to disclosure. And then the support from the complaint guide about how you might handle that, once you have that information.


- In all of the organisations, it's critical that there's a person that you can talk to about your concerns as distinct from reporting. Now, whether that's an external person that sits in a department, or whether it's an external person that sits in another organisation, we cannot and don't want early childhood educators to be, determiners of abuse of children in their care. What we want them to do is to raise concerns and to find a safe place that can be discussed. Because the problem that Kate raised with reporting is there is a real danger that some of the agencies, are our reporting everything. And I think that's it. It's a bit like working for children's checks. We've done our check, that's it. Well, over reporting is very dangerous especially if you then don't do anything. You abrogate responsibility to someone else. But what we try to do with frontline workers not only in child, but even in the abuse of older people. Now, is to get frontline workers to go to a place where they can say, these are my concerns. And somebody with knowledge, skills, and expertise in the organisation, or external, can give some guidance. The danger is trying to make frontline workers experts. Can't do that. But we can give them the tools to know that something's not quite right. And then absolutely, we've got to say and here's where you can discuss this. And without that we actually abandon them. We leave them in a terrible position. And if the only alternative is reporting, well that may be what you do, but it's actually going to get us into more troubles, not less troubles going forward. So there has to be a safe place where a person can raise their concerns, queries, and you're in a better position to know where that is. And who those persons are.


- Thanks Robert. There's a question here, which I'm keen to throw out to anyone who's got some views on it. It is about whether services should have CCTV surveillance in their services. It's a contentious question that comes up a lot in our sector.


- I don't know what the standards are. So let me make the first point. It's a very firm... I know this sounds a bit odd, but I'm going to say, it was a very firm recommendation to the Royal Commission that CCTV cameras be installed much more actively in all large scale juvenile justice centres, and other sorts of facilities, because it goes to the individual, the opportunity to offend. You actually have to change the environment. And depending on the nature of the organisation, sometimes CCTVs, if they're operating and they haven't been turned off or broken, actually are very effective to say, as it dissuades behaviours. Secondly, it has some evidentiary basis. I'm not able to answer about childcare, but the truth of the matter is we are living in a society where surveillance by everybody at all times is becoming a reality. And I suspect childcare centres will be no difference. There are issues of privacy, and those in the childcare sector can talk about that more fully. But I suspect it is a safe guard measure. And if I were owning a childcare centre, I think I would increase the level of the CCTV surveillance in those centres. How far, what areas, what shouldn't be caught up on those TVs, is an issue for others. But the trend to doing that is well and truly, with us and in some circumstances absolutely necessary. If you are going to create an environmentally safe environment within which children are actively engaged.


- Thanks Robert. Any other comments on that? Kate or Janet?


- I think I'll just say, agree with Robert. And I think that is with us now. I wouldn't, it won't be something that we would prescribe either way. That is, it's a matter for providers to contemplate all for you as a sector to contemplate, because there are a range of other things that obviously go with that as Robert has alluded to. Not least of which someone's got to review it, and do something with it because there's no point in having it. If someone knows, if someone's minded towards perpetrating they'll know if no one actually looks at that stuff and does anything with it. So you've got to actually do that side of it. But I guess my caution would be, I think because so much particularly in the education sector, in its broadest terms there's so much opportunistic offending. I think over-reliance on that kind of technology without doing good risk management. And the other things that go with, you know, recruit people manage conduct, you know, if any conduct goes out, you know even near the guard rails, you've got to address it. All those sorts of other things, must be in place alongside that. Because like worker screening, if you only rely on that, you're not really doing the job that is about putting the rights and interests of children and their safety. First and foremost it's just ticking another box. So it might be a helpful tool but it's got to be part of a bigger response, I think.


- Yeah. Look, I completely agree with everything that's said. I can't add anything except just one very simple point. Is that sometimes we look to ways to eliminate any physical danger to children. And this comes up a lot in whether they should have contact visits with someone who has hurt them. And the notion that someone's presence, or a video will stop sexual abuse, doesn't still make it safe for children, if they don't want to go to those visits. There can be all sorts of cues and comments that perpetrators can use, that are distressing and abusive to children that other adults or videos will not pick up on. And it's just really important that we remember that if children are saying they don't want to see the perpetrator, they don't feel safe to do it. That we really need to listen to that. And no amount of vigilance will protect them for things that are unforeseen to others.


- Thanks, Kate. That's a really good point as well. Debbie, did you wanna make any comment on anything that's just been said in that regard?


- [Debbie] No, I think I might stay out of that conversation is very, very contentious. I can say both perspectives, but I'm not qualified to... As a representative there's evidence around there, that's where I'll go from first.


- Okay, thank you. We have come to the end of time, unfortunately, because there are so many other questions there. But what we will do, as I said before, is to compile those and reach out to our panellists for some insights on those that are specific to them, if that's okay. So that we can go back and send out an FAQ. So I will draw us to a close on this part of this morning seminar, and say a very, very big thank you to Robert, Debbie, Kate, and Janet. For your fantastic presentations and insights. And we will be sharing this, people that have asked about that. And we will come back to you on those questions as well. So thank you so much for your time. We have really appreciated it. To the participants, we'll just take a three-minute break, or we can have five minutes, for a bathroom break, a cup of tea. So we'll reconvene in five minutes at 12:07, for the final bit of our seminar. Just while we waiting. Just one more minute to come back. Hopefully people have realised in the Q and A box, that some questions have been answered. I think you should all be to see the tabs at the top where there's opened ones, and the answered ones. There's quite a lot about resources and documentation. As I said, this will be recorded and shared but we also will send out a reminder about the existing resources, both on our website and the OCGs. And we will continue to update you on new resources that become available. There was also a good question about whether we could communicate with local councils and mayors and so forth. There were great services. I think that's a really good idea, so we will take that one on board. And some of the other questions that are there are slightly more complex as a couple of good suggestions about conversations between states and the federal government around ACCS which we will pass on to our policy colleagues to have a look at as well. Okay. Let's get back to it now. We have got two speakers now. Sorry, I'm just gonna go to my notes and remind me where we are up to. I mean if we can go to the next slide. Okay, so we've got, the next speaker is Debbie Dickson who is the manager of child safe and wellbeing at KU children's services. I know that there were a couple of questions in the chat about how large organisations can implement the child safe standards. So this speaker will give a lot of insight on that exact question. Debbie will be discussing how KU have approached the application of child safe practises within their services. So welcome Debbie.


- Thanks Sharon. Good morning, everyone. Like my colleagues, I to acknowledge the traditional owners on the many lands on which we are meeting today. In my short presentation, I want to share with you information about aspects of KU's ongoing child saving practise project. As a sector, child safety and wellbeing has always been part of what we do. The early childhood sector has a number of frameworks, regulations and legislations, which are designed to keep children safe. One of the main objectives of the NQF is to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children. And one of its guiding principles, is the rights to the best interests of the child are paramount. The national law and regulations, have legislated many child safety requirements for early childhood services. The national quality standards set out national benchmarks for quality areas including children's health and safety and relationships with children. In New South Wales, staff working with children have been mandatory reporters under child protection legislation for years. And since 2000, background, working with children checks have been required for people working or volunteering, in child related work. Additionally, the early childhood sector has been part of the New South Wales reportable conduct scheme for 21 years. Despite all these child's safe mechanisms and requirements which have been in place for a number of years, the reality is the children have continued to be at risk of intentional, or unintentional harm in early childhood settings. In the post Royal Commission world, we continue to hear of incidence of abuse in early childhood services. And we understand there's organisations working with children. We have a responsibility to do all that we can to keep children safe. The regulating of the child safe standards, as recommended by the Royal Commission, has put the focus on child safe practises in organisations. The standards uphold the rights of children and are focused on preventing harm to children. They provide guidance for organisations about creating a child safe culture, and practical actions which can be taken to keep children safe. Can I have the next slide? KU has a long standing commitment to inclusion in child safety. We are not-for-profit, early childhood education and care provider in Victoria, the ACT and in Queensland, as well as New South Wales. As a large organisation, we are fortunate to be well-resourced. This includes a child safe and wellbeing team which has supported services for nearly 20 years. KU services are also supported by educational quality managers, education support managers and an Aboriginal programmes team. In early 2019, before New South Wales had released the child safe standards. Child wise, and organisation which supports organisations to build environments and cultures, which are child safe, presented leading and governing a child safe organisation to the KU board and executive. The presentation provided an overview of elements of a child safe organisation, and referenced the national principles for child safe organisations. Developed by the national office for child safety, endorsed by COAG in February 2019. The leadership team saw only positives in adopting the national principles. They reasoned implementing the national principles which strengthened and already strong child safe culture. These high visibility commitment to child safety by KU's leadership teams, gave enormous momentum to critically examining and enhancing child safe practises across the organisation. The 10 national principles are very similar to the New South Wales child safe standards. And also the children's guardian, considers organisations in New South Wales that are implementing the national principles are simultaneously implementing the child safe standards. The national principles resonated with us, as an organisation. The focus on inclusion, the participation and empowerment of children, and the prioritising of child safety, aligned with our values and practises. We felt the national principles worked alongside the NQF, to enhance child safe culture, and child safe practises. A major step in KU's child safe journey, was when the board allocated funds in early 2019 to create a child safe project team. The project was coordinated by a member from the child safe and wellbeing team. The initial six months term was extended and the child's safe project team operated for two years. A number of experienced and capable staff worked with, and sometimes in the team for a period of time, to develop child safe resources and documents. The child safe project team started by conducting a self-assessment of KU through a child safe lens. So that is a gaps analysis. And so I've identified as a provider of early childhood, there were many child safe mechanisms and requirements already in place. A strength-based approach was adopted, in which the project team identified priority areas enhancing child safety at KU. On your screen you can see the 10 child safe focuses, which were identified by the project team. And these are based on the national principles. These became the basis of our child safe action plan, which has resulted in the development of the child safety practise at KU resource folder. Each child safe focus was broken down into topics. Each topic was reviewed, and consideration given to existing practises. How could they be improved, where resources or training required, to ensure staff were well-informed and had best practise. The child safe project team coordinated, consulted, provided guidance, and support, and developed many key resources and documents. Next slide, please. It was accepted while everyone working at KU prioritised children safety and wellbeing. It was important that staff understood embedding the national principles in their practise, would be positive for children and for staff. In 2019, the child safe project was launched at a directors and managers professional learning day. The chair of the KU board, spoke to the staff about the board's commitment to KU being a child safe organisation. CEO and the head of the child safe project team spoke about child safety at KU. And the child safe project. On this day we had professor Daryl Higgins, present understanding and implementing safeguarding practise, preventing abuse and harm to children. Professor Higgins, clearly articulated that when motivated offenders have the opportunity, they will harm vulnerable children. Professor Higgins identify why early childhood education and care settings, can be high risk for children. And emphasise that every adult, working with children needs to be aware of the risks, proactive and vigilant in keeping children safe. Professor Higgins address helps staff across the organisation to understand the need, and see the value of adopting the national principles for child safe organisations. Once the need was identified, the commitment made by the whole organisation, and the priorities established. The focus of the project shifted to updating some KU processes and policies through a child safe plans. And providing information to staff about positive actions which help keep children safe. Next slide, please. Over the last two years, the child safe project team has worked with different departments within KU, to develop the documents which underpins, the organisations child safe practises. The first two documents released in 2019, with a statement of commitment to child safety and wellbeing, and the KU promise to children. The elements of many of these child's safe, nuts and bolts documents, were scattered across a range of existing KU policies and practises, all set within the existing KU code of conduct. These have been reviewed and we have developed, or are in the process of finalising some child safe specific documents. Such as the child safe policy and the child safe code of conduct. Many existing policies, processes, or documents, have been, or will be reviewed and updated through the events of the national principles. This includes not only policies in relation to practises for staff working with children, but also human resource practises including staff recruitment, staff induction and orientation, and to the complaint management framework. The development and reviewing of child safety documents, resources, and training is ongoing. The child safe practise folder is a growing resource which contains spec sheets and think about, on child safe topics. These provide information and prompt team discussions and pretty cool reflections about child safe practise and services. These include topics such as peer to peer sexual behaviour, teaching personal safety, children's rights, participation and empowerment. In the time I have left, I want to focus on child safe in practise at KU. The child safe and well-being team provides centralised support, advice and assistance on a broad range of child safety and wellbeing issues to all KU staff. The team has a strong advocacy focus for at-risk and vulnerable children. And works with staff to ensure practises always in the best interest of the child. The child's safe and well-being team, also investigates any concern raised about an educator's interaction with the child, making the appropriate external reports and notifications in that process. The child safe and wellbeing team plays a critical role in ongoing training and capacity building of staff. So that staff working with children are confident and proactive with taking action to keep children safe, and to protect children from harm both in their home environments, and at the service. All staff are required to attend a refresher child safe, and well-being training every 12 to 24 months. The content of this compulsory two hour training is roughly summarised in the Venn diagram you can see. Child safe organisations, sits around all of the practises at the service. Staff are then trained to recognise and take action, if they have any concerns regarding a child's safety or wellbeing. Whether that concern arises in the home, or at the service. The refresher child safe and wellbeing training focuses on ensuring staff working with children, are child safe aware. As the other Debbie said earlier this morning, knowledge is power. Is essential staff have that knowledge to be able to prevent harm to children. This training includes, general child protection information such as recognising abuse and neglect, responsibilities. It's mandatory reporters and supporting disclosures. And those are the KU process for responding to child safe and wellbeing concerns. The training has a strong child safe focus and has been designed to ensure staff will take action and a confident to raise concerns or complaints in relation to a child's safety and wellbeing, in the home or the care no matter how low level. We want to be able to take action early, and improve poor practise, or prevent a serious incident of harm to a child. The training ensure staff can recognise inappropriate or concerning education interactions, including presenting physical interactions, the crossing of professional boundaries and possible grooming behaviours. Staff are reminded of the importance to not only treat all children with respect, but to listen and empower children to speak up, share their feelings, experiences, and opinions so that if ever they need help, they know they can speak to staff and they will be listened to and believed. Finally, the importance of active supervision. The supervision plan, and KU's expectation that staff are never alone with the child is articulated. The child safe conversation at KU is ongoing. And structures have been put in place to ensure child safe practises regularly revisited and reviewed, across the organisation. Child safe practise topics are included in compulsory quarterly staff meetings. Some topics have included for the KU child safe policy and attend national principles for child safe organisations. Teaching children, children's rights, participation and empowerment children's voices. The child safe impact is felt continues to grow with the ongoing development fact sheets and think abouts. The staggered release has enabled staff to take time to engage with these really important topics. Regular articles about child safe topics around KU's for that week. Are staff bulletin, as well as the quarterly, which is provided more in-depth focus on child safe topics such as the child's right to be heard. In addition, KU professional learning opposite range of child safer way trainings, including managing peer to peer sexualized behaviour, and a matter of children's rights, perspective and practise. All the principles are important, but I'm briefly going to share an example of child safety practise at KU for national principle to children's participation and empowerment. As I've said we've found many of the practises at KU, already supported the national principles. And our focus was how to make a good practise even better. Children's participation and empowerment has been a focus for KU and the sector for many years. ECA released supporting children's rights. A statement of intent in 2015. And this document, the ECA and the national children's commissioner identified key areas for actions. And it is a guide that early childhood professionals to support children's rights in day to day practise. Megan Mitchell the national children's commissioner from 2013 to 2020, they even addressed the KU staff this year, revisiting key children's rights messages. Professor Pauling Harris, the chair of early childhood research, University of South Australia, then inspired staff with her presentation. Children's rights, within child safe practises. The child's safe project team, then developed resources to support educators, to work with children, to initiate children's voices and children's rights projects. As well as developing thought provoking think-abouts, to help educators to reflect on how their incidental interactions with children, are opportunities to put in practise a child's rights based approach. To empower children, to be confident learners, capable decision-makers, and able to influence what happens in their world. A social narrative was also created. Called, I have a right too. Which is used to initiate conversations with children about their rights. KU views teaching children personal safety skills as fundamental to the empowerment of children. In 2018, KU partnered with the office of the children's guardian when they launched a personal safety programme. The safe series. We have embraced this programme which has been developed for children under school age. One of child's safe goals, is for all KU children to have the skills, to recognise an unsafe situation. The confidence to take action, and to understand the undies role before starting big school. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the range of great child safe resources, which have supported KU's child safe journey. The planning phase of the KU child safe project, predated the wonderful resources which have become available through the OCG in the last six months. KU utilised a range of resources, including the Victorian commission for children and young people. And the child sex section of the Australian human rights commission, which was the forerunner to the national office for child safety. National office for child safety has developed Commonwealth child safe framework, including the implementation and self-assessment check checklist. A similar resource is now available from the OCG in relation to the New South Wales child safe standards. This excellent resource provides guidance information about each standard. Identifying why the standard is important, what organisations should be doing, how to reflect on what the organisation is doing, and how to recognise when you're meeting a standard. We're really excited about these wonderful resources, both trainings and guides. Which have become, and continue to become available through the New South Wales office of the children's guardian. And KU is making use of these great resources, in our ongoing child safe journey. Thank you for the opportunity to share part of the KU child safe journey today.


- Thanks very much, Debbie. There are amazing range of resources already out there. And Debbie's last slide summarise some of those. And in relation to the safe series that Debbie just mentioned. The OCG has got free webinars on those series coming up in May. So please do visit the OCG website for those. But we will send out a reminder about those resources that are available as well. Okay, our next and final speaker is Glenda Buckley. Who I'm sure many of you do know. Glenda is the director of statewide operations and network in my team. And Glenda's role... All our teams have authorised officers who you will be very familiar with. Who come and visit you, and undertake assessment or rating and compliance visits as well. Glenda we'll be discussing our learnings as a regulator, from real cases that we have been involved in with regard to allegations of child sexual abuse. Some of which have been very prominent in the media and some of which have not been. So over to you, Glenda. Thanks very much.


- Thanks Sharon. I would like to start by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land that I'm meeting on today. The Dharawal people. I'm paying my respects to elders past, present and emerging. And thanks for the introduction, Sharon. So as Sharon said, I'm going to be talking today about my experiences over the last... Just over two years I've been in this role. About what's common to the cases of child sexual abuse that we have seen and investigated during this time. Next slide, please. Okay, when something goes wrong. Unfortunately over the past couple of years we have seen too many cases of child sexual abuse in services. These are some of the common quotes and sentiments from services when something goes wrong. These perspectives do represent only discussions with service providers, not with families or victims. I think Debbie did an amazing job of sharing her story with us in that respect earlier today. I encourage you to have read through these as I go through some further information. So the loss of trust is a huge issue for services to manage, when something goes wrong. All members of staff can feel really foolish and start to question their trust in each other. There's often confusion about reporting, educators noting that they didn't know who to report to, that they were scared for their job. That they potentially were intimidated by others, or that they felt they needed a higher level of proof to report. So encouraging all staff to report even when things don't quite feel right, allow services to clarify the expected behaviours at a minimum, and in worst cases can lead to the identification of significant issues. Large providers or services often also report an inability to be in multiple locations to prevent issues from occurring. This is I guess, where the concept of delegated operational authority becomes important. So ensuring that all staff, in your organisation understand these is critical. You'll see a quote in there where a service, not recognising that there was a risk. The comments about, you know this is not happening to good services, or an exceeding services is really concerning. Because not recognising the risks, is one of the things that will make your service vulnerable. Having some really clear guidelines about interactions with families, both inside and outside the service, and processes to declare these, is also important. So friendships can have a tendency to blur our judgement . Next slide, please. I'm just gonna go through now, some of the lessons learned and preventative measures I guess, that we certainly have heard from services who have experienced this, and some of the changes that they've made. It's not a definitive list, but these are some things that we've heard from our experiences. And it was interesting to me this morning to listen to Robert Fitzgerald. And a lot of the lessons actually echoing some of the thoughts that he shared with you. So the first one is really around advertising and recruitment of staff. So ensuring that jobs are advertised in reputable locations particularly sites targeting ECE educators. Can support qualified and experienced candidates to apply for your roles. It's also important what is advertised. I would suggest always noting that your organisation is child safe in your advertising. And ensuring that the wording of your advertising demonstrates a really child centric culture. When it comes to screening, some trends to look out for may include candidates who have frequently moved between services. So multiple changes and employers after periods of say less than 12 months, might be a cause for concern. And looking for applicants who demonstrate a strong commitment to child safety throughout their application. Interview processes can be one of the best ways, of obtaining uncensored information about your candidate. Asking questions that provide an opportunity for candidates to give examples about where they have spoken up, or reported in the workplace, provides a really useful insight. Additionally, using scenarios, seeking candidates to respond to potential child protection situations can be useful. The interview is the best chance you will get to understand the culture and the ethos of the candidate. So don't be afraid to ask challenging questions. A child protection focus in your interview questions will provide an indication of culture, and actually may help to discourage the wrong candidates to become part of your business. Reference checking is another safety net. Make sure you ask pointed questions of referees relating to child protection. Clearly asking if the person has ever been a subject of any child protection concerns or allegations. Do multiple checks from formal organisations if at all possible. You could even ask candidates to supply additional referee information to support your recruitment as a child safe organisation. Of course verified working with children and police checks are important. Make sure if the candidate has worked in other jurisdictions, that you also undertake this process with other states and territories. I understand the OCG are currently developing a resource to support recruitment and selection, which will be made available or maybe is available on their website shortly. Next slide please. Okay, now that you have employed an amazing candidate, the induction process is the next thing you need to get right. Ensuring that all induction includes a strong focus on child protection and sends a clear and strong message to all new staff, that your organisation takes child safety seriously. Of course, it's not enough to talk about these issues at induction. Child safety needs to be built into ongoing training and also become part of ongoing discussions and emphasis at your service. As Robert indicated earlier. Next slide, please Creating the right culture. Robert highlighted this again this morning. And Peter Drucker, once said culture eats strategy for breakfast. Nowhere is this more critical than when it comes to child protection. Some of the things you can do as an organisation to create the right culture might include, reducing shame and fear of reporting. Creating an understanding amongst all of your staff that if you don't report, you actually reduce the opportunity to increase safety for children. Having open and regular discussions at all levels of the organisation. Creating a culture of shout out, and shout up. Where reporting is not only encouraged, but it's expected. Recognising grooming behaviour, and having really frank and fearless discussions about this including grooming of staff and families. Organisation wide understanding of protective disclosures. So making sure that your staff understand, that if they're making a disclosure and making a report they are actually protected from reprisal under the national law. And I've got here embrace over reporting. So maybe that's not quite the right term after what Robert pointed out earlier. I guess what I'm saying is embrace raising your concerns. Note this is not a report and forget. This is about raising concerns, having conversations, and being able to take action. Next slide please. A fairly obvious one in terms of preventative measures is the physical layout and supervision. Now, obviously this can make a really big difference to reducing any opportunity for unsafe interactions. Obviously, if you're building a new purpose-built service there are lots of opportunities to get this right. In the planning, thinking about supervision, locations. However, even in existing services, there are things you can do, and things that I've seen services do to really increase visibility and line of sight. So things like, looking at your fencing and hedges. Having windows or cut-outs, or removing doors into some of your rooms. Thinking about the style and location of your furnishings and do they create obstructions for viewing of what's happening at all different times of the day. Looking at CCTV is an option as we've spoken about earlier today. And particularly having really good supervision plans, and maps, including defined areas of coverage to cater for during a range of activities, throughout your day, or throughout your programming. Next slide please. Clear policy and practise obviously really important, but it's not enough to have good policies. You must ensure the practises are in place and embedded. You need to walk the walk every day. This means regular discussions with staff about practise including the why. I would suggest, you know policy and practises is best when it's visible. It's usable and simple, and it's reviewed regularly. Really important to have something that defines what's acceptable in terms of interaction with children, and what's expected behaviours and having discussions about that. And also the other thing that Robert mentioned earlier was about engaging how educators engage with families inside and outside the service, and declaring those relationships. Next slide, please. And finally ensuring that there are accessible complaint and reporting mechanisms. So asking yourself, does staff at your service know how to make a complaint or raise a concern? Do they understand that they will be protected in that? Do you have the right decision-making tools to support you to manage a risk if something is raised? Do you have clear processes to ensure that there's independent and objective investigation of any complaint? And are you confident that you're meeting your mandatory reporting requirements? And also the other thing to think about is how do you support staff, who may be a person subject of an allegation. That's really important as well. And asking families, do they know who to talk to? Are they provided with a range of complaint mechanisms who to talk to internally? Do they understand our role as a regulatory authority and how to make external complaints to us? There's just a few insights from our experiences over the last couple of years. And hopefully these learnings will give you some things to think about, and act upon in your service. Thanks for your time today.


- Thanks Glenda. Those were some really clear learnings presented by Glenda there. Some of which did reiterate the comments that Robert made at the beginning. And also the parent Debbie who spoke. I mean, one of the things she said that really stuck in my mind was that, by empowering staff to protect children, we are disempowering perpetrators. So the two go together. The more that staff in your organisation feel comfortable to speak up and to raise concerns, even when it's just a feeling. That they need to have a mechanism to be able to have a conversation about that. And then for action to be taken as needed. That is one really strong clear thing that you can do to deter perpetrators, who maybe in your organisation unknown to you. We now have got about 15 minutes or so for questions. And I think they have been a couple on the screen. So I'm just having a quick look. There's a question here for Debbie. Is the child safe code of conduct in addition to your staff and parent codes of conduct.


- It is a really good question because it is something that we did have to spend time actually thinking about how does this sit best, and where does it sit best. Once the office of the children's guide, and released this really truly wonderful guide to codes of conduct, to developing a child safe code of conduct. There's a really clear format in there, which actually has a statement of commitment of I will, and I will not. And then this is supported by an anxious that really clearly show examples of behaviours. So there's behaviours that will help keep children safe that are encouraged. And then there are behaviours that are concerning. So they may be concerning taking into consideration, you know, other aspects of the behaviour at work, or the interactions with children. And then there's clearly totally unacceptable interactions. So it's a very, very clear document. And it is quite comprehensive. So of course we already had a code of conduct, and we also needed to have an NDIS code of conduct. So in the end, what has been resolved is that we have three parts to our code of conduct. The general part, the child's safe code of conduct, and the NDIS code of conduct.


- Thanks, Debbie. There's a question here about OCG resources and you will find those on the OCG website. And we can send out a link after this as well. There's a good question here. Could we please get some examples of grooming behaviours. Glenda, do you wanna share a couple of examples from our experience?


- This is a bit of a tricky one. And the reason it's tricky is because grooming behaviors can sometimes be behaviours that are not grooming behaviours. And so the office of children's guardian has been a very good resource on their website, that actually described some of this. And it's included in some of their training. But things like, I guess some of the things that we've seen is, you know educators that are supremely amazing at getting other educators and parents and families, to think that they are lovely. So overly friendly, very helpful. Although those behaviours can again not necessarily mean grooming. So obviously things like sharing secrets with children, giving a special presence to children, those kinds of things. I feel like I'm not really the expert in this, but these are the kinds of examples that we've seen. But the OCG certainly has some resources on that for people to refer to.


- Yeah. So I was going to say it is quite difficult. But just when we look with hindsight at some of the matters that we've been involved with as a regulator, those are some of the things we've seen that Glenda said. Another one is just where perpetrators do their very best to establish personal relationships with families by offering to babysit for them. And this is where the policies are so important in your organisations, about what is not acceptable in terms of outside relationships with families. We know that in small communities that can be challenging but this is something that your organisation needs to think very carefully about. Okay, some other. I'm just gonna go to one that was asked earlier this morning which is about the issue of children sitting on laps. This, again, it is a difficult one and I might just get Glenda to talk to this one a little bit. To put it in a framework of practise.


- Hey, so people will understand that the regulations don't go to that level of detail in terms of children sitting on laps. And so it is up to every individual service to determine and be very clear about what's appropriate, and what's inappropriate. And in some cases a child sitting on a an educator's lap could be quite acceptable. It could be it, you know, an educator is comforting a child. But then there are also circumstances that we've certainly seen where, you know we've had children sitting on laps, for extended periods of time. Children trying to get off laps. And so it's a really, really tricky area to define. I think one of the things that you need to think about is what are the different... If you have a child sitting facing you on your lap, is that okay? Should children be able to get off your lap at any time? And so allowing children, the freedom to come and go and just being really clear. And having those conversations in services. I mean, I don't have a clear definitive answer for what's acceptable or not, but it's certainly one of the things that you need to talk about.


- And I think Glenda, the point is that there's no one thing that will solve the issue of child safety. An organisation needs to have an interim framework that starts at the top. That sets the culture at the top. Considers all of the things that we've spoken about, like staff recruitment, and training and induction. Creates a safe environment for staff to speak out about things that they may be worried about. And many other things besides. And so in that context, children sitting on laps needs to be considered in all of that. So there is no black and white for many of these things. It is about organisations using their judgement . Robert made that very clear as well. Like she said, it is about judgement and good judgement . And it is about culture as well. Okay, let me see what other questions are here. There's been a fair few comments and questions in the chat this morning. And this one here now just about the intersections with DCJ, unfortunately our Q and A was a bit short this morning. It is correct to say that DCJ will not be able to attend to all matters that are reported to them, because of their threshold. And because of the number of reports they get. But when we talk about reporting, there's quite a few different things to consider. The first one of course is internal conversations. So I think it's best not to call that reporting. Although some organisations may have formal internal reporting structures. But it is about having a conversation with your line manager or someone else in your organisation, that you feel comfortable having a conversation with about matters. Then of course there is the consideration of mandatory reporting and that should be done as well. And there is a notification to us as the regulator. And then there is of course the reportable conduct scheme. So there are different avenues that need to be taken and all of those together form a safeguard around protecting children. So again, some of these avenues do require your judgement . So when you make that decision to discuss it with someone internally. When you make a decision to notify. When you work out, do I need to use the mandatory reporter guide? And where does it take me? And to go through that process. All of those things do require a degree of judgement . And good judgement does require a good culture in the organisation, and also effective trainings. So your professional development for staff is really important. Glenda, do you wanna add anything to that or Debbie, from your organization's perspective.


- That was really comprehensive summary. And I guess the thing is that we're all talking about is we're really talking about preventing harm to children. And really setting up so that everyone is informed. But there is a risk, and we all have that duty of care to be keeping children safe. And there are all these strategies as an early childhood organisation, we can put in place to help keep children safe.


- Thank you, Debbie. And Glenda, anything to add to that?


- No, I think you've covered it, thank you.


- Okay. There's a question here about peer to peer sexualized behaviours. And how to manage this, and whether there's a resource. There's actually a project being led by New South Wales health at the moment which is about this exactly. There was a workforce survey, I think it was earlier this year, to inform our learning and development package for the sector. So we are waiting from New South Wales health about the next step, so that we will touch base with them and send something out when we send out resources following this seminar. There's a question here about an ECE. Will they be an ECE child protection refresher course available? We'll take that one. I noticed I think that it's a really good suggestion, and a very good question. There's a question here. This is why do the regulations allow one person to open and close a centre. Glenda do you have any insights on that?


- I mean, I think Sharon this is something that we have had quite a lot of discussion about. I mean, we talk about services with single educator models and the potential risk in those. We'll also talk about family daycare, and the risk in that type of service model as well. And I noticed that there was a question that came up about that. I mean, as people are aware of the regulations don't prescribe that it's not okay to have a single educator with children at any one time. And so there is in terms of us as the regulator enforcing that, is absolutely... You know that's a decision for organisations. I know that Debbie was saying in KU they have a policy where no educator is alone with the child. Personally I think that's a very good policy and practise to have. I know that it's not always practical, but all services. But certainly something to think about.


- Thanks, Glenda. There's a question here for Debbie. Did you use the Victoria action guide to support your review of child safe practises initially?


- We did use self-assessment tools and the Victorian guide was based around they had the seven standards back then. It a little bit different, so we were using the national principles. So we tended to move into the Australian Human Rights Commission, their initial guide of self-assessment that they used. All of those tools, I think are really helpful because they've got really practical examples of what you can do, and how to recognise when you've got a good practise in place. So there is a range of self-assessment tools out there that are really worth seeking. And in fact, also the children's guardian, child safe standards has that very layout practising that. So if you're in New South Wales and you're adopting the standards, you know that would be a really good tool to be using.


- Thank you. And Debbie, if I can ask you, there's a question here and I think it might be useful to see how KU would respond to this. If a child disclosed any abuse, to a staff member how would you respond within KU? What would be the process that you would follow?


- As I said. You know, children's disclosures are really critical. We want the educators to hear them, so it's really important that they understand that there's no textbook disclosure. And it is very often the children will tell you something and then take it back. It can take you a little while to understand what's going on. We very much speak to staff at KU about the importance of emotionally supporting a child, during a disclosure to be available to listen to the child, to have that connection. To reassure the child that they've done the right thing in actually talking to you about what is happening to them. So there's reassurance, it's just very caring, nurturing. We then ask the staff maybe to actually write down the disclosure in the child's words, so that once the process is activated, we have a really accurate record of what the child actually said. But we're very clear that it is not the role of the educator to investigate what the child says. We don't need to establish any of that. That will actually be done by DCJ, we're honest emotionally support and take action on behalf of the child. So once that disclosure is made, they inform the director of the service, the coordinator of the service. If they're not there, it will be the responsible person that is there. And then contact is made with the child safe and wellbeing team. So we take calls all day in relation to concerns that are arising about children's safety. So that could be safety about the child in their home or child at the service. And we do respond to both of those with a different process. But the really important thing we teach our educators is that it's absolutely critical that you do take action. We want to hear no matter how low level that concern is, is because we want to be able to help people with their practise. We want to be very clear about what our KU expectations are. So there's according to the child safe and wellbeing, we do go through the mandatory reporter's guide tool. I kept talking about, we have it on our screen in child safety wellbeing at the service hazard at their end, and we do discuss it as we go. So we have a look at the definition of questions. I'm trying to get a really good understanding about what's going on. Now, some of those will go to a reportable threshold and they will be notified to the child protection help line or it might be an e-report. that way to refer the family to a service, or we need to monitor the situation, document our concerns. And then we need to think about what services could be supporting that family. So we will use family and connect support, or some services have a really good network within their own region with our already known good family support services that may be able to support a family. But, you know, we work in terms of what is best for this family. Sometimes it is actually that we do need to do a report to child protection, but it says other times how can we as an organisation support the child, support the family, with making sure everyone's safe.


- Thank you, Debbie. That was a very comprehensive answer. We have come to the end of time. I know that we haven't managed to get to all the questions but we will go through them. I just want to really briefly say there is a question here about how can DOE, how can the department support educators to get the tools and knowledge to report organisations that they're working in, when there are scared that they will be without a job? I do want to emphasise that any educator or any staff member of an organisation can pick up the phone to ask about information and inquiries line anonymously, and report concerns. If they are worried about their job and we will do our best to investigate. Obviously it is difficult sometimes to investigate things when they're anonymous, but we will do our best to follow up on those discreetly, if people are worried. So please make sure you use our information and inquiries line. So we have come to the end of time. I thank you all so much for giving so much time to this morning, and for your very strong interest, and really insightful questions as well. And you know, this will be the first of many engagements that we do with the sector on the child safe standards, and on all of these issues that have been raised this morning. So thank you very much. And thank you, Debbie and Glenda for being on the panel.

Positive Behaviour Supports

Positive Behaviour Supports

- Okay, let's get started. Hello and welcome. My name is Beth McGregor. I'm a psychologist and I feel very grateful that I have been invited by the Department of Education to present to you today, the final presentation in their annual roadshow on positive behaviour supports. Just a little bit about me is I work as a learning and development consultant. So what that means is I provide training support to people who work in the child welfare and child well-being sector, as well as people who work in the early childhood education sector, such as yourself. Over the last 10 years, I have trained thousands of educators across Australia on a range of things, including trauma, attachment, brain development, which is a big interest of mine, and of course, behaviour. So I've been invited today to talk to you about behaviour supports and I'm excited to be doing that. Let's start with an acknowledgement of country. I want to acknowledge to you that I am coming from Kuringgai land, which is the Northern part of New South Wales or Northern beaches part of New South Wales. I'll invite you to consider and really think about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who have been living on your land where you live for 60,000 years and really invite you to just take a moment to really acknowledge the Aboriginal country that we are on.


- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present, and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, and relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.


- Okay, so just a bit of housekeeping before we begin. The microphone, video, and chat functions will be disabled throughout the presentation, however, the Q and A section is open. I am hoping to have some time for questions but it's hard to know exactly, but if you do have questions, please put them on the chat function. There is an upvoting option where you can pick which questions are most important to you and we will do our very best to get those answered for you, if not now, then hopefully after the session. And just to let you know that this session will be recorded. Okay. Let's dive into it. So the aim of today's presentation, I've been asked, I've been given four briefs. So really, what we're going to be looking at is how do we understand the cause of challenging behaviour? Of course, we could talk for days about that, but I'm gonna offer a particular framework for understanding the cause of challenging behaviours. How do you teach children the social skills they need to successfully engage in positive behaviours? So I've got a really exciting strategy to share with you, which is pretty cool, so I hope that you find it helpful. And then the next question is, how do you work together with families and agencies to create the best outcomes for children? So we've got a lot to cover. I just want to let you know that a copy of these slides will be made available to you at the end of the presentation. So there's a lot of information on the slides, lot of tips and techniques, and so don't feel like you have to write everything down in a hurry. A copy of the slides will be made available to you. At the end of these slides, I also have some references in terms of recommended reading, but I also have a range of links that you can click on in the slide pack for additional resources relating to what I'm talking to you about today. So I hope that that is helpful. So our agenda for today is how do we make sense of children's behaviour? The question, million dollar question. How do you support positive behaviour? And what I'm gonna focus on today is by teaching what we might call missing skills or lagging skills. I'm gonna be talking about that. And then how do you talk to parents about challenging behaviours? That's a really tricky one. So what I've got for you today is a few phrases and a few ways of thinking about what is a helpful way of talking to parents about challenging behaviours and also working with other services to support families. So, before we begin, I'm just gonna invite you to breathe with me just so we can get settled and focused. Many of you have probably had a busy day, rushed to get to this session. So let's take a moment to breathe and you can see here, I've got a flower and some candles. This is a breathing technique that you can teach children. So I know you might feel a little bit silly, but just do it with me because it really does help to get ourselves present and focused. So we're going to imagine that we're smelling the flower and blowing out candle. Nice long exhalation. We'll do two more of those. And one more. I don't cover it today, but one of the things that's really, really helpful in helping children manage themselves is teaching breathing deep, slow belly breaths. That really helps children be regulated. So that's why I always do breathing in any presentation that I do. Helps us be regulated, as well. All right. Making sense of children's behaviours. So, first off, the place to begin here is that all behaviour is a form of communication. Now, you will have heard that before. You will have seen something like this before. You will have seen the iceberg where behaviour is the result, behaviour is what we can see, the child hitting or snatching or grabbing or whatever they're doing, that's what we can see, but it's always the result of something that's going on underneath. And I just guess I want to explore this with you. What is it that is going on underneath the iceberg? And to do so, I'm gonna ask you a question and obviously I'm not gonna ask you to answer it because there's hundreds of you here with me today, but I'm gonna ask you to think about a time where you acted your worst, so where the tip of the iceberg for you was not the prettiest. You know, I know when I've not been the nicest parent to my children or I've been a bit cranky in the traffic or perhaps I've been a little bit rude somewhere, you know, when you haven't been your best self, when you haven't acted according to your values and the way that you would've hoped you would've acted, you haven't necessarily been kind or considerate, what was going on for you beneath the iceberg? So I just want you to think about this. What was going on for you beneath the iceberg? Now, I actually did this activity with a team a couple of weeks ago and this is literally what they said, what they put into the chat box. People said when they were overwhelmed, when they weren't behaving their best, they were overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, felt powerless, felt unsupported, felt anxious. They felt pulled in multiple directions. They felt uncertain. They felt worried, pressured, frustrated, isolated, fearful, hurt, unloved, insecure, and angry. That's what people said to me. So it's interesting to think for us that when we're engaging in our worst behaviour, it's because normally we're stressed and struggling. Now, what about for us when we're engaging in our best behaviour? You know, when you can be kind, when you can be patient, when you can be generous, when you can be wise, when you can be calm in the face of frustrations. When you're acting your best, what is going on for you beneath the iceberg? I want you to just really think about that. What's happening for you beneath the iceberg when you're acting your best? So, once again, I asked the same group a few weeks ago that question, a group of educators, and this is what they said to me, that when they're engaging in their best behaviour, they're breathing, they're calm, they're rested, they're connected, they're centred, they're feeling loved. They're feeling confident. They're feeling secure, valued, supported, at peace, not hungry, not hangry. Their physical needs have been met. They feel in control. They feel listened to, prepared, engaged, happy, had time to themselves, appreciated, like their emotional cup is full. So it's true to say that for us as adults, we're on our best behaviour when we feel rested, calm, loved, and connected. So I want you to invite you to consider with me that it's the same for children. If we imagined Carla has just pushed her friend over, what's going on beneath the iceberg for Carla? Yeah. And it's really helpful to think about for these children who are engaging in tricky behaviours is that very often, they're stressed and struggling, just like we are when we're engaging in challenging behaviours. And if we think about when children are engaging in their best behaviour, or let's say Sasha and Johnathon have just been taking turns playing with the dinosaur, yeah, that usually when children are engaging in their best behaviours, they're feeling rested, calm, loved, and connected. They're feeling safe and loved. So that's just a beginning way of thinking about behaviour that I think is incredibly helpful. It helps us view difficult behaviour as a red flag. There's something going on beneath the iceberg. Yeah, I'm stressed and struggling. I'm not feeling rested, calm, loved, and connected. Yeah, I need your help. And that's the beginning point, I think, in helping us be effective in working with challenging behaviours. So we have to see what's beneath the iceberg. If we don't see or at least are curious about what's happening beneath the iceberg, we're not going to be effective with children. So, you know I always say children's behaviour is telling you something. Yeah. And the question is, as early childhood educators, are you willing to listen to what children are saying with their behaviour? Are you willing to listen to a child like Carla saying, I am stressed and I am struggling? So let's think about challenging behaviour, yeah? And let's think about what's beneath the iceberg for these two little girls, Ginger and Nellie. Yeah. Ginger and Nellie are fighting over the same toy. So what's happening beneath the iceberg? Now, there's a range of different ways that we could think about what's happening beneath the iceberg for Ginger and Nellie. We could think they're having big feelings. They're feeling angry and they're feeling frustrated. We could think they've got some need. They really need some assistance because they're still really young. They need some assistance to manage their frustration and solve their problem. They both want the same toy. They've got a problem. Do they have an adult who's there to help them solve that problem? We could also think about what's happening beneath the iceberg in terms of missing skills, that they've got poor frustration tolerance. They can't manage their frustration particularly well. They don't have cognitive flexibility, which I'll talk about a little bit more in a while, but a cognitive flexibility means essentially being able to change direction, that, oh, thought I was going in that direction, but, oh, look, there's another toy over there. I'll have that toy instead. Are they missing verbal expression skills? Are they unable to express their needs in words? And so then they are then resorting to physical expression and who knows, right? But there are a lot of different ways to think about what's happening beneath the iceberg, but any way we think about it, we can recognise that Ginger and Nellie are stressed and they're struggling. Now, what about Harley? Oops-a-daisy. Missed Harley there. Yeah. Harley pushes Mandy when Mandy walks near him. Okay. So that's the behaviour. That's what we can see. What's beneath the iceberg? Is Harley feeling annoyed because Mandy has entered his space? Is Harley feeling worried that Mandy's gonna take his toy? Is his need more physical space? He needs some space around him. Or is he missing a skill of being able to verbally express his needs? We don't know, but we've got to get curious. What's beneath the iceberg with children? Any which way, he is stressed and struggling. So what I've just done there is really just introduced an initial way of thinking about behaviour. Behaviour is a form of communication and it's our job as the adults, as the bigger, stronger, wiser, kind adults to listen and attempt to make sense of the behaviour. It's not always easy to make sense of, but we have to attempt to make sense of the behaviour. Now, what I want to do with you is explore this concept a little bit more about skill, missing skills. So that's what I want to do for the rest of this particular session and I'm gonna propose to you that a really helpful way of thinking about children and behaviours is that children who are struggling behaviorally, it's not that they won't behave well. It's that in that moment, Nellie and Ginger and Harley can't behave well. So this is a different way of thinking about behaviour. But if they are struggling with skills like verbal expression skills, frustration tolerance, cognitive flexibility, if those social and emotional skills they're really struggling with, then in that particular moment, then they're not going to be able to behave well in that moment. Now, what I'm gonna do is I'm going to show you a small portion, a five-minute portion of a TED Talk from a leading theorist in this area, Stuart Ablon. In your references that you'll get in your PowerPoint slide handout at the end of this programme, I've got a link to this TED Talk if you want to view the full TED Talk, but for the moment, I'm just gonna show you five minutes to unpack this concept in a bit more detail.


- And I feel like I have learned a tremendous amount over the last 25 years from and with these children, their families, their caretakers, their helpers, and what's interesting is most of what I've learned during this time completely flies in the face of conventional wisdom, completely. And that's what I want to talk to you all about. And the reality is that most of what I've learned that flies in the face of conventional wisdom can be summed up in a pretty simple phrase, and this is it. Kids do well if they can, which has become the guiding philosophy of our work, the foundation of our work. And when you look at it up here, you'd probably say to yourself, what's so earth-shattering about that? And on its own, it may not seem particularly earth-shattering, but it actually is, and I want to explain why. See, what kids do well if they can suggests is that if a kid could do well, he would do well. If she could do well, she would do well. And if she's not doing well, well, something must be standing in her way. And if something's standing in her way, then we all, as the helpers in her life, we need to figure out what's standing in her way so we can help. And I'm sure that sounds like perfect common sense to everybody because it is, and yet it flies in the face of conventional wisdom because the more conventional way of thinking when it comes to challenging behaviour is not kids do well if they can. It sounds a lot more like kids do well if they want to. And you see, if you believe kids do well if they want to and a kid's not doing well, so for instance, they're not behaving well, you believe kids do well if they want to, they're not behaving well, well then you're gonna assume the reason he's not behaving well is because he doesn't want to. And if he doesn't want to, then what's all of our jobs? To try to make him want to do well. And while that probably seems like a very narrow, unpleasant, probably pretty ineffective role to play in the lives of these kids, the interesting thing about it is when you think about traditional discipline in our homes, traditional school discipline, discipline in society, it is all oriented around trying to make kids want to do well. Rewards, punishments, time-outs, detentions, suspensions, expulsions, you name it, they're all aimed at trying to motivate people to do better, safe in the assumption that they're not doing well because they don't want to. Well, you know what? I don't buy it. What I've learned is it doesn't make any sense. What I've learned is kids do well if they can. I believe kids do well if they can. I believe if a kid could do well, he would do well and if he's not doing well, you know what? Something has got to be standing in his way and it cannot be as simple as he just doesn't want to. I also believe that it's high time we learn from more than 50 years of research in the neurosciences that has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that conventional wisdom is wrong. Now, there are countless examples in our history of where conventional wisdom sticks around a lot longer after it's been disproven. You can go back to something like the world is flat, but you know what? We learned it was round, but nobody wanted to part with the idea that it was flat. I think we're gonna find the same thing about the notion that kids do well if they want to. All of the research in the neurosciences for the past 50 years has shown beyond the shadow of a doubt that challenging kids do not lack the will to behave well. They lack the skills to behave well. Skills to behave well, what kind of skills am I talking about? I'm talking about skills like problem-solving, like flexibility, like frustration tolerance. In other words, what all the research in the neurosciences has shown us is that kids who exhibit chronic challenging behaviour, you know what? They have like a learning disability, except instead of areas like reading, math, and writing, this learning disability is in areas like problem-solving, flexibility, frustration tolerance. I think it's actually a very accurate, apt, and powerful analogy, and here's why. I'm in my mid-forties. If we went back to when I was in elementary school, actually not far from here, if there was a child who was reading several grade levels behind his peers, back then, well-meaning, empathic, caring educators would not have said to themselves, huh, I wonder if he has a learning disability. I wonder if he's got dyslexia. I wonder if he has a hard time phonetically decoding words. No, actually, 40 years ago, those folks would have said, I wonder if he is either dumb or lazy. And I know that there are people sitting here listening right now who can attest to the personal pain of that, to being the child in the classroom who ironically was trying harder than anybody else in that classroom to read and it was completely misunderstood. You know what's interesting about that? Guess who wasn't trying very hard in that classroom to read? The students to whom it came naturally. Guess who was trying harder than anybody else? The very kids that we used to think were lazy. What a terrible shame. Thank goodness we have come a long way since then, but not when it comes to kids with challenging behaviour. Here's a little bit of a news flash. You know those good kids, those kids, we say, you know, they're so compliant? They do what we want. They're such good kids. You know what? They get so many kudos for their great behaviour and they don't even deserve them. You know why they don't deserve them? 'Cause they're not even trying very hard. It just comes naturally to them. Guess who's trying inordinately hard to behave themselves during the course of the day? The very kids we're trying to motivate to behave better. A very wise man who has taught me a lot in his lifetime, he's in his 98th year now, my grandfather, he's taught me a lot and one of the things he taught me early on is he said, when you give a dog a name, eventually they will answer to it. And I have learned that if you treat kids like they are lazy, unmotivated, don't care, aren't trying hard enough, over time, don't be surprised when they start to look like, talk like, and act like they don't care and aren't trying hard enough. And you know what? I don't believe it. I believe kids do well if they can. I have yet to meet the kid that prefers doing poorly to doing well. I believe kids do well if they can.


- I don't know about you, but I think that's a very, very powerful message. So that's Stuart Ablon. And I think this is such a helpful and empowering way to understand challenging behaviours is that children are missing the skill to behave well, not the will to behave well. So what does that look like? Well, if we think about children having a problem such as needing another child to move away from them and that has sufficient skill, they can say, can you please move away? Then they're gonna have adaptive behaviour, right? Can you please move away from me? But if they have a lagging skill, they're not able to use that verbal expression, please move away, then we might have challenging behaviours such as Harley pushing Mandy. Yeah. This really does allow us to view misbehaviour differently, which is the first step in being able to be effective in supporting children with challenging behaviours. So let's imagine Johnathon and his sister both want the same toy and Ginger and her sister both want the same toy. Yeah. Let's imagine these two children. They both want the same toy and they have sufficient skills. Yeah. They're able to express their needs verbally or you have a turn and I'll have a turn and they're able to take turns. So they've got the regulation and self-regulation that's required to be able to take turns. So they've got sufficient skill. So then that creates a picture of children working well and playing together. But if we go back to Ginger and Nellie, they might have poor frustration tolerance. They can't manage it when they're frustrated. They might have poor cognitive flexibility and ability to shift plans in the moment and they might not be able to express their needs verbally. Then we see challenging behaviour like this. So a few more examples of what this might look like. Is this child not listening or is he struggling with what we call working memory, with the ability to remember the detailed instructions and stay on task, even when you're not particularly interested? Working memory. A lot of people would say this child is not listening, but through this lens, yeah, we can say maybe he's struggling with working memory. Would we say that this child is ignoring instructions? Why she's near a knife, none of us know about, but what she's ignoring instructions, we told her to leave the knife there, or is she struggling with inhibitory control, the ability to think before you act and evaluate a situation and how you might behave might impact it, right? Clearly at this age, she's struggling with inhibitory control and this is the cognitive flexibility I've mentioned a couple of times and Stuart Ablon mentioned in that talk. Is this child having a tantrum or is she struggling with cognitive flexibility, the ability to revise plans in the face of obstacles, setbacks, and new information or mistakes? Adapting to changing conditions. She had in her mind she was going to walk to the end of the jetty. There was a bird there. She was going to walk to the end of the jetty. That was what was in her mind. Her mum and dad said, no, we have to walk to the car and she just cannot revise her plans. She's struggling with cognitive flexibility. So you can see from this framework how we can understand challenging behaviour as children missing or lagging skills. Yeah. And I guess I just want to put out a little caveat on that and it's true for all of us, right? Is most of us have the skill to behave well when we're feeling calm and confident and when our emotional cup is filled up. But when we're feeling really, really stressed, then the skills that we might have when we're feeling calm and confident and rested, we have trouble accessing verbal expression skills. We have trouble accessing those skills. So that's also true for children. Yeah. We might see misbehaviour as the child really missing a skill, like they're really missing verbal expression skills, for instance, they're really missing play entry skills. They just don't have those skills. Or it might be that there's kind of, we've got those skills but because they're stressed, for example, they're very tired, it's much harder for them to access those skills, just like it is for us. Okay. So what am I talking about when I'm talking about skills? What specifically do I mean by skills? So children need five domains of skills to behave well. They need language and communication skills, attention and working memory skills, emotion and self-regulation skills, cognitive flexibility skills, and social thinking skills. Now, I'm not gonna read through everything on the next five slides. I've put together all of the skills, so all of the language and communication skills, all of the attention and working memory skills and so forth on the slides so that you can refer to those and read them in detail when you get the handouts, right? 'Cause it's far too many for me to read through. But what I want to do is give you some examples of how this is helpful. All right. If we go back to Harley pushing Mandy when Mandy walks near him, what skills might Harley be missing? And once again, the purpose of this is not that we nail exactly what the skill is. The purpose of this way of thinking is that we really become curious about what's the skill that is missing, helps us be curious. Now, one way of understanding that behaviour out of all of the language and communication skills there are, he might be missing the skill of being able to express his concerns, needs, or thoughts in words. Please go away. Please step back, Mandy. He might be missing that skill so instead of expressing his desire verbally, he expresses his desire physically. We could also imagine he's missing the skill of understanding the impact of his action. So, at his age, he would really be missing that skill, as well. All right. Another example, Nate spends a lot of time wandering around the classroom aimlessly. He doesn't engage in any activity for very long. So we would be guessing that he's really struggling with some attention and working memory skills, staying with tasks requiring sustained attention, and maintaining focus during activities. So those might be two out of the many attention and working memory skills that he might be particularly struggling with. Arlo becomes very angry when he can't have first turn. He lashes out and he hurts other people. So what skills might he be missing? I'd imagine that Arlo's really missing quite a few skills. Emotion and self-regulation is the domain I was thinking. He's going to struggle to think rationally, even when he's frustrated. He's going to struggle to manage anxiety in an age-appropriate way and he's going to struggle to think before responding. He's not really gonna be considering the likely outcomes or consequences of his actions. With children like Arlo, just to make a little side note, I've written anxiety, managing anxiety in age-appropriate ways. With very aggressive children, they're often highly anxious and that fear translates and manifests itself in terms of aggression. But most of us aren't attuned to the fear and the anxiety that drives the aggression and so that's really what a very big thing that's often beneath the iceberg for children who have aggressive behaviours, just as a side note. So we could say that Arlo is struggling with emotional self-regulation skills. What about Carla? So Carla becomes very aggressive at transition times, especially when she hasn't had a chance to complete the task she was working on. So what skills might Carla be struggling with? We could say Carla's struggling to handle transition and to shift easily from one task to another, that that's a real stress for Carla. And we could say that Carla really struggles to handle deviations from rules, routines, and original plans. Like the little girl on the jetty who was planning to get to the end of the jetty and that's where she was going to go and mum and dad wanted to go somewhere else and that's too hard for her, Carla was going to finish this activity and for some reason, she needs to move and that's just really a stress for her, a real stressor, yeah, because she doesn't yet have those skills of being cognitively flexible about being able to handle those deviations from rules, routines, and original plans. All right, another one. When educators are seated with other children, Nadia snatches the toy they're playing with and runs off laughing. Pretty annoying behaviour. What skill might she be missing? Yeah. She might be really struggling to seek attention in appropriate ways and to understand how his or her behaviour affects other people around, how her behaviour affects other people. All right. I'm gonna proceed. I can see that there are a couple of questions. I'm gonna proceed and then hopefully I'll have some time at the end to take some questions. All right. So what we've just done is we've really had a look at a framework for trying to understand behaviour. Challenging behaviour is always the tip of the iceberg. It's like that for us as adults and it's also like that for children. It's our job as, in circle of security language, the bigger, stronger, wiser, kind adults is to be curious about what is beneath the iceberg and what is, there's different ways of thinking about that, but one really helpful way of thinking about what's beneath the iceberg is children who are struggling with particular skills. They might be struggling with those skills because they just simply haven't developed, or they might be struggling to use skills they have because they're tired and stressed. Okay. So then, from that framework, how do we support positive behaviour? So we teach the missing skill. Now what I'm gonna do because we only have a short time is I'm gonna focus on the first domain of skills, which is language and communication skills. Yeah. I'm gonna focus on language and communication skills and are about to do a poll, so listen up. Yeah. I'm asking you to think, how much challenging behaviour could be avoided in your classrooms, and we're really talking about preschools here because we don't expect babies or toddlers to have these skills, but just imagine, if children you work with were consistently able to use these language and communication skills, so what I'm doing is I'm taking point one, language and communication skills, and I'm just kind of breaking that down into a whole range of language and communication skills. If they were able to get someone's attention without bopping them on the head, if they were able to listen to other people and follow instructions, if they were able to give other children toys or objects in a way that was socially appropriate, if they were able to ask for a turn, if they were able to invite someone to play and join play and joining in play, if they were able to enter conversations, participate in group discussions. If you can just imagine that all of the children, just imagine all of the children in your classroom, we've got a magic wand, magically had all of those skills, yeah, I'm just about to launch a poll. How much do you think challenging behaviour would reduce? Do you think the challenging behaviour in your classroom would reduce by just a little bit, a lot, not much? What do you think? What's your vote? So if all of the children had all of those skills, they were able to enter play, they were able to take turns, they were able to participate in class discussions, they were able to get other children's attention without popping them on the head, what percentage do you think of challenging behaviour incidents, what percentage reduction would you say in challenging behaviour incidents? Okay. So I think you can see that we've got 40, 70, 90% of you think 40% or above. So 90% of you think that there would be a significant, like at least 50% reduction in challenging behaviours if all children could develop these skills. All right. So, if that's the case, then how are you teaching these missing skills? That's my question for you. How are you teaching these missing skills? What I'm gonna propose to you is that conflict between children is an opportunity to teach these missing skills and the glasses there represent the way we view conflict. So if we view challenging behaviour as something that is irritating and annoying and an interruption to your learning, then you can't teach the missing skill 'cause you're not viewing it as a missing skill. But if you adopt or put on a different set of glasses and see this challenging behaviour or this conflict between children or with you as an opportunity to teach missing skills, then that opens up a whole world of possibility, which I'm about to go into now. I just need to acknowledge that in this section, I am sharing with you strategies and resources from Conscious Discipline, which is an American programme that provides an array of behaviour management strategies and classroom structures that educators can use to turn everyday situations into learning opportunities. There are more references. There'll be more references at the end of today's presentation if you want to explore that further, but I just want to acknowledge the source of this particular strategy and the videos I'm about to show you is Conscious Discipline. All right, I've got a question for you now. One child grabs another child's toy. And I really want you to think, what is the skill that you could teach? One child grabs another child's toy. Now, very often, educators want to say, oh, that's very nice or don't do that. We don't do that. You know, be nice to our friends. That's what they would say. But what about if we were gonna teach a skill? What's the skill that we could teach? I would say, yeah, you could teach the skill of asking for a turn instead of grabbing. Another question for you. One child grabs a toy another child is playing with and runs off. Now, this, I just need to say behaviours can have different meanings. So the same behaviour can have different meanings. But the behaviour in this instance might mean that the child is really struggling to enter play. They don't know how to enter play, so they grab a toy and run because they don't have play entry skills. What about if one child pulls another child's hair? What's a skill that you could teach? What about the skill of getting another child's attention? One child throws a toy at another child. What's a skill that you could teach? Getting another child's attention and giving them the toy. So what I'm proposing here is that it's helpful, as always, to think about what's beneath the iceberg and if we use this framework of thinking about missing skill, then it opens up an opportunity for us to respond really effectively to challenging behaviours so children develop skills that they need to behave well, yeah, rather than just trying to fix what's on the top of the iceberg, we've fixed the root of the issue. Yeah. So I'm going to introduce a strategy now called ACT. And as I said, you're gonna get copies of these slides, so don't worry about taking too many notes. So this will all be made available to you. So what I'm gonna do is I'm going to talk you through the strategy and show you videos of what it looks like so you can see it in practise, okay? So, A, acknowledge the child's deepest desire or intent. You wanted a turn with the toy. Clarify the skills to use. When you want a turn at the toy, say, can I have a turn at the toy, please? And then take time to practise. Do it now. Say, may I have a turn? Okay? So if one child snatches a toy from another child, the ACT strategy, acknowledge the child's desire. Clarify the missing skill. Take time to practise might look like this. You want a turn. When you want a turn, tap her on the shoulder. Wait for her to look and say, may I have a turn, please? Do it now as a practise. Okay. So that's what the ACT strategy looks like. Now, what I'm about to do is show you a teacher who just does this little bit here. Now, we don't quite get the first bit. We don't see the challenging behaviour, but you see the teacher teaching this skill of asking for a turn. Okay? And you'll notice how specific it is. Educators will often say, take turns, be nice, talk nicely. This is much more specific than that. Okay? So let me just get this up.


- Stephanie, I want to have it.


- You did it. You touched Stephanie and you waited for her to look. You asked her for what you wanted.


- Okay, so pretty straightforward. Pretty explicit, yeah? We didn't really see any challenging behaviour in that instance, but you saw the teacher be very specific in teaching how to ask for a turn. So what we saw there is taking this idea of asking for a turn and breaking it down into very specific steps that the child can follow. Now, this visual that I'm showing you now that I'll be showing you throughout this section is actually in a handout that will also be sent through to you, so you will get a handout about this strategy, including these visuals. Okay? So asking for a turn, it's not just be nice, be a good friend, it's nice to share, general stuff. It's specific. Tap her on the shoulder, wait for her to look, say her name. Say, may I have a turn with this? Okay? So what about if a child grabs a toy another child is playing with and runs off? Remember our guess there was that child might struggle with play entry, yeah? So acknowledge the child's desire, teach the child the missing skill, take time to practise. We might say you wanted to play with Chris, right? When you want to play with Chris, get his attention by tapping him on the shoulder, saying his name, waiting for him to look, and say, may I play? Do it now for practise. All right. So let's have a look at what this looks like.


- And I think that with the tools that we have learned with conscious discipline, that we have been able to teach some of these children that we have some skills for building relationships and building connections that they would've never had had they not been in a classroom that is implementing conscious discipline. We want to get Chris's attention, so the safe way to get his attention is tap. Say his name and wait for him to look. Say, Chris. Wait for him to look. Try again. Say, Chris.


- Chris.


- He looked. Say, may I play?


- May I play?


- He nod. He said yeah.


- So, once again, you can see how specific that is. She didn't lecture him about running off with the toy. She didn't talk to him about that's not nice. I mean, you know, you can still set boundaries, obviously, but that's not where the bulk of her focus was. The bulk of her focus was what he can do differently and the bulk of his focus is what he can do differently. Yeah. Tap him on the shoulder, wait for him to look. A lot of children, particularly in preschool, get into trouble 'cause they're not looking into the faces of their peers and their educators, or if they are looking into the faces, they're not reading the faces particularly well. Okay. So that is a way that you can teach the strategy of play entry. Now, people often say to me, what about if the child had said, no, you can't play? And I would say, well, I think that is really good if you're there because then you can help them problem-solve. Oh, well, Johnny doesn't want to play at the moment, but we can go and play with Ella or Sarah. So, yeah. So that's my response if that is a question that you had. All right, another challenging behaviour. One child pulls another child's hair. Yeah. Acknowledge the child's desire. You wanted to get her attention. Clarify what skill to use when you want to get her attention. Tap her on the shoulder and say, hi, Victoria. Do it now for practise. All right. So now, the next couple of videos that I'm going to show you, there's a lot of background noise, but you get the intention 'cause they're in a classroom. So you should be able to hear well enough and you'll certainly get the intention of the teacher teaching the missing skill.


- Victoria. Victoria, your hair got pulled. You didn't like it. You didn't like it.


- I have to hit him.


- You don't have to hit him, but you can get his attention and you can say...


- I don't like that.


- That's right. You can say, I don't like it, Tommy.


- I don't like it.


- It hurts.


- It hurt.


- It hurt. Tommy, you wanted to get her attention. Tommy, you forgot to say her name. Tommy, look. You can say Victoria. Victoria. You can say hi.


- Hi.


- Hi. But look, Tommy. Tommy. It hurt when you pulled her hair. Ouch, that hurt. Tommy. Tommy, you can say, Victoria.


- Victoria.


- Victoria, hi.


- Hi.


- You did it, Tommy, you did it. Nice going. You did it, big guy.


- So that child pulled another child's hair. Now, was his intention to get her attention? We're making the assumption that that is the case, but it is a helpful opportunity if he's pulling the child's hair to teach what he can do. Oh, if you want someone's attention, tap, look, and say their name. And that little boy was missing that skill or unable to use that skill at that moment, hence the challenging behaviour, pushing, pulling the hair. All right. Another example, one child takes another child's blocks. Acknowledge the desire. Uh-oh. You wanted to help Anthony build a road, so you took the block. Yeah, you want it. That's why you took the block. And you can notice in this you wanted language that there's no shaming children. I'll just give you a little tip. If we shame children for their behaviour, they're going to shut down and not listen to us. This is a very non-shaming way of working with children. If we're not shaming children, they're much more likely to be paying attention to us and they're much more likely to be interested in learning the skill that we are delivering. And you can see that with both of those children, yeah? Tommy wasn't being shamed for pulling Victoria's hair and there was a connection moment because the teacher was teaching him that skill. Anyway, that's a digression. So, one child takes another child's blocks. Oh, you wanted to help Anthony build a road, so you took the block. When you want a turn of the block, tap on the shoulder, say, may I have a turn, please? Teach the missing skill. Do it now for practise.


- [Boy] Hers making .


- Okay, so I got you. So, wait here right now. You didn't like it when Andrew took one of your blocks for your castle. You didn't like it. You didn't like it. And Andrew, you wanted to take block for what reason?


- I wanted to make a Anthony make a road.


- Okay, 'cause you wanted to help Anthony build a road, so you took this one, but wait, you forgot to ask her for the block.


- Yeah, I did.


- Oops. Oops. Well, try it again. Try it again. Let's see how it works.


- Can I have a turn for me?


- Oh, he needs that one to give to Anthony. Oh, you know what? Andrew. You know what, Andrew, come here. Hold on. Come here. Andrew, come here. Come here. You know what? I'll tell you what. You remembered to ask. That was helpful. And you gave it to Andrew when he asked you for it. That was helpful. Wow.


- So what we saw just then was one child takes another child's blocks. So if you forgot to take the block, tap her on the shoulder, say her name, wait for her to look, ask for the block. Very simple, breaking down that skill of asking for a turn so that children can be successful in using that skill. All right. Here's another example. One child throws a toy at another child. Yeah. Acknowledge the desire. You wanted to give her the animal. If you want to get her attention, tap her on the shoulder. Wait for her to look and say, here, here's the toy. Do it now for practise.


- With the animal.


- Colton.


- With the animal. She hit your back with the animal? And Daniella, did you like that? No, you didn't like that? You know what? Come here. Sarah, look. You wanted to give her the animal.


- That's animal.


- Yeah, but you know what, Sarah? You forgot to get her attention.


- Mama, look, it's an elephant.


- The elephant. If you want to get her attention, you say, Daniella.


- Daniella.


- Here.


- Here.


- I don't want it.


- Here.


- Here.


- Oh, she said, no, thank you.


- Here, Daniella.


- But Sarah, Sarah, Sarah.


- Here. Hey, he's in the bookcase.


- Sarah, you may not throw it. Ouch.


- I'm just wanting to show you different examples of what it looks like. I really want you to have the core of this skill, yeah? Acknowledge the child's desire. This is what you wanted. You had this positive desire, even though the behaviour is not okay. Ouch, we don't do that, but we're going to recognise that you, there's nothing wrong with you. You have a positive desire. It's a valid desire. And here's what you can do to be a helpful member of our classroom. And you can see there, you forgot to get her attention. You may not throw. So there's still boundaries there, but we're focusing mainly on teaching them some skill. All right? Giving someone a toy or object and breaking that down. All right. I think this is the last video in this theory. Yes, it is. Before we do some practise. Okay. So one child grabs another child's bow. This little girl has got a bow on her shirt and one child grabs it and pulls it. Okay? You wanted to see her bow. When you want to see her bow, tap her on the shoulder. Say, may I see your bow? Do it now for practise.


- When Sienna pulled your shirt, did you like it? No. Say, Sienna, stop.


- Sienna, stop.


- Stop. Stop. I don't like it.


- I don't like it.


- Sienna, you wanted to see her bow, so you pulled it. You may not pull her bow. That's not safe. When you want to see her bow, tap her on the shoulder. Tap her and say, Emily.


- Emily.


- Emily, can I touch your bow? Ask her, can I touch your bow? Can she touch your bow?


- Yeah.


- Yeah. Now you can touch it gently. There, you did it. You're touching it gently. That was kind of you to let her touch it. You just have to tell her, touch it gently. Tell her, touch it gently.


- Okay, so that's a final example there. The child grabs another child's bow. You wanted to see her bow. You may not do that. It's not safe. When you want to see her bow, tap her on the shoulder. Say, may I see your bow? Do it now for practise. So that's the strategy. That's the ACT strategy. Yeah. Incredibly helpful. The services I work with that implement this, it's just incredibly helpful because the children are then empowered with skills so they don't need to engage in those challenging behaviours. All right, it's time for us to practise. So, how would you do this? Harley pushes Mandy when she walks near him. What would you say for A? Remember, A is to acknowledge the child's desire, starting with you wanted. Acknowledge the child's desire starting with you wanted. So what does Harley want, do you think? What does Harley want? What would you say to him? You wanted. What words would come out of your mouth? You wanted. And then what skill would you teach? You wanted Mandy to move, yeah, so you pushed her. You may not push. Pushing hurts. Say, move, please. Do it now for practise. Say, move, please. When educators are seated with other children, Nadia snatches the toys they're playing with and runs off laughing. And we think this is a play entry issue. She doesn't know how to join the group, so that's why she's engaging in this, yeah? There's actually a bit of anxiety underneath this behaviour. So what would you say? You wanted. So that's your beginning scaffold. You wanted is where we start. You wanted. So what are you gonna say to Nadia? You wanted. You wanted to play with us. You just need to say, may I play? We'd love to have you play with us, Nadia. Just say, may I play? It's very simple, in a nice tone. Nellie and Ginger are fighting over the same toy. Remember, Nellie and Ginger are fighting over the same toy. Now, once you've taken a moment to breathe and separate and make sure no one's going at each other, what would you say you wanted, right? So remember, you wanted is our starting point with this strategy. You wanted. You wanted the toy that Ginger was playing with, so you scratched her. You may not scratch. Ouch, scratching hurts. When you want a turn, and they have to be calm enough. Now you're obviously, when these children are in this particular state, there's no way you're teaching the missing skill, right? They're not gonna be listening to anything, right? They just have to do some deep breathing, little bit. Everybody needs to be calm enough and then you can teach that skill, yeah? And do it now for practise. Yeah. And then if Ginger says no, you just move to problem-solving. Yeah. What are we gonna do while Nellie is waiting for her turn or what are you gonna do to manage that? Okay, so that's your ACT strategy. Okay. That is your ACT strategy. It's actually harder to do than it sounds because if we've been kind of trained to focus on what children shouldn't be doing, it really takes a bit of effort to pivot to focus on teaching the skill. But if you do the work, it really, really pays the rewards. All right. Now, for younger children or children are struggling, you can use ACT, but just use two positive choices. Yeah. And you know, you're often using the two positive choices anyway. You wanted to play with the toy. You may play with this toy or this toy. What's gonna work better for you, right? So the two positive choices with Nellie and Ginger would be you wanted the toy that Ginger was playing with, so you scratched her. You may not. Be calm. Breathe. Two choices. While we're waiting for Ginger to finish, you can sit at the table or you can play at the table with these dinosaurs or in the sand pit with me. Which one is going to work best for you? Okay? So that is just beyond the children who might be struggling a little bit and need a little bit more containment. All right. We've just covered a lot. Now, you noticed in that last slide, I actually literally breathed, right? So I know it sounds so simple, but actually, literally, you taking a deep breath, not like, oh, yeah, I should take a deep breath, but actually taking, filling your lungs with oxygen calms your nervous system and makes you more effective in teaching missing skills. All right. Those visuals that we saw in terms of what are those different skills and how do you break them down into small steps, that is going to be sent through to you and you can use them in a range of different ways. You can role model those skills with children deliberately when you're entering play. You can deliberately role model those skills. You can involve children in role play and practise. You can discuss these skills during group time or morning meetings. And you can also use them as visuals in prominent areas where children are often, in the block corner or wherever children are often struggling. And then when children are struggling to use those skills, you can go to the visual with them. Remind them of this is how we do it and then go back and teach this skill. And that's a good way for you, too, because it helps you remember. All right. Okay. A few final tips, yeah? In terms of behaviour management, very often, we focus on what we don't want, on the behaviour that we don't want. Yeah. I'm gonna ask you again to do a poll in a minute, and Ella, I don't think the poll is actually working for me. I've clicked that little arrow. So I might need to ask you to launch the poll in a minute, Ella. Very often, educators focus on the behaviour they don't want. Don't hit. Don't bite. Don't snatch. Snatching is not nice. Don't use this, don't do that. So when there's a challenging behaviour, in my experience, it's focused mainly on what the child shouldn't be doing. Not all the time, obviously, but you know, a lot of the time. But I'm gonna get you to think about in a minute, but to be effective, we have to focus on the behaviours we do want to see, right? So the child is climbing, we don't say don't climb. We say, put your feet on the ground, right? If the child's, I don't know, throwing food, we don't say don't throw food. We say keep the food in your plate. Switching our language to focus on the behaviour that we do want to see. Okay. All right. I've got that. Okay. Yes, I can do that. Yes. Sorry. I've put something in the chat box. I will definitely do that. Thanks very much, Laura. Okay, so we've got a poll here now. Ella, are you able? Oh, thank you very much. Have you launched that? Yes, you have. All right. Perfect. Thank you, Ella. So during moments of misbehaviour, what percentage of time are you focusing on what the child can't do versus what the child can do? All right. Perfect. There's a nice variability here. All right. So, perfect. So for a few of you, you having the realisation that you're focusing mostly on what you can't do, so that is a fantastic realisation. And for a few of you, you're already really focusing on what the child can do. A lot of you are just recognising, probably bit over 50% of you at the moment are recognising that you're focusing a lot on what the child can't do. There's a bit. It's about 50/50. Most of you are about 50/50. All right. There's some variability there. Okay, excellent. So I just wanted to invite you to really think about that because for me, when I'm in centres, most of what I'm seeing is the percentage is more on what the child can't do and there is opportunity for growth and focusing more on what the child can do and you can see that this ACT strategy is designed to help you focus on what the child can do. And I'll just let you see those results for a minute. So I encourage you to really reflect on yourself in your practise and is there any room for focusing more on what the child can do? Thank you, Ella, for watching that. All right. I'll have time for that question in just one minute, Laura. Okay. All right. Final points before I go to one question that Laura has sent through to me. For this strategy to work, you must be willing to see challenging behaviour as a call for help. So it actually starts with how you view behaviour. Your intent must be to teach the child a skill. If you're using the right words but your intention is to punish the child, the strategy will not work because the child will be stressed because you're intending to punish them. They will pick that up in your tone. Now, if you really recognise challenging behaviour as a call for help, that beneath the iceberg, I'm stressed and struggling, then that will come through in your tone as it was in the tone of the teachers that we saw in those videos and you will find it is effective. If you're feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it will be a struggle to teach these skills, yeah? So do your best to be calm and literally take those deep breaths, like I suggested. And you'll need patience, yeah. It certainly takes time to teach these skills. Just like reading and writing, you know, we don't expect children to learn how to read and write in half a day. It's certainly the same for social and emotional skills for children. All right. I actually have a couple. Let me just check my timing. Yeah, I've got three minutes for questions. So Laura's asked me if I'm able to give some examples for primary school-aged children if there are some WOOSH services attending. This strategy is so helpful for WOOSH services. Yeah. I was actually in WOOSH service just recently and I could see how this could be really helpful. Children who are running around, yeah. Well, actually, I'm just wondering if that's the best example. Children who were snatching from other children, you wanted to have a turn. You may not snatch when you want to have a turn. Say, may I have a turn, please? Yeah. You're really upset and really angry. You wanted me to know how angry you are. You may not hit other children when you're angry. When you're angry, come to me and say, please, can you help me? Do it now. Say the words. Come to me and say, please, may you help me? I will always help you when you're angry. These strategies are absolutely applicable to school-aged children and really incredibly useful for school-aged children. I don't know, Laura, if that's covered that accurately. I've got time for one more question. So the team I'm working with, did you want to throw that in the chat box? Is there one more question that's outstanding for the moment that you wanted me to look at?


- [Laura] Perhaps some. There was a question from Jenny about we find a lot of children do not like to be touched.


- Oh, okay.


- [Laura] Do you have any suggestions for those who perhaps don't like the touching on the shoulder?


- Yeah. Yeah. So that's a really great question. Depending on the age, you could kind of workshop that with children, but what you might find is children coming in front and maybe waving, right? I would be, if they're preschool or older, you could even workshop with them. What's the best way to get a child's attention if you don't want to be touched, you know? Come up with something collaboratively with them so they feel that they are owning it. Talk about this skill of getting another child's attention and if they don't like to be touched, maybe I would imagine standing and waving might be something or putting your hands in the air or something that's a little bit more obvious, but I would collaboratively work with the children to come up with something that's going to work for them. But that's a good question, yeah. Thank you. All right. So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna go through the next two sections and I'm going to hope that I've got a couple of minutes at the end for more questions. All right. So, talking to parents about challenging behaviours. All right, this is hard. Yeah. You may feel worried, frustrated, concerned, anxious, resentful. This is really hard and I'm really gonna be able to only offer you a few ideas, which I hope are helpful. I guess the first thing I would say is obviously, it has to be safety first. Yeah. And what I mean by that is emotional safety, that if you're really going to be successfully collaborating, parents need to feel safe. And if they're feeling judgement from you and it's kinda like the elephant in the room because sometimes educators do judge parents, not all the time, of course, but sometimes educators do judge parents and parents will feel that, yeah, they won't feel safe and that can create resistance or defensiveness. So that's just the first thing is just to kind of check, are you being judgmental and frustrated? And it is very frustrating if parents aren't willing to work with you, but that judgement will leak and parents will feel lash. And blame is also a dead-end street, yeah. Blame is a dead-end street. So if you're blaming the parents, they're blaming you, you're all blaming the children, you can't work effectively towards solutions. All right? So I'm gonna walk you through four what I think are helpful steps in talking to parents about challenging behaviours. Clearly showing parents that you care about the children, talking with the parents about what's beneath the iceberg, inviting parents to collaborate with you, and then if a referral is needed, talking about the benefits of referral. So, you know, obviously showing the parents that you care about the child, it's pretty basic. You're probably already doing this, but that's step number one, yeah? Parents need to know that you really see the child as being more than just someone who behaves badly. So that involves consistently talking with parents about all of the other things about their children, not just the bad behaviour, the children's interests, strengths, what they enjoy doing, what they like playing with. The child might have hit five other children today, but for seven hours, they weren't hitting anyone. So what were they doing in those seven hours that they weren't hitting anyone? Just to really create that trust with parents, right? Pretty straightforward, but that's step number one. I don't think you're going to get anywhere if the parents don't have that sense from you. I think it's really helpful to talk about challenging behaviours in terms of need. I don't think it's helpful to talk about good day and bad day and that kind of judgmental language. And obviously not just focusing on the bad behaviour. It's so demoralising for some parents to constantly be hearing about what the children did wrong. Children with challenging behaviours are used to being judged publicly. They're often punished at home by parents if all the parents are hearing about is the challenging behaviour. They're often punished at home, which makes them feel even worse about themselves. Actually makes the behaviour worse for very many reasons, so it's much more helpful to talk about behaviour challenging bevaviour in terms of need, yeah. Share your guesses as to the meaning of the behaviour and the need the child is trying to express, including the skills the child needs help to develop. Yeah. So it's a beneath-the-iceberg type of conversation. Yeah. If a child is hitting or biting or hurting or engaging in those challenging behaviours, what's happening underneath? Is the child feeling anxious? Are they unsure? Are they worried and they need reassurance? Are they're still managing how to learn frustrations or enter play, yeah? So really encourage you to talk about what's beneath the iceberg. Let's say Harley hit a child when she took a toy off him. Yeah. What that might look like is that Harley gets upset very quickly when life doesn't go his way. So this is language that you could use with parents about talking beneath the iceberg. He's still learning to manage these frustrations and he's still learning the words to use to ask for what he wants. Imagine how different it is for the parent to hear that, rather than Charlie's hitting more children. I mean, they need to hear that, of course, but that you're willing to work with them to see what's happening beneath the iceberg, yeah? Nadia snatches other children's toys and runs off with them. So talking beneath the iceberg might look something like this. Nadia's keen to make friends and is still learning how to do so. Yeah. We're helping her by giving the language she can use when she wants to invite a child to play with her. Today, she said to a friend, may I play? And we were so proud of her. So finding something to celebrate with parents, even if there are challenging behaviours, giving them some hope. Ginger and Nellie hurt each other when they want the same toy. Ginger and Nellie both get very frustrated. So this is language, once again, that you could use to talk to parents about behaviour. Ginger and Nellie both get very frustrated when they can't have what they want. We're teaching them to practise taking a deep breath when they're frustrated and to ask us when they need help. So you're sharing what you're doing and you're framing it, the behaviour in terms of needs and developing skills. So this approach about talking about need and missing skills or still-developing skills can reduce defensiveness, invite collaboration as much more of an inviting approach, gives the parents some hope, and move you and the parents towards solutions. It can also help the parent respond more sensitively to the child's needs at home if they're not just viewing the tip of the iceberg and the child being bad and they might be potentially more sensitive at home. All right. Invite parents to collaborate with you to find solutions. So, of course, your aim is to work with the parents to understand the meaning of the behaviour so that the child can receive help. Yeah. So be curious about the meaning of the behaviour and invite the parents' input. We need your help to understand what's happening for Harley so that we can better help him. So if you're coming from that curious space, parents will feel safer. How do you understand what he might be trying to tell us in terms of his behaviour? And obviously the question that you would already be asking anyway is, do you have any strategies you use at home that you think would be helpful here? And then share what you're doing and invite the parents to collaborate and do that at home. So if we go back to Harley, Harley hit a child when she took a toy off him. He gets very upset when life doesn't go his way. He's still learning to manage his frustrations and to use words to ask for what he wants. And we're helping him by teaching him to breathe when he's upset, giving him words for his feelings, and teaching him the words to use to ask for what he wants. If you were also able to do this at home, that would be a big help for him. Do you think this could be possible? So share what you're doing with the parents and invite them to collaborate with you. It's a very positive, solution-focused approach. Nadia snatches other children's toys and runs off with them. Nadia's keen to make friends and still learning how to do so. We're helping her by giving the language she can use when she wants to invite her friends to play. We're also helping her by reading these books about how to play with friends. Is there a chance you could also read these to her at home? Ginger and Nellie. Ginger and Nellie hurt each other when they want the same toy. Ginger and Nellie both get very frustrated. You could help at home by doing some deep breathing with the girls when they're getting frustrated. Does this sound like something you could do? All right. So that's my suggestions. And look, maybe you're already doing a lot of that. I don't know. You're all gonna have different things that you bring to the table, but there's a few suggestions for me about what is helpful. If you think a resource or assessment would be helpful, obviously for many parents that thought that their child might need an assessment can be scary for parents, yeah? Parents might be wondering, is there something wrong with my child? Will people think I'm a bad parent? So, obviously, instead of focusing on the child's problems and deficits, explaining potential benefits for the child and their parent about early assessment support and intervention is helpful. I've just realised this is very small writing for your slides, so I do apologise about that. So some language that might be helpful is I think now would be the perfect time for an assessment for Nadia. The earlier we are able to find out what her needs are, the better we're gonna be able to help her. So really talking about the benefits of the assessment. Yeah. Getting Arlo assistance now is going to help him to be more successful with his peers when he moves into the preschool room next year. With the right support now, I think I can see him flourish and grow next year. So if we can find out more about Ginger's needs now, it will help set her up for success with learning and making friends when she gets to school. And as an added bonus, I think you might find she'll be having fewer upsets at home, so it might reduce some of the stress you're going through. So really, if you're thinking about referral for assessment, just focus on what the benefits of assessment would be as opposed to fixing the child. So I hope that's helpful. There's a few thoughts there. All right. Final point is working with other services to assist the family. Yeah. So I've broken this down roughly into getting help for parents and getting help for children and it's a fairly short section. I know we've been together for an hour and a half, so this is fairly short, okay? There's a lot of help for parents available. There's financial, counselling, mental health, domestic violence support, parents' support, employment services, parenting courses. There's a lot that's available. A really good one-stop shop is the Family Connect and Support Agency, which is a government-funded agency. That's their website. Just type in Family Connect and Support and you can speak to them about what agencies might be in your area to help families and children, parents, if they need anything, and also children. You just click on Find a Provider, put your postcode in, and there you go. Yeah. Some helpful phrases when suggesting parents might seek support for themselves, you've got a lot going on at the moment. There's some good services out there that might be able to help. Would you be interested? Getting the right help and support can reduce stress and make a big difference. We also notice positive changes for children when their parents get support that they need. Everybody needs help sometimes or many of the parents we work with have reported back positively about working with this service. So there's just a few phrases if you wanted to talk to parents about getting some support for themselves and of course, parents might decline and that's fine. You can check in with them later. In terms of making a referral, the Family Connect and Support Agency can do this for you and obviously work with the parent, get their permission to call, or with the parent's permission, you can call and make the referral yourself or the parent can make the referral, yeah. So it's up to you. There's lots of different options there. Okay. Obviously, some children need after their assessment and support, for instance, an OT, speech pathologist, psychologist. In extreme instances, they might need a psychiatrist. We've had extreme anxiety or extreme violence, a psychiatric assessment might be necessary, but usually is the first three, yeah. So in terms of where to start and then many of you will already have connections with agencies in your area. If you don't, you can speak to the Family Connect and Support Service, your local community health service. And you could also check for Department of Health initiatives in your area. You can get to know the services and families in your, sorry, the services for children and families in your area. You can do some research, invite agencies to come and talk to you, go to visit them if you have time. I know how busy you are. But it really can be a really, really worthwhile investing and finding out what the agencies in your area are. You can help families and children. When you're collaborating with agencies and families, it can really, really help for you to put your observations and concerns in writing and once the assessment has been done, you can certainly invite agencies and families to have a meeting, virtually by Zoom or in-person, preferably, just to make sure that you're all on the same page and working well together for the benefit of the child. You need assistance, too. So obviously reach out for help. I know the Department of Education is really keen to hear from you. That's their number there, 1 800 619 113. If you've got inquiries about how to help particular children or get some particular support for yourselves, excuse me, what the initiatives are out there, and of course, you can call your local inclusion agency. Lot of information in just an hour and 25 minutes. I hope that's helpful. I do have five more minutes. I'll fly through these slides and see if I can take a couple more minutes for questions, but of course, I want to thank you for your work. I think your work is under-appreciated and I just really want to acknowledge the difference you make to children every day and thank you for the work that you do. In the handouts, you will see there's a range of references, recommended resources, including my website, that TED Talk, some fantastic free webinars. And I also have recorded a webinar for ECA on emotion coaching. If you wish to access that, that's available. Also mentioned, I'm also the author of a book on babies and sleep, which is available on my website if you're interested. And good news, we have five minutes for questions. What about children with no language skills and they just keep fighting other children? There's no other signs as to why they show this behaviour. Okay, so depends on the age, yeah. If they're younger, then there's all sorts of reasons, obviously, for the biting. You know, there's a range of reasons. It's really helpful to think about stress. Often, now, not always, but often, children that are biting other children are feeling a little bit anxious about the availability of the educator. Now, that's not blaming educators for a second because I know really how hard this is and how closely you work with these children. But very often for those, if they're very young children, really consciously, a lot of face-to-face contact, a lot of touch, a lot of rhythm, a lot of movement to reduce the stress that they might be experiencing and obviously trying to prevent the bite, which I know you're already doing, but teaching the skill before the biting, if possible. If you see a child going to bite another child, teaching them to, and they might not have the verbal skills, but you can be teaching sign language. May I have a turn, please? Or can I have a turn, please? So you can be teaching sign language, not just verbal skills, for those much younger children. If you've got older children who are biting, more in the preschool room, that's obviously developmentally not normal and there's serious stress in that child's world of some sort. I strongly recommend Stuart Shanker's work on stress and he is in one of the references that I gave you and one of the recommended books. So I'd definitely recommend looking at Stuart Shanker's work. How do you handle a situation where children swear or use negative and threatening language or aggression towards educators? I would wind back a little bit and ask, how much time is being invested in really connecting with those children? Now, you might say a lot of time, in which case then we go to step B, but that absolutely has to be step A. If children are swearing and being threatening and aggressive, then children are actually stressed. It's actually a sign of stress, that behaviour. They're actually operating in the lower centres of their brain. And so stress is mitigated in the first instance through connection. So the first thing I would be asking is are those children getting a lot of face-to-face time with a warm, kind, connected educator who's really investing in that time to get to know those children and make a connection with those children and where those children feel really seen as individuals? That has to be your prevention strategy. I guess the next thing I would be looking at is then what is the trigger? So are the children swearing or being aggressive because they're being told what they can't do? Are there boundaries that they're pushing against? In which case, and it's hard for me to know exactly what age children are. I guess I'm thinking about WOOSH-age children here. In that case, is there any way of thinking about how boundaries can be set where the children feel less powerless, where they're feeling a little bit more empowered, where you're using those two choices strategy, for instance? What else could I say about that? Then you can obviously set the boundary around not being spoken to like that and what language they can use clearly, but you have to be looking beneath the iceberg for that kind of aggressive behaviour. There's a sign of stress or disconnection somehow somewhere. All right. The acknowledge part is tricky with children who specifically say the reason for their action is I don't like them or I wanted to hurt them, but will argue when we try to acknowledge it in a more positive way. So, sorry, I'm just reading that. The acknowledge part is tricky for children who specifically state the reasons for their action is I don't like them or I wanted to hurt them or arguing when we try to acknowledge it in a bit more positive way. Honestly, I'm assuming these are older children who are a bit more verbal is I would really, what I would do is I would really start with active listening. Oh, you wanted to hurt them. What's going on? You know, tell me about that. I'm curious to know. And if the child's able to tell you, well, you know, she looked at me sideways in the playground or she's not my friend or there's something that is upsetting the child, I would be moving towards problem-solving in that instance. What's at the root of that problem? Why is the child feeling so much animosity towards that other child? What's at the root of that? I would be really trying to get at the root of it. And I would also be, and this is the last question I'll take because we're out of time and I want to hand over to Ella or Maria or someone to talk through that QR code, so this is my final thing for me. Yeah, I would be really trying to find out, what's the problem? This is a child's solution, right? The child's solution is hurting or being aggressive towards another child. What is the actual problem that they're trying to solve with that behaviour? That's where my mind would be going. Okay, Ella, I might hand over to you.


- [Laura] Actually, it'll be to me, Laura. Beth, I just wanted to thank you for joining us today and hopefully the people who have participated in this seminar have a number of new skills to try in their services. We'd love some feedback following the session and everyone will be sent a link to respond to a survey and on screen, you can see a QR code, which will take you to our Facebook page. You can give us a like and follow us for more information. You can also visit our website to join up to our newsletter if you're not already receiving that. This marks the end of our roadshow sessions. We're keen to hear from you, so if you've got any ideas or any considerations for our next round of roadshows, which will commence in October, please let us know via the survey. Thank you so much for joining us.

Self-assessment: What's all the fuss about?

Self-assessment: What's all the fuss about?

- Good morning, everyone. Welcome to today's webinar on self-assessment. I'll just begin the webinar by starting it on an acknowledgement to country.


- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.


- I also wanted to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands we meet on today. I'm meeting today from Guringai land and acknowledge your connection and commitment to our future leaders. Self-assessment is essential in driving continuous improvement and is key when preparing for your next assessment or rating visit. We're really excited that you've joined us in this webinar today. I can share that we have just over 360 participants that are joining us at this session and we will have the opportunity to get to know you a little bit more as we start the webinar. I will just start with a little bit of housekeeping for today's session. Your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. However, we encourage you to use the question and answer button at the bottom of your screen, to ask questions. Where we have not covered information that would address your question, we will provide information through a range of the department communication channels, once the roadshows are completed. And we also encourage you to contact the information inquiries team on 1800 619 113 for your specific service questions. We will be using Menti during this webinar. Please have your phone handy, ready to scan the QR code or access to a web browser so you can participate in the interactive components of this webinar. I will share that this session is being recorded and will be made available at the completion of the roadshows. The slides are a summary of the information we will be sharing so I encourage you to revisit these recordings. Welcome to today's session on self-assessment. I'm Kim Hoskin and I'm joined today by Belinda Wakeford. And we're part of the leadership team in the New South Wales Regulatory Authority. It is our privilege to be delivering today's session where we're going to unpack and share some of the amazing uplifting quality that New South Wales has seen over the last 18 months. Research clearly shows that children who participate in quality early childhood education, have improved life outcomes in education, health, social and emotional wellbeing. The children attending your services are our future leaders and our role is critical to their learning and developmental outcomes. We acknowledge each of you for your commitment to raising quality as we strive to ensure that all children in New South Wales have access and participation in quality early childhood services. So during this session today, we will share information about the National Quality Framework using self-assessment to uplift quality and hear about the work of the New South Wales quality support team including the support that's available to services who are engaging with self-assessment. And we're also really keen to hear from you about future possible sector development needs. So this session will cover a lot of information. Some aspects may be new or are a refresher for you but what we are confident in is that today's webinar will refocus your lens on the national quality standards and ensure that all decisions you are making or involved in making about regulatory practise and quality, keeps the children at the centre of these. So we encourage you to be open to learning and reflect on your current practises. To engage that you continue to strive for continuous improvement and quality uplift, aligned to the national quality standards. We want you to be thinking about the practises you're currently doing as well as thinking about the practises you will start doing following the session today. And this technique is a great method of keeping the information that we share in this session really relevant to you and your teams. So our number of participants continues to grow and we're around 400 now. So we wanna take a few minutes to get to know each of you through using Menti. I'll give you a time to scan the QR code that's on the screen, or you can go to menti.com on your web browser and enter the voting code, which is 22391234. So you'll see that the first question so that we can get to know you, is what is your role in your service? Great. We'll stay on this question just for a little bit to make sure that people have been able to login to the Menti, but we do have a large number, a higher proportion of nominated supervisors joining us in this session. We've got a mix of educators, approved providers, managers and others that are joining us. We'll move on to the second question to get to know you and what this is, is what service type have you connected with? Great, we've got a lot from there, long daycare, preschool and mix of out of our school care, family daycare and really great to see that out of scope, mobile occasional, or MACS services, joining us, thank you. And other service types as well, great. Now, the next question, we're really keen to see when was your most recent assessment and rating visit? Well, someone's. That's great. Three months ago, so it's fresh to a number of you. And we've also got number of services where there were more than two years ago. So today's session is really gonna give you an increase in guidance on the work that we've done and how you can bring self-assessment to the forefront of your practises. And a number who have gone through the assessment and rating process in the last 12 months too. Great, so now we gonna ask the question, for the services that you're working in, what's your service current rating? Great, and as I said at the beginning, children that are engaging in services that are meeting and or exceeding the national quality standards, are really instrumental in those lifelong learning benefits. And today we're gonna share information around some of the initiatives for the working towards services, as well as share information for those that have not yet gone through the assessment and rating process. So this is where we're gonna step in to get a bit of a pulse check on your confidence around the National Quality Framework. So where is your level of confidence in your understanding and applications with one being limited confidence, and 10 being those NQS champions. And we will come back and reflect on this application where you're deeming yourself and your level of level of confidence. But it's great to see that there is a sound knowledge that's in play in the sector around the standards. And also for those that are maybe tapping into the sector and having a look where there's a limited confidence, the information that we'll share around how self-assessment can guide and influence and increase that quality, really essential for you. And really great to see that there's people with the confidence around that, a really strong understanding of the national quality standards and champions within our sector. So the next question is, looking at the approved learning frameworks and your level of confidence, we wanna use that same scale of one being limited confidence and 10 being extremely confident. And we're seeing similar patterns to what we saw in relation to the national quality standards application as well. And you're all getting quick and getting those responses in. So look, we'll move to the next question. I'm around having a look around self-assessment and undertaking self-assessment for quality improvement. We'll use the same scale, one being limited confidence and 10 being extremely confident. So then you'll see the real mix there on the screen that's coming up from the polls. So the information that we'll be sharing today, we're really tapping into that and where you can look at support through the quality support team as well. Great. And look, we have another further question to ask and just, have you engaged with the New South Wales quality support team? And there's a bit of a mix there, oh, there's no, a large increase, a number of you haven't yet. So today Belinda will be sharing information around the work that's been occurring from the New South Wales quality support team. And for those that have already experienced, then some of the information that Belinda will be sharing, you will have experienced. So look, it looks like we're set for a really interactive session today. And a key takeaway from this session is that you think about your role and how you're leading a continuous improvement journey under the National Quality Framework. And in the coming days, weeks and months, we encourage you to think and revisit where you're placed your understanding and confidence within this Menti scale and how this is actually being reflected in your service practise. So we want you to be thinking about the practises that you're currently doing as well as thinking about the practises you'll start doing following this session. But as time is of the essence, I'm gonna start our discussion around everyday compliance, everyday discussions around self-assessment and everyday compliance. So what is your role under the National Quality Framework? In this slide, we will unpack the National Quality Framework, encompassing the national quality standards, the approved learning frameworks and the quality ratings processes. It is essential to visit the foundation of how we ensure and support quality practise in the early childhood sector. The National Quality Framework is the 2012 agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children and aims introducing to raise quality in early childhood education and care services, as well as to support services in continually improving what we do. And it's about ensuring that your decisions are aligned with the National Quality Framework as this is critical to the work we do. So the National Quality Framework provides a national approach to regulation, assessment, improvement for all education and care services across Australia. And this aims to raise quality, drive continuous improvement and consistency in children's education care through the National Law and the National Regulations, the national quality standards, the assessment and rating processes and the national learning frameworks. Under the National Quality Framework, it's important that we touch on the governance arrangements including the roles of ACECQA and the regulatory authority when we're talking about assessment and rating processes. So ACECQA is an independent national authority that supports governments and the education and care sector to realise the benefits of the National Quality Framework. Now ACECQA guard and monitor the implementation and administration of the National Quality Framework to promote consistency across all states and territories. Some of the ACECQA functions include maintaining a register of approved providers and services, the administration of the national quality IT system. They also undertake the authorised office of the national training and support as well as awarding the excellent rating and the second tier review applications. So within New South Wales, the department of education is the regulatory authority under the National Quality Framework. State and territory governments have day-to-day contact with education and care providers and services. The regulatory authority assess and quality rates services against the national quality standards and national regulation, monitor enforce compliance with the National Law and Regulations, and also receive and investigate notices of complaints and serious incidents and circumstances that pose risks to the safety, health and wellbeing of children. ACECQA and all regulatory authorities work together to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children and education and care services. I will just take a moment to touch on, and remind you that the National Quality Framework Review 2019 is currently underway and aims to ensure that the regulatory system supported by all Australian government remains current and continues to lift quality of practise. Families, educators, providers of education care services as well as the broader community, had the opportunity to have their say on the future regulation of quality education and care services in Australia. Your feedback will help governments consider the risks, benefits and costs of changing the National Quality Framework. I encourage you to visit the National Quality Framework review website for more information on the progress and status of this review. So as you can see on the slide, the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework work together to support and promote quality. A commitment to continuous improvement is inherent in the National Quality Framework and striving for best practise underpins this commitment. When all staff and educators of education and care service understand what is guiding their practise, they can work together for continuous improvement to enhance outcomes for children. The National Quality Framework has guiding principles which ensure children remain at the centre of decision-making. And the guiding principles of the NQF include that the rights and best interests of the child are paramount. The children are successful, competent and capable learners, that equity, inclusion and diversity underpin the framework. That Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued. That the role of parents and families is respected and supported. And that best practise is expected in the provision of education care services. The guiding principles of the National Quality Framework is very powerful and I encourage you to take time to revisit these, as well as the objectives of the National Quality Framework. It's important that we think about how each child and family at your service are being supported and provided with these outcomes and guiding principles through your everyday practise and revisit these with your team. As I mentioned, today will bring focus your National Quality Framework lens. Now, this is where the National Quality Framework gets very visible in practise. The National Law and Regulations detail the operation and legal requirements for an education care service. All staff must have an understanding of these requirements to ensure compliance and to promote quality practise and outcomes for all children. Having strong policies and procedures to confirm and govern your practise is essential and cannot be taken for granted as failing to operate in accordance with the National Law and Regulation, places children at risk. The national quality standards is part of the national regulations. And the national quality standard sets a benchmark for the quality of education and care services and includes seven quality areas that are important in achieving outcomes for children. The national quality standards contain two or three standards in each quality area. And these standards are high level outcome statements. Under each standard are elements that describe the outcomes that contribute to the standard being achieved. Each standard and element is represented by a concept that supports education and care services to navigate and reflect on the national quality standards. And the NQS is linked to the approved learning frameworks that recognise children learn from there. Services are required to base their educational programme on an approved learning framework. The approved learning frameworks of the belonging, being and becoming, the early years learning framework for Australia, and My Time, Our Place, the framework for school age care. Now this won't be new to you and some of you are compliance NQS champions in understanding in your confidence of this. But I want you to think about the last time you revisited these documents. Because this might be the driver for one of those moments that get you thinking about what are the practise at your service that you will keep doing or start doing to continue to raise quality. I encourage you also to visit and revisit these documents with your wider team that you're working at and gauge what their confidence level in this is. So on this slide, is a snapshot of the current sector nationally. So this outlines a number of approved services as well as information about the number of services that have been assessed as meeting the national quality standards including the current 33 services that have been awarded the excellent rating. And this is really outlining the commitment across the sector to ensure that all children are experiencing high quality care and also influences our future direction and decisions. If you are data driven, I encourage you to visit the ACECQA website and dive into the published quarterly snapshots. Now data provides us with sector insight. So I'm really keen to share what has been happening in New South Wales. The information I'm sharing is a snapshot of the New South Wales highlights. So what I'm really excited to share and needs to be celebrated is that uplifting quality within New South Wales over the past 18 months. That the data is showing us that we have over 85% of New South Wales services rated at meeting or above the national quality standards. And what we've seen is that this rise has increased by around 10% over the last 18 months. We know that a key initiative available to services in New South Wales has contributed to and supported this increase in quality. And I'll share with you some of the data available from those key drivers and initiatives that have supported this uplifting quality across the sector. So self-assessment for quality improvement was an initiative that aims to raise quality across all service types and it is not linked to any service current rating. The focus on the self-assessment for quality improvement approach that was shared in November 2019 and include an inclusion of self-assessment in the A&R process. Since the introduction of this, we've seen a steady increase of services who have undergone assessment and rating and lodging their self-assessment practise in preparation. I know that Belinda is gonna share some of the detail of the work that New South Wales quality team, very soon with you. Looking further to this, the New South Wales issued an initiative which is the reassessment of re-rating initiative that was shared in February 2020. And it's available to services that currently rated working towards the national quality standards who have undertaken continuous improvement and feel that the current working towards national quality standard rating, no longer reflects their service quality. We've had just over 100 services, lodged applications for reassessment and re-rating and 46 of these services have undergone the further assessment or partial reassessment using self-assessment processes. And 45 of these services have achieved a published rating of meeting or above. This is a huge 98% of those services. I would also just take time to share details of ACECQA working towards quality support programme. So services that have a current working towards rating, had the opportunity to participate in a tailored professional 18 week programme that's delivered by ACECQA and funded by the New South Wales Early Childhood Education. This means this programme is at no cost to services. This programme to date has had just over 350 services, complete the programme and there are currently approximately 145 services that are currently participating or due to commence in this programme. Services who have completed this programme, just over 70% of those have been reassessed and are now meeting the national quality standards and or above. And I've been really fortunate that last year I had the opportunity to engage with the provider who had participated in this programme and the team shared how it really changed their focus and built educators' knowledge and confidence. So I encourage, don't let the opportunity be missed if you think your educators and team could benefit with support to raise your service quality from working towards the meeting or above the national quality standards. And you can find the details of the programme and the expression of interest on the ACECQA website. Now, this is just a small snapshot of New South Wales data that's being used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and map future sector development and to better understand the broader regulatory trends. Now remember that this session is being recorded, so if you wanna revisit this information, please access the recordings that will be available at the end of the roadshow. So one of the things I just wanna share quickly is how do we communicate these trends and areas for quality improvement within the sector, specific to the national quality standards. So what are those methods that we use to communicate with you? As captured on this slide, information is provided through our sector updates including our quality and practise newsletters and through professional development programmes. New South Wales Regulatory Authority are increasingly present in our engagement with the sector and by using this proactive approach to communications sharing, we're actively building capacity for services to understand the National Quality Framework and engage in the continuous improvement process to uplift their quality. And we've received some really positive feedback and overwhelming responses to the work that's been occurring in relation to the assessment and rating space. And where we don't land it right, your engagement with us to address and share this feedback with us and suggestions has really increased. So what you'll see on the screen and where we've got some of our communication is just looking at where we see data that can drive conversation within our teams to share information. And that's the top 10 elements that are not yet, top 10 elements identified as not being met over the last 12 months within New South Wales. And where that data is analysed, we're using a range of communication tools to share this information with the sector. Now, just remember you have access to a range of resources developed and shared nationally by ACECQA and the New South Wales Regulatory Authority and that shared and form the basis for discussions about increasing all educators' information and awareness and understanding of the application of the National Quality Framework. And it sees informative resources and approaches that should drive you in taking action to assess your service current practise and to educate and empower you as well. And where I mentioned at the beginning of the webinar, to be thinking about the practise you will start or keep doing if you aren't already receiving the quality and practise newsletters, take the steps to visit the department website and sign up to receive these as well as also accessing the Facebook page which I'll share information later on. So what I'm gonna do now is hand over to Belinda who's gonna share how feedback from the sector in 2019, has shaped our approach to assessment and rating, using self-assessment for quality improvement. Belinda is an experienced authorised officer who is committing to ensure that the up lift in quality within New South Wales gives children access to quality early childhood environments.


- Great, thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. And thank you for the information you have shared, Kim. It's important for us to revisit the objectives and the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework that should be used to guide our services quality improvement journey. Assessment and rating is a regulatory tool that we're using to assess quality in conjunction with regulatory compliance and the quality of a service practise. What we know is, as a service strives for continuous improvement, having the tools and access to the regulatory authority ensure that information is current, factual and links to the services journey to uplift the quality. No two services will operate the same. The National Quality Framework will guide your practise, but what that practise looks like will be based on a range of factors such as the type of service you operate, the ages of the children you're providing education and care for and the dynamics of those children, families and their educators. I'm really excited to be able to share information with you about the work of the New South Wales quality support team which was established in May 2019 following extensive consultation with the sector. Our quality support team in New South Wales was established to assist services to connect to the national quality standard. So the assessment and rating is linked to a continuous journey of improvement rather than a standalone event that occurs every few years. From the Menti poll, I know that some of you have already been working with our team, and I had a look at a few of you online, so welcome, great to see you've joined us. And we're looking forward to connecting the others who may reach out following this session. The New South Wales quality support team consists of experienced authorised officers who are located right across New South Wales. And that gives us a really good experience as well as balance of our regional and metro staff in the team. All officers in the quality support team conduct assessment and rating as well as other compliance work. But a key part of our role is to engage with and support services on the continuous journey to lift their quality. What this looks like is different for each service and includes guidance around self-assessment. Since November 2019 when our team was established, we have engaged with over 1,400 services to self assess their quality and build the confidence in preparing for and connecting with the assessment or rating process, including the visit itself. There has been a significant shift in this space and the key outcome is to lift educator confidence and engagement with the authorised officer, conducting their assessment and rating visit. Nearly 1,300 services engaging in a self-assessment in assessment and rating have opted in to share their self-assessment information as part of that process and of these, 88% of services have achieved a rating of meeting or above the national quality standard. In addition to working to services who have been notified of their scheduled assessment and rating visit, but also supporting services who are making a transition into the self-assessments for quality improvement space. The quality support team, also working with services as Kim mentioned, who are currently hold a working towards rating and have made improvements to their practise and have lodged an application under the re-assessment and re-rating initiative. We're currently supporting services who are preparing for a partial re-assessment. And as Kim mentioned, we have 45 services who've completed this process and have seen a positive lift in their quality and achieved a rating of meeting the national quality standard. Our team with the support of Kim have been engaging with service providers and network groups to share this information about the minister's commitment to up lift in quality, the regulatory authority approach to compliance and assessment and rating and we hear this has been really well received as it helps to really build that connection with the sector and contributes to a sense of empowerment as services engage with their own journey. So what does that support look like? Once the service opts in for self-assessment, either through a scheduled assessment and rating process, or re-assessment and re-rating application, or where a service reaches out and request support and guidance to transfer their traditional style QIP to a self-assessment format they're assigned to a dedicated authorised officer in the team. The officer focus will be to talk to the service about their quality improvement journey so far and to unpack where you're up to and really work out what support you might need. Our approach here is to tailor the support to meet the individual needs of the service. During the initial support session, the officer will spend time talking with you around your service compliance, their National Law and Regulations, key practise with the national quality standard and identified areas for improvement. As well as how to lodge the self-assessment information, we're notified of the assessment and rating visit. The scheduling one-on-one support sessions and we like to use Zoom to help with that face to face connection as well as to share documents and screens together. But we do use other platforms such as Teams or Skype or via phone, whichever is your preference. The officer that you are assigned to, will be your go-to person for support right up until the time you submit your self-assessment information which is then made available to the authorised officer conducting your visit. Depending on the individual service, they may have one or more support sessions. There is no limit and service leaders often communicate with us via email and phone in between formal support sessions. And we hear consistently from service how nice it is to have someone to call and talk things through with. We've received some feedback but you can see up on the screen and we're committed to building sector confidence in self-assessment which is key to continuous improvement. A commitment to continuous improvement is inherent in the National Quality Framework and striving for best practise underpins this commitment. Self-assessment is about critical reflecting on your current key practise. Key practise simply put is what you do at your service and how that aligns to national quality standard. Self-assessment can help your team see things with fresh eyes and from a different perspective. And with that comes a greater confidence and understanding of your service programmes and increased confidence around quality improvement planning, and a real sense of understanding of the what and why they do what they do. Through feedback that we have sought from services engaging in self-assessment, we are hearing that clearly articulating what you do, your key practise, has to reduce the use of overarching statements that have often been used in documenting traditional style quips which when we unpack these, don't provide a clear picture of what's occurring at the service and educators are often not connected to. So part of the support offered to services working with the quality support team is you are able to give an opportunity to share key practises with your supporting officer as well as your areas for improvement. And the officer will review and provide feedback and guidance in terms of how to articulate your key practise. And again, this is something that we're hearing from the services say, they really appreciate it and find useful in that process. From Menti, I can see some of you have been through the assessment and rating process in the last 18 months and you may have experienced this support and I'd really like to thank you for your feedback and suggestions on how we can better engage with the sector and streamline our processes to better support you, ideally to build your confidence in preparing for assessment and rating. Thank you. One piece of feedback we were hearing when we launched self-assessment approach was that services are wanting to have access to our New South Wales online self-assessment form and not just in that short period of time following the assessment and rating notifications being sent. We were also conscious when we launched self-assessment that we didn't wanna increase the admin burden for our service being possibly maintaining two separate documents, a self-assessment or a QIP. This sparked the development of our self-assessment working document, which is a resource that meets the requirements under regulation 55 in relation to the development of a quality improvement plan and was released to the sector during our last roadshow in September 2020. The working document has been supporting services in New South Wales to engage in self-assessment and continuous improvement journey, which really helps to prepare them for the assessment and rating once they receive the notification email. The working document is a functional PDF and is a replica of our online self-assessment form which is released to you with your notification that your assessment and rating has been scheduled. The working document captures your service compliance with the National Law and Regulations, your service philosophy, your key practises aligned to each of the elements within the standard and areas for improvement. For services, the self-assessment approach focuses on reviewing their practise, rather than looking for evidence to support a rating or hoping that the authorised officer will find their practise while out the service conducting the assessment visit. Self-assessment and quality improvement is most productive when everyone involved are open, honest and feel comfortable to be reflective and critical. Effective communication, and a positive workplace culture, will allow everyone the opportunity to participate and have a voice. So, as I said, key practises are things that you do in your service and that demonstrate your quality against the elements and standards. Your practise will be guided by the national law and regulations and the national quality standard. Your team of educators know the unique aspects of your service best and are best place to actively engage in this process and highlight the key aspects of their practise that they are most proud of and want to celebrate. We often ask our service leaders what are the things that make your team smile? What are they proud of? And what are the things they share with new families or other visitors coming into the service. We often also talk about making the invisible visible. From a service perspective, this is a real key focus for us. If we are to move past the task of evidence collection and really step into that relationship and engagement aspect of assessment and rating, making your practise visible is essential. When supporting services to articulate key practise, we refer to the collection methods that are used by our authorised officers during assessment rating process, observe, sight and discuss. A key question to take back to your teams today might be, how would a visitor coming into our service, be able to confirm our practise? Is it visible? Will they be able to observe, decide or discuss these? When it comes time for assessment and rating visit where an honest and transparent assessment has occurred, then key practises are a true reflection of your service. Your educators will be able to showcase their everyday practise. An authorised officer is assigned to conduct the assessment and rating of your service. And the officer will prepare for the visit by reviewing the self-assessment information that has been shared. The key objective of the officer during the assessment and rating visit will be to use the evidence collection methods of sight, observe, discuss as outlined on the screen. The officer will then need to confirm compliance with the National Law and Regulations as well as need to clarify and confirm your key practise and take steps to gather further information that aligns to the standards, which is then assessed and used to determine your overall service rating. I encourage you to visit the guide to the national quality standard this provides reflective questions and examples of practise that meet the national quality standard as well as guidance on the exceeding themes. There also further practical examples of high quality practise where exceeding themes might be present in the case within the guide. So let's look at how you can share your self-assessment information with us in preparation for your assessment and rating visit. When your service is scheduled for assessment and rating, you'll receive a notification email. This will include key dates and other important information as well as the link to our online service context form. Here you'll be asked to provide information about your service, your staff arrangements, and details of any current circumstances that might be affecting your service you'd like us to be aware of. This is to assist the authorised officer for your assessment to plan their visit. Once you log in to the service context form, you'll be asked to indicate whether you plan to share your service self-assessment information in preparation for your visit. For those of you wondering, our scheduling team are sending out these emails to services later next week for our upcoming assessment visit period. Whilst I don't have a crystal ball, I do know that they're working hard to prepare these and they'll be coming out later next week. And the visit period will be between the end of June through to the mid of September. On the screen, you'll see our new self-assessment form, which is online. We've made some enhancements based on feedback from providers who have been using the form over the last 12 months. So for those of you who have engaged in self-assessment approach previously, you'll notice the new colourful form looks much brighter and we'll address the technical issues that we were periodically experiencing. We're really looking forward to using this form in the upcoming period. And as always, if you have any issues or questions or need support completing the form, please reach out to the quality support team as our officers will gladly guide you through. At this point, when you come to this point on the form, you will have already completed the service context form. And this is a screenshot of our new self-assessment section. Each quality area is the same format and includes compliance with the underpinning law and regulations, your key practises against each element, as well as opportunities for improvement. Once you submit the form, you will receive an email with two PDF attachments, being the service context form, and the self-assessment form. So you have a copy of what's been provided. Keep this handy, refer to it before and during your visit, share it with your educators. We find this process has really increased educators confidence around quality improvement planning as well as increased confidence in the visit itself. It's like an open book. The officer uses his information to go out there and visit. They'll be looking to confirm your practise and take further information that may arise during the visit. We're continuing to work on a project to build an online platform that will enable your service to have access to our self-assessment form 24/7. And we're hoping to have more information for you at our next roadshow on that. So I've given you a lot of information about self-assessment and sharing this with us in preparation for your visit. So what happens after the visit? The officer will reflect on all available information against the national quality standard to determine a rating. The determination of a rating defined by regulation 63, outlines a rating decision and will consider the current improvement planning for the service, compliance history and previous ratings held by the service. The rating decision will consider all available information or evidence of practise and where this sits against the national quality standard, as well as any minor adjustments, inconsistent practises observed or evidence that a child may be at risk of harm. The process is followed, and clearly documented in the guide to the National Quality Framework. Services are issued a draught rating and report and in New South Wales, as part of that draught rating, you're provided with all the evidence that has been used to determine your rating. The provider has the opportunity to lodge feedback on any factual inaccuracies in the report and provide evidence to support that feedback. The link to the online feedback form is sent to the provider with the draught assessment and rating report email and should be completed and lodged within 10 working days. The feedback is then considered by the authorised officer and their hub coordinator before a final rating is issued. We know the ongoing cycle of quality improvement continues following your visit and you should keep working with your teams to reflect on your practise and build on your areas for improvement. Displaying the quality rating certificate is an opportunity to celebrate your services achievements as well as to open lines of communication with your families where you're able to share information about your service quality. I'm going to hand back over to you now, Kim, as we really want to move forward into exploring other ways that we can support you in your self-assessment journey. Thanks Kim.


- Thanks Belinda. So look as Belinda said, we want to be thinking about ongoing support and what do you need to examine and lift the quality at your service? So the department we've funded partners has supported professional development programmes such as the CELA delivered assessment and rating, prepare, collaborate and communicate, emergency preparedness sessions delivered by subject expert matters Tigertails and safe sleep and rest practises delivered by ECTARC. And moving forward, we'd like to take this opportunity with you to hear directly from you what professional development opportunities might be relevant to support you and your teams when thinking about your continuous improvement journey and specifically around the assessment and rating processes and the national quality standards. So what might you need to support you to examine and lift quality at your service? So we're gonna take time to use the Menti to capture your thoughts and ideas. And we'd really like you to just take a moment, jump into Menti by scanning the QR code and share with us. What do you need to support you to examine and lift the quality at your service? So what are you thinking that you need to support you to examine and lift the quality at your service? Right, and we'll start to see your responses come up. We're seeing, sitting quite bold, there is time and support, resources and I hope today that you've been able to then touch on some of the resources that are available including revisiting the ACECQA website, as well as looking at the support that the quality support team can provide. Free training. Seeing some of those predominant concepts stand out and a lot around the outside. So we'll take time to unpack those following the roadshows but we're really seeing training, professional development, guidance. Great, thank you for being able to pop in there and add that information that's going really guide the work that we do. So that we hope that this session influences your self-assessment and quality improvement journey. We now want to take a moment for you to reflect on information that we've just shared with you and to use the Menti to share with us what will you take back to your team? So thinking about three things that you'll take back to share with your teams following today's session? And from the first Menti question, I know that there were a lot of suggestions that come through. Knowledge, the guiding principles, the methods of collection used by authorised officers, the sight, observe and discuss method. Making the invisible practise visible at your service. Taking back what supports available and I'm really encouraged that I should go back and share with your teams that if you're on that journey that you reach out to the quality support team based on the information that Belinda shared where their team can tap in and support. And what I'd say, if there's any confusion around where your service is on that journey around self-assessment and what that looks like, please, we will be sharing in the next slide, the access to the information where you can contact the quality support team. The self-assessment document, knowledge. That's great. And even using that same scale that we used at the beginning where we got to know each other about where do you see your confidence and understanding levels sit on that scale, will be really important that you reflect back on and undertake that same process with your team to get an understanding as to where they see they're sitting and what are the supports that you can offer them. Great, I really appreciate that. I can see there's still some more coming through but as it gets smaller, we're seeing those key, those three themes, those key things that you'll be taking back to your service. I might get the team, now if you can move to the next slide. Yeah, this one. So look, what's next. What I really encourage is that as you start to unpack and share those things like what you've outlined in that Menti with your team, we know that a lot of information has been covered. Some of it may be new and some of it may be a refresher but what we really hope that we've given you, is that insight into self-assessment and the role of the New South Wales quality support team. We've touched on how to access them and on the screen now is actually the contact number for the information inquiries team. And just ask to speak to someone through the quality support team. So it's 1800 619 113. And the email address is also up on the screen where you can email the quality support team and they will, as Belinda said, respond and put you in touch with one of our quality support team members. What I would really do is encourage each of you to reach out and engage with the team in relation to your services self-assessment for quality improvement journey. And you could be anywhere on that scale around whether you receive your assessment and notice as Belinda said in the next kind of week, week and a half, or it might be that you've just undertaken an assessment and rating process, and didn't feel that you were ready to step into sharing that self-assessment information. So you're looking at how you can move from a traditional QIP into the self-assessment working document. Please pick up the phone and reach out. It's about having those initial conversations and as Belinda said, it's about tapping in as to where you are at on your journey with your service. So one of the things that I just want to share with you before we close off on today's session, I just wanna acknowledge, and thank you for joining us. What's really important as we shared is that you stay up to date with the information from the department and also access a range of resources. And up on the screen, you will see details that the early childhood education directorate has a Facebook page. If you go Facebook and search New South Wales Early Childhood Education, you'll be able to come up and follow the links. I'd also encourage that you log on to the website and access so that you can receive the quality of practise newsletters. I wanna just acknowledge that our team are really looking forward to engaging with you. And after the session closes, you will receive a survey. I really encourage that you take time to complete that, and we've got five minutes, it gives you five minutes where you'll be able to access and complete that survey for us. We really thank you for your engagement and participation and for the information that you've shared with Belinda and I. We were really excited to be able to touch in and share this information in the webinar today. Thanks very much and enjoy the rest of your today.

Implementing the Child Safe Standards in ECEC and OSHC

Implementing the CSS in ECEC and OSHC

- Good morning. Welcome to the "Roadshow" session titled, "Implementing the Child Safe Standards", we really do appreciate you taking the time to join us today. My name is Diana, I'm one of the policy managers within the New South Wales Regulatory Authority. So we're known as the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate in the New South Wales Department of Education. I'm joined today by three other presenters, Jacqui and Karl, who are managers in our Statewide Operations Network. and Phillip, who's an executive manager at the Y. So to begin, we'd like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we're all meeting today.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I'd also just like to acknowledge that I'm coming to you from Dharug land, and I'd like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island attendees today. A quick note on housekeeping. So your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. Instead, we encourage you to use the Q&A functionality which you will find at the bottom of your screen to ask questions during the session. You can type your question directly into the Q&A and you can also see and vote on other people's questions which you would like answered using the thumbs up button. So we'll try and prioritise the questions with the most votes and answer these during the session. If there are questions that don't get answered today, we will collate them after the session and send out FAQ's to everyone who attended. We will also be using Menti during the session, so if you could please have your phone or another web browser ready to scan or enter the code on the screen, so you can participate in the interactive components of the session. The session is being recorded today and will be made available after the "Roadshow" is complete. Please note that some of the content in this session will include allegations of abuse and may cause distress for some people. We will give you warning when this section is coming up, if you would like to leave during this part. We have also provided a number of options that you might find useful if you do need to seek support. This includes Lifeline, the National Sexual Assault Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service and Bravehearts. Moving on to the agenda. So today we'll start out the session with an overview of the Child Safe Standards, and go through some of the currently available and upcoming resources to support services in implementing the Child Safe Standards. Then Jacqui, will talk through the reporting requirements when responding to an incident disclosure or suspicion of child abuse or harm, and she'll also work through two scenarios relating to this. Then we'll hear from Phillip about how the Y has gone about implementing the Child Safe Standards. And lastly Karl will talk us through how the Child Safe Standards relate to the National Quality Standard, and how you can use them in your QIP or self-assessment processes. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse shine a spotlight on thousands of cases where organisations in Australia failed to protect children in their care from abuse. It highlighted that abuse that occurs within an organisational context is not just a problem of the past, it continues today. The Child Safe Standards recommended by the Royal Commission provide a framework for making organisations safer for children. Based on extensive research and consultation, the Child Safe Standards aim to make organisations safer. A child's safe culture is a set of values and practises that guide the attitudes and behaviours of all staff. Good leaders champion these values and embed them in organisational governance. The following values are at the heart of any approach that the prioritises children's safety. That the best interests of children and their protection from harm is paramount. Child abuse is not tolerated and must not happen. Children's rights are understood and respected. Concerns about child safety raised by children and their parents and carers are acted on. Reporting abuse is not obstructed or prevented. The New South Wales Department of Education is working closely with the New South Wales Office of the Children's Guardian, who we'll refer to as OCG throughout this presentation. To streamline regulation of the Child Safe Standards for services and providers, and support them in meeting the requirements. The Child Safe Standards will be introduced as part of the Children's Guardian Act from July, 2021. Once introduced, education and care services and providers will fall within the scope of the Child Safe Standards. So if we just move on to the next slide, thanks Matt. It is acknowledged that there will be a period of capability building to allow services and providers the time to build capacity in meeting the requirements of the Child Safe Standards prior to compliance being enforced. We would just like to hear from you, so we'll have our first Menti. I'll just give you a minute, if you could grab your phone and scan the QR code or visit menti.com in a web browser and enter the details on screen. There are five quick questions for you to answer. Okay, so the first question is have you had an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the Child Safe Standards? You can see there's a good portion that have, and some yet to. Okay, second question, how confident do you feel in implementing the Child Safe Standards? Quite a variety of responses there. Third question, is your service already implementing the Child Safe Standards? Fairly even split between yes and no there. Are you aware of the training available on OCG's website on the Child Safe Standards? And lastly, have you accessed any of the OCG's training on the Child Safe Standards? Thank you, we really appreciate the input. Okay, so the Child Safe Standards are designed to allow organisations to apply them flexibly, based on their unique service type and community of children and families. The New South Wales Department of Education have been preparing a guide for education and care services to assist with implementing the Child Safe Standards. This is in addition to the guide to the Child Safe Standards prepared by OCG and available on their website for all child-related organisations. So this guide provides education and care services with practical strategies and tips to consider when implementing the standards. It also offers points of critical reflection and promotes continued establishment of the systems that prevent, detect and respond to child abuse. The guide applies to a range of children's age groups and roles in services, and is designed to be used to support all service types, including long daycare, family daycare, outside school hours care, and mobile and community preschools. Case studies have been included throughout the guide to provide an example of practise and they should be used as a supplement to your own experiences, knowledge and research. The guide is currently being finalised and we will communicate by email, as soon as it is released and available on the website. So we'll quickly go through each of the Child Safe Standards to help familiarise yourself with them. So standard one, child's safety is embedded in organisation leadership, governance and culture. So examples of how this might look in practise include, by promoting a culture of child safety through your organization's mission statement or service philosophy, and promoting a collective responsibility for children's safety across all levels of your organisation. And this might be regularly communicated during meetings, events, on social media and notice boards Standard two, children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously. In practise, it might be supporting children to identify correct names for body parts and educating children on how they can seek help and identifying safe adults in their life. Standard three, families and communities are informed and involved. In practise, this might be ensuring that families are aware of management teams within your organisation, the roles and responsibilities of staff, as well as ensuring children and families are notified of staff changes. Standard four, equity is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account. In practise, this might be acknowledging and respecting diversity, and ensuring physical environments contain positive images of a range of cultures and abilities, and ensuring that staff are aware of the groups of children who are more vulnerable to abuse and identifying and responding to signs of abuse. Standard five, people working with children are suitable and supported. In practise, this might be through robust recruitment processes and onboarding processes, that demonstrate your commitment to child safety and ensuring that all staff feel comfortable reporting any behaviour that raised concerns for children's safety. Standard six, processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused. In practise, this might be that complaints processes are accessible and understood by all staff, families, community members, and that children are encouraged to raise their concerns. Standard seven, staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training. In practise, this might be ensuring staff know their reporting obligations and have the practical skills to respond to disclosures, and ensuring that leaders keep up to date with legislative changes and communicate these to their team. Standard eight, physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur. In practise, this might be that physical and online environments ensure children's safety and children are supported to understand how to engage with others safely in both online and physical environments. Standard nine, implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved. In practise, it might be the policies, procedures, and practises relating to child safety are reviewed regularly and after critical incidents. Standard 10, policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe. So in practise, this might be to find ways for all staff to be actively engaged in reviewing policies and procedures from a child safe perspective, and ensure that they reflect the Child Safe Standards. So we have recently updated our website to include more information on child safety for education and care services, including identifying signs of abuse, who to contact, free support and counselling services and other relevant resources. These pages are constantly being updated with new resources and we will communicate by email when your resources are released on these pages. There are also a number of other child safety resources that you can access for additional support on the following websites. So the New South Wales Office of the Children's Guardian, includes webinars on the Child Safe Standards and the Reportable Conduct Scheme. They have also developed a guide to the Child Safe Standards for child related organisations, a guide on children's empowerment and participation and codes of conduct resources. Australian Human Rights Commission, visit them for publications and resources on children's rights and child safe organisations. The National Office Of Child Safety are developing a national strategy to prevent child sexual abuse. You can visit their website for updates, and the eSafety Commissioner, for resources on online safety for children in education and care settings, including checklists and posters for services and books and online safety activities for children. I'll hand over to Jacqui now, to talk through the reporting requirements and work through some examples scenarios of how these look in practise.

 

- Good morning, everybody. My name is Jacqui Palmer, I'm the triage review coordinator in the Statewide Operations Network. I wanted to just begin firstly, by acknowledging the Dharug people, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I am today, and I pay my respects to their Elders past and present. And I also extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today with us. As Diana said, I'm gonna be talking about the reporting requirements in relation to the incidents or disclosures or suspicions around child abuse or harm. So the Department of Education has developed a resource that support services with their reporting requirements because they are quite complex. This resource follows the steps that should be taken following an incident, a disclosure or suspicions of child abuse. In step two, there's the relevant authorities are listed which show who you are required to report to across different situations, and gives a brief explanation of when you may be required to report. The relevant authorities in these instances include the New South Wales Department of Education, the New South Wales Office of Children's Guardian and specifically the Reportable Conduct Scheme. The New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice, in particular child protection or alternatively the New South Wales Police Force. I'm gonna go through some examples of scenarios and talk about the relevant reporting requirements. I just wanted to flag now, at this point, though, that the scenarios will contain allegations of abuse and it may cause distress to some attendees. So please leave the session if you would like to, the scenario segment will take a few minutes, after this we'll discuss how the Child Safe Standards relate to the National Quality Standards, also your QIP and the self assessment processes. But I just wanted to flag, particularly with the scenarios there are talking about allegations of abuse. So if you would prefer not to hear those, you can leave the session just for a few minutes if that would be your preference. So I'm just gonna move on to the first scenario. So in this instance, Maria is a 45 year old qualified educator who has been working at Growing Strong Kids Inc for 10 years. Maria is very knowledgeable about children's development and does a lot of programming in the 0-3 room. Junior staff have noticed that Maria can be abrupt with some children and even a little rough in the way that she handled children, particularly when there's a dispute between children. While the junior staff respect to Maria, they don't challenge her, they don't feel comfortable also mentioning any concerns to the director, because the director has a friendship with Maria. One day, there were two three-year-old children having a physical altercation and one child bites the other child's arm very hard for several seconds. Maria intervenes and she yells at the child to stop biting, and then drags the child along the ground by the arm, shoving them into a timeout chair. The child cries for about 30 minutes, junior staff tried to comfort the boy and Maria then yells at them for comforting the child when he's in time out. The boy calms down but continues to nurse the arm for the rest of the day. The parents are informed of the incident at the pickup times and they sign the incident form. The next day, however, the parents call to inform the director that the child has a dislocated elbow and required medical attention, but also wanted to lodge a complaint. The parents reportedly noticed that their child was avoiding using their arm and cried while changing for bedtime. They were upset that the centre didn't disclose more details of the incident or notice that the child required medical attention. So in this particular scenario, there are a few things that you might want to consider. One thing for discussion, perhaps at the next team meeting, is what are the key points in that particular scenario? Can you see anything in your own policies and procedures that needs to be adjusted to take into account that sort of scenario and the types of things that the educators have seen? It could be that you need to work with the team on their communication skills, making sure that they're aware of their child protection responsibilities. So you take that away to your next team meeting that might be a good brainstorming exercise for the staff. We do have a quick Menti poll for this particular scenario. So if you just want to use your cameras to click on the Menti poll, we're gonna be asking you questions around the reporting requirements and timeframes, in particular. So I'd just give you a few minutes to do that. So the question would be, what are the reporting, what is the timeframe, sorry, for reporting if you're faced with this scenario. So we have 24 hours, seven days, or not sure. So far everyone's going for the 24 hours, which is good. Wonderful. Excellent. Thank you everybody. So putting it into practise, in scenario one, there are five, it's all right, there are certain things that you need to take into account. So in terms of reporting requirements, you definitely need to complete an MRG, Mandatory Reporters Guide. And that will help you to determine whether or not you actually need to remake a report to child protection. The Mandatory Reporters Guide, if people haven't used it before, it's very straightforward. It's quite intuitive, and it asks you a series of questions that you just click on, and it then gives you an outcome at the end to tell you whether or not you need to make a report to child protection. In terms of the Office of Children's Guardian, because you're talking about an educator, what they did is likely to be considered reportable conduct. So you should be notifying the Office of Children's Guardian or OCG of the allegations of the reportable conduct within seven days. They can be contacted by phone, on the number listed here. And you can also email them at reportableconduct@kidsguardian.nsw.gov.edu if you have any questions. They are more than happy to answer phone calls or answer questions if you're not 100% sure, and they will guide you through that process as well, to talk about the reportable conduct side, and whether or not the actions of the educator meets their threshold. But they are another agency that you should be reporting to at this particular time. In terms of the mandatory reporting obligations, I should have actually pointed out, there are people who deliver services wholly or partly, for children who as part of the professional work or other paid employment, and those who hold management positions within the service. So this extends to childcare workers, family daycare carers and home-based carers. The guide itself, the Mandatory Reporters Guide, is available on the family, I should go back again, sorry, terribly, sorry. That is available on the Department of Communities and Justice website. If you wanna get further details about the Mandatory Reporters Guide. In terms of the Regulatory Authority, sorry, in terms of the Department Of Education, you would need to lodge an Incident Notification which is an IO1. And you'd also need to lodge a Complaint Notification which is a CO1, and you do that through the NQAITS Portal. You need to do both of those within 24 hours of the incident occurring and the complaint being received. So specifically for this scenario, the legislative requirements under section 174 2a and b of the National Law, and under Regulation 12 of the National Regulations. In terms of the National Law, so the particular issue that we're looking at in that scenario is that there was a serious incident that occurred because it was viewed and witnessed by someone and there was also a complaint received. So in this scenario, you have to report both an incident and a complaint because they're satisfying different parts of the legislation. While the incident itself is the source of the complaint or the cause for the complaint, the concerns of the parent relate to matters beyond the actual incident. So in that scenario, the parent was concerned about the fact that there wasn't an accurate account of the incident and also concerned about first aid. So it's not just about the educator's actions, it's about how the service handled it. And that's why you need to submit both the incident and the complaint. Now within NQAITS, you can create an initial notification, but you actually have 10 days after that to upload further information as it comes to hand. So if you want to make sure that you comply with the reporting requirements of the 24 hours for the Regulatory Authority, you can create the complaint and the incident notification. And as you get more information, so you may want to talk to some of the educators, get some witness statements or further information comes through from the parent, you can upload that information through NQAITS, by just adding documentation to the initial notifications. And as I mentioned, you've got 10 days to do that. So we're just gonna go through to scenario two now. So in terms of scenario two, John is a 57 year old part owner of an education in care centre and his daughter is also part owner of the centre. John has a number of small jobs at the centre, such as maintenance, OH&S and cooking. And he's not responsible for the care of children at the centre and holds no qualifications. He does help out during nap times and plays with children in the outdoor areas. So an allegation of sexual assault has been made against John. A preschool aged child called Sarah has made some disclosures to her mother and father, that John kisses her, gives her massages and tickles, and that is kept secret. Sarah reported that this happens during nap times and whenever she sits on his lap. The parents have also noticed some sexualized behaviours that are not age appropriate, and this includes Sarah trying to kiss her parents, trying to tickle her mother in the groin area and also showing her vagina to other family members. The child's mother mentioned this sexualized behaviour to the NS and asked if John had ever kissed Sarah. The mother informed the NS what Sarah had actually disclosed to her as well. She stated that she didn't wanna make a complaint but she thought she should raise it, as she was concerned about the child's behaviour. In terms of this particular scenario, it is slightly different, and that's another thing that you should consider in terms of the context of this particular scenario. What are the things that you may need to consider in your own policies and procedures around this type of scenario? What are the considerations you need to take into account? Because it is an allegation of sexual assault. The individual is not an educator as such but they are involved with the children in some capacity. So in terms of the reporting timeframes because this is a slightly different situation, we're just gonna do a quick Menti now to see whether or not, or see what everyone thinks in terms of the actual timeframes for this. So if you can all just click on the barcode of, sorry, scan the barcode, and put in what you think should be the timeframe. Okay, so lots of people think 24 hours. It's interesting, this is obviously one that's not as straightforward as scenario one, which is good. The intent of the second scenario was to show the range of the types of allegations that come through. And obviously there are some slight differences between the first one and the second one, the first one obviously being a situation that was witnessed by educators. This one is something that is being explored with an educator by a parent. Okay, so still the majority think that it's 24 hours. So interestingly, the reporting requirements are similar to this instance. Obviously you would need to complete an MRG, to determine whether or not you should be making a report to child protection. Again, you would also need to contact OCG because although he is not an educator or such, he is still involved with working with children and therefore it may be considered reportable conduct by OCG. And so you would need to explore that with OCG by contacting the Reportable Conduct Helpline, on 82193800, and just ask them whether that would meet their threshold in terms of reportable conduct. But for the Regulatory Authority's purposes it would definitely need to be something that needed to be reported to us. But in this instance, it would be lodged within seven days. Although it would come through as a complaint notification, in and of itself, it's not a complaint, because the parent has indicated she doesn't want to make a complaint. But technically it is an allegation that her child has been sexually assaulted or abused in some way. So that's why under the National Law, there is a very slight difference. This would be considered an allegation of abuse and therefore you would have seven days to make that report. Obviously, we would prefer you to report it as soon as possible because we can then help you through the process, and also provide the educators with some support with our field officers and investigators, because it is a very unpleasant situation to be in. Under the National Law, we have Section 174 2c of the National Law, and 175 2d or e of the National Regulations. Again, you can update the notifications for up to 10 days after the notification is actually created. So in this scenario two, the part of the National Law is around information in respect to other prescribed matters and prescribed matters under the regulations. Any incident where an approved provider reasonably believes that physical abuse or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring, or under E, allegations that physical or sexual abuse of a child or children has occurred or is occurring. So in scenario two, it would be considered an allegation that physical or sexual abuse of a child has occurred. And that's why it becomes a seven day timeframe in part that allows you to gather some more information around the situation, but again, we would obviously prefer you to report as soon as possible within that seven day period, because it just means that we can support you through that process and also help you navigate through the reporting requirements in terms of OCG and also to the Child Protection Helpline. If you're not entirely sure, we have some very experienced staff here who can help you through that step as well. So that's it for the reporting requirements. I'm now gonna hand over to, sorry, Phil, to talk about the implementing Child Safe Standards at the Y.

 

- Beautiful. Thank you, Jacqui, and welcome everybody. My name is Phil and I'm the national executive for Y Safeguarding at the YMCAs, obviously a national organisation who work across early childhood care and outside of school care. I'd like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which we're all meeting today. I'm currently coming from the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. And I want to pay my respects to Elders past, present and to those who are merging. I'd also like to extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the webinar today, and also pay my respects to survivors of abuse as well. So just moving onto the next few slides, in terms of where we sit, where the Y is at in terms of implementing the Child Safe Standards, is that we see childhood as a time for having fun in the Y. We also want kids to splash round and have the best time in being a kid. We probably all know of those great times when we were children and we had the best times when it was actually free play and for excitement and what we try to have at Y is allow children to be children. And that's what we see in terms of the Child Safe Standards allow us to do to really advance us in this space. So if we could just move to the safeguarding journey slide, that would be fantastic. And we just want to give you an example of where we've kind of travelled on our journey. So just one more, if that's okay. Thank you. Beautiful. So the kind of safeguarding journey of where we're at, and it's been a novel approach. So what I would say to you, in implementing these standards is they take time and they really are a cultural assessment. So don't think these happen overnight. We started back in 2009, where we engaged the Australian Childhood Foundation to support us in thermally reviewing how good or how bad our practise was in terms of safeguarding. In 2011, we have Jonathan Lord, maybe we'll know in terms of the Royal Commission, we were named as a case study two. And that led to some really significant learning and cultural shift across the Y. What progressed us as we then started in 2014, is to develop our first National Safeguarding Policy. And in 2016, we had our redress scheme which we will set up to support survivors of child sexual abuse within the Y. In 2017, we had our second iteration of our National Policy. And then in 2018, we joined National Redress Scheme. And moving forward into 2019, where the implementation of the National Child Safe Principles were launched, We also introduced the national team to support us with all of our local needs, to support us in delivering the soft Child Safe Standards. So we do have services across four states and territories, and across 600 different sites, and high majority across New South Wales. In 2020, which I'm gonna talk to you about shortly, we launched our own safeguarding framework to support us. And then just this year, we actually launched our Licencing Standards which holds all of our YMCAs our early years and our OOSH services to high levels of account in terms of standards they must adhere to, to be able to operate those standards with insights from the experts. So to progress on the next slide, you'll see that this is where we come in terms of our safeguarding vision on pillars. So at the Y, we want all children and young people to feel safe and be safe at the Y, in their families and in communities. So we've got a really big, strong vision. And we do that strategically by trying to create safe cultures, where nationally we'd have empowered children young people for great leadership and governance. We have operations, we create safe operations which include policies, procedures and the right people in place. And then we create safe environments, both online and in the physical world for children and young people. So that's our sort of strategic approach to safeguarding. And then on the next slide, you'll see that we've actually implemented this into our safeguarding framework. And this is our safeguarding framework, and as you see, it falls under culture operations and environments. And what's really key to this is that, when we did a big review of the National Child Safe Principles and upstate the Child Safe Principles which will be implemented in July in New South Wales, and some of our frontline staff struggled with some of the language which was used in the principles. So what all we did, was we actually converted the Child Safe Principles into that sort of visual format for our staff. And so far our early years coordinators and our OOSH coordinators and educators really are understanding how easy it is to implement Child Safe Standards through this model. So as you'll see under culture there's leadership and governance which of course Child Safe Principle number one, empowerment is obviously number two, education and training of course number five. If you go to complaints, and obviously it sits in there under the operations section is Child's Safe Principle number six. And diversity sits as Child Safe Principle number four, and environment, families and communities number three and then physical and eSafety, the online world, Child Safe Principle number eight. So I'll be talking to you about the principles under our framework. But effectively our framework just follows the national principles, but it's just in a different form and a different diagram which is across all of our Ys, and has helped our staff really understand what we're doing. So just before we go on to how we've implemented it, I'll just talk to you about our virtuous cycle on the next slide. And our virtuous cycle basically says that we have a big term which basically says they all interlinked and they're reliant on each other. So at the top, we start up our strategy. So we have a three-year safeguarding strategy because we know, and I'd encourage you, if you're going on this journey, you're gonna need to, is to assess strategy over the next two to three years because it can't all be done overnight. So our strategy puts ahead three year strategy of where we're going. It then creates our framework which you just saw on the last slide. And then it comes into our safeguarding policy. So our framework is then translated to our policy, which is a National Policy which all Ys adhere to. From the policy, part of the policy requirements are that all Ys adhered to the Safeguarding Licencing Standards. And we have 58 licenced standards which are based around our framework. And then we actually get an external body to come in and review us every three years against those standards. And then all those learnings are put into place and they feed back into our strategy. So it's kind of our cycle, our virtuous cycle. We call it where they're all interlinked. And it's really important that we learn from our good and our best practise, also learn from where we do things wrong and implement that into our strategy moving forward. So on the next slide, now I'm gonna talk to you about how do you actually do it? 'Cause that's probably why you're here, is you wanna know how do we do this? So here's an example. So wonder Child Safe Principle number one, leadership and governance. Some of the things we've enacted in Y New South Wales and across the Y, is that and under leadership, we have a safeguarding board lead. So on our board we have one person who is a safeguarding leader, same as you have a treasurer, or you may have a, H and S lead, we've got a safeguarding board lead. We're also on a Y safeguarding is established with South Wales Independent Charity. We've also got an OOSH sector leadership group and an early years leadership group as well. So there are some of the key aspects that we've done with the leadership. We also create a video resources, so if you head to ymca.org.au, we've actually got videos which are created as you can see that to support our members. We've also got governance standards. So we actually have safeguarding standards, like I taught you about, the 58 standards for our YMCAs. So if you're a national or bigger body, you might choose to have those standards. If you're a single entity, you may actually try and have some standards, which you hold yourself account to. So that really, really helped, and obviously, we have safeguarding leads as well, Under the empowerment section, which is Child Safe Principle number two, we actually did a safety education to all children and young people. And we also deliver a Stay Safe, Tell Someone programme. So this is a programme which teaches children and young people have to speak up if they're worried about abuse or neglect. And we have children and young people in our decision-making. So in some of our governance approaches, what we've had and it links to empowerment, is we actually have a young person's consultative group, and we get children and young people involved in those groups as well. So I'm just gonna take you forward one slide and we'll show you a quick video of our Stay Safe, Tell Someone video, which shows us how children and young people are empowered at the Y and OOSH services.

 

- At the Y we believe in the power of inspired young people.

 

- For children and young people to be inspired they must Feel Safe and Be Safe.

 

- Everyone at the Y has the right to Feel Safe and Be Safe.

 

- Therefore, if you see something.

 

- Hear something.

 

- Or feel something that makes you feel worried or unsafe.

 

- Tell someone.

 

- You can talk to any adult that you trust at the Y.

 

- You can write it down, send a text, call someone, or send an email.

 

- You can also make a report on our website.

 

- You'll see a number of posters around to remind you. And you remember.

 

- Everyone has the right to...

 

- Feel Safe and Be Safe.

 

- At the Y, in their families and in their communities.

 

- So that is available on the website of the Y New South Wales. If you wanna have a look at that, that's just one of the ways of empowering children under that principle. And under values and behaviours, so you can see that there's one of our kids' drawings where we got some kids to come up with how should our staff behave? So we got them involved in creating our code of conduct which we call our safe behaviours. So these are some of the kids ones which they've done with us. So that's another way of empowerment, that falls under the values and behaviours of your staff as well. And the education and training, we actually have specific training modules for all of our staff, which include frontline staff and those who don't work with children and young people, all the way up to board training. And we also have specific training which is relevant to OOSH and early years services on harmful sexual behaviour, as well as we see children's development around sexualized behaviour, we created a specific modules relevant to that. And then if you actually head onto the YMCA website, you'll also see we've got free online training for any organisation on children around how to stay safe online. And that's based on our Stay Safe, Tell Someone model. in terms of continuous improvement, or some of the simple things you can do, we've got a really simple form, which is used in our services, which is if something goes wrong, there's actually a little lessons learnt from which a group of people come together. So the early years coordinators or the OOSH coordinators work together and sit there and go, what did we do well, and what did we do so well in this case? And they capture that on a form and those learnings are fed up nationally to see how we improve moving forward but also within their service. There's also something we call it a bright book which I'd encourage you to do is, when you do some great insights guarding, capture it, write it down in what we call a bright book and you can actually have that as your OOSH service or your early years service. Capture that because that's a really good thing to demonstrate where you're doing great safeguarding. The next slide is just the final kind of ones which we'll talk to just shortly around in our operations section, which talk around getting the right people in place. So some of the things which we've done is we've made sure and I'll talk to you very quickly about the strict recruitment processes we have, but we do have in terms of policies and procedures under standard nine and 10, but we actually have a national safeguarding policy and we have a child-friendly version as well as an interactive version. So we actually had 480 children and young people respond to our safeguarding policy review. And that's been fantastic, that getting them involved. So simple things like doing focus groups that you're already as are your issues, you can get them involved. As you can see the rainbow cookies where one of the kids said they would love to see a rainbow cookie in all the Ys, so we actually put that rainbow cookie on our policy. And then in terms of complaints, some of the things which you can do you can create an online reporting portal. So we've got an online anonymous portal for people to respond to if they need to. We have child-friendly complaints procedures, and we have little things like complaints boxes which I'm sure lots of you have and feedback boxes. We also have areas within the Y where if a child feels unsafe within that service they can actually go and stand in a particular area, which means they're not feeling safe or they've got a worry or concern or a complaint, and children and young people can then go and stand over there and I'll staff notes or go and have a chat with them about how safe they feel. So very briefly talk to you about recruitment on the next slide. So this is just something which we've done at the Y and we can encourage you to do. We have advertisement statements which got there saying very clearly, we're a child safe organisation. We have standardised child safety interview questions which all people who come to the Y, whether you're in finance or if you're an early years educator or an office coordinator or early as director, you have to answer. We also obviously do Work With Children and Police Checks both nationally and internationally. And we have two verbal referee checks as a bare minimum including at least one professional. They then watch our safeguarding video or induction video which is also on our website and that they have to sign, any person signs a safeguarding policy commitment. And as you can see on there, we have, on the left-hand side, we have a nice, beautiful safeguarding training passport which all our people are expected, our Y people to do training which is relevant to that role. And then they have a little passport which takes them through. So the other thing which you can possibly do so these are just some of the things I'd encourage you to really have those word busts mechanisms with lots of you are having to buy some show, but we also get children and young people to design our interview panel as well. So some of our kids are actually on our interview panel 'cause they ask some of the best questions to some of the prospective staff. Getting kids on your panels is a great way to involve them but also great to see how people interact with children and young people. And then on our final slide, the final implementation standards which we've put in place is around eSafety. So we created a suite of resources for how to keep safe online for children and young people and parents but we'll send out to parents as well. We've also got like a sexuality our Stay Safe, Tell Someone poster which has really, I'm sorry, online training course which is free. And all of our OOSH services are taking our children and young people through that programme. It's a 10 minutes programme which is free. And like I said, it's been co-designed with children that age group to stay safe online. So there's just some real simple quick wins you can do. With families and communities, we have newsletters specific to those families communities. We involve them in the design processes all of our services where possible. So when we've got new services, we get families in, and we also watch it, look and feel like. And we've also recently obviously had family surveys as well as tell us about what do we do well and what can we do better? And then finally kind of under the diversity aspect, we have a national diversity working group and we've created diversity days as particular celebration days with Ramadhan recently, again, teaching children and young people around those cultural development days and what to learn and what to expect. Also getting learning from parents and families and children as well for our staff about how can we identify diversity aspects and what can we learn from our diverse communities in which we work with? So there's just a real whistle-stop tour hopefully, of some of the stuff we've done. And hopefully some practical things for you, really happy for you to ask any questions and also reach out to us at the Y 'cause we're happy to support you in any aspects we can. But my key thing in this is that is a really, it is a journey, this approach. So please take your time in implementing the standards and do it for a strategy approach, but also then just capture all the things you do, 'cause actually sometimes we forget capture. And one thing we've done at the Y now, is we're learning to capture the great work in which is happening across all of our early years and OOSHs to show where we've come from, and where we're gonna be in the next sort of three to five years as well. So hope you found that useful. And I'm gonna hand over to Karl now, but I can respond to any questions in the Q&A box if anyone wants to ask me anything. But thank you for your time, I appreciate it.

 

- Thanks, Phil, that was awesome content, especially some of the reflection points that you talked about around implementing standards. So fantastic. Thanks for that. Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the last component of today's presentation. I would firstly like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we meet today. Today I'm on Dharug land of Eora Nation, but I also acknowledge the lands that you're on today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past present and emerging and those First Nation people here with us today. So we'll look at exploring aspects of the Child Safe Standards, and how some components can be mapped to the National Quality Standards. Through this I will pose some reflective questions that will help you further evolve your quality improvement plan, and allow for further child's safety related questions, when you conduct your self-assessment. To begin this journey, I recommend that you obtain a copy of the guide to the Child Safe Standards from the OCG website and the early childhood specific guide when it's published later on. This will help you answer these questions or pose these questions to a match or service environment. Now, upon reviewing the Child Safe Standards, you will notice that each Child Safe Standard does not need like fit inside a quality area line. In fact, each standard permeates into civil quality areas and at times can sit outside of a quality area in general. The next point is to really unpack those Child Safe Standards and see what they actually mean for your team and look to extend beyond where you can, to implement them into your service. Now, the points I discussed today are not a definitive list in conjunction with the guide to the Child Safe Standards. Please explore this document with a view to what you can implement based on what's appropriate and applicable to your service, because ultimately, you know, your service, you know your staff, you know your children, you know your family and you know your community better than anyone else. The other part that I'd like to touch upon is I really do believe that a lot of services are already performing a lot of the concepts set out in the Child Safe Standards. It's really now how you adapt and evolve your practises, if you feel that you are lacking in some areas. Now, if I look back at some of the points that we touched on earlier, it's good to say that roughly 50% today, 50% here today have started to implement the Child Safe Standards, and one third have access to the OCG Child Safe Standard training. Now, before I start, I just want to discuss very briefly, last week I was lucky to moderate on the 2021 child safe seminar presented by the department. And there was some some presenters inside that seminar that were really impactful in what they discussed. The first one being Mr. Robert Fitzgerald, who was a former royal commissioner from the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. He shared his work in this space and some of the findings around risks particularly to particular cohorts of children. There's some excellent information that he presented based on his dealings with the Royal Commission. And I found a lot of that quite informative and helps me understand, excuse me, understand how complex the scenarios can be. But we also heard from Debbie, who it's not her real name, but she was providing some reflection upon how she was impacted as a parent of a survivor of child sex abuse. That content itself is quite powerful and confronting, but it's also emotive. So I asked that you actually spend some time and go away and have a look at that seminar and consider watching it with your team. This may serve as a bit of a vehicle to help you understand and reflect upon your journey to implement the Child Safe Standards at your service. So if we start off and start looking at quality area one, so as we all know, quality area one is programme or practise. Now, when we look at the Child Safe Standards, you'd look at standard two, children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously. So even though the majority of standard two sits within quality area five, aspects of the Child Safe Standards have some linkages to the programme and how it's delivered to all children. So if we look at some of the reflective questions around that, I'll just run through them. And I realised that people are probably going to write some of these down. We have some of them in the individual slides but there's a few that are outside that. So I'll just take my time as I go through these. So first off consider how educators can offer frequent opportunities to children to share their views. Consider how children are given skills and tools to communicate their views and needs. How do we encourage children to have independence and autonomy? What does this look like through a child's safety lens? How do we respect their voice and input? Children are safer when organisations teach them about their rights to be heard, listened and to be believed. Do we intentionally include children of all ages, abilities and cultural backgrounds in programming and planning at the service. Now, an example of this, is creating a sense of belonging at the service for children and families so that children feel safe and comfortable with sharing their thoughts and views. In short, we want our programme to encourage children to view themselves as competent and capable, and in turn have confidence to speak up as a valued stakeholder. Now, like I said before, this is not the only reflection points. If when you actually start reading through the standards, unpack that as much as possible and start looking at all the different areas of this could touch upon in the National Quality Standard. So if we look at quality area two. Okay, quality area to health and safety. We can see two standards that sit in here. So standard six, processes to respond to complaints of child abuse are child focused. And staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continual education and training. So that's standard seven. So we started looking at some of these reflection points. Consider that if training opportunities are routinely and regularly offered to staff to ensure that they are aware of that internal and external reporting obligations, including reportable conduct and indicators of abuse. Do staff feel supported to raise concerns about child safety? And there is an embedded culture of understanding and action in relation to concerns regarding children. Consider how children can feel safe to raise concerns about themselves or their friends, and think about whether you have robust systems to allow this to take place. You could also look at providing external training to children, which includes protective behaviours and age appropriate child protection messages. Consider how the leadership team can provide ongoing education and training opportunities for all staff in child safety. Consider how staff who are involved in roles and situations with higher risks are provided with more advanced child safety training opportunities if appropriate. Consider how short term, casual, agency or contract staff are properly inducted and know the expectations of your organisation especially around child safety. How can you develop a checklist system for casual staff to complete a quick review of essential information, if they have not been engaged with the service for a reasonable period of time? It is easier to identify the staff before an issue arises. Consider how your child's safety training is regularly reviewed in response to emerging best practises. If your training is in-house, is it relevant today and will not be relevant tomorrow? If it's an external provider, does the training suit your needs in the current environment? So we now look at a quality area three, the physical environment. So quality area three physical environment. Now standard eight, physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur. Now, standard eight can come to this by physical and online environment. Quality area three at its core is about the physical environment, but I ultimately see the online environment as an extension of that physical world. Services have a history with managing the physical environment well, as it's easy to see the tangible constraints that can be presented, the online environment is another story. It can be challenging from the perspective of the cohort of children, the mix of devices used and the information that can be freely accessed, and the other unknown party that can be sitting at the other end. Now with the online world, the safety commissioner actually has a lot of good resources to help you manage that risk. So I recommend having a look at that when you're looking at this standard, or standard eight. So some of the reflective questions I can ask yourself is reflect on the physical environment and look at ways to increase natural lines of sight. How can we implement changes to ensure that effective supervision for all children in a range of situations? Do we need to make physical changes to our environment to facilitate this? Reflect on how the organisation balances privacy with the need to provide a safe environment for children. This can include nappy changing, toileting, or changing processes. Risk assessments identify areas where adults have opportunities to interact with children unsupervised, including one off events and excursions. Child Safe Policy identifies how the organisation will keep children safe in a physical and online environment with specific reference to higher risk activities. Now I got to quickly talk about a couple of online safety items especially for that school aged cohort of children. Reflect upon or consider risks in online and physical environments are identified and mitigated without compromising a child's right to privacy and healthy development. Work with your children to establish rules around appropriate use of devices and the internet. Look at ways to educate children about how to stay safe in the online environment. The online environment could be built into your organization's code of conduct and relevant policies. But mainly consider how children, their parents and carers and staff should have access to information about online risks and how to manage them. And some of these risks may include grooming, the sharing of intimate images, bullying, including cyber bullying and other forms of psychological abuse. Meeting in person with people they've engaged with online and exposure to inappropriate content. Remember that if a child has access to a device these risks may present regardless of the age of the child. So if we now have a look at quality area four, Staffing. I say that standard five people working with children are suitable and supported, and standard seven, staff are equipped with the knowledge, skills and awareness to keep children safe through continuing education and training. Some areas to consider is within routine staff meetings, adopting a standing agenda item around child safety, and what impact that has on service operations. Encourage attendance at conferences and other forums to learn about improvements in child safety practises. Consider how staff can network with peers internally within your organisation or externally with local services around strategies to implement and maintain a focus on child safety best practises. Consider developing a child's safety champion and have this individual assist where they can at your service. Consider how all staff recruitment includes job ads that identify your organisation as valuing child safety. Now, this should not be a for just educators, it should include all staff. And I think even Phil touched upon that, as part of the Y process. Consider how your Child's Safety Policy reflects staff training obligations and opportunities. An example of this is setting a goal that an educator must engage in some sort of training that supports child safety every 12 months, or ensure that their knowledge is current. Consider how your service can develop a culture of continual learning. For example, how can you supplement your current child's training with a group discussion around a scenario each month? consider how you could leverage from your child's safety champion for this body of work. Consider how your service and it staff can demonstrate how it stays up to date with emerging child's safety best practises. So we move on to quality area five, interactions with children. Within this quality area, I say that standard two, children participate in decisions affecting them and are taken seriously, and standard four, equity is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account fit within this standard. So some reflective questions that you could pose. Consider how educators can work with children to help them understand their feelings so they can describe them to adults. Consider how children can speak up about their safety and the safety of their friends. Consider how staff are provided with the skills to be attuned to the signs of harm and facilitate child-friendly ways for children to communicate and raise their concerns. Staff demonstrate that they understand the importance of a child's rights and children are provided with opportunities to explore their voice and rights. And this is a good start. This is the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child could help inform some of these practises. Consider how you can facilitate time for educators to reflect on how they actively support children, to develop and sustain and friendships. Consider how staff encourage children to have positive discussions around diversity. The inclusion of posters, books, and resources that assist children to explore diversity could assist in this area. So if we look at quality area six, collaborative partnerships. I'd say standard three and four, sit within a quality area six. So standard three families and communities are informed and involved. And standard four, equity is upheld and diverse needs are taken into account. So some of the reflection points that you could consider is how child safe information can be regularly promoted to staff, families and children. Consider how staff, families and children can raise child safety issues without fear of retribution. Reflect on how families are made aware of the management team, and look at ways to encourage families to be informed of service goals, relating to child safety. Make Code of Conduct and Child Safety Policies and procedures accessible to families and community members. Upskill educators awareness on the link between a child's vulnerability and their increased risk of being harmed. Look at ways to involve, sorry, evolve service practises to adapt and respond to the diverse needs of children and families through a child's safety lens. Consider using posters, brochures, websites and social media to give children and families information about online safety. And we come up to our last quality area, and you'll actually see it, quality area seven, leadership and governance does link into a number of standards. Again, you've probably gotten a sense that there are a lot of standards touching into different quality areas but quality area seven is one of those key points. So if we go on to the next slide please, Matt. So I see standard one, child safety is embedded in organisational leadership, governance and culture. Standard five, people working with children are suitable and supported. Standard nine, implementation of the Child Safe Standards is continuously reviewed and improved. And standard 10, policies and procedures document how the organisation is child safe. So when we start to look at quality area seven, as I said, a lot of the standards do sit with insight quality seven, and it's all about reviewing the guide to the child safe standards to say how they all touch upon it, and making sure that you reflect upon those standards as much as possible because the leadership will drive the operations of the service. So consider adding to the service philosophy, a commitment to upholding child safety and children's rights. This commitment should be made from the approved provider down to casual staff and volunteers. Consider how Child Safe Standards are incorporated into your service policies and procedures. Consider how the service may build upon existing risk management systems to further mitigate intentional or unintentional child abuse risks. Look for opportunities for recruitment processes to have a focus on child safety. Ensure that all relevant staff have Working With Children Checks and reference checks, and they are all verified. Consider adding to your recruitment process, a criminal history and reference check as another check and balance to ensure that you have an understanding about a potential applicant. Ensure that the induction process explains the organization's commitment to child safety and assist staff to understand their obligations, to keep children safe. As a leadership team, look at how you can supervise and support staff to encourage child's safe practises. Consider how you're gonna implement a system to ensure policies and procedures reflect changes to child safe practises, and look at reviewing policies after a complaint. An independent third party could also be used to review the child's safe policies and practises if required. Consider how all policies and procedures address all Child Safe Standards. Consider how policies and procedures are accessible and easy to understand for all stakeholders and all stakeholders are actively involved in their review. And more importantly, how can you capture the voice of your children. Consider how best practise models and stakeholder consultation can inform the development of policies and procedures, and how staff can effectively implement them. Consider how to leaders can champion and model compliance with policies and procedures. Reflect upon how you ensure that staff always understand and implement policies and procedures. And this is one thing that Mr. Fitzgerald, from the Royal Commission touched upon, that a robust policy or procedure is only as good as the people that implement them and follow them. A lack of understanding or requisite knowledge will weaken your process and introduce aspects for risk into your service. I think that's a really important point that we can't have policy procedure manage alone, it's how we actually implement that and put it into practise at our service. So that's the last slot for me And I'll just see if there's any questions. Sorry for those that couldn't write them down quick enough. This will be all available as part of the slide presentation. So what I'll do is I'll hand back to Diana to finalise the the session today in our last meeting.

 

- Thanks, Karl. Okay, so before we wrap up, we do just have one more Menti. So we'd like to hear from you about, what further support is needed for services in implementing the Child Safe Standards. If you could just take a minute to scan the code, there are three quick questions. So the first one is what do you think the most significant change at your service in implementing the Child Safe Standards? Involving families and the community, educator involvement and awareness, reflection on practise, awareness, new courses, training, involvement of staff. More frequent discussions, knowledge of the standards themselves, guidelines. Incorporating children's perspectives in policies and procedures. Proactive educators. Okay, next question is, what do you think are some of the gaps where services are not currently meeting the Child Safe Standards? Lack of information. Working with children, check verifications, communicating with families, lack of information, reviewing policies with children, recruitment processes, making it explicit, children's voices, lack of understanding, lack of information. Children's perspectives, police checks for staff, some things to consider there. And the final question is what further support and resources could assist services to better understand and implement the Child Safe Standards? So we've got information leaflets, short clips. Information to share with staff, webinar, information sheets, specific tools to share with staff and families, training performance for documentation. Role-play, more information resources, snippets to add to newsletters for families case study videos, step-by-step guides. Training, training at times that are suitable, webinar, booklet, some great information provided today. Thank you. Handouts. Okay. Thank you. That's really useful because we'll take that information and really use it to shape the work that we do over the coming months to support the sector. So we really do appreciate the input. So before we go today, I would just like to acknowledge that some of the content of the session may have caused distress. So it just put the context for support up again. So please do reach out to your networks or the organisations listed on the slide. And we certainly hope that you've been able to take some useful information away from this presentation, relating to your reporting requirements and the implementation of the Child Safe Standards at your service. We'd like to thank Phil, for joining us from the Y. He's shared some really practical ways the Y has been able to approach the implementation of these standards. So again, we thank you for your input into the questions. We will distribute a recording of the session as it becomes available. And as always, if you want to stay up to date with the department and see your range of our resources, you can also follow us on Facebook. So thank you again for taking the time to join us, and enjoy the rest of your afternoon.

Regulation: Your toughest questions answered (centre based)

Toughest questions answered (Centre-based)

- Good afternoon. Thank you very much for joining us today for the session titled, Regulation: Your toughest questions answered with a focus on centre based services. My name is Diana. I'm one of the policy managers in the New South Wales regulatory authority known as the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate in the New South Wales Department of Education. I'm joined today by my colleague, Kathy who will introduce herself shortly. But to begin, we would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we all meet today.

 

- [Participant] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I would also just like to acknowledge that I'm joining you from Dharug land and I'd like to pay my respects to Aboriginal elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendees today. Just a quick note on housekeeping. So your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. However, we do encourage you to use the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can type your question directly into the Q&A. You can also see and vote on other people's questions which you would like answered using the thumbs up button. So we'll try and prioritise questions with the most votes and answer these during the webinar. If there are questions that don't get answered, we will collate them after the session and send out an FAQs to everyone who attended. We will also be using Menti during this presentation. So if you could please have your phone or another web browser ready to scan or enter the code when it comes up so that you can participate in the interactive components of the session. The session is being recorded today, and we will make available the recording after the roadshow is complete. I'll hand it over to Kathy now to get us started.

 

- Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Kathy Dryden. I'm part of the leadership team with State Operations Network. We oversee the field based teams that conducts visits to your services in the set operations space. I'd also let you know that I'm also on Dharug land today and I acknowledge the elders past, present and emerging. So introduction. What we would like to do is start with the why around compliance. Today, we received quite a few questions. So for some of you, we've put them together for others that were quite specific so it was a little bit harder to get some answers for you but we have been able to refer you on to other documentation. We hope through this session overall we've been able to answer as many questions as possible in the time that we have. If this session raises further specific questions for your service that you don't feel that were answered, as Di said, that they will be put together in a frequently asked question page at the end of this or you can contact our inquiries, I'll start again, our inquiries and information team. So why do we do this? The National Quality Framework was the result of an agreement between all states and territories to work together to provide better education and development outcomes for children. Research shows that children who attend well-regulated and high quality services have better long-term outcomes. The NQF aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children's education and care services. The education and care, national law and the education and care, national regulation which we call the regs sits within the NQF. And it's important that no matter what role you hold within a service, from the time of service opens in the morning to the time it closes, and for some of us, even in our sleep you must have a clear knowledge and understanding of the law and regs and how they apply to you, your staff, your children and families, because every decision you make there is a child and their family at the centre of it. We often get asked to provide a checklist, tell us what you want us to see, give us a checklist. Basically, once you're approved from regulation 55 and all associated laws onwards, that's all the checklist you need. Don't be afraid of the regulations, make it your friend. In fact, I would strongly recommend that you love your regs. They will protect you. They will guide you, and they will provide you structure. And don't assume that somebody coming into your service because they have hold a training qualification they really have a deep understanding of the regulations. You really have to be working in children's services to understand what the implications are and how it fits within your particular context. I would also advise you to keep current with the updates to the regulations, quite a few questions we had today and we get all the time is it used to be in the regs in one version or another of the regs. In fact, I can remember I used to work with three different coloured regulations one for each service type I worked in. And we still hear statements like, it used to be in the reg so we've always done it that way and we'll continue to do it. Many of you will be aware that the NQF review is currently underway to ensure law and regs remain current and consistent. The consultation stage of the proposed options for change has now been completed. Now we're in the stage of a decision regulation impact statement of address and that will be developed which will assist the education ministers in deciding what if any options to change should occur. For more information on this, we encourage you to visit the NQF review website. Now, enough of the why we do this, let's get on to answering some of those tough questions you've submitted and we hope that we can provide you with the answers you seek. Over to you Di.

 

- Thanks Kathy. So the first question, is it considered best practise to have more than one educator in a room at all times regardless of educator to child ratios? For example, three children under the age of two with only one educator when there are tasks such as nappy changes to be performed and supervision can be an issue. So in answering this question, there's probably two key aspects to consider here. So one is supervision and the other is child protection. So in addition to meeting ratio requirements as per the national regulations, adequate supervision of children must be maintained at all times. That's a legal requirement. So supervision is a key aspect of ensuring children's safety and adequate supervision means that an educator can respond immediately particularly when a child is distressed or in a hazardous situation, and knowing where children are at all times and monitoring their activities actively and diligently. Adequate supervision is required during all aspects of the routine. For example, when completing nappy changes and toileting procedures. The national law and regulations does not prescribe the staffing levels required to ensure adequate supervision. Really each service must use their own experience, judgement and discretion in determining how they will ensure children's safety by ensuring ratio requirements are met and adequate supervision is maintained at all times. So from a child protection perspective, considerations should also be prioritised. This includes consideration of staffing positioning so that staff are always in view of each other whenever possible, and reasonably practicable. So every service is required to have policies and procedures in place relating to supervision and a child safe environment based on the individual service context.

 

- Okay, next question is, are staff meetings considered an essential part of compliance regulations or are information memos and emails satisfactory in terms of staff communication? This is another one that we will probably keep referring to the word context in terms of the context of your service because that's really important. There's no requirement in the regulations for staff meetings to occur. However, authorised officers may cite different things when they actually conduct an investigation or an assessment and rating. Evidence recorded in staff meeting minutes or reflective journals that demonstrate that the educational leader, the nominated supervisor coordinators and the educators are engaging with their colleagues to reflect on practise, explore new possibilities and record outcomes that have resulted in improved practise so that children and families benefit. There may be documented examples of projects or teamwork that recognised and builds on the diverse skills, knowledge and strengths of the team. If face-to-face staff meetings are not being held or you find that they're problematic in your service then you would need to find creative ways of sharing information, reflecting, supporting skills and continuously improving on programme so that every staff member has an opportunity to contribute. Staff meetings offer fantastic opportunities to encourage educators to participate in quality improvement discussions, including reflection on key practises such as pedagogy and inclusion and it enables all staff members to provide input for planning continuous and quality improvement. Having been in work in an agile space for quite some time staff meetings and face-to-face meetings are invaluable especially when we're such so busy during the day.

 

- The next question is, do accident or incident reports need to be filled out for every injury for a child regardless of whether first aid has been applied? For example, if a child grazes their knee when tripping over, but refuses a bandaid or any help. So regulation 87 requires that the approved provider ensure that an accurate incident, injury and illness record is kept. It sets out a list of prescribed information that must be included which includes the name and age of the child, the circumstances of the injury, whether notifications have been made to the parents or families, and if any first aid was administered or not. So while reports of serious incidents that require hospital treatment do need to be documented and then reported to the department within set timeframes there are also advantages to good incident and injury reporting for minor incidents or accidents that are not necessarily reportable. These advantages can include noting common elements or causes of injuries to minimise risk of a more serious accident in the future, inform best practise and training for new and existing educators, critical reflection opportunities where educators are able to participate in what worked well and what can be done differently and clear and accurate documentation of the incident particularly if the parent were to inquire or make a complaint regarding the injury.

 

- What are the requirements for pest spraying and how do we ensure sustainability when incorporating this into our spaces? There is no specific requirement for pest spraying in the regulation. However, regulation 103 requires that premises and equipment are safe and clean and in good repair. And the law requires under section 167 that children are protected from harm and hazard. An officer may ask for confirmation of pest control if there is evidence of an infestation at the service but it's not something that we would require all the time. The NSW health pesticides act and regulation provides controls on pesticides, pesticides use, and the directly relevant to managing insects, rodents and other pests in education and care service. If you need to apply pesticides in an agricultural plot or kitchen garden, the regulation requires you to have appropriate training and keep records of all pesticides use. However, you are exempt from the training and recording requirements if the pesticide used is available to the general public and meets the small use exemption criteria. In New South Wales, you're only allowed to use registered pesticides. These have a label with safe to use and instructions of which you should read and follow when using. For more information, we really encourage you to visit the environmental protection authority website. In terms of sustainability, I would suggest you do your research for the context of your own service looking at the ages of the children, the location and what other animals you may have in your space or in neighbouring properties.

 

- So the next question is, why do applications for temporary waivers take a long time to process? So the department is able to grant temporary waivers for a number of provisions under regulation 44. A temporary waiver enables a service that is noncompliant with the national regulations or an element of the National Quality Standard to be taken to be compliant or not required to comply during the period that waiver is in force. A waiver application is valid when the approved provider has submitted all of the prescribed information. So regulation 45 of the national regulations sets out the prescribed information for a temporary waiver. And this can include the reasons services unable to comply with requirements, details and evidence of attempts to comply, measures being taken to protect the wellbeing of children and the time period for which the waiver is required. So waivers are considered on a case by case basis as the circumstances at each service are different and decisions are made in accordance with the department's waiver policy. Familiarising yourself with the policy and ensuring compliance with requirements will assist in ensuring an efficient application process. And we'll pop a link to the policy into the chat so you have it for record.

 

- The Environmental Protection Authority or the EPA is the website that you need to have a look at for pest sprays for that information that I've provided. Okay, this is really hard to do when you're trying to type and look, and I can't see your faces. So I'm sure that we're keeping you all riveted to the screen. We've had quite a few questions around assessment and rating. So we've sort of picked the main themes from this and we're hoping that we'll be able to answer everyone's questions. So there were two parts. Assessment and rating is not realistic and only shows half the story. What is the department doing to improve the process? The second one is, why is the A&R system inconsistent? A lot of services operate in very similar ways, however some end up with a meeting NQS rating while others end up with an exceeding NQS rating. In a nutshell, I'll try and answer this in one question. In 2019, the New South Wales reg authority reviewed the way that we undertake assessment and rating. We looked at what makes an effective assessment and rating process and that was from all service types that was centre-based or family daycare. And based on the feedback from the sector we introduced self-assessment of quality improvement because what we've heard loud and clear is that you know your services best. New South Wales quality support team was established to assist services to connect with the National Quality Standard. So their assessment and rating is linked to a continuous journey of improvement rather than an event that occurs every few years. Since November, 2019, the quality support team have engaged with over 1,400 services to self assess their quality and build confidence in preparing for and connecting with the assessment and rating process including the visit itself. A commitment to continuous improvement is inherit to the National Quality Framework and is striving for best practise underpins the commitment. Self-assessment is about reflecting on your key current practises and key practises simply put are, what you do at your service. It's about your why. How your service aligns to the National Quality Standards. This is why we often get the question about comparing one service to another. Simply put every service has a different setting, different educators, different families and different children which actually changed from year to year. So you're the best people and your best place to capture that context and articulate those practises. Self-assessment can also help the team to see your team, your staff team, to see the service with fresh eyes and from a different perspective. And with that comes a greater understanding of service programmes, as well as increased confidence in the quality improvement, planning, process and understanding the what and the why of what they do and what you do. What we know is that when all staff and all educators understand what is guiding their practise they can work together for continuous quality improvements to enhance outcomes for children. Self assessment process allows a service to reflect on their practise and how this is aligned to the National Quality Standards. Your educators know your service unique aspects best and self assessment provides an avenue to clearly articulate this to the reg authority in preparation for your assessment. The authorised officer will use your individual self-assessment information which is your articulated key practises to guide the assessment visit. This is when they come out and they will confirm what you've told us and they may collect additional evidence to support the rating. What we are hearing very clearly from the sector is when educators know and understand what guides their practise, they're actively involved in the improvement journey and what comes with that is an increased confidence around the assessment visit. They're well-prepared, they're well-informed and that they're very clear about what's going to happen and what was gonna happen next. This is really an open book approach. You are encouraged to share your key practises with educators so they know what to expect when the AO visits and what they might be asked to talk about, what the AO will be looking for and remembering that authorised officers when they come out, they're not just looking at paperwork they're observing practises, they're citing discussed documents but they're also discussing a great deal of things with the educators across the service. The quality support team is available to work with any service in New South Wales to prepare for assessment and rating. The sooner you make contact, the more time you will have to work together. You don't just have to wait for your letter for that contact to have happened. Support offer is tailored to meet the individual needs of your service. So for more information, you can actually contact the quality support team on our 1-800 number or the EC quality support which I will put the email for you into the chat.

 

- The next question. Do services have to practise both emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures every three months? So this is a common question that we do get. So regulation 97, particularly 97-3 requires education and care services to rehearse their emergency and evacuation procedures every three months. So page 378 of the guide to the NQF states that an emergency to all situations or events posing an imminent or severe risk to those present at an education and care service premises. So for example, an emergency could include a fire, flood or threat that requires a service to be locked down or shelter in place. So if your service has both evacuation procedures and lockdown procedures in their emergency plans, then yes, both of these procedures must be rehearsed at least every three months.

 

- Do lunch boxes brought from home need to be refrigerated in services? The approved provider is responsible for ensuring the nominated supervisor, staff members and volunteers have implemented safe practises for handling, preparing and storage of food at your services. This comes under regulation 77 and 168. Your service should have policies and procedures that outline the safety standards for storing and reheating of food children bringing from home. Services should discuss what food is being brought in by parents and if they do require refrigeration. While there is no strict risk requirement in the NQF that lunch boxes should be refrigerated, you should keep food hot at more than 60 degrees or cold that less than five degrees. Heating and cooling food properly will help prevent germs from growing in the food. You can also use a food thermometer to ensure or reheated food reaches the correct temperature. You should keep an non mercury thermometer in your fridge so you can check the temperatures below five degrees, check that the food has cooled before giving it to the child throw out any leftovers and tell parents what food is left over but don't return the leftover food to parents in lunchbox. For more information on safe food handling practises including refrigeration, please consult the Australian food safety standards. Alternatively, the New South Wales health initiative munch and move provides training and guidance on embedding healthy eating and physical activity in caring for children services.

 

- Okay, staffing is at a crucial under-supply. What is the department doing to help the profession deal with a lack of educators? So it is an objective of the National Quality Framework to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services and a sustainable high quality workforce that meets the needs of children and their families is really critical to achieving this objective. The department is aware of the difficulties that the sector is facing and there are a number of avenues through which this work is being progressed. So first of all, we are currently reviewing our existing New South Wales ECE workforce strategy in order to appropriately address this. The second thing we're doing is also there are some workforce considerations as part of the National Quality Framework review. So consultation for this has closed but we would still recommending visiting the NQF review website to learn about the proposed changes. And lastly, ACECQA is currently coordinating the development of a new national children's education and care workforce strategy. Public consultation is currently underway and we really do encourage you to join an information session and provide feedback via the online survey. ACECQA then use this feedback received to inform the development of the 10 year national workforce strategy. And on the next slide, we've just provided the link to the workforce strategy so you're able to participate if you want to.

 

- This may answer some of the questions that are being asked on the question and answer, but if it doesn't, we can take that up later on. Recently, we had an authorised officer visit us for a monitoring visit. The officer noted texta drawings on our walls and marked us as having a breach. We find that this is nit-picking. What is the department doing to ensure a balanced approach to monitoring and compliance? We love these questions. I think the question itself needs a little bit more context to understand the breach. I would not say just texta drawings alone sufficient in itself to say that it was non-compliance. However, it may have led the officer to look at further observations such as overall cleanliness or upkeep of the service or it might've been supervision of the children. If the child was standing there writing on the wall and no one was watching them. There is too many variables in that question to say one thing or another but what we have heard from the sector that to support them lifting in our quality, you wanna see our offices more often. You wanna see more regular visits and more engagement with our offices, not just during our A&R. We've been working really hard with our officers to ensure that that engagement is positive. And that has been really evident over the last year where we've had to use phone calls and Zoom meetings to conduct a lot of our compliance. We've had a really positive response from the sector in relation to that and we really wanna build on that. We wanna see our officers building relationships with the services. We have set very clear targets to ensure every service will have a visit at least once a year so you should be seeing our officers on a more regular basis in the future. Take the time to talk to the officer about those small things so they don't become big things. Because really, where we fail to operate services within the law and the regulations, it does put children at risk but we need to work together to ensure that's not occurring.

 

- So we did receive some questions relating to educator to child ratio requirements. So under the roof ratios are not mentioned in the regs yet many centres use across the centre ratios. How do we interpret these to comply? And how do we maintain staff ratios when running an indoor or indoor/outdoor programme for children? So for example, when we have 20 children, if 11 go indoors with one educator, is this okay as we are still within sight and sound? So the phrase under the roof is not a regulatory concept and it's not found in the national law and the regulations. So the term under the roof originally did come from paid or unpaid lunch breaks. It had nothing to do with how ratios are applied but it has over time become confused with this. There's also a misconception that an educator on a planned break or undertaking administrative tasks can still be counted as part of the ratios because they are working on the premises. This is not correct. So educator to child ratio is apply at all times that an education care service is operating. And to be included in the ratio, educators must mould will be actively working towards and approved qualification and be directly working with children at the service. So meaning they are physically present with and directly engaged in providing education and care to the children. This effectively means that an educator on a scheduled break or undertaking administrative tasks cannot be counted as they are not directly engaged in providing education and care to the children. It is also important to remember that ratios are applied across the service and not by individual room or location. So this means that the number of educators required to be working directly with children will be calculated by using the total number of children across all the rooms or locations that the service is operating. So in other words, the ratio does not need to be met in each individual room. Additionally, meeting ratio requirements may not always mean that there is adequate supervision. So the service should also ensure adequate supervision is maintained at all times. Factors that may be helpful when determining if supervision is adequate include the number, age and ability of children, the number and positioning of educators, each child's current activity, areas where children applying in particular visibility and accessibility of these areas, risks in the environment and experiences provided to children and the experience knowledge and skill of each educator. The department has recently developed an educator to child ratio calculator in conjunction with ACECQA. And just on the next slide we've provided the link to that calculator if you haven't already seen it. It is a useful tool to help guide services as to the number of educators required to meet educator to child ratio requirements at any one time. It is important to note that the tool is a guide only and that the educators must be directly involved in the education care of children to be counted in ratios and that adequate supervision of children must still be maintained at all times.

 

- Thanks Di. I was just reading one of the questions about I appreciate that we're being a little bit broad in some of our answers when we do give the answers and we don't mean to make them motherhood statements. We just feel that if, like I said before at the beginning if there are specific questions that are specific to your context in your service, you can ring our 1-800 number. We're trying to get as much information out to people as we possibly can. So we had intentionally become a little bit general in that space. So next question is, what is the definition of an educational programme? What does displayed in a place at the service that is accessible to parents actually mean in practise? This is another one that we've probably been intentionally broad because every service is going to be different. Some mobile services don't even have a foyers some services don't have walls. So it's really about the context of your service. So an educational programme involves the child's whole experience of the service. It includes planned and spontaneous interactions, experiences, routines, and events. How a programme is organised can have significant impact on whether or not a child is presented with optimal opportunities to learn. In practise, it means a family can see an outline of what learning experiences that children are going to be engaged in or have been engaged in so they have the opportunity to contribute. Consideration should be given to the needs of your families at the service, display and accessibility of the programme can look very different on each service based on your individual context as I said. It may be that you provide that on an iPad. It may be that you provided on a smart board. It really depends on your service and what your needs of your families are.

 

- Could you give us clarity on the keeping of documents in early childhood? Can they be kept electronically or are we required to keep paper copies? Okay, so there isn't a prescribed format for the creation or keeping of prescribed records under the national law or national regulations. Records can be kept in electronic or hard copy format. The New South Wales state archives and records standard on digital record keeping in 2008 states that if a record is first created in digital form it should remain in digital form. Keeping a record in digital form allows important metadata to be kept such as author, date created and date modified. If an approved provider chooses to keep electronic records for example, utilising online enrollment services they must meet their obligations under the national law to securely store their records and make them available upon request to both families and the regulatory authority. This is detailed in regulations 177 to 178 and 181 to 183. So there is an obligation for providers to offer a reasonable format to the regulatory authority and families so they can access the information when required.

 

- We actually have quite a few questions about buildings, bathrooms, and toilets. So this one we sort of, hopefully we capture the gist of what people are asking. When building a new preschool, can you place an adult toilet cubicle in the children's bathroom? I guess my answer to that is, there is nothing specific in the regulations but I would question whether or not it was appropriate. I would refer you to the childcare planning guidelines which actually state toilet and hygiene facilities should be designed to maintain the amenity and dignity of the occupants. So I will refer you onto the childcare planning guidelines at the New South Wales planning department. Also, as you're aware, given that the introduction of the child safe standards will be enforced in July, I would question whether this would actually meet the requirements of standard aid physical and online environments minimise the opportunity for abuse to occur. So I would refer you to the kids' guardian and make sure that when you've got any design in mind or anything even when you're setting up your current preschool, preschool childcare settings whatever setting, when you're arranging furniture I would actually really look at those child safe standards when they come in and have a better understanding of how the design and the arrangement of your environment can be impacted by those. If you haven't seen the presentation on the child safe standards, there is a second presentation on this week that you should still be able to register for.

 

- Okay, is it a requirement to carry out a risk assessment for new toys? So section 167 of the national law requires you to ensure that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect children from harm and hazard likely to cause injury. Toys play an important role in helping children learn and develop. And it's your duty as an educator to identify, assess and manage potential hazards from new toys that are brought into the service. So Australian standards for new and existing toys have been developed to protect children. And one quick and easy thing that you can do is to check for labels that ensure these toys meet the Australian standard to assess possible choking hazards and age suitability. So additionally, apart from the daily weekly cleaning of the equipment and the toys, consideration should also be given to the maintenance schedule, including checking and disinfecting outdoor play equipment to minimise harm and hazards. And for more information on toy safety, we would suggest visiting the kids safe website. Okay, that's the end of sort of the, I guess the questions that we received for the session. We did want to just cover off some useful resources that you might find helpful. They're either resources that we've just recently released or are coming up for release that we just wanted to let you know about. So the first is some video modules relating to emergency planning. So series of six video modules have been released to support services in their emergency planning and preparedness and they do cover everything from the regulatory requirements to risk assessments and rehearsals. They're really good resource. They're only short sort of 10 minute videos. So they're kind of easy to follow and really useful information for your emergency planning and preparedness. The next one is a resource relating to reporting requirements. This is a common question that we get asked in terms of the reporting requirements of services and educators. So we have put together a sort of a one page resource to support services in the reporting requirements and it follows in a detailed sort of the steps that should be taken following an incident disclosure or suspicion of child abuse. So it's currently available on our website at the link noted there. The next one is the guide to the child safe standards specifically for early childhood education and care services. So the department has been preparing a guide to assist with implementing the child safe standards. The guide provides education and care services with practical strategies and tips to consider when implementing the standards. It also offers points of critical reflection and promotes continue to establishment of the systems that prevent detect and respond to child abuse. The guide applies to a range of children's age groups and roles in services and is designed to be used to support all service types. It is currently being finalised and we'll communicate to all services when it is available. The next one is the outdoor learning portal which was developed in conjunction with Early Childhood Australia. It contains resources to support services to create rich outdoor learning spaces and ensure children engage in meaningful learning when outside. The portal comprises video, learning modules, eBooks articles, and information sheets. And it's available until the 9th of September of this year. So if you haven't had a chance to have a look at it already, we certainly recommend that you do before that date. The next one is around transportation. It's an area that we do receive a lot of questions around. So we've released a number of resources in collaboration with an organisation called Kids and Traffic to assist services in understanding the requirements of transportation. And this includes regular transportation and excursions and the resources provide a sample policy, a sample procedure and a sample risk assessment that will hopefully assist you in understanding the requirements. The next one is around safe sleep and rest practises. So this currently, some professional development opportunities being offered in conjunction with ECTARC. It provides training on safe sleep and rest practises and will help to reduce the risk of children in care by building on the understanding and skills of educators on safe sleep and rest practises. So if you haven't had a chance, please do have a look at the upcoming sessions available. And finally, the department has initiated the creation of a new early education leaders peer network. The professionals in the early childhood education and care sector. This is in conjunction with CELA and the initiative is effectively supporting a community of practise to connect a group of people who share a concern or a passion and helping them learn and enhance practise together. And it's a space where leaders can also feel supported and well-resourced to undertake their role. So again, if you haven't had a chance to have a look at that, that's one that we do recommend engaging with. Thanks, Kathy.

 

- Thanks Di. And, while I said, we didn't answer all the questions I've noticed that there's quite a few questions on the question and answer and we will endeavour to answer as many of those questions as part of our frequently asked questions. So we will get to you once these presentations are completed. What I'd like you to do now is we've got some questions of you about training, further training which actually helps guide our practise because the questions that you've provided today, the questions that you've provided prior to this session and some of the things that you all raised through this Menti, we will actually use those to critically reflect on our practises. 'Cause I noticed that some of the themes of the questions are very similar. And we would like, if same as you do, you critically reflect on your practise to continuously improve, we do the same here at the department. So I'll give you a couple of minutes just to get your Menti up. And we have a series of questions for you in terms of how you would best like to, sorry, I'll start my words again, how you would like to receive further training and further information from us. So then we can actually guide us on our next slide of roadshows or further sector engagement as you've seen from what Di has put forward. There's a lot of sector engagement and a lot of training that's being provided by the department and that's come from questions from the sector or discussions with the sector. So we are continuously trying to find new ways to support services in their role. So how are we going Matt? Are we ready for the first question? Are we all on the Menti questions up? If you could head to Menti and the voting code is on your screen. Oh, here we go. We've got some quick starters. What are the key benefits to you participating in professional development? Pretty well spread across the board. Networking with colleagues I agree we would really like to do that again. That will be wonderful when things get back to new normal. Being able to ask questions and guidance about issues. You don't have to wait for a training session or a roadshow to do that. Please engage with our offices. If you need to call our inquiries and information team and ask to speak to a manager or speak to one of the relevant teams that can provide you with the support. And hearing from the reg authority. When we first introduced this roadshows I think it was a couple of years now we've been doing it. It's been in response because people wanna hear from the reg authority. Pretty even split. Being asked about it and hearing from us. Okay, Matt, can we move to the next one? When would you prefer to engage in professional development opportunities? Are you a morning person? Are you an evening person? Would you prefer to do it in your own time? Do you like full days? Some services don't have time for full days. Half days. We have lots of morning people and self-paced. We appreciate that quite often with professional development when you're busy with the children during the day you're so tired by the time you get home to have a night time. The last thing you really wanna do is look at more things about regulations but we're all going to love our regs after today. So we know how much you'll want to read them. Lots and lots of morning people and self-paced. Something that you can go back to. And the good thing about these sessions is that they're recorded. So you can go back to those and you can actually share them with people that couldn't be part of the training today. Thanks, Matt, we'll go on to the next one. I'm just mindful of the time. Which modes of delivery interests you most for professional development? Attending conferences, attending webinars, online self-paced modules, discussion panel, recorded webinars and resources and written resources. Attending face-to-face workshops. Attending webinars. So the face-to-face workshops you actually don't have to, you get catered for. When you're doing self-paced learning, you've got to make your own coffee. So hopefully we're looking at not too distant future. We'll be able to get back face-to-face. Written resources, as you can see from the resources that Di has put up we are actually developing more and more resources so that the sector can get that information as soon as they can. Online modules, webinars. And to answer some of the questions around policies and procedures. I know that ACECQA are in the process of looking at updating some of those documents and looking at sample policies for service to use but so I guess watch this space or watch your ACECQA space because it will be coming out soon. Next one is going to be words. So what are your professional development priorities in the next 12 months? What are some of the things that you will need to make a priority in the next 12 months? And how can we best support that? Those development priorities? Child safe standards, fantastic. As I said for those that haven't seen the child safe standards there is another, I think it's on Thursday. There's another session. The modules on the child safe website. Brilliant. And easy to follow.

 

- Kathy.

 

- Sorry.

 

- The session's tomorrow.

 

- Oh, it is tomorrow. It may have closed, sorry. I thought it was later, but as I said, if you get onto the child safe website there's a lot of resources on there. Very easy to use. Self assessment, yes, please. Contact our quality support team and have a look at the self-assessment and remembering you don't have to go through a self assessment and you can still use the quality improvement plan. And our quality support team will support you through that process as well. Self-assessment, child guidance, critical reflection, indigenous education, adapting the new child safe standards. I think that's gonna be a very busy space for all of us in the next six months. I think everybody's got the same plan for their next six months. Confidence and competence with self-assessment. And again, as I said, I would refer you, our quality support team are the happiest people on earth. They are just so positive and so happy to talk to people. Self assessment, risk assessment, training new educators, get them to love their regs. They will love their regs in time. Child safe standards. Okay, we might move on to the next one Matt. This is our last one. So how can the department better reach educators of services with opportunities for professional development? So think outside the box about some of the things that we can do to get to educators who are busy with the children during the day. Some of them are probably studying and they really don't want to listen to us for the night time. Directed specifically to them. Service emails, emails or educators. That would be ideal in an ideal world. However, we don't keep the email addresses of all the educators that's why we rely on approved providers and services to pass on that information. Short videos, Instagram. We do have a Facebook page. Face-to-face training. Free webinars that can be done at our own pace. Online self-paced, sending through the links to the webinars. Come to your staff meetings. 5,700 services across New South Wales we might be a bit stretched to do that one. That's a good idea though. Zoom meetings after work, more roadshows. Our next lot of roadshows, Di, I think October. September, October, there will be some more. And a lot of the information that you've provided today and a lot of the information you're providing here through a Menti will actually be taken up by our comms and our policy team to look at the best way to provide you with those roadshows in October. And given, we're not sure about what's gonna be happening with COVID, it could be that we'll be doing a bit more face-to-face or we will be doing a combination of both. Training good handbook and guides. We do have a guide called the guide to the National Quality Standard. It's 600 page road read but it's good information. Videos and podcasts showcase competitions, not sure what that means. I don't know who's going to be giving out the prices for those ones. Face to face own time webinars. I think everybody has, understand regional always misses out. We are very, very clear that we are, we have spoken to regional services in the last few presentations that Di and I have done and we have spoken to some regional spaces under the rural or remote conference recently about best place to present training to regional services. Engaging with not just the nominated supervisors, I agree. And I guess it's about, we rely on approved providers and service managers to pass on our information and refer them to the website as well so that they can get those resources. Okay, I'm just mindful of time. I appreciate the time that you've spent here today. So I'm just going to leave you back to Di to wrap up and I would like to thank you for your time, for your contributions, and we will go through the questions and get those back to you. So thank you everybody. And I'll hand you back to Di.

 

- Thank you. We really do appreciate the time that you've taken to join us. Just a reminder that the roadshows will be running until the 20th of May and there are a number of sessions still to come. So we do encourage you to check the schedule and see if there is anything that does still interest you. And also as always, if you wanna stay up to date, please do join us on our Facebook page and the link is there. So thank you again. Sorry, we haven't answered all of the questions. It's been a bit difficult to multitask and there are some quite lengthy ones but we will certainly work through them one by one and get the FAQs out to you. So thank you again and enjoy the rest of your day.

Ensuring every child has a positive transition to school

Ensuring every child has a positive transition to school

- All right. I think we can see we've got about 200 people with us so far, so we might get started. Thanks so much for joining us, everyone. We're really thrilled to be able to talk to you today. We'll start with an acknowledgement of country and then we'll introduce ourselves. Thanks.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the Traditional Custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to Elders past, present, and emerging, and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today, and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- Thanks everyone. I'd also like to add Linda and my acknowledgement to that beautiful acknowledgement. So Linda and I are here today and Dharug land in Paramatta and we'd like to pay our respects as well to Elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal people joining us on this webinar today. So quick introductions to kick off, my name is Kate Stephens. I'm a manager in the Early Childhood Education policy area. And one of the priorities that I look after is transition to school.

 

- And my name is Linda, and I'm looking after the Transition to School Digital Statement project which we'll hear a little bit more about later today.

 

- Before we get stuck into the content, we wanted to run through some quick housekeeping for you. So, you would have seen that your microphone, video, and chat functions are disabled but we really want this to be a really interactive session. We have quite a number of questions for you. So we encourage you to use the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen to ask any questions. You can type your questions into the Q&A and you'll also see there's a function there where you can vote on other people's questions to get them prioritised. We'll try to answer questions if we can today but if we're not able to, then we'll be collating them and we'll circulate them to participants after the session. We also wanted to let you know that we will be using Menti today to make sure that we can get those interactive activities happening. And so please have your phone or another device ready. You can use your current device with a different web browser, but you'll need that to be able to scan or enter the Menti code on the screen when it comes up so that you can participate in those interactive components. Finally, just to let everybody know that this session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshow is complete. Also at the end of the slides, you'll see an email contact if you would like to get in touch with any of us, you are able to contact us through that way. All right. Onto the next slide. Thanks, Matt. Thanks very much. So, we wanted to start today by sharing a little bit about what the department's role is in transition to school. But as I said, we're going to do a little bit of that sharing, but we really want to hear from you. So, we wanna acknowledge from the very beginning that you all are very across what's best practice in transition to school, and you would already be doing a number of activities in that space. So really keen to hear more and more about that today. And also hoping that a number of you might have heard Marc De Rosnay the academic present earlier in the week or I think it was last week, actually. Yep time flies. About transition to school. And a lot of his thinking guides our work as well. So in terms of the department's role in transition to school, the transition to school is actually highlighted as one of our strategic objectives. So you can see there on the screen it's a strategic objective that all children make a strong start in life and learning and make a successful transition to school. We know that to do that there are many, many people who need to be involved and to take part. And so you'll see there we've got a few of the main key players listed. Of course early childhood education and care services, parents and families, schools, both educators from early childhood services and ECE teachers, and also primary school teachers. I also wanted to acknowledge we know that there's a large number of other stakeholders involved in this. So, it might be allied health professionals, speech pathologists, all sorts of different roles. So, we see that our role as the department is really to engage with all of the participants involved in the transition to school and to support people, to be able to build those connections between the different groups. I'm sure this won't be news to any of you, but just to reiterate why we care about transition to school. Of course, the research shows that children who make a smooth transition to school maintain higher levels of both social and academic outcomes throughout their lives. And we know that very importantly, that really early stages of starting school can help the children to develop long-term positive attitudes to school, and to learning. Also I would like to acknowledge from the very get go that we don't see transition to school as a program run in Term 4. We really acknowledge that it's a long term activity that almost pretty much happens from the birth of the child and goes all the way through to kindergarten and can be beyond depending on the needs of the child. So today we wanted to give you a bit of a taster of some of the initiatives that are happening to do with transition to school in the department. The first one mentioned there, the Transition to School Digital Statement, we'll do a bit more of a deep dive on later in this session. So I won't touch on it too much today. But I did want to mention the transition to school resource pack. So this was mailed out to a long daycare services, community and mobile preschools last year, as well as any family daycare services that expressed interest to us. Unfortunately, we don't have the hard copies available anymore but happily they are all available online. So if you're interested in that resource pack, you can access it on our website. The resource pack includes a storybook that can be read to children called "Daisy's First Day." And also one of the components that I really love is the transition to school educators guide. It's got a little bit of a summary of the research and then some proposed activities that ECE services can do. The reason I really like it is it was created by ECE teachers. So, the content in there, we've had really good feedback that people have found it helpful. I also want to acknowledge here that there is a huge number of transition to school activities taking place across the department. So the ones that we're going to focus on today are particularly focused on early childhood services, but there are a lot of other activities happening to support schools in understanding the best practice in transition to school. You might be familiar with the transition to school guidelines for primary schools. We also have a number of new digital initiatives happening to make the process for children with disability, transitioning easier, as well as some other activities underway, particularly for children with disability and Aboriginal children. So, there are a raft of activities happening and I'd encourage you to have a look on the website if you're interested. And as I said today, we wanna focus on the early childhood side. Onto the next slide, please, Matt. And we will get going with some interactive things. So, what this slide is really talking about are some key focus areas that have come out of both research and also some engagement with the early childhood sector about what are the key focus areas for transition to school. We won't go to Menti quite yet but in a minute, when we go, I'm really interested to know, what do you think are the most important of these four focus areas? And I'll just give a bit of a summary of what we mean by each of these. So, first of all, building awareness is really about promoting the importance of transition to school as a journey for all children, and also the value of a positive and successful experience for children, families, and services. In terms of supporting continuity of learning, that's really supporting that shared understanding between services and schools, as well as families, and providing practical resources to all of those involved. Facilitating and strengthening connections. What we mean there is building those connections between ECE services and schools as well as communities, children, and families. We know here that are really important one is sort of making sure that the the different frameworks that ECE services and schools use can understood by both sides. We hear a lot of feedback that it's often difficult for schools to understand the early years learning framework and services sometimes want more input from us on how they can best communicate with schools about curriculum. So, that's the real focus there. And we'll talk a little bit more about that later as well. And then in terms of tracking benchmarks of success, this is really thinking about what would the benchmarks of success be at different points during the transition to school journey and to track how children are doing so that we can make sure that we're doing the best by them so that they're achieving the best outcomes possible. So I'll pause there for you to either scan the QR code, or enter the actual code in Menti. You'll have the chance to vote. Essentially what we're after is which of these areas do you think is most important? I would also add if you think there are other areas that we should be considering, please feel free to add it in the Q&A, and we'll have a look at that as well. So we're just giving everyone a minute to get into Menti and then we'll move across and you'll be able to see the results. Fantastic. It looks like a lot of people already in and voting. Thanks for the comments. I think that's a really important one and we're working very closely. So there's a couple of transition to school teams that work closely with schools, and we're working closely with them to make sure that that gap is bridged. We also wanna make sure that where possible, any professional learning sort of speaks to both early childhood services and schools again so that that gap can be bridged. All right. Fantastic. Looks like number one is facilitate and strengthen connections. Very closely followed by supporting continuity of learning. So, thanks everyone for voting on that. That's really helpful. I should say it doesn't mean that we'll disregard anything of course. We think that all four of these areas are really important. What we'll do is just have a bit of a think about how we can make sure that the work that we're prioritising aligns most closely with the areas that you've identified. What we're going to do now is do another Menti question. But just before I move on, I'll explain what we're after. So, as I said at the start, we really want to acknowledge that you are the people who are most experienced with transition to school and who are looking and thinking about this every day. And so we want to make sure, as the department that we're putting our efforts in the best place and not duplicating, what's already happening. So the next question is really about any best practice programs or activities that you know that are happening in transition to school. It might be something you're doing now. It might be you've done in the past or just something that you've heard of from others. And again, as I said, the idea here is really to get that sense so that we can promote what's working well and avoid duplicating efforts. This one, we might bring it up now. Please, Matt. And this one is an open text box, so you can write it in and we'll see the answers as they come through. This is fantastic. Thanks everyone for putting your answers in. Even where people have put, it's a program that's not used anymore that's still really helpful for us. And thanks for people putting things in the Q&A as well. It's really great to see the visits that happen and the length of time that they have as well. Fantastic. Thank you. We might move on to the next question because we've got a lot to get through but if you do think of other things then please feel free to put them into the Q&A. So the next question is really about how you see the department's role in terms of transition to school. So again, we're really open to feedback and really keen to hear what your thoughts are about where our efforts are best placed in transition to school practices. So if there are things you are already doing that you think the department could help with, or if there are new spaces or opportunities, then that'd be great as well. I love all these practical ideas. Thank you. And I love the tricky ones like change the school starting age. I think it's a very big undertaking. Of course we are not the ones responsible for that but really happy to see people's ideas and we'll feed them back to the appropriate teams as well. Can I ask, this might be one that you have to put into the Q&A, but when people have got there change the school starting age, do you want it to be higher or lower? Just reading a few of the others. That's really helpful. So some people have asked older age. Okay. Thank you for the person who put that in. It's been very interesting looking across the different states and territories, the lack of consistency in school starting age. Fantastic. Thank you. They're all really great. Really great answers. Sorry, I'm getting too excited reading all the different answers. So I'll pause now but we will definitely have a look at them all afterwards and use this to guide our thinking and next steps. So thanks everyone for providing that input. Please, Matt. Thank you. So, one of the projects that we wanted to focus on today is the Transition to School Statement. Some of you might be familiar with this. Some of you might not be, that's okay, you'll still be able to participate. So if you're not so familiar with this, the Transition to School Statement is completed by an early childhood educator or teacher and is sent to the school. The document you can see on the slide there is an old version of the Transition to School Statement. Linda will talk later about how we're digitising this but some of you might have seen this version before. In terms of the statement itself, really, we see it as one of the main channels for consistent and reliable communication between a ECE service and the school. And the statement itself, if you're not familiar with the content, it summarises a child's strengths, interests, and approaches to learning. And that information is passed between families, ECE educators, and teachers. So a parent has to give consent for the statement to be completed. It also gives the child a voice. So there's some questions about the child's interests, learning, what strengths they have, and then opportunity for them to draw a picture that in the digital version is able to be uploaded. The statement also helps to link the early years learning framework to the early stage one syllabus. And there's some documents on our website as well that explain how that works. Really, what we want to know today is about your experience using the Transition to School Statement or other similar tools. And the information that you provide us with will help us to improve the statement. We're really aware at the moment of the fact that quite a number of services have their own Transition to School Statements or other ways of communicating with services. And so we wanna make sure that where possible we're complimenting that and making this process as seamless as possible for you, so that were really supporting the children transitioning to school. The reason that we're focusing on this project in particular is we really see it as a critical way to get information to the child's primary school as early as possible about expectations that they can have of that child, any additional needs that that child might have. I know that that communication can happen in other ways, but we see this as one of the critical ways for that to happen. And so we want to make sure that, as I said, it's a really streamlined process and easy for people to partake in. So, on this one there's a couple of Menti questions as well. So the first one is about... Pretty simple one. Do you use the current Transition to School Statement or another similar tool? This one's a bit of a multiple choice one in Menti. And so, if you have information about your current experience, that won't fit within the confines of the Menti question, then feel free to put it in the Q&A as well. For example, if you use a different Transition to School Statement than the one that's available from the department, we'd love to hear about that so that we can have a bit of a look okay into that as well. Thanks Sarah. I can see your question there. Or Sarah, I know that that name can be pronounced both ways so apologies if I've got it wrong. "Schools need to be encouraged to respect and actually read the statements." Completely agree. And I should make it clear, what you'll hear today about the statement, is what's most relevant for ECE services, but we're doing a whole piece of work with schools to promote the importance of the Transition to School Statement and to get that really on kindergarten teachers radars and stage one coordinators radars. The other piece of work that we're doing there is digitally and Linda will talk to this more later but, making it available in a place that's easy for teachers to access. So, you probably know that historically the Transition to School Statements have maybe been passed or handed to a certain person in the school, or maybe passed or handed to a parent and then asked to be passed on. So it hasn't been, well, I should say, reliable and consistent source of information for teachers. So, we're looking to make sure that they're receiving more statements in a place where they can easily access it and that they're expecting it so that we can increase their use and understanding of the importance of it. We don't have any other question on Menti. Thank you everyone. Can we flip to the next one? Great. Thank you. Great. Wow, look at all the votes. That's fantastic. And the comments are really helpful. Thank you.

 

- And I think just repeating what you mentioned earlier Kate, for all those that are using another version of a Transition to School Statement, if you can pop that in the Q&A so that we can cross reference and align our thinking with those resources would be really useful.

 

- There's a question there about, schools coming back and saying, "Well we have best start kindergarten to know where a child's at. Why would we need to Transition to School Statement?" So that's one that's really front of mind for us. And we're advocating very strongly for the fact that they do two very different things, they provide very different types of information. And they're also at two very different times. So schools have told us that they would love the Transition to School Statements toward the end of term four but to allow them not right at the end to allow them with enough time to use them to plan. And then of course, as you would know, best start kindergarten happens, partway during term one. So the idea is that the Transition to School Statement could be used for that planning and figuring out which classes children could go into. So I can see a big group... Sorry it's small for us that's why I'm squinting. A big group of people who use the Transition to School Statement. So that's fantastic. Quite a few who use another and then the middle right there we've got people that don't use any. So that's really helpful information for us. Thank you. And as I said, we'll go a bit more into the digitisation of that process shortly. All right. The next question that we'll put up in a minute on Menti and we'd love to hear your feedback on is the content itself of the Transition to School Statement. Now, this might be tricky to answer because you don't necessarily have it in front of you and you might not remember the content in it. So, what we're asking is that, if you are familiar with it and can remember what's in it if you let us know if there's certain types of information that you would like added to the statement. If you're not so familiar with the department's Transition to School Statement then we'd be really open to any feedback about what types of information you think in general a school should be hearing about a child before they arrive at the school. So, if it's the second, you're probably better to put it in the Q&A, but either in Menti or Q&A we'll collate the information later and have a look. Thanks. So we'll move to the next one. Thanks, Matt. There's some great feedback and questions coming through. I'm just aware that there's a lot of questions. So I apologise we wouldn't be able to answer them all now but as we said at the beginning, we'll collate them, and if you don't get an answer today we'll make sure you get one in the frequently asked questions that we'll circulate to everybody later. I wish we had time to answer them all because there's some really great ones.

 

- I'm really liking what's coming up the Menti board as well about parent input.

 

- Absolutely. And I really appreciate somebody said, "Think it needs to be shorter rather than added to." We're trying to balance that at the moment. So it's really helpful feedback. Look, one area that we're focused on at the moment is potentially adding more questions to support children with a disability and other additional needs so that the information there is comprehensive but we're also wary of making it a longer undertaking for it to be filled out and for it to be read. So, getting that balance is really important. This is great. So somebody said, "It covers a great deal of information, would be good to link reports from specialists too." So we're looking at ability to upload those kinds of reports so long as the parent consents to it being shared. Parent or carer. It's still coming through so I'll give people another minute to answer. Sorry, the scrolling means we lose the question sometimes. Sophie has mentioned that, "You've modified the department's version in conjunction with local schools to make it more appropriate and manageable to a condensed version." We would love to see it. If you are comfortable to share it, were really open to what's working. And particularly if you've already spoken to some local schools about it, that would be brilliant. As I said, you'll see a email address where you can contact us at the end of the slides. If you're open to sharing no pressure if you'd rather not. Someone has said, "Why don't we use Transition to School Statement?" So I might answer that one and then we'll need to move on. So, it's a good question, and I appreciate you asking it. The real importance of the Transition to School Statement as we see it is that communication. So it's the really main channel of consistent communication between an early childhood service and the school. And it's the most reliable way that we have of getting that communication to department schools in particular. And so we are really excited to increase the use and usefulness of it. I know that historically it hasn't been used consistently. So, that's why we're focusing on it and why we're trying to make it as straightforward and reduce the time spend that is required to complete it as possible. So, this will segue very well into the second half of the presentation which is about the digitisation of the process but just wanted to reiterate that it is highly valued by parents in particular we've heard, and also by the schools who see it. I know that sometimes people hear feedback that it's not read or not referred to. And as I said earlier, we're definitely addressing that and emphasising the importance of it with schools. The schools who do see, in particular the new digital statement, we've had really positive feedback from it that the information provided is incredibly useful and will help them so as long as it's received at a time that will allow them to use it for planning. So that's why we're talking about making sure we can get to schools before the end of term four. So yes, that's the basic reason, is we see it as a really important tool for passing that information on. I should say as well that what we're talking about today is really the sort of first steps of this and that we do have a multi-year plan for how the Transition to School Statement will be able to build and grow going forward, and that it could become in future a way for many other people to be able to get engaged so that we are really bringing people together and getting all the right stakeholders in the room around transition to school. All right. Thank you so much for all the comments. Please feel free to keep sharing them either through the Q&A or through the Menti although it might close, I'm not sure. And yes, as I said, we will take all of this and use it for our planning as well. So thanks very much for all the really great feedback that's coming through. So this has segued very nicely. Thank you for all the questions into Linda's component of today's session. So I will hand over to Linda.

 

- Thanks, Kate. And thank you everybody for joining us today and the valuable feedback that we've received so far. I'm loving watching everything come through on, the Menti scrolling boards there. So, as Kate mentioned, my name's Linda, and I'm gonna provide an update on one of the current initiatives that we're working on here at the department to digitise the Transition to School Statement. So the department's creating a digital version of the existing paper based Transition to School Statement. And we're also streamlining the process for statements to be sent to schools. What we've built is an online portal for early childhood teachers or educators to complete and store their Transition to School Statements, and to select which school the child will attend. Parental consent is obtained to send the information onto the child's enrolled school. We anticipate that digitising and streamlining the overall process will increase uptake and utilisation of the Transition to School Statement. It will promote communication between families, early childhood services, and schools. And it will also lead to more children being supported in their transition from preschool into the school environment. If you can move to the next screen, please, Matt. I'll talk about our pilot last year. Thank you. So last year we piloted a trial version of the digital statement with 120 early childhood services. And we received really good constructive feedback on how to make the statement more accessible and easy to use. Early childhood services were telling us that they liked having a single place to store and view their statements for their existing preschool cohort. They found it useful that multiple educators could collaborate and work on a child's statement at the same time. That they could complete the statement in multiple sittings. They could use their iPad or other devices to scan and upload photos and documents to the digital tool. And we also heard that the digital process saved educators time, reduced administrative processes, and gave services more confidence that the statement was actually going to land in the right hands at the school. I'm interested to see today, all the comments about how schools receive this information. So certainly the feedback that we've been hearing from schools so far is that the more of these they get, the more useful they are. If they're only getting a couple per kindergarten cohort, then it isn't so useful for their planning. But the more they receive, the more they're able to use that, particularly in term four, if they're getting it early enough to plan resources such as support resources, additional teachers or learning support, for children with additional needs. Even structural changes to the school for children with disability or access needs. So, we have been also hearing from schools that they value the time spend and understand that it is quite a lot of effort that early childhood educators and teachers go to to complete a Transition to School Statement. And they've said that they would like to be able to somehow acknowledge early childhood educators and teachers for the work that they've done. To be able to communicate with teachers if they had questions about the information in the statement. And to, at the very least provide a read receipt so that early childhood educators and teachers know that that information has been used to support the child. We've also heard from schools that having a one-stop shop to receive all statements in a single location will be useful for them. So that statements aren't kind of lost at the front desk or found in a child's school bag, halfway through term one. And as I mentioned before that it would be more useful for their planning. If statements are received sometime throughout term four. As we move to the next slide, I'll talk about what we're up to this year. We're currently working on an improved version of the digital statement based on the feedback received last year. So, we heard that while the statement itself was quite easy to use and time-saving once educators and teachers were able to get in, the setup and login processes were quite complicated and were a barrier to uptake. So this year it's really important for us that we simplify the setup and log in processes, so that it's easy to use. And doesn't add frustration to your already busy day-to-day roles. We're involving services as much as possible in the design process. And if you would like to provide ideas and input to this and other department initiatives, we welcome you joining our early childhood educator reference group, and I'll show you how to join that towards the end of this presentation. The other large piece of work that we're doing as part of this process is building a new portal for schools and teachers to receive statements in a consistent way. We've heard from schools that, if they have a single place that they can sort and read and view all statements for the incoming kindergarten cohort, and if they're receiving all of the information in a consistent way, so that the same statements in the same format, that strengths based approach to writing about a child's interest and prior learning and development, then that's very easy for them to disseminate and use to actually perform practical changes to their lesson plans and every resources. As we move to the next slide, thank you Matt. In terms of our trial approach this year, we've got two key groups to consider in our implementation both early childhood services and schools. So we'll be controlling our release of the digital statement to make sure that the solution meets the needs of services in schools, before we release it to a lot more services from next year. We're going to do this by trialing the digital statement with services in a defined catchment area. Which will in turn limit the number of schools that receive digital statements. We've heard that some schools can be taking kindergarten children from up to 25 different services. So we want to be able to really focus our attention and be able to collate feedback as easy as possible on select schools and select services. This will be the first time that we're trialing the process from statement creation to receipt in schools and we'll continue to seek feedback throughout the trial. We'll also be testing our support model to make sure that we're able to provide the right support to schools and services where they need it. That is my segue into the next and last Menti question for today. Matt, if you can move us over to Menti again. I'm very interested to hear in the early childhood centre environment, how you best like to be supported when you're using a new digital tool.

 

- While people are voting, I'll just mention a couple of questions and give some answers while we're here. So, one of the questions is, "Are private schools on board with the transition to school, digital statements?" We just presented to Catholic Schools New South Wales last week, or the week before. This year we are focusing on public primary schools because as I'm sure everyone's familiar with these tricky digital projects, we want to do it, as Linda was saying, a small controlled trial first. Make sure we've got everything right and then we'll do that iterative process. So, we make small improvements or big improvements if we need them, and slowly build up the rollout. So, this year we won't be including non-government schools but going forward, the intention absolutely is to include them.

 

- And I think certainly from a policy perspective, we wouldn't want early childhood services to think that they needed to use a different form or a different tool for non-government schools. So absolutely the digital tool as it is now while we wouldn't have a digital process to send Transition to School Statements onto a non-government school right now, there is an option to download, print it out and deliver it according to your usual methods.

 

- I saw their a question about family daycares being included this year. So, not this year, we will have a mix I think of community preschools, long daycare centres, large and small providers. We are very much are mindful that we need to work across all sector, all service types. I'm not sure if there'll be family daycares included this year, we haven't decided the services as yet.

 

- The other questions I can see quite common are "Is the Transition to School Statement mandatory?" No, it is optional but we'd really encourage you to consider using it if possible. As we said, if the digital statement is not available to you this year because of the slow rollout of the trial, then we'd really welcome you to use the existing Transition to School Statement. The other question I saw was about privacy. Fantastic question. So, as I'm sure you would be aware... Sorry, let me just read the rest of that question properly. Very good question. Thanks for that one. So, we have very stringent security and privacy requirements because it's a digital, well for everything of course but particularly, because it is a digital process using technology. So there are really strict and clear guidelines that we have to follow for that process. No statement can be completed without the parent giving consent for it to be completed. And then in terms of where it goes at the school that will absolutely be something that as we build that solution for the schools where it goes for the schools. That will be something that we make sure that there's... I'm gonna get into maybe slightly technical speak but sort of the right user permissions in place so that only people who would always be able to access that information about sorry, kindergarten child coming in, so the kindergarten teacher or the other appropriate people, say the principal, for example, there'll be the only ones who are able to process it. So, that's the interesting thing working within the department, is we will work in existing systems that schools use to make sure that the statements are getting to the right place. Good. Fairly clear majority.

 

- I think we do have a clear majority there. I try to figure it out myself using a user guide and finding a support desk, speaking to a human. I hear you. Thank you. That's very insightful. And that will help us focus our support resources, where it will be most useful for you. If we move back to the slides, Matt, I mentioned earlier that we welcome your input across many topics including the Transition to School Digital Statement. And we would love for you to be involved and continue to share the constructive information that you have been sharing here today. Being involved via this method that I'm about to describe would mean joining a Yammer group which is a bit like a Facebook group where we will post questions and polls similar to those that you've seen in Menti today. If you click the QR code on your screen and enter your email address, one of our team, Emma Purcell, will send you an invitation to join the early childhood educator reference group. And from there you can participate as much or as little as you like, and of course opt-out at any time. I'll pause here for a moment to give you an opportunity to scan the code and join our educator reference group. A couple of questions, "Where can I find the new digital statement form?" Thank you Sung Jing. It's currently not been released very broadly. We trialed with 120 services last year and we will broaden our trial this year and release it from around term three. We haven't decided which catchment area or services will be included in the trial this year. But an invitation will be sent to the service email address is where you'll first hear from us.

 

- Good tip based on that is, and correct me if I'm wrong Linda, but the main email address we use for contacting services what you've got in the end, N-Q-A-I-T-S, NQAITS system. Particularly if you are a service that has a large provider with many services, then it's useful to know what email address is in there. And if you're a small service and it might just be you then to keep that email up to date because that's the main contact that we use to get in touch.

 

- Quite, a few questions about, "Which version of the statement to use this year?" Continuing to use the department's Transition to School Statement that's available in the PDF version on our website is advised. And even if you are invited to join the trial this year, you absolutely do not need to participate. We would love for you to participate so that we can hear your thoughts. So you can continue to choose the Transition to School Statement that best meets the needs of your service and the children at your service.

 

- There's one there about, "Does the permission from parents need to be written?' It does. So, if you service ends up participating in the digital Transition to School Statement pilot, you will see when you log in, there's an option... I shouldn't say an option 'cause it's mandatory. The parental consent is mandatory. There's an option where you need to tick that you've got parental consent and there's a form to be downloaded for the parents to complete. We got some feedback last year that that can be time consuming but that services were understanding and acknowledge the importance of doing that and having it recorded that the parent was comfortable for this information to be shared, given as a few people have commented the information can be quite sensitive.

 

- I think some of the interesting feedback around that parental consent process as well was that opened up lines of communication between early childhood services and parents about transition to school and that it is, you know a process that can be helped or a child can be helped through communication and that relationship building between families, early childhood services, and schools. So I think in wrapping up now, thank you again for all of the feedback and questions. I know that we haven't been able to get to all of them today. We'll be collating those and sending out a frequently asked questions with the recording. You can get in touch with us. Matt, if you flip to the next slide it will have our email address there. We are at ecec.transitions@det.nsw.edu.au. If you would like to stay up to date with the department and see a range of resources, you can also like or follow our Facebook page. You can search for New South Wales Early Childhood Education in Facebook or follow the links or QR code on the screen. Thanks again for your time today and your feedback. Have a great afternoon.

 

- Thanks everybody. Bye.

Everyday Compliance: Approved Provider

Everyday Compliance: Approved Provider

- All right. Good morning. We might get started. We can see that there's a great number of participants that's already joined and is continuing to climb. So welcome to today's session on "Everyday Compliance." I'd firstly, just to like to play a short video to acknowledge the lands that we're meeting on today.

 

- [Announcer] We acknowledge the first Australian as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- Thank you and welcome. I also acknowledge the land I'm meeting on today. Guringai lands and acknowledged the vast lands that each of you are meeting with us today on. I'll just go through a few housekeeping tips so that we can make this session flow really smoothly. Your microphone, video and chat functions have been disabled during this webinar. However, we encourage you to use the Q&A button at the bottom of the screen to ask questions. Where we have not covered information that would address your question, we'll provide information through a range of the department communication channels once the Roadshows are completed and we encourage you to contact the information and inquiries team on 1800 619 113 for your specific service questions . In today's session we'll be using Menti and Kahoots. Please have your phone or another web browser ready to scan or enter the code on the screen when it comes up. So you can participate in the interactive components of the session. This session is being recorded and will be made available after the Roadshow is complete. So welcome to today's session. It's a privilege to be taking you on today's journey into everyday compliance. I'm Kim Hoskin and I'm joined by Rebecca Kidd. And we're part of the leadership team within the New South Wales Regulatory Authority. We're really thrilled to have so many approved providers joining the session today. This session will cover a lot of information. Some aspects may be new or a refresher for you but what we are confident in is it today's session will refocus your lens in your role as an approved provider, to ensure that all decisions you were making or involved in making about regulatory and quality practises keeps the child at the centre of these decisions. As an approved provider, we encourage you to be open to learning and reflect on your current practises to ensure that you do not become complacent. As complacency can lead to non-compliance and failures in practise, which can compromise safety and place children at risk. Research clearly shows that children who participate in quality early childhood education have improved life outcomes in education, health, social and emotional wellbeing. The children attending approved education care services are our future leaders. And your role is critical to their learning and developmental outcomes. The information that Rebecca and I will be sharing and covering in this session includes our role in keeping children safe. We'll be diving into the National Quality Framework, as well as covering risk-based approaches used to drive compliance. As leaders in the sector you must ensure that all staff have the knowledge and framework to keep children safe. As you will hear compliance is everybody's business. As I mentioned, this session is being recorded and will be available at the conclusion of the Roadshow. The slides are an overview of the content we will be sharing. So please revisit the presentation if you wanna hear the content again. We have a lot of information to cover, so let's get compliance focused. So firstly, we will take a moment just to get to know each other through a quick Menti. So if you can take out your phone and scan the QR code or type www.menti.com into your browser and into the code, we'll get started in just getting to know each other a little bit better. So this session is targeted to approved providers. So the first question that's coming up in that Menti poll is "how many years have you been in your role as an approved provider?" Great, so we can see a real mix there from for new providers through to providers that have been in the sector for a number of years. We'll move on to the second question which is, "what service type are you involved in the operation of?" Great. So we've got a mix of providers that are here today predominantly the centre based services but a range of other service types as well. So look, the next question that I wanna ask is "when did you last have a visit by a member of the regulatory authority?" So an authorised officer coming out to your service. All right. So we can see that there's been a lot of contact by our authorised officers over the last 12 months to your services. And we'll touch a little bit further on that in the session. So now we are you going to just starting to get you to think about your level of confidence in understanding and applying the National Law and Regulations? So using the scale of one being limited knowledge and 10 being a compliance champion. If you can touch in there as to where you feel your confidence and understanding sits. Great. So yeah, we can see a mix in there and we're hoping after this session that scale for you starts to increase and or change so that there's increased confidence. So look, the next question that is up on the screen is now we want you to think about your understanding and applying and your confidence levels in the application of the National Quality Standards. Where do you see yourself sitting on that scale? Great. So we're seeing on the higher end that there is a high level of confidence in the application of the NQS. Great, well thank you for stepping into that it looks like it's gonna be a really interactive session today. A key takeaway from this session is that we want you to think about your role and how you're leading your service or multiple services as a provider, in keeping children safe under the National Quality Framework. In the coming days weeks and months, we encourage you to think and revisit where you place your understanding and confidence within this scale. And also think about how this is reflected in your service practises. We want you to be thinking about the practises that you're currently doing as well as thinking about the practises you will start doing following the session today. And this technique is a great method of keeping the content relevant to you and also your educators in ensuring compliance. We will be using Kahoot a game-based learning platform to reinforce key compliance and also bring out the compliance champions in you at the end of the session. So at times of the essence let's continue to make compliance everybody's business. So what is your role in keeping children safe? In this slide we'll unpack the National Quality Framework encompassing the National Quality Standards, approved learning frameworks and the quality ratings. It's essential to visit the foundation of how we ensure and support quality practise in the early childhood sector. The National Quality Framework is the 2012 agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children and aims to raise quality in early childhood education and care services as well as support services in continuing improving what they are doing. We're gonna step through an overview of the National Quality Framework as it's this framework that governs the operations and the quality of approved early learning centres ensuring your decisions aligned with the National Quality Framework is critical. The National Quality Framework provides a national approach to regulation, assessment, and quality improvement for all early childhood education care services across Australia. This aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency and children's education and care through the National Law and National Regulations, National Quality Standards, assessment and quality rating processes and the National Learning Frameworks. I will just take a moment to touch on and remind you that the National Quality Framework Review 2019 is currently underway and aims to ensure that the regulatory systems supported by all Australian governments remains current and continues to lift quality of practises, families educated providers of education and care services and the broader community have the opportunity to have their say on a future regulation of Quality Education Care Services in Australia. Your feedback will help governments consider the risks benefits, and costs of changing the National Quality Framework. I encourage you to visit the National Quality Review Framework website for more information on this current review. So what are the governance arrangements under the National Quality Framework and what does the Regulatory Authority look like within New South Wales? It is essential in your role as an approved provider to have sound knowledge of which governing body you engage with under the National Quality Framework. We're aware that some of you may be national providers therefore it's important that you are aware of the governing arrangements, including specific provisions within each state and territory. It is timely to be aware of the governance arrangements under the NQF with the current review in progress. So under the National Quality Framework the education council takes governance on reviews and approves the National Quality Standards, approves changes to the National Law and Regulation and appoints members of the National Board being ACECQA. So ACECQ worked with the Australia and state and territory governments to implement changes that benefit children from birth to 13 years and their families. They monitor and promote the consistent application of the education care services National Law across all states and territories. They also have the role of approving educators qualifications, training regulatory authority authorised officer, awarding the excellent rating under the National Quality Standards, validates the second tier reviews under ratings review panel. And they also host the National IT system as well as publishing resources and guides to support services in delivering the National Quality Framework, as well as quarterly National Quality Framework data snapshots. States and Territory Regulatory Authorities under the National Authority Framework take carriage of granting approvals at the provider and service level assessing an issue in quality ratings to services against the National Quality Standards, monitoring force compliance with the National Law, including receiving and investigating serious incidents and complaints. And they work really closely with ACECQA to promote continuous quality improvement and educate the sector and community about the National Quality Framework. So in New South Wales the department of Education Early Learning Directory is the Regulatory Authority and Rebecca and I are part of the operational team known as Statewide Operations Network. The Statewide Operations Network includes the frontline workforce of over 200 authorised officers who conduct assessment and rating and compliance and monitoring visits. There is an investigation and compliance team who undertake investigations of serious incidents, as well as the triage and review team who process all of the notifications and other information notified to the Regulatory Authority. The director delivers a range of business improvement initiatives and works in conjunction with other government authorities to keep children safe. We work in collaboration with the Regulatory Strategy Policy and Practise Team. And this team is responsible for the development of regulatory policy and operational processes to enable the directorate to support quality practise which drives the provision of safe, high quality education and care services for children and families in New South Wales. We know that in your role as an approved provider that you must be clear on the governance arrangements under the National Quality Framework. And as you can see on the slide the best practise regulation principles guide decisions being made by the Regulatory Authorities. So here are the objectives of the National Quality Framework and research clearly shows how quality education care shapes every child's future and lays the foundation for the development and learning. It is essential that we step into the objectives of the national law and the guiding principles that underpin the regulatory actions and decisions as part of committing to everyday compliance. So the National Quality Framework objectives are to ensure the safety, health, and wellbeing of children attending education and care services, improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education care services. Promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality education care services. Improve public knowledge and access to information about the quality of education care services. And also to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for education care services by enabling information to be shared between participating jurisdictions on the Commonwealth. To improve public knowledge and provide families with access to information about different service types what to look for when choosing a service and importantly what the quality rating of the service is. The New South Wales government recently launched the early childhood education finder. This provides families with easy access to reliable and accurate information about education and care services in their areas. Please visit the department website or services New South Wales to become familiar with the New South Wales service finder. So as you can see the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework work together to support and promote quality. As you've heard compliance is everybody's business by keeping the objectives of the National Quality Framework and the guiding principles at the forefront of your service delivery, places the child at the centre of your decisions and practises. So the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework include: the rights and best interests of the child of paramount, children are successful, competent and capable learners, equity, inclusion and diversity underpin the framework. Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued. The role of parents and families is respected and supported, and best practise is expected in the provision of education and care services. The guiding principle of the National Quality Framework are very powerful and I encourage you to take time to revisit these and think about how each child and family at your services are being supported and provided with these outcomes. So this is where the framework gets very visible in practise. The National Law Regulations detail the operational legal requirements for an education and care service. All staff must have an understanding of these requirements to ensure compliance and to promote quality practise and outcomes for all children. Having strong policies and procedures to confirm and govern your practise is essential and cannot be taken for granted, as failuring to operate in accordance with the law and regulation places children at risk. So the National Quality Standards is part of the National Regulations. The National Quality Standard sets a benchmarks for the quality of education care services and includes seven quality areas that are important to outcomes for children. The National Quality Standards contains two or three standards in each quality area. And these standards are high level outcome statements. Under each standard at elements that describe the outcomes that contribute to the standard being achieved. Each standard and element is represented by a concept that supports education care services to navigate and reflect on the National Quality Standards. And from the first poll, when we were getting to know you a number of you have a high outline that you had a high confidence and understanding of these standards. So the links the National Quality Standard is really closely linked to approve learning frameworks that recognise children learn from birth. The services are required to base their educational programmes on an approved learning framework. The approved learning frameworks are belonging being and becoming the early years learning framework for Australia and My Time, Our Place the framework for school, age children. Thinking about the question we posed about your level of confidence, I really encourage you to think about the wider team you work with and what confidence they level they have, remembering that compliance and quality is everybody's business and keeping children safe. As you are the approved provider you have a legal responsibility under the National Quality Framework to ensure that all your educators have a high level of operational knowledge and application to promote and support children's safety, health, and wellbeing. So on this slide is a snapshot of the current state of the sector outlining the number of approved services nationally, quality ratings and how am I tracking across Australia, as well as an insight into the quality of services assessed under the National Quality Standards. Now, if you're data driven I really encourage you to visit the ACECQA website and dive into the published quarterly snapshots. This data can be a platform for reviewing your service practise and encourage you to uplift quality. So data provides us with sector insight. So I'm really keen to share what has been happening in New South Wales and the figures that I'll be sharing us snapshots of highlights of New South Wales at the end of April this year. So within New South Wales, there's currently 5,000 just over 5,775 approved services consisting of just over 3,300 long daycare, 760 preschools, close to 1,460 outside school hours care and 160 family daycare services. There is also just under 90 New South Wales approved out of scope services, including mobiles, occasional care services and max services. In New South Wales, there is just over 5,300 services that hold a current service rating. And what I can share is that 84% of services are rating meeting or above the National Quality Standards. And this has increased from 74% over the last 18 months. What we're continuing to see is a rise of service quality and we know that a range of the applied regulatory tools are driving an increase in sector compliance and quality under the National Quality Framework. The New South Wales Regulatory Team have conducted over 6,000 visits in this financial year to date to services. And as we saw from the original getting to know you a lot of you have had visits recently from our team. The Menti that was completed really showed that and what we are hearing is that there's been positive feedback from the visits that have been conducted. What we do know is that some services have had multiple visits and this is part of the Regulatory Authority risk-based approach to monitoring and compliance. So the New South Wales Regulatory Authority have also received and assessed over 6,300 series incident notifications in this financial year to date, as well as over 2000 direct complaints and notifications of complaints. And within April alone there was over just under a thousand complaints and series incidents were received. All notifications undergo an initial assessment by the New South Wales Triage and review team. And this team are critical in identifying risks and identifying any compliance trends in the sector. So this small snapshot of new South Wales data is used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and also map future sector development opportunities to understand broader regulatory trends as well. So remember that this session is being recorded, so if you wanna revisit this information please access the recording that'll be available at the conclusion of the Roadshow. So with the foundation of the compliance generally laid it is my pleasure to hand over to Rebecca Kidd who a current Hub Coordinator in Northern New south Wales and a very experienced authorised officer with a hands-on approach to sector engagement. Rebecca is driven to ensure that compliance tools are use to keep children safe, drive change and positive outcomes to children.

 

- Good morning, everyone. And thanks, Kim. It was great to be able to revisit the objectives and guiding principles of the National Quality Framework. I often have discussions with services and revisiting the framework really helps the child keeps the child at the centre of all of your decision-making. As mentioned earlier in the session and objective of the National Law is about keeping children safe. And when non-compliance with the law and or regulation is identified action must be taken proportionate to the risk. In the last few years, what we've heard from the sector is that to support quality uplift you want to see an increase in the visits by authorised offices and increase communication from the department. As Kim had shared over 6,000 visits have occurred and we are committed to prioritising visits-based on risk based frameworks, where there is identified risk, the presence by the regulatory authority and services will increase. This also increases public confidence in the Regulatory Authority. An example of this is where multiple complaints are received about alleged non-compliance at service may result in increased visits in contact. The same that a service rated working towards in quality areas or all qualities for a second or subsequent time will trigger increased visits. Where identified risks may drive increased contact by the regulatory authority we also heard that services that are meeting or above also want to see our authorised officers more regularly and services. And not just during the A&R cycle. We've heard this loud and clear. Touching on that our authorised officers have been present in the field with over 6,000 visits including over 500 it's to family daycare services and the educators homes. Around 3,600 visits to long daycare services, over 1300 visits out of school hour care services including vacation care and nearly 670 visits to preschools. From the information shared in first getting to know you section, many of you have engaged with our staff in the past 12 months. These visits have included targeted campaigns that monitor for a particular compliance issue, location or service type, assessment and rating, assessing and rating a service under the National Quality Standard unscheduled visits including investigations conducted without prior notice and scheduled visits. These visits can provide a strong incentive for providers to comply with their regulatory obligations and to improve the quality of service delivery and a proactive way of assessing and influencing compliance. What is clear is that an approved provider of an education and care service holds legal obligation to ensure that at all times the day-to-day operations service compliance with relevant state legislation. The nominated supervisor of an education and care service holds some legal responsibility which is really stepped out in the laws and regulations however, the compliance of the National Laws and Regulations is the day-to-day responsibility of everyone. So what happens when compliance is identified? As the approved provider, if you are not present at the service, you must ensure you have systems for the educators to report visits from the regulatory authority or any contact with you as Approved Provider. Whether there is confirmed area of breach or non-compliance the authorised officer conducting the visit we'll discuss these with the nominated supervisor and or responsible person. This may be followed by compliance activity. If a compliance action is issued it will outline what the non-compliance was clearly, how you need to respond and the timeframes in which you need to respond. The authorised officers should contact you as the approved provider or a person with management and control to inform you of the findings. This may be by phone call and email, or can occur in writing and will be issued to the legal responsible persons depending on the offences and risks. The level this will determine the level of compliance activity. It is critical the actions taken to bring the service into compliance as well as ensuring that in big education occurs to ensure all staff are aware of the non-compliance identified and the actions to resolve this non-compliance. Times compliance actions and letters can appear confronting however, these can be used as tools to promote team collaboration, improvement to the environments and overall outcomes for children, families, and the community. Any alleged non-compliance or identified non-compliance during a visit includes the process of seeking information relevant to an alleged apparent or potential breach of the National Law. This will include observation of practise, written documentation required to be obtained under the National Quality Framework and may include statements from educators or witnesses. The risks identified will determine the compliance tools that can to the particular roles of the approved provider nominated supervisor and at times educators, and are clearly outlined in the guide to the National Quality Framework. An example includes when an incident occurs the enforcement tool might resolve in an emergency action notice, a compliance directive, a prosecution, suspensions of provider and or service approval and cancellation of provider and or service approval being issued to the approved provider. Where there is an infringement notice enforceable undertaking direction to exclude or prosecution may be applied to the nominated supervisor. For a family daycare educator this might result in infringement notice, enforceable undertaking, direction to exclude prosecution or an educator and enforceable undertaking or prosecution may be applied. It is the role of the approved provider and the nominated supervisor understand the compliance obligations under the National Law And Regulations. And to ensure that all educators are aware of the legal ramifications of not protecting children by failing to operate in compliance with the National Law and Regulations. Within New South Wales we have a dedicated investigations team that undertake the investigation of serious and critical incidents that occur within an approved early childhood service. The department is committed to keeping children in parents, the community and education care sector informed about compliance action taken against serious offences through the publication of prosecutions under the National Law. This is essential compliance activity ensuring public confidence in the Regulatory Authority when services operated and practises fail to keep children safe. As you can see on this slide we have identified from data taken during visits within the current financial year the top 10 legislative confirmed areas of non-compliance. These are of both law, National Law and Regulations. And as you can see they include regulation 103 Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe clean, and in good repair. Section 167 Offence relating to protection of children from harm and hazards. Regulation 97, Emergency evacuation procedures Regulation 162, Health information to be kept in enrollment record. Regulation 160, Child enrollment records to be kept by the approved provider and family daycare educator. Regulation 170, Policies and procedures to be followed. Regulation 89, First aid kits. Regulation 147, Staff members and Regulation 185, Law and regulations to be available. It is recommended that you review these top compliance trends within your service to ensure that meeting compliance. These compliance trends are drivers for the Regulatory Authority risk-based approach in relation to monitoring and compliant activity, they fill that decision-making for our engagement and information provided to the sector. Remembering the sector has access to a range of resources divisions nationally by ACECQA and the New South Wales Regulatory Authority that should be referenced so that your staff can increase their level of understanding and application of the national quality framework. It is these informative resources and approaches that should drive you in taking action to assess your services current practise and to educate and empower your team. I encourage you to think about the practises you and your team are currently doing in relation to meeting compliance and the outcomes of the nationality standard. And I think it's important to say that compliance starts from the very first moment that a child enrols in your service, it starts with your enrollment record and ensuring that the information on that board is correct and it flows through to everyday matters such as safety checklists and other review processes including policies and procedures. So, moving on to this slide you can see how the National Quality Standards builds upon regulatory compliance. The National Quality Standard also provides you with another foundation for compliance which is developed from the National Law and Regulations. It is really important that services have strong regulatory compliance practises to then build quality practise. Remembering you cannot make the National Quality Standards if your regulatory areas are not compliant with the minimum requirements of the National Law and Regulations. Assessment and rating is also a regulatory tool to demonstrate the quality of a service practise and officers confirm areas of regulatory compliance during an assessment and rating visit. Authorised officers collect evidence which aligns to the indicators of the elements standards and quality areas. The new South Wales self-assessment working document is the tool that you can use to assess your services compliance against the National Law and Regulations, and to identify quality within your service against the National Quality Standards. by identifying your key practises. If you visit the New South website you can download copy of this document, if you haven't already. And I will also mention that you can reach out to the quality support team to support your service in effectively using this document. The National Quality Framework is the benchmark for quality early learning and we know that children who have access to quality early childhood settings have life long benefits in educational outcomes. Within the communities we work every day we have a commitment, proof public knowledge and access to information about the quality of education at every service. Bring your families into your journey of everyday compliance. Compliance must be everyone's business. This is about ensuring that each and every child is accessing and experiencing quality early childhood. Is this a practise that you already have occurring at your service? So what is our approach to regulatory activity? Within this slide you will see the cover of the guide to the National Quality Framework that we will discuss further. We have touched on information relating to the objectives of the National Quality Framework that govern the operations of service delivery of your service delve into the guide to the National Quality Framework with your team. I'll draw your attention to section five of the data the National Quality Framework which details the monitoring compliance and enforcement activity that can be undertaken by the Regulatory Authority. Remembering, if you are an approved provider you are ultimately responsible for ensuring that education care service is compliance with legal requirements. A nominated supervisor within an individual service also has some obligation under the National Law as do educators as previously mentioned. The application of risk-based approach makes best use of the resources by identifying and targeting higher risk situations whilst you're monitoring those services that have been assessed as a low risk. This is essential to ensure that appropriate regulatory tools are used to mitigate and monitor risk to all children. The regulatory authority has a commitment to ensure each and every child enrolled at education and care service in New South Wales is provided with a safe and nurturing environment which supports their educational outcomes and development. It is essential that you are aware of and apply the principles and practise of the National Quality Framework as the foundation of everyday practise and compliance. So, how do we communicate these trends and areas of quality improvement within the sector? What are our methods of communicating with you? As caption slide information is provided to you through our sector updates, quality and practise newsletters and the regulatory practises including the visits outlined. The New South Wales Regulatory Authority are increasingly present in our engagement with the sector By using a proactive approach engagement with the sector, by using a proactive approach to communication sharing, we actively are building capacity for services to be compliant and knowledgeable and ultimately in short are safe. On a previous slide, one of the top 10 areas on non-compliance are identified with regulations 97 emergency and evacuation six. This is driven compliance information and guidance that has been shared with sector through recent quality and practise newsletters and the department's partnership with Tiger Tail who are subject matter experts. This information is delivered face to face through emergency preparedness workshops and online training with range of resources provided and accessible to you on the department's website. This form of proactive compliance provides a strong incentive for providers to comply with the regulatory obligations and to improve quality and overall safety. Recently, current data trends in relation to the notification requirements under the National Law and Regulations were analysed. This is based on an increase in failure to notify being identified through service visits, including compass and assessment and writing and initial triaging of complaints. Information has been recently shared with the sector outlining the approved providers, lead possibility regarding notification requirements and will be detailed in future quality and practise newsletters. We hope that you are able to take back to your service guidance and information to support your compliance journey which ultimately will provide uplift in quality, safety and overall better outcomes for children, families and the whole community. I will now hand you back to Kim to end our session with a fun and interactive compliance Kahoot game. Over to you. Thanks Kim

 

- Thanks Rebecca for that informative information that you've just been able to share. So to end the session we wanna give you an opportunity to better gauge the compliance champion in you. So we're gonna end the session with a Kahoot game. If you haven't used this before it's a game based learning platform. So this is about bringing out the compliance knowledge to the service and backed by the information shared in today's session that you step into ensuring that compliance is everybody's business. So if you can take time to scan the QR code on the screen we'll then get started to bring the compliance champions out in you. Here go for those that have just popped in the code has come up on the screen. So it's 6601169. We had quick registration going on there for everybody. Let's get started "everyday compliance." So true or false? "The educational leader role is optional in a service?" Right, so I can confirm that it's false. The approved provider of an education care service must designate in writing a suitably qualified and experienced educator, coordinator or other individual as educational leader at the service. And if you go and check out reg one, one eight that's where the details are outlined. So we'll go onto the next question. Oh, we'll just take a pause and acknowledge Winsty, Jojo, Z, TH and LP the quicker you'd get your responses in and your answers up that leader board of the compliance challenge you'll go. Great. So here's another true or false. "Services need a policy relating to educators interactions with children.?" Right. So I can confirm then that it is true and approved provider must have a policy on interactions with children. This policy must outline the services procedures and strategies for ensuring the interactions with children meet the requirements outlined in regulation, 155 and 168 of the National Regulations, right? We've still got Winsty at the top Jojo is crept in there. I'm gonna say Junior, Jr the let's go to the next question. "So the services provider approval and rating must be displayed in the service in which location?" Right, so look a lot of you have that information at the visible, from the entrance to the premises and yes under Section 172 of the National Law and Regulation 173 it outlines that those details need to be displayed. And with the new amended quality rating certificate being available and visible just increases that connection and conversation with your families. So for those that didn't get the answer, correct take time to move that to an area that's visible. Oh Jojo stepped up a little bit in this poll at the moment and Amy's crept in and Anna and Becca. So let's go to the next question. So it's a quiz, "who needs to be aware of children's health requirements?" Great. So look, 174 review with your responses. It is all of the above. So it is important that nominated supervisors, educators and family daycare educators are aware of the health requirements of all children and that there are effective processes to support and monitor these. And if you visit Regs 79 of the National Regulations for further information around this. Oh, Jojo is keeping up on top of that board closely followed by Amy and Anna, Rebecca. We have some compliance leads. "So which national regulations underpin the role of the educational leader in an education care service?" Look, so at 82 of you were correct with your response. It is the aproved provider must designate in writing a suitably qualified and experienced individualised educational leader in the service. And that's Reg 118 and the staff record must include the name of the person designated and that's Regulation 148 Well a little switch in the leader board there. And some Winsty is making a comeback and Anna has taken the lead at the moment. Two more questions left. "So where should families direct their complaints regarding an education care service?" Select all correct answers with this one. So what we've seen is that remembering that as approved providers you must ensure that notifications of complaints are lodged to the Regulatory Authority when they were received but parents should be directing their complaints to the approved provider and they can also contact the Regulatory Authority if they have alleged concerns around the practises at a service. Oh, C has jumped in with that response. And Louise has jumped 44 places is the highest climber at the moment. Great. So two more questions, "which of the following is an example of an appropriate risk-taking experience in an early childhood education service?" Right, for 132 you a supervised child climbing a small tree is an example of an appropriate risk taking experience. It's about ensuring that the opportunities for children have been considered and where there is supervision that's occurring to support that play. Great. Oh C is continue to hold it and we've seen a jump there, Anna is still in the space as well. Great. So last question, get in quick. "Regulation 100 of the national regulation requires that a risk assessment must be conducted before an excursion?" Well, I can outline in that it is true. The approved provider a nominated supervisor or family daycare educator must ensure a risk assessment is carried out for an excursion. In accordance with Regulation 101 and 102 and a risk assessment is not required under this regulation for excursion if the excursion is a regular outing at a risk assessment has previously been conducted for the excursion. So let's check out our compliance champions. Anna congratulations, seven out of eight correct. Jules also seven out of eight, correct. and C has taken the party of the everyday compliance champion. Eight out of eight, correct. And obviously within quick response time, so well done. So todays session celebrate well done. we shared a lot of information for you to reflect on and to take back to your services to have discussions with your team and to think about your role as an approved provider in your service and the wider sector, bringing compliance to the centre of decisions really drives to keep children safe. And we hope today will drive you to ask questions and challenge the practises that are currently occurring within your services. Now, remember don't over complicate everyday compliance. Use the resources available to build your knowledge, know your legal responsibilities, build compliance conversations into your everyday practise and use transparent self-assessment practises to ensure your services compliance and quality that aligns to the benchmarks of the National Quality Framework. So we will be sharing very similar information in the sessions with the nominated supervisors and the in the session with the educators and what this will ensure that no matter the role that we hold in the sector that we make compliance everybody's business. So what you will see on the screen and we've got about five minutes, it's a really good opportunity for you to be able to stay connected and an update with the department and also be able to see a range of resources. So you can also like, and follow our Facebook page as well. If you search New South Wales Early Childhood education in the Facebook or follow the links or the QR code, that's on the screen. As we have shared a lot of information today, we really hope that you're able to go out, start a conversation, set up your own Kahoot game with your teams and start to build that everyday compliance into your everyday practise to ensure that children are kept at the centre of all decision making and ensure that they are provided with high quality safe learning environments. So thank you very much for joining us. Remember that this will be recorded and will be available to you at the conclusion of the Roadshows. Thank you once again for joining us today and enjoy the rest of your day. Cheers.

Everyday Compliance: Educator

Everyday Compliance educator

- Well, welcome to this morning session on "Everyday Compliance". I'd firstly, just like to open with an acknowledgement of country.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I also acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands we meet on today. I'm meeting today from Guringai land and acknowledge your connection and commitment to the children attending early education and care in New South Wales, who are our future leaders. So before we get started, I'd just like to acknowledge each of you for joining us today in this session. I can see there's still participants that are joining, which is really great. I will firstly, start with a few housekeeping tips for the webinar today, we do have a lot of information to share in the next hour and the microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled. However, we encourage you to use the question and answer button at the bottom of your screen, to ask questions. We do have moderators monitoring this function and where we've not covered information that would address your question, we will provide information through a range of department communication channels once the roadshows are completed. I would also encourage if you have a service-specific question, that you make direct contact to the information and inquiries team on 1800619113. We will be using Menti and Kahoot! during this session, so please have your phone handy to scan the QR codes or a web browser, so you can participate in the interactive components of the session. This session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshow is complete. The slides are an overview of the information that we'll be presenting and sharing, so I encourage you to revisit the recording of the webinar, that as I said, will be available on the department website following the roadshows. So welcome to today's session, it's our privilege to be taking you on today's journey to "Everyday Compliance". I'm Kim Hoskin and I'm joined by Rebecca Kidd and we're part of the leadership team within the New South Wales Regulatory Authority. We are thrilled to have so many educators joining this session today. Earlier last or last week, we ran a session for approved providers and had over 500 providers connect to this webinar, as well as the session for nominated supervisors, where we saw similar numbers participating. So this session today, is really for you as educators. We will cover a lot of information, some aspects may be new or a refresher to you but what we're confident in, is that today's session will refocus your compliance and provide information to ensure you're meeting the legal requirements associated to your role as an educator and to ensure that all decisions you were making or involved in making about regulatory and quality practices, keeps the child at the center of these decisions. As an educator, we really encourage you to be open to learning and reflect on your current practices to ensure that you do not become complacent, as complacency can lead to noncompliance and failures in practice, which can compromise safety and place children at risk. So research clearly shows that children who participate in quality early education, have improved life outcomes in education, health, social and emotional wellbeing. The children attending approved education and care services are our future leaders and your role is critical to their learning and developmental outcomes. Now the information that Rebecca and I will be sharing in this session, includes our role in keeping children safe. We'll be diving into the National Quality Framework, as well as covering risk-based approaches used to drive compliance. As leaders in the sector, you must ensure that every staff member and educator have the knowledge and framework to keep children safe 'cause as you'll hear today, compliance is everybody's business. We have a lot of information to cover as I said, so let's get compliance focused. So firstly, I just wanna take a moment to get to know each of you by using a quick Menti. So if you can take out your phone and scan the QR code or type www.menti.com into the browser and enter the code that's on the screen, the code is 9923024. So this session is targeted to you as an educator within the sector. The first question that we're wanting to find out a little bit more, is how many years have you been working as an educator in the sector? So I can see we've got some new educators with the sector and we have also got some very experienced educators joining us, which is great to see. So look, the next thing what we'd like to know and to get to know you, is what service type are you currently involved in operating and working at? So I can see we've got kind of an even balance between preschool, long day care and out-of-hour school care and educators joining from the family day care, as well as other service types as well. So welcome. So now I want you to think about when was the last time that a member of the regulatory authority, attended the service where you were working? Great, and we can see that there's a high percentage of those that are on today that have had a visit within the last 12 months at the service where they're working. Great, thank you. Now, these next questions are a bit about you. We want you to be thinking about your level of confidence in understanding and applying the National Law and Regulations and we wanna know where you feel that you're placed. So using the scale, one being limited knowledge and 10 being a compliance champion, if you can pop where you feel your confidence sits in the poll, that would be great. Yep, so we can see that there's a number that have, that are feeling quite confident about the application of the National Law and Regs but we also can see that there's a number of you that are just getting your head around it and what it means but for everyone that's on today, we know that the information that we'll share will really balance and refocus for you. Using the same scale, I want you to be thinking about your level of confidence in understanding and applying the National Quality Standards. So using that same scale, one being limited knowledge and 10 being a compliance champion around the National Quality Standards. So we've got a lot of confidence sitting in this space but also some that are really just starting out, getting their head around it and we'll obviously increase their confidence, so I appreciate that you've joined the session today 'cause we know that we'll be sharing a lot of information, just to reset and refocus and so that you can see where you as an educator, have responsibility in the compliance space. So thank you, I do think today will be a really interactive session. One of the key takeaways from this session is that what we want you to think about your role as an educator and how you're also leading and learning in your service to ensure that you're keeping children safe under the National Quality Framework. So in the coming days, weeks and months, we encourage you to think and revisit where you placed your understanding and confidence within the scale and also think about how this is reflected in the service practices where you're working. We do want you to be thinking about the practices that you're currently doing, as well as thinking about the practices you will start doing following the session today. And this is a really great technique and a method that can keep the content relevant to you and your educators in ensuring compliance. We will be using Kahoot!, which is a game-based learning platform to reinforce key compliance and also bring out the compliance champions in this group today at the end of the session. So what is your role in keeping children safe? In this slide, we will unpack the National Quality Framework encompassing the National Quality Standards, the approved learning frameworks and quality ratings. As I mentioned, some of the information we share will not be new to you and as an educator with experience in this sector, you need to be able to understand and share and guide other educators that you're working with. It is essential to visit the foundation of how we ensure and support quality in the early education sector. The National Quality Framework is the 2012 agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children and aims to raise quality in early education and care services, as well as to support services in continually improving what they're doing. So we're gonna step through an overview of the National Quality Framework, as it's this framework that governs the operations and the quality of approved early childhood services, ensuring your decisions are aligned with the National Quality Framework. So the National Quality Framework provides a national approach to regulation, assessment and quality improvement for all early childhood education and care services across Australia. And this aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in children's education and care through the National Law and National Regulation, the National Quality Standards, assessment and rating processes and the National Learning Frameworks. I will just take a moment to touch on and remind you that the National Quality Framework Review of 2019, is currently underway and aims to ensure that the regulatory system supported by all Australian governments, remains current and continues to live quality of practice. Families, educators, providers of education and care services and the broader community, have the opportunity to have their say on the future regulation of quality education and care services in Australia. And look, your feedback will help governments consider the risks, the benefits and costs of changing the National Quality Framework. So please visit the NQF Review website for more information on this review So what are the governance arrangements under the National Quality Framework and what does the regulatory authority look like within New South Wales? It is essential in your role as an educator to have sound knowledge of which governing bodies you engage with under the National Quality Framework. We are aware of you, aware that there are some state-specific regulations that it's also important to know. We know that for many of you what we'll be covering now will be a refresher. It's really timely to be aware of the governance arrangements under the National Quality Framework with the current review in progress. So under the National Quality Framework, it's the Education Council that undertakes the governance on the reviews and approves the National Quality Standards, approves changes to the National Law and Regulations and appoints members of the national board and that being ACECQA. So ACECQA works with the Australian and state and territory governments to implement changes that benefit children at birth to 13 years of age and their families. ACECQA monitor and promote the consistent application of the Education and Care Services National Law across all states and territories and they also have the role of approving educator qualifications, training the regulatory authority authorized officers, they award the excellent rating under the National Quality Standards, they validate the second tier reviews under rating reviews panel, they also host the national IT system and the key is that they publish in resources and guides to support services and educators in delivering the National Quality Framework. They also provide details from a quarterly snapshot on the data across the sector. The State and Territory Regulatory Authorities under the National Quality Framework take courage of granting approvals at the provider's service level, assessing and issuing quality ratings to services against the National Quality Standards, monitor any false compliance with the National Law, including receiving and investigating serious incidents and complaints and we also work really closely with ACECQA to promote continuous quality improvement and educate the sector and community about the National Quality Framework. In New South Wales, the Department of Education, early learning directorate is the regulatory authority and Rebecca and I are part of the operational team known as the Statewide Operations Network. The Statewide Operations Network includes a frontline workforce of around 200 authorized officers, who conduct assessment rating and compliance and monitoring. There is an investigation and compliance team, who undertake investigations of serious incidents, as well as the triage and review team, who processes all of the notifications and other information notified to the regulatory authority. The directorate drives and delivers a range of business improvement initiative and works in conjunction with other government authorities to keep children safe. Now we work in collaboration with the Regulatory Strategy Policy and Practice team and this team is responsible for the development of regulatory policy and operational processes to enable the directorate to support quality practice, which drives that provision of safe, high quality education and care services for children and families in New South Wales. And we know that in your role as an educator, it is really important that you're clear on the governance arrangements under the National Quality Framework. What you can also see on the slide, is the Best Practice Regulation Principles and these guide the decisions that are being made by the regulatory authorities. So just taking time to revisit the objectives of the National Quality Framework, we know that research clearly shows how quality education and care shapes every child's future and lays the foundation for the development and learning. It is essential that we step into the objectives of the National Law and the guiding principles that underpin the regulatory actions and decisions as part of our commitment to everyday compliance. So the National Quality Framework objectives are to ensure the safety, health and wellbeing of children attending education and care services, about ensuring and improving the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services, the objectives to promote continuous improvement in the provision of quality education and care services and to improve public knowledge and access to information of the quality of education and care services, as well as to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for education and care services by enabling information to be shared between participating jurisdictions and the Commonwealth. So recently to improve public knowledge and provide families with access to information about different service types, what to look for when choosing a service and importantly what the quality rating of the service is, the New South Wales government recently launched the ECE finder and this provides families with easy access to reliable and accurate information about education and care services within New South Wales. So I encourage that you visit the department website or Services New South Wales to become familiar with this New South Wales service finder, especially when you're engaging and talking with families. I will also share and you may have seen, that the quality ratings information displayed on the ECE site, reflects a family friendly Quality Rating Certificate that was issued to all services in New South Wales last year. So I encourage that you ensure that you're aware of that and also talking to families about the quality rating in your service. So as you can see that's come up on the slides, are the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework and how they work together to support and promote quality. So as you've heard, compliance is everybody's business and by keeping the objectives of the National Quality Framework and the guiding principles at the forefront of your service delivery, this really places the child at the center of your decisions and your practices as an educator. So the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework include that the rights and best interests of the child are paramount, the children are successful, competent and capable learners, that equity, inclusion and diversity underpin the framework, that Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued and that the role of parents and families is respected and supported, and that best practice is expected in the provision of education and care services. So the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework are very powerful and I encourage you to take time to revisit these and think about how each child and family at your service, are being supported and provided with these outcomes. Now this is where the framework is gonna get really visible in practice. So the National Law and Regulations detail the operational legal requirements for education and care services. What's really important is that you're actually thinking about your role and as an educator, how you can guide an influence. I mentioned earlier that it's really important that you take time to understand these and I know that in that Menti scale, many of you outlined that you had a strong understanding and were feeling really confident. But what we do know is that revisiting these practices and these guides, the regulations and the law and the standards, is really important. So thinking about some of the questions that we posed about your level of confidence, I do really encourage you to think about the wider team that you work with and what confidence level they hold, remembering that compliance and quality is everybody's business in keeping children safe. Now within that early childhood and education, there are some roles, including the approved provider and the nominated supervisor, who have legal responsibility to ensure that all educators have a high level of operational knowledge and application to ensure compliance and to promote support children's safety, health and wellbeing. And as an educator, you also have that responsibility to ensure that the environment and the interactions that you're having with children at your service, is really aligning to the National Law, Regulations and the Quality Standards. And we'll just go onto the next slide, which really gives us a snapshot of the current state of the sector. This is a snapshot from the ACECQA data and it really highlights where we sit within Australia against the quality ratings for services under the National Quality Standards. And this is really a platform for an opportunity to review the practices at your service and encourage you to uplift quality 'cause data provides us with a sector insight. What I'm really keen to share about what's been happening in New South Wales and the figures that I'm sharing is a snapshot of the highlights in New South Wales at the end of April, 2021. So currently there's just over 4,160 approved providers, approved to operate education and care in New South Wales and there's approximately 5,775 approved services and this is consisting of just over 3,300 long day care, around 760 preschools, close to 1,460 outside school hours care and 160 family day care. And there's also just under 19 New South Wales approved Out of Scope Services. So in New South Wales, there's just over 5,300 services that hold a current service rating with 84% of services rating meeting or above the National Quality Standards. And this has increased from 74% of services over the last 18 months. And we're continuing to see a rise of service quality and we know that arrangements with applied regulatory tools are driving an increase in sector compliance and quality under the National Quality Framework. Now, New South Wales Regulatory Authority team have completed over 6,200 visits in this financial year to date. And we saw in the initial "Get to know you" slide that many of you have had a visit within the last 12 months as well. What's really important is that we're hearing positive feedback from these visits and some services we know have had multiple visits, as this is part of the regulatory authority risk-based approach to monitoring and compliance. Now, the New South Wales Regulatory Authority, have also received and assessed over 6,300 serious incident notifications in this financial year to date and over 2,100 direct complaints and notifications of complaints. And within April, this was just under 1,000 complaints in serious incidents that we received. Now, all notifications undergo an initial assessment by the New South Wales Triage and Review Team. And this team are critical in identifying risk and identifying any compliance trends. Now, this is just a small snapshot of New South Wales data and it's used to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and also to map future sector development opportunities to understand broader regulatory trends. Remembering that this session is being recorded, so if you want to revisit this information, please access the recordings that will be available at the conclusion of the roadshows. So with the foundation of the compliance journey laid, it's my pleasure to hand over to Rebecca Kidd, who's the current Hub coordinator of Northern New South Wales and an experienced authorized officer with a very hands-on approach to sector engagement. And Rebecca is driven to ensure that compliance tools that you use to keep children safe, drive change and positive outcomes to children. Thanks, Beck.

 

- Great, hi everyone and thanks Kim, it was great to be able to revisit the objectives and the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework. I often have discussions with services and revisiting the National Quality Framework, really keeps the child at the center of all of their decision-making. As mentioned earlier in the session, an objective of the National Law is about keeping children safe and when noncompliance with the National Law and, or Regulations is identified, action must be taken proportionate to the risk. In the last few years, what we've heard from the sector, is that to support quality uplift, you wanted to see an increase in the visits by our authorized officers and increased communication from us, the regulatory authority. As Kim has shared, over 6,000 visits have occurred and we are committed to prioritizing visits based on risk-based frameworks, Where there is identified risks, the presence of the regulatory authority in services, will increase. This also increases public confidence in the regulatory authority. An example of this is where multiple complaints are received about alleged noncompliance at a service, resulting in increased visits and contact. The same that a service working towards in all quality areas for second or subsequent time, will trigger an increase in visits. Where identified risk may drive increased contact by the regulatory authority, we also heard that services that are meeting or above, also want to see our authorized officers more regularly in services and not just during the A&R cycle. We've heard this loud and clear. Touching on that, our authorized officers have been present in the field with over 6,000 visits, including over 500 visits to family day care services and educators' homes. There have been around 3,600 visits to long day care services and over 1,300 visits to OOSH services and nearly 6 1/2, 670 visits to preschools. From the information shared in the first "Getting to know you" section, many of you have engaged with our staff in the past 12 months. These visits have included targeted campaigns that monitor for a particular compliance issue, location or service type, assessment and rating, assessing and rating a service against the National Quality Standard, unscheduled visits, including investigations conducted without prior notice and scheduled visits. These visits can provide a strong incentive for providers to comply with their regulatory obligations and to improve the quality of the service delivery and a proactive way of assessing and influencing compliance. So what is clear, is that an approved provider, of an education and care service, holds the legal obligation to ensure that all times, the day-to-day operation of the service, complies with relevant state legislation. The nominated supervisor of an education and care service, hold some legal responsibility and as educators, you also hold some legal responsibility. This is clearly stepped out in the law and regulations, however, compliance of the National Law and Regulations, is the day-to-day responsibility of all educators and staff. So, what happens when client noncompliance is identified? As an educator, you should be aware of and have processes to notify your approved provider or nominated supervisor of a visit from the regulatory authority. Where there is confirmed areas of breach, noncompliance, the authorized officers conducting the visit will discuss these with the nominated supervisor and, or the responsible person if the approved provider is not present. This may be followed by compliance activity. If a compliance action is issued, it will outline what the noncompliance is, how to respond and the timeframe. The authorized officers should contact the approved provider or a person in management and control to inform of the findings. This may be via phone call or can occur in writing and will be issued to the legal responsible persons, depending on the offenses and the risks. The level of risk will determine the level of compliance activity. It is critical that action is taken to bring the service into compliance, as well as ensuring that embedded education occurs to ensure all educators are aware of the noncompliance identified and the actions to resolve this noncompliance. At times, compliance actions can appear quite confronting and at times scary. However, these can be used as tools to promote collaboration, improvements to their environments and overall better outcomes for children, families and the community. Any alleged noncompliance or identified noncompliance during a visit, includes the process of seeking information relevant to the alleged, apparent or potential breach of the National Law. This will include observation of practice, written documentation required to be maintained under the National Quality Framework and may include statements from educators or witnesses. The Risks identified, will determine the compliance tools that can be enforced to the particular roles of the approved provider, nominated supervisor and educators are clearly outlined in the "Guide to the National Quality Framework". An example includes, when an incident occurs, the enforcement tool might result in an emergency action notice, compliance direction, prosecution, suspensions of provider and, or service approval and cancellation of provider and, or service approval, being issued to the approved provider. Whereas, an infringement notice, enforceable undertakings, direction to exclude or prosecution, may be applied to the nominated supervisor. For a family day care educator, this may result in infringement notices, enforceable undertakings, direction to exclude or prosecution and for an educator, an enforceable undertaking or prosecution may be applied. It is the role of the approved provider and nominated supervisor, to understand their compliance obligations under the National Law and Regulations and ensure that all educators are aware of the legal ramifications of not protecting children by failing to operate in compliance with the National Law and Regulations. So within New South Wales, we have a dedicated investigation team that undertake the investigation of serious incidents and critical complaints that occur within services. The department is committed to keeping parents, the community and the education and care sector informed about compliance action taken against serious offenses through the publication of prosecutions under the National Law. This is essential compliance activity ensuring public, to ensure public confidence in the regulatory authority when services operations and practices fail to keep children safe. So as you can see on the next slide, we've identified from data taken during visits within the current financial year, the top 10 legislative confirmed areas of noncompliance. These are a mix of both National Law and Regulations and they include, Regulation 103: Premises, furniture and equipment to be safe, clean and in good repair, Section 167: Offense relating to protection of children from harm and hazards, Regulation 97: Emergency and evacuation procedures, Regulation 162: Health information to be kept in the enrollment record, Regulation 160: Child enrollment records to be kept by approved provider and family day care educator, Regulation 170: Policies and procedures to be followed, Regulation 89: First aid kits, Regulation 147: Staff members and Regulation 185: Law and regulations to be kept available. So these compliance trends are the drivers for the regulatory authorities risk-based approach in relation to monitoring and compliance activity. They fuel our decision-making for our engagement and information provided to the sector. Remembering that you, the sector, have access to a range of resources developed and shared nationally by ACECQA and the New South Wales Regulatory Authority, that should be referenced so that educators and staff can increase their level of understanding and application of the National Quality Framework. It is these informative resources and approaches that should drive everyone into taking action to assess your services current practice and to educate and empower the team. I encourage you to think about the practices you and your team are currently doing, in relation to meeting compliance and outcomes of the National Quality Standard. So, moving on to this slide, you can see how the National Quality Standard builds on regulatory compliance. The National Quality Standard also provides you with another foundation for compliance, which is developed from the National Law and Regulations. It is really important that services have strong regulatory compliance practices, to then build quality practice. Remember you cannot meet the National Quality Standards, if your regulatory areas are not compliant with the minimum requirements of the National Law and Regulations. Assessment and rating, is also a regulatory tool to demonstrate the quality of a service's practice and officers confirm areas of regulatory compliance during assessment and rating visit. Authorized officers collect evidence, which aligns to the indicators of the elements standards and the quality areas. The New South Wales "Self-Assessment Working Document", is the tool that you can use to assess your service's compliance against the National Law and Regulations and identify quality within your service against the National Quality Standards. If you visit the New South Wales website, you can download a copy of this document if you haven't already and I will also mention, that you can reach out to the quality support team to support your service in effectively using this document. The National Quality Framework, is the benchmark for quality early learning and we know that children who have access to quality early childhood settings, have lifelong benefits and educational outcomes. Within the communities we work, we have a commitment to provide, to improve public knowledge and access to information about the quality of education at every service. Bring your families into your journey of everyday compliance, as compliance must be everybody's business. This is about ensuring that each and every child is accessing and experience in quality early childhood, is this a practice that you already have occurring at your service? So what is our approach to regulatory activity? Within this slide, you'll see the cover of the "Guide to the National Quality Framework", which we will discuss. We have touched on information relating to the objectives of the National Quality Framework that govern the operations of service delivery across the sector. I would encourage that when you're back at your service, delve into the "Guide to the National Quality Framework" with your team. I will draw your attention to Section five of the "Guide to the National Quality Framework", which details the monitoring, compliance and enforcement activity that can be undertaken by the regulatory authority. Remembering for the approved provider, they are ultimately responsible for ensuring that the education and care service complies with legal requirements. A nominated supervisor within an individual service, holds some obligation under the National Law as do you, educators. The application of a risk-based approach, makes best use of the resources by identifying and targeting higher risk situations, while still monitoring those services that have been assessed as lower risk. This is essential to ensure that appropriate regulatory tools, are used to mitigate and monitor risk to all children. The regulatory authority has a commitment to ensure that each and every child enrolled in education and care in New South Wales, is provided with a safe and nurturing environment, which supports their educational outcomes and development. It is essential that you were aware of and apply the principles and practices of the National Quality Framework, as the foundation of your everyday practice and compliance. So how do we communicate these trends and areas for quality improvement with you, the sector? What are our methods of communicating with you? As captured on this slide, information is provided to you through our sector updates, Quality in Practice newsletter and other regulatory practices, including the visits discussed. The New South Wales Regulatory Authority are increasingly present in our engagement with the sector. By using a proactive approach to communication sharing, we are actively building capacity for services to be compliant and knowledgeable and ultimately ensure children are safe. On the previous slide, one of the top 10 areas of noncompliance identified was Regulation 97, emergency and evacuation procedures. This has driven compliance information and guidance that has been shared with the sector through our recent Quality in Practice newsletter and the department's partnership with Tiger Tail, who are subject matters experts in emergency preparedness. This information is delivered face-to-face through emergency preparedness workshops being held next month and online training, with a range of resources provided and accessible to you on the department's website. This form of proactive compliance, provides a strong incentive for providers to comply with their regulatory obligations and to improve quality and overall safety. Recently current data trends, in relation to the notification requirements under the National Law and Regulations were analyzed. This is based on an increase in failure to notify being identified through service visits, including compliance and assessment and rating and initial triaging of complaints. Information has been shared with the sector, outlining the approved providers legal responsibility, regarding notification requirements and will be detailed in future Quality in Practice newsletters. We hope that you are able to take back to your service, guidance and information to support your compliance journey, which ultimately will provide uplifts in quality, safety and overall better outcomes for children, families and the community. I will now hand you back to Kim, to end our session with a fun and interactive compliance Kahoot! game. Thanks, over to you, Kim.

 

- Thanks Beck. So, to end this session, we wanna give you an opportunity to better gauge the compliance champion in you, so we're ending this session with a Kahoot! game. Now, if you haven't used this before, it's a game-based learning platform and this is about bringing your compliance knowledge to the surface and that by the information that we've shared in today's session, so that you can step into ensuring that compliance is everybody's business. So if you can scan the QR code on the screen or enter www.kahoot.com into your web browser, we can get started to find out who the compliance champions are. ♪ Yeah ♪

 

- We'll get started. So true or false, the educational leader role is optional in a service? It's correct, so 127 of you outlined false. The approved provider of an education and care service must designate in writing a suitable, suitably qualified and experienced educator, coordinator or other individual as the educational leader at the service. And if you revisit Regulation 118, for more information about this, and if you're not sure, go back, have a conversation with your service around who is the educational leader at your service. So we'll go to question two, Oh, look here we've got unicorn has taken it, now a little tip, the faster you answer the question correct, the higher up that leaderboard you will go. So another true or false, services need a policy relating to educators' interactions with children? 135, correct there, the answer is true, an approved service must have a policy on interactions with children and this policy must outline the services, procedures and strategies for ensuring that interactions with children, meet the requirements outlined in Regulation 155 and 168 of the National Regulations. So I encourage you to go back to your service and have a look at the policy that guides the interactions of all educators at your service. Ah, now unicorn has kept that holding, speed and correctness and I can acknowledge that Sarah has just jumped 35 places as the highest climber through that second question. So a quiz, the services approval and rating of the service must be displayed in which location? So 144 of you correct, with that it must be visible from the entrance to the premises. And this information is clearly outlined in Section 171, 172 of the National Law and Regulation 173 of the National Regulations. I will encourage you when you go back to your service or at your service that, you have a look at the Quality Rating Certificate that's displayed and as I mentioned, last year we issued to all services the amended Quality Rating Certificate, so making sure that that's up on display, and if you visit the department website, you'll be able to have some information, obtain some information, that's the resources to go with that initiative and it's got some really great tools about how to have conversations with your families around the quality ratings at your service. So go back and make sure that it's visible from the entrance to the premises. Ooh, we have a strong leader here in Unicorn, still up there but Ko is very close behind. All right. So now onto a quiz, who needs to be aware of children's health requirements? So the answer there, is all of the above. It is the responsibility of everybody to be aware of children's health requirements within the service. Ooh, Unicorn's giving everybody a run for money and three players just dropped their answer streak of three. So we're really close up there, we've got a few more questions to go. So which regulation underpins the role of the educational leader in an education and care service? So, it is, the approved provider must designate in writing, a suitably qualified and experienced individualism educator and it's Regulation 118 and the staff record must include the name and the person designated and that's Regulation 148. So 95 of you had the correct answer. Ooh, a slight change in a couple of those positions on the leaderboards and 11 players just hit answer streak three in a row but Unicorn is still holding that, we've got two more questions left to go. So where should families direct their complaints regarding an education and care service? Select all the correct answers. So the two answers for this, was the approved provider and regulatory authority. Now, remembering that as an approved provider, they must ensure that when a notification of a complaint is received, that it's lodged the regulatory authority. So when you're having families come to you and raise their concerns or complaints, we really do encourage as a regulatory authority that they talk directly to the service but they do have the opportunity to raise their concerns directly to the regulatory authority as well. Ooh, so S jumped up there, closely by RDJ, so only... Oh, two more questions. Number seven, which of the following is an example of an appropriate risk-taking experience in an early childhood setting? That's right. So where it was about looking at an appropriate risk taking experience in an early childhood setting and that is a supervised child climbing a tree. So 124 correct answers in that question. Oh, and C has a streak with seven correct answers in a row, so we can see holding the party on there, very close by RDJ and Bex and the leaderboard can change. We have one question left. Regulation 100 of the National Regulation requires that a risk assessment must be conducted before an excursion, true or false? So it is true. An approved provider, nominated supervisor or family day care educator must ensure a risk assessment is carried out for an excursion, in accordance with Regulation 101 and 102, now, a risk assessment is not required under the regulation for an excursion if the excursion is a regular outing and a risk assessment has previously been conducted for the excursion. So let's see who our compliance champions are and who takes the podium from this Kahoot! game. Bex, eight out of eight, RDJ, eight out of eight as well and number one on the podium, , Ah, it's S, with runners-up MM being four and Maree being five. Well done, everyone. We wanted to bring that Kahoot! game into the session, just so that you're able to put your regulatory knowledge to practice. We really do hope that this session has given you a wealth of information to take back. We have shared a lot of information for you to reflect on but what we hope that it does, is that it starts discussions within your teams and that you think about the role that you play as an educator, as well as Beck mentioned, the responsibilities legally for both educators, nominated supervisors and approved providers. 'Cause what we know is that bringing compliance to the center of our decisions, really drives to keep children safe. So we hope today, will drive you to ask those questions and challenge the practices that are occurring at your service. What I'd say is remember, don't over-complicate everyday compliance. Use the resources available to build your knowledge, know your legal responsibilities, build compliance conversations into your everyday practice and use transparent self-assessment practices to ensure your services' compliance and quality that aligns to the benchmarks of the National Quality Standards. As I mentioned, we've shared this information with approved providers and nominated supervisors. So no matter what role we hold in the sector, that we make sure that compliance is everybody's business. Again, I just wanna thank you for joining us today, I do encourage that if you aren't yet signed up for our Quality in Practice newsletters, that you hop onto the department website and sign up for those and the same that we have the early childhood education Facebook page, if you scan the QR code, you'll be able to pop into Facebook and like and follow that. That's just as Beck shared, one of the ways that we do communicate with the sector around compliance information and where we see patterns driven from data around regulatory requirements. Again, we're right on time, you will have a survey that comes up following this roadshow, I encourage that you take time to complete that, so that it can guide future roadshows and information sharing. So thank you once again for setting time this hour, this morning and for joining Rebecca and I to share information with you as educators, about our role in everyday compliance. Thank you very much and enjoy the rest of your day.

Compliance: Keeping you in the know

Compliance: Keeping you in the know

- So good afternoon. Welcome to this interactive session, Compliance - Keeping You in the Know. Before we start, I will take a moment to acknowledge the lands we're meeting on today.

 

- [Announcer] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations, today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I also want to acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands we meet on today. I'm meeting today from Guringai land, and acknowledge your connection and commitment to our future leaders, the children attending early education care services within New South Wales. So welcome again to today's session on compliance, keeping you in the loop. Thank you for logging in and joining us. This session will be asking for you to share with us how we're doing and we will be asking you to share how we can communicate better with you moving forward. This session, we're really wanting to hear from you. So over the hour, we'll be doing some pulse checks on what works and what doesn't work. How are we doing? And really asking for your engagement on how we can improve further in our communication with the sector. I will just start with a few housekeeping tips so this session can run smoothly. Your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. However, we encourage you to use the question and answer button at the bottom of your screen to ask any questions. The team will be moderating this function, and where we've not covered information that would address your question, we will provide information through a range of the department communication channels once the roadshows are completed. Or we encourage you to contact the Information and Enquiries team on 1800-619-113 for your specific service questions. We will be using Menti by creating real-time feedback, and Kahoot, which is a play-based learning platform, during this session. So please have your phone or another web browser ready to scan the QR code or enter the code on your web browser when it comes up so that you can participate in the interactive components of this session. This session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshows are complete. And it will be a driver for the work we undertake to ensure that we are increasing the communication with you during our compliance interactions. So I'm Kim Hoskin and I'm joined today by Rebecca Kondek and Rebecca Kidd, who are hub coordinators. And we form part of the leadership team in the New South Wales regulatory authority. So it is great to have over 175 participants on this session with us today. So we've been reflecting on how we communicate with all stakeholders, families, services and providers, what works, what doesn't and what we can do better. We've been reaching out and sharing information about the sector through our uplifting of quality campaign, which has included the amended quality rating certificate and the recently launched New South Wales ECE Service Finder. And this is about providing increased information to families about services in their local areas that also outlines the quality ratings of a service. And this is stem from our reflection on how we can communicate better with our key stakeholders. So today, we're really keen during this session to hear from you. Because this is going to be a really interactive session, we are really missing the face-to-face component and the engagement that that brings. However, we will be creating lots of opportunities for you to share. And I really encourage you to share in a manner that's forward-thinking, honest and transparent. This session is focusing on compliance and will be a great opportunity for you to provide us with your thoughts on how we currently are communicating and how we can do things better, and capture some of your thinking on the ways that we can improve. We often hear or read in social media posts suggestions from you, as the sector, on ways that we could do things better. And we're really keen today that we give you that platform and opportunity to be able to share ways that we can improve in our communication around compliance and also closing the loop through that communication. So I do encourage you to use the question and answer function, as well as the range of interactive tools, the Menti and Kahoot, during this session. And as I said, our team will be moderating the question and answer. But if something that we discuss or that you hear today really drives a service-specific question, that you do pick up the phone and ring our Information and Enquiries team. So let's get to know each other a little bit better just before we really dive into this session and so that we can build that platform for transparent and honest information sharing about our communication with you in the sector. So on the screen is a QR code. If you can take a moment to scan the code or you can open a web browser and type in www.menti.com, and then enter the code that's on the screen. And that code is 4740 3899. And if you can keep that Menti open, it will be used, the same code, throughout the session. So I'll pause and just give you time to set up. So the first question that you'll see in that Menti is if you can share with us what your role in the sector is. I can see we've got a lot of nominated supervisors joining this session. Number of providers and educators and other representatives across the sector as well. So now we're also keen to get to know what service type you're involved in. Great, so a few more coming through, but we've got large representation from long day care and preschool, as well as out of hours school care and family day care. And great to have an out of scope service representative joining us, as well, as well as other educators and sector deliverers coming into this session as well. Great. So now let's just do a little touch in on how long have you been in your role within the sector? Excellent, so we can see a large number of you joining today have been in the role for more than 12 months. And then those are some that are new into this role and into the sector. So we will get a vast, the feedback from you, around what you've found with our communication and also ways that you think we could improve on it. So one of the things that I wanna ask next is where was your last contact by a member of the regulatory authority? So this might have been a phone call, an email or a visit. Might've been through training. So just having a think about that, where was your last contact? Great, so that we can see for a lot of you there, over the last 12 months, you've really had contact with our authorised officers and our team. So that's really great 'cause we want you to keep that visit and that contact kind of forefront as we start to unpack how we can increase our communication, and also what we're doing well and what we can improve on. Now, just to give us a little bit of a check-in, really keen now, thinking about that last contact from the regulatory authority, if you can outline what was the purpose for the contact? And we've given in the question a couple of suggestions there, a visit that was an announced visit, an unannounced visit. Might've been a complaint or monitoring. An investigation. Or even whether it was a phone call. And this might've been phone call during COVID or bush fires or floods. Was that contact with our Information and Enquiries team or the Quality Support team? Or there might've been another type of contact that you had. Great, so we've got a mix of over the service type, but there's a number of you that have had visits around the unannounced visits, whether it was monitoring or assessment and rating, over the last visit period as well. And visits, unannounced visits around complaints and monitoring or an investigation. Great. So look, I think today, we're gonna be able to share and that you're going to be able to share with us a lot around what our communication is currently like and how we can increase and improve on that. So I really want you to be interactive in this session. Thank you for sharing that and for us to get to know you a little bit more. So I'll just start. In 2019, we focused on our approach to assessment and rating and really worked with you to unpack what makes a good assessment and rating process. And this was really targeted specifically to feedback we've received through a range of communication channels. We've come a really long way in streamlining our A and R approach since late 2019, and have received now some really positive feedback around that. We know we haven't got it 100% right all of the time, but we do know that we're committed to our engagement and our approach, and it's becoming increasingly transparent. And we're seeing this in the rise in the quality across the sector. So now we're really focused in 2021. We're wanting to build on our communication approaches specific to compliance. And this session is your chance to share with us what you think we're doing well and where you think there's work to be done in our communication. We want you to have a platform to share with us how we're going so we can also critically reflect on our approach and ensure we're continuously improving on our practices. And your feedback will provide a platform for us to refine and improve our communication with you as the sector. We really do want you to be frank and fearless. And as a leadership team, this is an approach that we use, and we extend this approach to you during this session. We're willing and open to be hearing what you're feeling, saying, and also to know how you think we could improve. We're really keen for some very practical suggestions as we delve into our compliance communication with you. What we do know is that role of the regulator under the National Quality Framework is about providing all children who attend early childhood education and care approve services, quality care. And by doing that, it's about ensuring the safety, health and well-being of children attending education and care services. It's about improves on educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services. The framework is also about promoting continuous improvement in the provision of quality education and care services, as well as improving public knowledge and access to information about the quality of education and care services. And one of the other things is around the outcome to reduce the regulatory and administrative burden for education and care services by enabling information to be shared between participating jurisdictions and the commonwealth. Now, these are the objectives of the National Quality Framework. We wanna be able to share and revisit with you and to get you thinking and putting pen to paper using the digital platforms today. But first, we just wanna step in and I've asked Bec to share around the regulatory best practice principles that guides the states and territories under the National Quality Framework in our decision-making. So I'll hand over to Bec, who will outline the regulatory best practice principles with you.

 

- Great, thanks, Kim, and welcome, everybody, to this afternoon's session. So regulatory authorities are guided by best practice regulation principles in the day-to-day implementation of the National Law. The nine principles apply to all regulatory work, from education and information-giving to investigations and enforcement activity. The nine principles are as follows: outcomes are focused, proportionally and efficient, responsive and flexible, transparent and accountable, independence, communication and engagement, mutual respect, consistency and cooperation across jurisdictions, awareness of the broader regulatory environment. So from the above principles, as this session is really focused on compliance and closing the loop, we are keen to share a little more on the principles of communication and engagement and mutual respect. Communication and engagement is outlined as regulatory authorities operating in a dynamic context made up of a broad range of stakeholders. These include other government agencies, for example, DCJ; the regulated sector of providers, supervisors and educators; peak bodies; service users, such as children and families, and the broader community. Engaging appropriately with each stakeholder group makes regulatory activities more efficient and effective. For example, ensuring appropriate information with other government agencies can inform better policy development and mutually improve regulatory decision-making. Appropriate relations with the regulated sector can facilitate more effective, and advisory regulatory approaches, as well as enabling the regulator to obtain valuable feedback and information that improves its own performance. Outward communication of performance and outcomes to service users and the broader community supports better information and decision-making, as well as greater transparency and public accountability. Mutual respect. Regulatory authorities should acknowledge that the primary responsibility of education and care providers, their owners, managers and staff, for maintaining and improving the quality of their services. Providers, supervisors and educators are responsible for meeting their obligations under the National Law and regulations for ensuring the safe health and well-being and improving the education and developmental outcomes for all children in their care. The role of the regulatory authority is to administer the National Law and regulations, promoting quality improvement through exercising the powers and functions given to them by the legislation. These might be new. However, I would encourage you to revisit these with your teams, and they can be found within the Guide to the National Quality Framework. So back to Menti. So using Menti, we are really keen for you to put in the first thought that comes to your mind when you think about compliance and how, as the regulator, we are keeping you in the loop. This is broad and we are keen to capture what really resonates with you. You might find that others are having the same thinking, whereas others may be very left of center to your thinking. There are no right or wrong responses. This is really about us connecting with you. So it's the same Menti code as before. The voting code is 4740 38 double 9. So please take out your phones or enter into your web browser, and we will commence. So please start adding your first thoughts that come into your mind. So I can see some patterns coming through here in relation to communication through emails, regular emails and updates, ensuring that people are well-informed. Definitely email seems to be the communication method of choice. Great to see quality and practice newsletters here and regular updates. So definitely seeing some clear patterns coming through there and in the way that we share our communication with you, and ways that we could improve as well. I'll hand you back to Kim, who will share with us some common communication interactions with the sector and the regulatory authority. Thanks, Kim.

 

- Thanks, Bec. And it was really great just to get your first thinking around the communication with you. And I did see one around there around not getting any notification after a visit. So as we go through, we're gonna break down some of the common interaction points between the regulatory authority and the sector. And that'd be a great opportunity for that to come back out and for you to share with us a little bit more. So what we've done is broken down three engagement and communication touch points between the regulatory authority and the sector. These are all really interrelated, but for today, we're separating them for you so we can get your feedback on what we're doing well with these common communication interaction points. So broadly, we've broken these three common interactions into the three categories, notifications lodged to the regulatory authority or received by the regulatory authority, visits being conducted to services by the regulatory authority, as well as the compliance and compliance actions and responses to compliance actions. And from the beginning Menti, we saw a range of recent contact that's occurred by these interaction and touch points over the last 12 months. So I just wanna share a brief overview around these common interactions. So when we look at notifications, these will be the direct complaints, serious incidents or reports from the public or other agencies where there's an alleged or confirmed noncompliance that places children at risk. Our Triage and Review team are the team that undertake the initial assessment of any matter that's reported to the regulatory authority. In this financial year, we've assessed and investigated over 2,600 notifications of complaint, serious incidents and direct complaints. We also know that the notifications also come through relating to service closure, which we know last year during COVID and the bush fires and flooding that we did receive a number of notifications coming through. So another common interaction point is when we undertake a range of compliance and monitoring visits to approve services. And as we saw, many of you have had visits over the last 12 months. And what I can share in this financial year to date, that the regulatory authority has conducted over 6,000 visits to assess compliance and service quality. And your feedback when we're unpacking what makes that good assessment and rating in 2019, we heard clearly that you wanted to see the presence of authorized officers in services increase, and not just when assessment and rating was occurring. And we know that for many services, the feedback that you were sharing is that we didn't just wanna see the authorized officers during the A and R, but it was what happened during that period. Because what we also know is that the presence of officers and our increased engagement has actually driven our commitment to increasing that presence of authorized officers within education and care services. And what we're really keen is that we're using that increased communication around the data trends and findings through our visits to actually increase the uplift in quality. And our approach to risk-based regulation then drives our contact with the service, and visits will be conducted, as well, to services through a range of different platforms. This might be through targeted campaigns. And these are where the monitoring is undertaken based on specific compliance trends. Might be around the location or the service type, and really encourages providers and others to ensure that they're compliant with a specific compliance area or a concern that's been identified by the regulatory authority. And this focuses the regulatory authority's resources on a risk-based approach to visits. We also know that visits are conducted through assessment and rating, and that's the process of assessing and rating a service against the National Quality Standards, which does include a visit. It really encourages continuous improvement by engaging the approved provider and the educators in the process of self-assessment and evaluation. It also provides a detailed report on their performance against the National Quality Standards. So I will just take a moment to then visit, then share with you some of those visit types. Might be the announced visits, and that's where you receive notification of that. And that includes the assessment and rating process. It's also where an officer may be arranging to come to a service. And this style of contact for announced visit really encourages providers and others to comply with their obligation and provides preparation time for compliance visits, ensuring certain paperwork is readily available or that particular staff members are present. We also will conduct unannounced visits. And I know that a few of you outlined that you'd had those visits occur. And this is where the authorised officers visit the services without prior notice. It's this style of contact that encourages providers and others to comply with their obligation at all times. Now moving into specific compliance activity, which is one of our common interaction points. It's around where risk to children is alleged or identified as a compliance activity. And it might be either statutory or administrative, and that may be issued. And this is one of the common interactions that we will have with you as a regulator. So under the National Quality Framework, compliance tools are aligned to varying roles, including the approved provider, nominated supervisors and, at times, educators. I really encourage you to visit the Guide to the National Quality Framework under Section 5 titled Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement, which outlines the guidance on which compliance tools may be used based on specific circumstances. Now, through the challenges faced during 2020 pandemic, we heard you were really appreciative of the information and contact from the team, which is something we are aiming to continue through our communication with you, and has really driven us to deliver and hear from you today during this session. So we're now going to step into hearing from you about how you feel we're engaging with you and how we can do this better, and aligning these questions to the three common interaction points for communication between the regulatory authority and the sector. As I said, we are open to your feedback, and the information that you share will be very valuable in our approach moving forward, and further streamline and increase our engagement and compliance communication. So, as I said, we really ask you to be forward-thinking, be frank and fearless with us so that we can continue to drive and improve our compliance practice. I'm now gonna hand over to Rebecca Kondek, who's really going to ask you questions around the feedback relating to notifications. Thanks, Bec.

 

- Thanks, Kim. Good afternoon, everyone. As Kim introduced, my name's Rebecca Kondek. And so I thank you all for attending today. It's really nice to be able to take this opportunity to spend some time engaging with you all. The slide today that I'm going to be talking about, the slide builds upon previous notification information shared by Kim, which is a common point of interaction between the regulatory authority and the sector. This is very much driven by the information that you lodge to us, as well as the community, which is often parents. As mentioned, all notifications received by the regulatory authority go through our Triage and Review team. The process of the Triage and Review team is that a risk assessment against each notification is undertaken, and a determinology as to how it will be managed further is made based on the application and, of course, applying a risk-based methodology. The highest risk or most severe incidents or allegations are sent to our Investigations team for a formal investigation. This is where the outcome of the investigation may result in compliance action, prosecution or, even after the investigation is finalized, no further action as there's been no offense. The offense hasn't been able to be substantiated. In the initial assessment determination, if it is a medium risk, these notifications will generally be referred to a particular team. This may be the regional hubs, the family day care-related hub or the compliance hub for further assessment or investigations. The outcomes may result in noncompliance, which also may be familiar to you as a breach, which may lead to an administrative or a statutory compliance activity. The low and very low risk notifications are assessed through our initial triage and review assessment. And generally, they can be closed off within the team with no further action required and are recorded against the service's history. Each notification is assessed on its own merit. However, for each notification, a risk assessment is conducted at the provider and the service level to determine if there are any patterns of service compliance. Further information may be obtained through the assessment stage, which can also lead to further review by the Compliance or the Investigations team. Where we're actually, we're very interested in hearing from you and we really want to use this presentation to keep you informed about the notification and review process. So I really want to encourage you to share with us how you think we're communicating with you around the notification process. So if we jump over to Menti again, I can see in the chat that a few people might've been having a little bit of trouble with the code, so I will read it out again. Oh, okay, we're in there. Excellent, okay. So I'll ask you to scan the QR code. The code is 4740 38 double 9. So there'll be a series of questions that will pop up. The first three questions, we want you to share your experience with us. Think about the last notification that was launched. It may have been a notification of a complaint. It may have been a serious incident. Using the scale. Everyone's jumping ahead, but that's okay. So using the scale of one to 10, one being limited communication and 10 being really thorough, please provide us with your feedback as we move through the questions. So the first one is confirmation that your notification has been received. So one being limited. So one being limited communication and 10 being thorough. Okay, can see your answers popping up there. Question number two. Communication that your notification has been assessed and will be referred to a hub. 4.2%. The third question, confirmation that your notification has been assessed and no further action will be taken. Again, the scale being one, limited communication, 10, thorough communication. I'll just leave that there a little bit longer. I can see we're still waiting on a few participants to contribute, but that's really valuable feedback, so thank you for engaging in that. Okay, the following. I'll move on. The following is now a pulse check for us. So thinking about notifications lodged by your service, how could we have have improved our communication regarding the notification process? This is the chance for you to really share your experiences with us. As Kim mentioned, be frank and fearless, as well as thinking about the ways you think we could improve this communication. Try and think outside the box and really be open to sharing your ideas with us. Okay. Timely response. Closing the loop, that's great. That's really positive for our session today because I can see a pattern coming up of, I guess, quicker responses, timely. Not just automated. Okay, yep. Time and follow up. More feedback. Okay, an email sent soon after. Again, I think sort of it's bunching around the time that it's taking for you to hear back from us, which is really, really great for us to hear and take onboard. Okay, I'm also seeing generic notifications. So probably more of that personal approach. I'll just keep going, but please feel free to continue to put your answers in there and any suggestions that you have for us. Again, your feedback really does provide us with a platform. And I wanna take an opportunity to thank you for being able to share those ideas with us and engage with us to move forward. And it really does provide a platform for review and refinement of our communication and compliance processes. So thank you, everyone. That's all for me for now. I'll hand back over to Kim and I'll pop up again later. Thanks, everyone.

 

- Hi, everyone. It's Bec again, handing over to me. So as you can see on this slide, we're gonna look at compliance and monitoring visits and assessment and rating visits, what it looks like prior to the visit, during the visit and after the visit for each stage. Visits to approve services can generally be broken into these two categories: monitoring and compliance or assessment and rating. Monitoring visits can be prompted by notification, an investigation or can be part of ongoing monitoring by the regulatory authority based on our risk-based methodology. These are predominantly unannounced. This encourages providers and others to comply with their obligations at all times. Unannounced visits are particularly useful when there is reason to believe the provider may be noncompliant or there may be significant risk to children present. Announced visits are arranged with prior notice. These can include assessment and rating and preapproval visits. You may have experienced announced visits during 2020 as a result of the regulatory authority's approach to supporting education and care services during the pandemic. We've heard feedback that you appreciate this approach, and we are looking at ways to incorporate this into our regular compliance activity. This type of visit has a number of deciding factors, including service history of compliance, operation and quality rating, and an earned autonomy. We also take into account the service location and type, as well as operational hours. This encourages providers and others to comply with their obligations and provides preparation time for visits. For example, ensuring certain paperwork is readily available or particular staff members are present. Targeted campaigns are another type of visit that we do. And they monitor for compliance trends, location or service type, and encourages providers and others to ensure they are compliant with compliance issues or concerns to the regulatory authority. This focuses the regulatory authorities approach resources on addressing a problem or compliance pattern. These have included high-risk buildings, family day care, and most recently, notification procedures during the last 12 months. These type of visits are often led by data trends. Critical incidents and communication is often shared with the sector and will include education on regulatory requirements. In relation to assessment and rating, the process of assessing and rating a service against the National Quality Standard includes a service visit. This type of visit is announced and encourage continuous improvement by engaging the approved provider and the service in a process of self-assessment, as well as providing a detailed report of their performance against the National Quality Standard. Assessment and rating visits are always planned and, therefore, communication takes place prior to, during and after the visit is conducted. So thinking about our communication around service visits, we are keen for you to provide us with your thoughts on our communication and share how we may improve our communication with you regarding visits. So we're gonna jump back into Menti. So again, the same code. The voting code is 4740 38 double 9. I'll give you a few moments to pop into there. Okay, great. So we have three questions in this Menti. And we want you to share your experience. So think about the last notification that was lodged. This may be a notification of complaint, notification of serious incident. Oop, sorry, I've jumped on the wrong Menti. I better go back. Sorry, everyone. Okay, so going back, thinking about the visits that are conducted, we want you to share your experience. Think about your last compliance and monitoring visit, no notification, and using the scale of one to 10, one being limited communication and 10 being thorough communication, please provide us feedback as we move through the following points. One, communication prior to compliance and monitoring visit. So again, scale one being limited communication, 10 being strong. Oh, 6.9 for monitoring compliance, which is great to see. Good to see communication occurring during visits and people being made aware of what the alleged noncompliance could be. And communication after a monitoring visit, which is those things which we'll outline to you if noncompliance is identified. Give you a few more moments there. Okay, great. So onto our next question. Thinking about compliance and monitoring visits, how could we have improved our communication regarding compliance and monitoring visits? So one being we have limited communication, 10 being strong communication. So looking at our communication regarding assessment and rating visits. So the communication prior to an assessment and rating visit, during an assessment and rating visit, and after an assessment and rating visit. Some great points here to look at. So improving our communication with more feedback. Telephone calls or emails. So definitely more feedback after the visit seems to be a trend. Feedback following the visit, even if no noncompliance is identified. Great. Just reading your responses. Definitely seems that more communication after the visit is what you're looking for. So that's great feedback and something that we can look at improving within our practice. Again, your feedback provides us with a platform for review and refinement of our communication and compliance processes. Thanks. I will now hand you back to Bec Kondek to look at compliance actions.

 

- Before we go there, Bec, I'm just gonna step in here. The next question that we had posed in that Menti, just to get a bit of a sense check on, was actually the separation of the compliance and then monitoring to the assessment and rating visit. So this is just a catch up, in a sense, to be able to share with us around the communication prior to an assessment and rating visit and what you're experiencing, as well as the communication during an assessment and rating visit, as well as the communication after an assessment and rating visit. And there's a little typo there, but the third one is about communication after an assessment and rating visit. And this is just a really great place to step in and also share that if you are undergoing assessment and rating or coming up or thinking about assessment and rating at your service, don't forget that you can reach out to the quality support team and talk to them around some of the support around self-assessment and moving from a traditional quality improvement plan to a self-assessment process. But this is just about you providing us with a little bit of a benchmark and a sense check around the communication in the assessment and rating space. And what I will get is the next question up is we're really keen to hear from you around how we could look to improve our communication regarding assessment and rating processes and the visits. So if you're able to think outside the box and share with us anything that's working well or anything that you think that we should be looking at and revisiting. Great, so someone popped in there around consistency across assessors is needed. More understanding on what verges need to focus on. We'll delve into that one a little bit more. Give more notice around it. Our assessor was the best we've had. It was a really positive experience. Thank you for sharing that. As I said, 2019, we really did start to unpack the assessment and rating space, but we know that we need to do some further work around this space, so thank you. More of mentoring and guiding and giving proper support. Follow-up assistance with centers needed. More feedback on the day. And this is about really getting a sense check from you around our communication and where we can improve, so thank you. One experience we had was great, where the assessor clearly had an understanding of up-to-date practices. The support unit re the self-assessment was great and educators were more, it's just not popping up, more confident as a result. Yep, and I just shared a little bit of information around reaching out to the Quality Support team. Yep, and here's a great suggestion. It would be great to have a conversation with the AO after the visit to talk through the rating and the reasons why. There are inconsistencies between assessors and why ratings are given. Add the NS to the email list, as well, so communication is fluid. That's a great suggestion, thank you. Being more open-minded. And we're hoping that today, you're able to have a platform where you can share what does that look like? If we can have some feedback after the visit, letting us know how we're going. But there's some really great suggestions coming through there, and we'll really unpack that following this roadshow, so thank you for that. I will hand over to Rebecca so that she can step us through how we can seek information around the compliance actions, and what we're doing well and where we can have some improvements. Thanks, Bec.

 

- Thanks, Kim, thanks, Bec. So what is compliance actions? Well, this is the third common interaction between the sector and the regulatory authority. Compliance actions are generated when noncompliance of the National Law or regulations has been identified. This can be identified from direct notification of an incident or a complaint from a service to the regulatory authority. It could also come from a compliance monitoring or investigation visit, or even an assessment and rating visit. There are a wide range of methods and tools that the regulatory authority use when addressing areas of noncompliance. In each circumstance, a compliance action will require a rectification of the breach by the service or provider. This could include guided compliance, which can be offered at the time of the visit, and evidence at the time of the visit is produced to demonstrate that the noncompliance has been rectified, or it potentially could turn into a formal compliance activity in the form of an administrative or statutory letter. Please note that guided compliance is offered proportionate to the risk identified and also on a case-by-case basis, dependent also on the compliance history of the service. If a letter of administrative or statutory nature is issued, it will provide you with guidance on when and how to comply with the areas of concern. This will also include details of how best to respond to the regulatory authority. In all cases, services should be informed of the details of the confirmed breach. At times where it's required to be rectified, the breach, and the regulatory authority is satisfied that the breach has been rectified, so the closure of the compliance action. Now, again, we want to hear from you about your experiences with our communications surrounding compliance actions and activity. I know you've all been working really hard in this session and providing us with a lot of information and communication, but I just wanna encourage you to just continue that level of engagement with us. You really are providing us with a lot of takeaways for us to reflect on and take action to increase our communication with you surrounding compliance activity and keeping you in the loop. So if you wanna pop onto Menti again, that code 4740 3899. So having heard about the range of compliance action types issued by the regulatory authority, now we wanna hear your feedback on how well we've done with communicating with you at each stage. So once you've scanned in. Okay, perfect. Our questions have popped up. Still waiting for some people to scan through. Thinking about compliance activity, we want you to share your experience. Think about the last compliance action using the same scale we've been using throughout. So one, limited communication, and 10 being thorough, please share with us your feedback as we move through the following points of compliance actions. So please provide a rating on each of the following based on your experience of communication. So the first one being communication when a breach has been identified. We'll just give a little bit of time to allow you to have a think about that and pop your responses in. The next one I'd like you to think about is communication once the compliance action has been issued to you. So think about do you know how and when you are required to respond? Again, the scale being one, limited, and 10 is thorough communication. Next question that I'd like to encourage you to reflect upon. The communication between the reg authority and the service where a service is required to formally respond to a compliance action. And the last one, communication when a compliance action is considered closed. Thank you for that. Thank you for all those responses. So now thinking about, I can see some of you have jumped in already, thinking about compliance actions, how could we have improved our communication with you regarding compliance activity? So again, try and be really, sort of think outside the box, open-minded and frank and fearless with your responses here. Okay, work in partnership to achieve success. That's a really great point. Thank you for raising that. I can see emails is a trend again. Timely response is popping up again. Providing mentoring and support and guidance. A clear response would be appreciated. We were left not knowing whether we had met the requirements. That's a really, really great point. Thank you for raising that. Guidance in phone calls. So lots of communication, yeah. Feedback after the service has lodged their actions required, I think. Yep, yep. So once you've already responded is, yep, that's great. I'll leave it up for a little bit longer and just encourage you to share as much as you can with us, you know, for us to take away and sort of reflect and look at these. There's some really good points coming through. Support following the closure again. Guidance around what is actually required. Okay, yep, through the email and further support. Clear steps, provide clear steps of actions. Sorry it's just been cut off. Yeah, required, including timelines, yep. Okay, contact with the NS and AS in all communication. Yep, so at that service level as well. Okay, look, really, really great ideas there, and thank you for taking the opportunity and being so engaging with us. We really do appreciate that. Again, it does provide us with a platform for review and refinement with our communication regarding compliance processes, so thank you. I'll now hand over to Kim for the next slide. Thanks, everyone.

 

- Thanks, Rebecca and Rebecca. Really great as a sector that you've been able to have a platform where you're able to share what we are doing well and where we need to have some improvement in our communication at those kinda three key interaction points. But now we just wanna spend a couple of minutes doing a bit of a compliance activity and using Kahoot. We're really keen to really touch into that compliance communication approaches, including some of the ways that we're already communicating with you. So I'll ask you just to scan the QR code on the screen or in your web browser in www.kahoot.it and the game pin will come up on the screen. And the questions that we're using in this Kahoot activity are really around communication, communication that occurs within the sector and that the law and regulations outline. So we're going to see who's already in the know and who's ready to go. So we'll wait for the players to register. Here we go. So true or false? You receive written notification concerning an upcoming assessment and rating visit? The response to that is true. Notice of assessment and rating is issued via an email to the crew provider and service email address that have recorded on NQA ITS. About approximately a week out, you will receive a phone call from the authorized officer confirming the date that that visit will occur. So we had 118 correct. And looking at the leaderboard, Roz has taken that out from the first question. We have nine questions, so let's go, Matt. True or false again. A verbal complaint alleging a child's well-being has been compromised must be notified to the regulatory authority. This is true. So Section 174, it is an offense to fail to notify certain information to the regulatory authority. Subsection 2 of this section outlines that a complaint alleging that a serious incident has occurred or is occurring while a child's being educated or cared for by their approved education care service must be notified. Ah, BJ has taken lead over Roz. Just a little tip, the faster you are answering the question and answering it correct will pop you up that leaderboard. We'll go onto question three, Matt. So which regulation outlines where you have to have complaints handling policies? And the answer to that is Regulation 168. And if you look at 20, dealing with complaints, you must have a policy that's available to families, as well as guides the staff in the procedures and management of any complaint received, whether it's a complaint is verbally made or in writing. Ooh, we've seen the leader board change dramatically. So KT's up in front. So what is an administrative compliance action? It is a caution letter. And caution letters are issued when the regulatory authority is satisfied that noncompliance has been identified. However, if the service has a good history of compliance and the regulatory authority is satisfied that the provider will or has taken action to rectify the non-compliance. And I'd encourage you to visit the guide and look at that Section 5. So KO, another slight change in the leader board. That tip around being quick and getting the answer correct. Let's go, Matt, to question five. So what is a statutory compliance action? So that's an emergency action notice. So an emergency action notice is a written notice setting out the steps the approved provider must take to remove or reduce the immediate risk to the safety, health or well-being of a child or children being educated and cared for by the service. Oh, KO held the title on that one. We'll go to question six, Matt. So who can a compliance direction be issued to? Oh, 105 answer is correct there. The approved provider. That's correct. And the compliance direction must be in writing and requires an approved provider to take steps set out in the direction to comply with the specific provision of the national regulations. And it's right there. Compliance direction can only be issued to the approved provider. KO has a strong knowledge around this communication and still maintains that top place at this point. Question seven. The contact details of the regulatory authority and the person to issue complaints to must be displayed where? That's correct for 95 of you. Clearly visible from the front entry. And that must be positioned clearly so that anyone entering or involved in that, coming into the service can see that information about the complaints and where you can make complaints. I would also encourage you to revisit your complaints handling policy to make sure that it's really clear on the processes and steps to take and where you must report those to. All right, we'll move. Oh, here we go. KO held it again. Must be that speed thing and the correct answer. All right, question eight. If you have a concern or compliment following a visit from the member of the regulatory authority, you can contact us as the department. True or false? Yep, 107 of you. It is true. Where you can go, you can visit the Department of Education website. Scroll to the Your Feedback section. And here, you can make a compliment, complaint or suggestion. And we're really wanting you to have easy accesses to processes so that you can raise these with us. And this is just another way that we're looking at increasing our communication channels with you. Ooh, KO, slight change in those up in the top five there, with Jen coming in second. Thank you. True or false, is it lawful for the regulatory authority to publish enforcement activity? Look, it is true. Regulatory authorities may publish prescribed information about the following enforcement actions taken under the National Law. These include compliance notices, emergency action notice, prosecutions, enforcement undertakings, suspension of cancellation of approval or certificates and amendments to approval or certificates for enforcement purposes. I encourage you to refer to Section 5, Part 9, which is about publishing information about enforcement actions. And you can visit the department website and search under the published enforcement and decision actions, and that outlines the New South Wales action that's been taken. So the last question, let's have a look. KO has maintained that. Let's see whether Jen can, or anyone else, can come. If noncompliance is identified and rectified at a visit, this is a confirmed breach of the National Law or regulations. You may know this as guided compliance. It is true. Yes, confirmed areas of breaches or noncompliance are recorded against the service or the provider's compliance history and are reviewed by the regulatory authority as needed. And the action taken by the provider to rectify any noncompliance at the time of a visit and where there's no risk to children may be referred to guide a compliance. I really do encourage you to visit the Guide to the National Quality Framework for more information. Let's have a look at our leader board and the podium around keeping you in the know, the compliance. Well done to those three. KO for holding that lead there for a long time, and a couple of runners-up there as well. Look, I'm conscious of time. Well done in that Kahoot. It was really about having a look at where there's some communication that's required under the law. One of the things that we really value today is that you've been able to provide us with information around how we can strengthen our communication with you when we're looking at our compliance activity. We did ask you to be frank and fearless, and we saw some really great suggestions up there, as well as you touching on your experiences. We know it's really important to share how we'll be using this information moving forward. You could deem it that we're pulling together our own quality improvement plan around the communication with compliance. So we did ask at the beginning of the session that we shared our critical reflections, and we're now gonna be moving into touching on some of the quality improvement planning processes that we'll take. So we are seeking to improve the way we communicate with all stakeholders, and that includes you as the sector. This means keeping you informed at critical stages of our interactions. What we'll be doing is the information collated from this session will be used to design new processes or amend our current processes and systems to improve the way that we're keeping you in the know around the activity that's occurring. I would encourage that if you have further comments or ideas in relation to this initiative, we'd love to hear them. So if you can pick up and reach out to the Information and Enquiries team, either by phone or email, to share anything that you think of after or that you haven't had the opportunity to share during this hour. And just at the beginning, I said if there's a service-specific question or feedback relating to our communication with you, that you do pick up the phone to the Information and Enquiries team and raise that and speak to one of the operations staff. So we have just started this journey and we recognize that we have a way to go. And your input that you provided today will actually drive change across the sector, so we appreciate that. We are really committed to continuing to raise quality and we know that today's information will drive us to increase this communication with our approach to you. We also really hope that later in the year, we're able to see you, hopefully in person, face-to-face, at the next roadshow and provide you with an update on the work that we're doing in closing the loop and sharing information with you. So, again, I really just wanna thank you. This hour has gone very quickly, and I'm conscious we're slightly over. We had been talking today about closing the loop on compliance and really focusing on our communication. I do encourage that if you're keen to stay in touch and up to date, that you log on to the department website or scan the QR code that's up on the screen, which will take you to our New South Wales Early Childhood Education Facebook group. And that's where we do share a lot of information, as well, with the sector. So once again, thank you for joining us. Thank you for your commitment and your engagement. And I really hope that we can connect and engage again really soon on this topic. Thanks very much, and enjoy the rest of your day.

Brighter Beginnings

Brighter Beginnings

- Welcome to our very first session of our Roadshow 2021. It's very exciting to be here today. I apologise, there's some background noise. I think the garbage trucks have decided to just arrive on my street, so I hope it's not coming through. Okay, so it's 10, o'clock on the dot. I think there's still a few people joining, but we will get started. First, just a little bit of housekeeping. So the microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during the presentation, and you will just be able to see us, the panellists. There is a Q&A function on the bottom of your zoom screen. If you wanna put questions in there at any time during the session, please feel free. And we will attempt to get to the questions as we go through. If we don't get to them all, we will follow up afterwards. You can vote for questions that are in there, and then those that are upvoted, so to speak, it's a new time for us all, will get our attention more quickly. We will also use Menti a little bit later during the session, and we'll give you instructions at that point. This session is being recorded, and will be made available afterwards as well. We will start with an acknowledgement of countries, so we'll just play a video for you.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging, and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations, today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- And I'd like to acknowledge that I am on Gadigal land today, and to pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging, and to all Aboriginal colleagues with us today. Okay. So we'll just go to the next slide. So here's the agenda for today. So again, I would like to welcome you all to our Roadshows for 2021 virtual Roadshows, as I should say. My name is Sharon Gudud. I'm the executive director for quality assurance and regulatory services in ECE, at the department. And I'm here with Gillian White, my colleague, executive director of ECE and school's policy, and also some other members of the team. So we'll be doing a bit of a switching back and forth between us through the session. As we open the Roadshow today, we are gonna showcase a few of the initiatives that are underway. These Roadshows are an important opportunity for us to engage with you, to share some of the work that we're doing, but more importantly to hear from you about your insights and views, and your suggestions for things that you would like us to be thinking about and working on with you. So again, I just remind you, there is the Q&A function, if you would like to use it. And then when we've got the Menti a little bit later, that's another opportunity for you to tell us your views. But first start, we will play a video from Minister Mitchell, who was unable to be with us in person, but wanted to express her opening remarks to you.

 

- I would like to begin by acknowledging that I'm recording this speech from the traditional land of the Gadigal people. I also acknowledge the traditional custodians of the various lands from where all of you are situated today. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing today's session. These Roadshow events provide us with an opportunity to consult with the sector, reflect on your achievements, and outline our commitments to increased access for our littlest learners, to high quality early childhood education and care. As many of you know, I'm extremely passionate about ensuring that our children have the best start in life. That's why I'm really proud to be leading the New South Wales' government's Brighter Beginnings initiative, which is all about improving lifelong outcomes for all children in New South Wales through the first 2000 days of life, from conception to age five. We know that if we focus on the first 2000 days, we can create a healthier, happier, and more productive society, and break the cycle of disadvantage. The exciting part is that this initiative brings together government agencies and sector professionals to support all New South Wales families. The New South Wales government is working together to deliver a universal health, education and community service system, that is equitable and accessible, and lifts the prospects of every single child. We will support parents to feel capable, as they manage the challenges of raising their children with the skills that they need to parent confidently. Families, especially new parents, need to know when, where, and how to access the information and services that they need. We know that one in five New South Wales children starting their first year of school are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains of the Australian Early Development Census in 2018. This figure more than doubles for Aboriginal children. So this is a particular focus of the Brighter Beginnings initiatives. And we are working across government agencies, to support families experiencing vulnerability and disadvantage, migrant families and Aboriginal families. With targeted culturally safe and inclusive interventions and services that meet their needs. Through the Brighter Beginnings initiative, the department of education has partnered with the department of communities and justice, on a project that aims to reduce non-fee barriers to early childhood education, faced by families of children aged three to five years, who are experiencing complex and multiple levels of disadvantage, particularly those at risk of entering the child protection system. This project will be delivered in the local government areas of Walgett, Fairfield, Cessnock and Kempsey. For families, where there are concerns about the risk to a child's wellbeing and safety, and higher levels of general vulnerability, access to ECE also ensures that children and families remain visible in their communities, and provides opportunities for families to be connected with support, and with other services. We also have a new public awareness campaign, Grow to learn, Learn to grow, that the department has launched, which further highlights the benefits of participation in quality early childhood education, and also encourages families to get their children enrolled in a quality ECE service. The campaign is also aimed at lifting the profile of the profession, so that families can better understand just how important a role an educator can play in a child's development. Through this campaign, we've also recently launched a new ECE service finder, that some of you might be familiar with. This new tool includes all types of early childhood education and care services in New South Wales, including community preschools, long daycare, family daycare, and mobile services and occasional care services to be added shortly, once their data is uploaded to the national register. The finder includes up-to-date and relevant information about service types, regulation, and the national quality framework, so that parents can make informed decisions. The quality ratings are shown in the new family friendly format, that is already on display in many ECE services right across New South Wales. I also want to acknowledge the Aboriginal advisory group, who have co-designed an Aboriginal ECE strategy, which is close to being finalised. From drafting of key targets, to ideation of initiatives, and to setting performance indicators to chart and hold our progress to account. The goal of the Aboriginal ECE strategy, is to enable access for all Aboriginal children in New South Wales, to quality early childhood education, where they are supported to embrace their culture and identity for a strong start to lifelong learning. I hope that during your attendance at these Roadshow sessions, you are able to find a renewed perspective, and can focus on the importance of your role, not only in a child's life, but also in the future of our society. I wanna sincerely thank all of you for your sustained effort and resilience during a very challenging time for your continued commitment to the children of New South Wales, and for everything that you do each and every day to support their futures.

 

- So thank you, Minister Mitchell from afar, for that message and a number of those key themes we'll come back to today. And thank you, Sharon, for kick-starting our session today. As Sharon mentioned, my name is Gillian, or Gil White. I'm the executive director of early childhood education and schools policy here at the department. And I'm really excited to be with you here today for the beginning of our first 2021 virtual Roadshow. We're firstly going to hear from the perspective of the most important people, the children, the littlest learners in ECE. And so I'd love for us to play a clip from our Grow to learn, Learn to grow campaign.

 

- I like painting and doing all of that creating stuff.

 

- I like stories because they have different pictures in them.

 

- I like playing with the pillow.

 

- Going to the sand pit.

 

- Playing with lego.

 

- We have an opportunity at this age, to be able to ignite their passion for learning, so that when they go to school, the foundation is laid, and they already want to know things, they already want to be engaged in education.

 

- Look how big this is Hiro.

 

- [Hiro] Yeah.

 

- My favourite friends are Isaac and Imogen.

 

- Rosalyn and Ayushi.

 

- I play with Niro and Remy.

 

- I would definitely say that educators are a bit like extended family. I feel like we have really open dialogue with them. We have really nice conversations.

 

- I would tell them you should go to preschool instead of staying home. 'Cause you're gonna make new friends.

 

- Lovely hearing the voice of our children there. So in our session today, we're going to hear a few different clips from the Grow to learn, Learn to grow campaign. And we're also gonna talk about the work that we're collectively doing together on participation, quality and outcomes. And we know that each and every one of us is connected by this commitment to deliver stronger outcomes for children. And so it was really important for us to include their voice today. We'd like to start by taking a step back, to reflect on why we are all here. I think we have the next slide that goes to that, about how we're all motivated to make a difference for young people that we work with. We know there's always a risk that departments can seem really aloof and far removed from the day-to-day experiences of educators and who run early childhood centres and preschools. And so in this session today, we wanted to talk about our common goals, to give all New South Wales children the best start in life. And you'll see that we've summarised that joint vision, which we'd hope you'd all agree with. It's about participation through universal access for all children. It's about quality and safety, and it's about better outcomes for all children. So if we move on to the next slide, as the minister spoke about in her introduction, early childhood education, but development, is a New South Wales government priority. We're really excited that Minister Mitchell is leading the way on prioritising the first 2000 days of life, from conception to five years, and I know that that would be something that is close to everyone who's on this session's heart. It's about building the evidence, the importance of early childhood, the first five years, and us making sure we're out in front on that value. As the minister spoke to, it's about a holistic approach with our colleagues across the rest of the agencies. And most importantly, in collaboration with you, and sharing our knowledge and evidence through public campaigns, some of which we've dotted through today's presentation. If we move on to the next slide. As I've spoken about before, what we wanna cover in today's session is the key drivers of our collective work, something that Sharon and I, and all the teams are focused on at the government level. But we know that you play the most important contribution to that in your services every day. So universal access and participation, high quality safety, and wellbeing, and better outcomes for children. We'd love you to keep these big picture in mind throughout the session, in terms of the comments and questions that you bring to the table, and that Menti interactive part that Sharon talked about at the outset. Thanks very much. So participation through universal access. I'm gonna hand over to Liam now to do the next part of the presentation.

 

- Thank you, Gil. And it's a pleasure to be here for those who don't know or haven't met me up, I'm the relatively new director for early childhood education policy, and it's great to be with everyone today. If we could move to the next slide, please. And before I dive into the participation success, as we say, it's a pillar in ECE, just on the key participation element, and our ongoing partnership together, the department and the sector working as one, just to really highlight how much we value the feedback and co-design. And when we think through particularly policy with all of you, it's something that informs all our work to date, and is a key part of how we will design, plan and implement work in the future. A particular call out to our advisory group, REC advisory group, which is made up of some leaders in the sector, academics, service providers who give us really important counsel on our strategy ideas and programmes each month. We also do collect that anonymous feedback from educators and others to monitor our progress. And from time to time, we'll reach out to you with surveys seeking that information. We know sometimes that can be just an addition to your day, but we try to keep it as low as possible, but rest assured when we do, we really, really value and use that information to help us make a difference for children. And we also have our information and inquiries line, which is quite a popular means for families in particular to connect with us. And I think we're fielding some 4,000 calls per month there. And of course, events like this one, this session where it's great for us to get your feedback and to react to that as well. So moving to the next slide. What I wanna do is focus in here a bit on participation through universal access, and really in a way celebrate the good news story. And that's a good news story that is again, a real partnership between the department and sectors and educators. And if you look at this graph here, we can see together how we've achieved an extraordinary uplift in participation in ECE for all groups, all children, indigenous children, vulnerable and disadvantaged children. In particular, since the start of the universe access national partnership, I think it's something we should all be very proud of and frames our thinking as we move ahead. Great stuff, but more to do there. I think that last mile of 5% is where we now really need to focus and channel additional efforts and energies. If we move to the next slide. I think here, not not to focus just on, too much on, the funding programme, but Start Strong is again something that the department has funded, and has been a game changer for our community preschool sector to increase access in a big way, and participation. But also, something that in providing that funding particular, the community preschool sector has done an amazing job in engaging, educating, and increasing the participation of children in high quality ECE, and that only continues, and is a real strength and key feature of our system. Moving ahead one more. And just to call out here, a particular focus on Aboriginal children, we can say with confidence that more Aboriginal children are attending ECE in the year before school than ever before. And I think that's something that we can all of us be particularly proud on, but of course not something where we should at all be resting on our laurels. We know there is so much more that we need to do. This number needs to be 100%, as we work in partnership with Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal children. And I think that's why we'll have a specific and more detailed focus on this a bit later in the presentation, as we talk about a new Aboriginal children's ECE strategy. Moving ahead, one more. I think this slide in particular represents this positive partnership between the efforts of all levels of government. We have Commonwealth and state level growth in funding to all parts of the sector to really support participation in quality ECE, and then we can see again, in all parts preschools and in long daycare. Real ability with that increased funding and that support and that partnership to reduce fees, and it's this positive relationship that we hope to continue and build on. That is one of the key and very positive drivers of participation going forward. And I think probably will continue to be boosted, hopefully with some of the announcements tonight in the Australian government budget, but also a key focus for us in New South Wales, as we move ahead. I think that's all for me on participation. So I will hand back to you. Thank you.

 

- Thanks so much, Liam, and great to be getting some of the comments through that go to a range of the complex and tricky things. So just typing a couple of answers but also some ongoing good challenges to us all. But it's also important to celebrate achievements, including our collective achievements. So in the next section, we wanna spotlight some of the work we've been doing with services. And as Liam mentioned, Aboriginal communities to define an Aboriginal ECE strategy, which goes to those participation quality and outcomes for students goals that we share. So I'd love to introduce Nat Heath, the manager of our Aboriginal ECE team, to talk us through the co-design that we've undertaken. But before we hear from Nat, we're going to go to another one of our videos from an Aboriginal educators and families perspective. Thanks so much.

 

- I would say that early childhood is very, very important for our children. When children know who they are, I feel like they feel more confident and believe in themselves.

 

- Definitely, yes. Social, emotional skills as well. That's one of the reasons I actually put my kids in childcare.

 

- Especially being Aboriginal children, 'cause it gives them some sort of connection to the country. And it also it gives them knowledge about their background, and how they are culturally, with their families and things as well.

 

- It's very important to have indigenous teachers to teach our children. Just having that, like a mirror image of who they are.

 

- It is about introducing language to children, and introducing the place that we're at, getting to know more about the culture itself and the richness that the culture has to share.

 

- We celebrate their achievements, just so they can believe in themselves and know that they can do it. If we could just go so far with our learning in our education, we could become unstoppable. giinagay, yaama, wallawani, jingi wala Wherever you might be in New South Wales, Nat Heath, manager of the Aboriginal engagement and policy team. Just to give you an update, so I think at the end of last year, we discussed with the sector around the Aboriginal early childhood education strategy that we were looking to develop. So we have been working hard with our Aboriginal early childhood education advisory group, which Minister Mitchell talked about. And we're just in the formative stages of... We have drafted the strategy, and co-design, which has been led by First Nations' voices and experts in the area. Just to give you a bit of an understanding, so the strategy's currently going through the draught stage and process, and is going through the channels within the department of education, up to Minister Mitchell. The strategy, as I said, has been designed and supported by the New South Wales Aboriginal education consultative group, which also sits on CAPO, which is a coalition of Aboriginal Peak organisations in New South Wales. It's also been designed and supported by SNAICC, which is a national coalition of Peaks, which worked with COAG on actually designing the new Closing the Gap targets. And it has also been designed supported by NCARA, which is the New South Wales Coalition of Aboriginal Regional Alliances. And actual Aboriginal advisory group is made up of members of these three organisations. But more importantly, it's also being made up of Aboriginal early educators. Educators that represent both Aboriginal and mainstream organisations, and early education services based in metropolitan New South Wales, regional New South Wales and remote New South Wales. The key aspect... Well, there's a couple of key aspects, but we have some key focus with the strategy, specifically towards the Closing the Gap targets. The three specific external targets that we want to address in the strategy is the participation of Aboriginal children. So having 95% of Aboriginal children enrolled in the year before school. We currently sit at 84%, which is a solid growth from 60% in 2016. But we do know we have a long way to go to get to that 95%, that equals around 1400 Aboriginal children in New South Wales to be enrolled. So really relying on you guys within the sector to help drive that change. The other aspect of... One of the targets is the developmental outcomes of Aboriginal children. So are being assessed in the Australian Early Development Census, as being tracked across all five domains. And the target that we're aiming for is by 2031, that 55% of Aboriginal children are assessed as developmentally on track. We currently at 42%, and that was from the 2018 data. And in 2015, we're at 40%. So there's only been a 2% growth. So we need to do a really strong focus within this strategy to address those targets. And the other aspect of the strategy that we're aiming to address and support, is by 2031, there is a sustained increase in the number and strength of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages being spoken in New South Wales. So we have the largest Aboriginal population in New South Wales, and yet we don't have any languages that are recognised as strong languages. So we in the ECE sector, and through this strategy, can really make a big change in regards to supporting the revitalization of Aboriginal languages. As I said, we should have some announcement shortly in regards to this strategy, and really looking forward to the change and supporting you guys within the sector to support the educational outcomes of Aboriginal children. I'm gonna hand back over to my colleagues, Yalu

 

- Thanks, Nat. And that work is incredibly exciting. I'm gonna talk now a little bit about quality improvement, safety and wellbeing. So next slide, please. So I'm sure you will know that the NQF commenced in January, 2012, and quality ratings commenced soon after that. It's incredible to see the improvement in quality since that time. So since 2014, we have gone from 56% to 84% as at the end of the first quarter of this year. So 84% of services that are meeting or exceeding the NQS. And in actual fact, that May results are showing us at 85%. So we're now in line with the national benchmark, which is fantastic. So I wanted to just talk about some of the work that we've been doing to support the sector, to improve quality. We have got a quality support team that is internal to the department. It's part of the regulatory authorities teams, that provides support to services, especially through the self assessment process. And I'll talk a little bit about the results shortly. I think everyone is very aware that we have a new family-friendly... Well, not so new now actually, but a family-friendly quality rating system to increase family's understanding of what ratings are, and to facilitate conversations about quality and services. And we certainly had a lot of positive feedback from families about the graphic, and it is raising awareness of what the quality rating system actually means for families. We have our Grow to learn, Learn to grow campaign, which the minister mentioned, and you've seen a couple of snippets of that in the videos. This is aiming to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood education, and also enhanced recognition of the importance of ECE educators and teachers. There is... One of the campaign videos is specifically about that. And hopefully you will have seen the various campaign videos that have been launched around the place. We also have the new ECE service finder that's been developed and launched through the service New South Wales website, which addresses the shortfalls in existing childcare finder sites, and also promotes the family friendly graphics. So there's been a couple of questions in the chat that I've answered about the finder. So one of the questions was around, why have we got another finder? We already have the federal finder. There's a couple of key reasons to that. One is the other finders don't have the outer scope services in them, so the mobiles. And they are in the New South Wales service finder. Also New South Wales wanted to be able to display its own graphic, the one that you see on the screen, and that is in the New South Wales finder, and is getting some good feedback. And I guess the third reason is that the New South Wales government has a commitment to making available to all New South Wales citizens, only information that they need in one place. So the concept of service New South Wales is a one-stop shop, and for that reason as well, the New South Wales government thought it was important to have its finder there, along with all the many other services that can be found by New South Wales families. So I hope that explains why that got developed, and I hope you've all had a chance to have a look at it. I just wanted to touch on two initiatives that have helped to drive up quality over the last little while. One is, as I mentioned before, the regulatory authorities quality support team, that's a team of around 18 people, and they support services with their self-assessment, and just guide them through that process. So we've had over 1400 services engaged with the quality support team. I think that's over the last 18 months or so. 60% of those services have opted in the self-assessment, and the others are being encouraged to do so. 85% of those who engage with self-assessment are either meeting or exceeding the NQS. So we're getting a lot of positive feedback about that process. Some of the feedback that we're getting is that it saves time for both services and our authorised offices, and that time is reinvested into observing practise. So when our officers come out, having already reviewed the self-assessment submitted by the service, they can spend more time observing and discussing and talking rather than looking at paperwork. So that is certainly been a big plus. Services have given us feedback that by doing the self-assessment, they've been able to showcase their practise in a way that is very meaningful to them, and it gives them more control over the process. So lots and lots of positive feedback. To be honest, I have not yet heard any negative feedback about the self-assessment process, so that's a really good story. If you haven't yet engaged with it, I do encourage you to reach out to our quality support team. And of course, if you have got some experience with it, and want to share something in the Q&A, feel free. The quality support programme is otherwise known as the Working Towards programme, that is in partnership with ACECQA. The department has funded ACECQA to deliver this. This is a much more intensive programme. It's several months of intense work with services that are Working Towards. We've had 353 services take part so far. Of these, 249 have been re-assessed. 71% of those reassessed are now meeting or exceeding, and 95% of those reassessed have increased the number of elements met. And again, the feedback has been really positive about that service. I did do a service visit recently, with one of our authorised officers, and that service had taken place in this programme, and just blew me away with their positive feedback about how much it had helped them. So it's really good to know that's working. If you are interested in either of these two initiatives, please do contact our information and inquiries line to find out more. This is just a snapshot of some of the feedback from services that have participated in the quality support team assistance. And so as I've mentioned, just a lot of positive feedback. Services are really recommending it and saying that it gives them more opportunity to prepare well for the process, and takes the anxiety out of it. I think I'm now handing back to Gil on this one.

 

- Thank you. Trying to do the multitasking, there's some great questions coming through as well. Just wanna emphasise, we won't get to all of them today. Some of them are variations on the same questions, so have a look at how we've responded to some of them. And if there's something really specific, we'll make sure that they're actioned after the session. But it's really valuable to get your questions and comments. So moving on to better outcomes for all of our children, the third of our three shared themes. We all know that participation in high quality early childhood programming can lead to better outcomes for children. But we also know that it takes a village to raise a child, and that village includes health professionals, community and family services, and all the support systems within the ECE service and beyond, that enable families to know and provide what children need to thrive. So we're going to firstly hear from another one of our short videos, from Melissa, our clinical nurse consultants on the importance of early childhood education for lifelong outcomes. And as Sharon said before, we'd love you to share these videos far and wide. They're all available, and we'll send the links so that you can get the messages out there, if this is the first time you've seen them. So over to the video.

 

- Now we have the research to show that a child's brain is 90% developed by the age of five, and in that time, the first 2000 Days Framework, there is so much development that has to go on. Early education has to be the key. These centres are gold for development, because they do offer these opportunities for all areas of a child's development, fine motor skills, with drawing, colouring, and painting. For gross motor skills, for jumping, and playing, and dancing around, as well as their social and emotional skills.

 

- [Teacher] How can we help Owen to get that, to stand up all by itself?

 

- So they're learning to be with others. They're learning to work with others in groups. They're learning to share, take turns, listen to directions, people giving them boundaries. And these are really foundational for the future. So confidence and independence is a big skill for a child, to transition to school with. And if they've had that exposure to these experiences, in early childhood education, that will certainly help that transitioning, to the school environment.

 

- Thanks very much. And thank you for that, the comments that these videos have been great to share. So we've got a QR code for you to scan, or you can use this website link. Although by this stage of the pandemic, we're all getting pretty used to QR codes, which might have seemed a bit novel only a short time ago. So you've heard a fair bit from us, and we've received some great questions and comments, in the chat function. But we've got some more of the presentation to go, but as you hear about the collective work on participation, quality and outcomes, we're really keen to get your perspectives, on what you think is the key, to driving positive outcomes for children in ECE. So there are the details, and then we're going to have some of it pop up, and reflect on it now I think. Depending on how quickly people type. Great. So for those who attended the Roadshow last year, we used these to good effect. And it's great to have people typing away. Strong sector engagement, hearing from educators about what's happening on the ground. Absolutely. We're going to have a member of our advisory group speaking a little while and that is absolutely key. Qualified educators. And no doubt we are aware of workforce challenges that present in the immediate term and over time. Lots of the word qualified, which is music to our ears, the value of that. Developing and maintaining authentic partnerships to children, families, and wider communities. Beautiful. And I should say, talk about things to celebrate, the number of examples that we hear of that being done so amazingly well, and setting up children for lifelong success is a testament to you all. Passionate educators. Focus on employee wellbeing. Yes, we are consistently hearing this. I think obviously the pandemic put this into greater focus, but it's an ongoing important area, for the sector and governments work on well. It's hard to keep up. Some great comments, quality programme delivery. And increased regular attendance, holistic learning that carries to the home environment. That's a really interesting point about attendance. That's in amongst that mix. Custom care programme to meet community needs, which is an interesting reflection having heard from Nat about our work on the Aboriginal ECE strategy. Inclusive practises, wonderful. And another comment just below that on inclusion, which all children and families feel welcome and accepted. Once again, just the possibility of ECE setting that up, as a kind of societal norm, for these littlest learners throughout their life is just an outstanding legacy. Having a professional identity, passionate educators, having a regulator that is responsive and equitable. Absolutely. Okay. They keep going. There's so many wonderful comments, Laura, should I keep going or how are we going on time? Give me the signal.

 

- [Laura] That's fine. But any questions and responses that come in via Menti, will continue to be recorded. And so it will be able to pass on that feedback after the session as well.

 

- Fabulous. We'll have these all to reflect on, and share with you all. 'Cause I think it's a wonderful sense of each other's priorities, both the consistency in those, and some of the other perspectives. So thank you. Oh, I like this one, critical reflection and community engagement, leading to quality service provision. What a dynamic statement? Excellent. Okay. Well, thank you for all of those contributions. And we'll move on to the next side. There's gonna be plenty of those interactive components, in a range of the sessions across the Roadshow. So please keep your typing fingers going, if you've signed up to others. So we've spoken a little bit about Brighter Beginnings, that the government's focused on the first 2000 days. I'm really excited about this work, because it is about integrating Early Childhood Education, into that early childhood development context. And as I've written in the chat and I spoke about in the context of the Aboriginal ECE strategy, we're looking really closely at the Australian Early Development Census domains, because they're shown to predict later health wellbeing, and academic success, including NAPLAN results. So that was a question in the chat. We know that one in five New South Wales children's, starting their first year of school, are developmentally vulnerable on one or more domains, of the census. And this figure more than doubles for Aboriginal children. And there's many more children developmentally at risk. So we think that one of the most important areas for us to work in partnership with the sector, is these interconnected five domains, physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language, and cognitive skills, and communication skills. So with that in mind, we just wanted to touch on a few more other aspects, of that better outcomes work. And so if we go to the next slide, that is about transition to school, and ensuring all children in New South Wales have a positive transition to school. Speaking to our advisory group, and speaking to many people on the ground in the sector, I know how strong your commitment is, to a positive transition to school. And that we need to make sure that, it's a really strong two-way street, between the early childhood providers and the schools. And the useful thing about working in the department of education, is our capacity to bring the supporting ECE services, with the supporting schools. So we've been working on a range of different webpages and resources, and excitingly we're working on a digital statement pilot. So there might be some on the line, that have been involved in that pilot, but otherwise we're rolling it out further over this year and next year. And the plan being to take the paper-based transition to school form and make that a far more easy digital form. So that it's easy for early childhood educators. And then the schools can receive that in a really digestible form, to ensure information flow about that student's needs. So there's great work that we have underway there, and very happy to have comments in the chat, about what more we can do in that space. But we thought we'd ask here with us today, and I'd like to welcome Marc de Rosnay, who's a wonderful academic, and member of our ECEC advisory group, who will speak to a continued need on transition to school. And just a plug those who have read "The Good Weekend" this weekend. Marc is extensively quoted in the Bluey article which certainly made him very famous in my family. So thanks so much for being with us Marc.

 

- Look, it's a real pleasure to be here. And I would like to acknowledge all the people here today, and just tell you that I'm Gadigal and Wangal country here in Annandale in Sydney in an office, that I set up because of COVID. I hope that there's an active discussion going on in the background and they're engaged faces. I can't see them. And it is always a little unusual to speak to a void. I'm very pleased to be asked to give some comments today. I'm not obviously talking on behalf of the department, but I do appreciate the spirit of consultation, that has really grown over the years, that I've been in contact with the department in Early Childhood Education. And the willingness to hear all sorts of messages, some of them flattering, some of them uncomfortable. And I think that's a really healthy thing that. I've been asked over the last few years, to participate in a few initiatives as it were improve, thinking around and procedures around transition to school. And I'm really pleased to note that it's something that, Early Childhood Education takes seriously. And they recognise that it's problematic area. I suppose I'll use this little platform and these few minutes, just to lay out a few things, that are important for all of us to recognise. I don't think it's easy to point out other people and say, "Can you solve this problem please?" But there are problems here at many levels. And I think we all have an investment, on getting this right for children. So let me just lay out a few things. The transition to school is often confused with school readiness in my mind, and I think it's important not to conflate those two things. There's a bit of a catch phrase which I've been hearing, ever since I've been working in this area, started in Scandinavia I think. The school should be ready for children. It's not up to children to be ready for schools. Of course, we should do everything we can, to get children ready for school. And we do. And early childhood is fabulous in being inclusive, and working with families to accept children as they are, and work with them, and progress them as best they can, and get them ready for school. But of course we just know it's a fact, isn't it? And we heard at the beginning of the seminar, that children are at different places for all sorts of reasons, when they get to school. And so this transition can be a very... It can be very smooth for some kids, and it can be extremely traumatic for some children and families. And it's something that... I think there are things we can do as individuals, but there are things we need to think about as a community, and as a sector to make this better. So why is it structurally difficult? Well, first of all, we don't have a smooth pathway. I remember being in Southwest Sydney once, doing some consultation with a school, who was trying to improve transition. And the head of early stage one said, "Look, I stopped counting after 20 pre-schools in long daycare services, that I receive children from. I simply can't have my kindergarten teachers, communicating with all of those preschools, and long daycare services." And then of course there are some kids, who've never been to preschool or are on day care, or family daycare. So there are these structural complexities, aren't there? Then is the sort of, if you like... It's almost like a values based difference, or an ideological difference between the EYLF, belonging being and becoming. And then learning progressions, which kids hit straight away. I don't know about you guys, but my five-year-old recently went to a primary school, and her first contact with primary school was to do the best start assessment. Before she even knew who her teacher was, she did her best start assessment. That's a pretty radically different environment, from the one she'd just come from. So the priorities, the dominant philosophies, and driving principles that children encounter when they hit school are very difficult to marry with the values and principles of the EYLF. And there've been some pretty heroic attempts, to make those two things mesh well. But it's not easy. What teachers need to get children on the progression, is information about their literacy and numeracy. And what early childhood has to offer, is a holistic portrait of a child as a learner, as a thinker, and as a person. And those two things don't sit comfortably with each other, they're both legitimate, we need them both. And the change between preschool and primary school, is that it's that lacuna. It's the point where it breaks down. We have one kind of way of thinking about children, which dominates when they're younger, and another way that that comes into play, as soon as they hit school. And that way of thinking about children's learning, when they hit school has more in common with university education. Then there's more commonality between the philosophy governing education in kindergarten and university education, than there is between preschool and kindergarten. And I think that's a very, very unusual thing. So the challenge is to bridge the transition for children and families. And I think to recognise that this bridging, that needs to be done, this transition that has to be made, is far more challenging for some children and families than others. And I think it would be... Whilst I don't like isolating groups, I like universal programmes. I think we should get our universal systems, right? It would be wrong not to acknowledge, that for some children, that transition between environments is a very big change. And also to recognise that the person, who is asked to change the most is the child. If you think about, if they've encountered a high quality early childhood education and care service, they've been immersed in a play-based environment, with a relational and intentional pedagogical framework. They've become active learners, they've become self-motivated. And they're likely to really struggle, to see any of those elements, in their kindergarten environment. And that puts a huge onus on the child to change to meet the needs of the school. So how do we bridge this? How do we start to do this better? Or one thing that's not helpful, is waving fingers at people. The first thing to acknowledge, and to say out loud is, we're all in early childhood. There's no one in the room today, that I'm aware of who's in schools. And to bridge the divide, I think we need to be having discussions, from both sides of that divide. There are things that individual educators, can and do very well. Forging relationships, getting children ready, getting them familiar with the expectations of school, talking to the parents, helping the parents navigate that transition. I could go on for hours, and I won't. But I think it's wrong to put it all into the... Whilst it's important to do those things. And I think high quality, Early Childhood Education care will continue to do those things. It's also important to acknowledge that there are some structural issues, and they're gonna be hard to solve, unless, like I said, there is a discussion and a willingness, to work on both sides of the divide. And in doing so, it's very important, that we don't lose what we value so much, about Early Childhood Educational care. The EYLF embodies a set of shared values and principles, that I think most Australians see the logic of, and they see the value in. So in terms of building a system where we transitioned from the earliest learning framework, to a system driven by learning outcomes, we need to make sure that the solution isn't some pushed down. That there's as much push down as there is push up, if you take my meaning. And I think only in that way can we really be sure, that we can strive towards continuity and children's learning. And that's really the discussion we should be having. How do we establish continuity for children, right? How do we make sure that all the gains that have happened in early childhood, and the knowledge about a child's... Where they're up to, about their learning, and about their interests, that that isn't lost. That is used well, so that they become an active learner in the kindergarten environment. And so I'd like to leave us with a last thought, which is, where does the first 2000 days end? What should the end point be of the first 2000 days initiative? And one suggestion is that, it should be defined by successful transition, and adaptation to school. That should mark the end of the first 2000 days. That the child has been handed over as it were, it's a metaphor of course, into another environment, where they're understood, where they feel safe, where they can learn, and where they can flourish. And if we share those goals as a community, then I think we'll do very well for children. So thanks for giving me a few minutes to speak. It's obviously an area that I care very dearly about.

 

- Thank you so much, Marc. It's fantastic just to have your perspective on that, and we share your deep concern, and motivation, and I guess, desire to improve everything we can do on transition on the school. I just wanna jump in now, and just say a few words related to this on workforce. If we could move to the next slide. Just to add in our focus here, the importance of really having a strong, and stable, and skilled workforce. We have an exceptional workforce, that we so deeply value and who cannot... Who without which we would stand no chance of achieving all the great outcomes we do for children. For us in the department and the New South Wales government. For us, it's very much a supporting role here, in trying to help increase skills, and help with stability in the workforce, in the wake of COVID, but also continued feedback, that we receive from the sector. It's timely for us to try to work on refreshing our current workforce strategy. And also the other driver there is, as you're aware, there's a national workforce strategy underway as well. So we're working closely in co-designing on that. And trying to align to that strategy as well. We have these four focus areas, around promoting the role of ECE educators, that support around obtaining, and growing qualifications. Work here to build the skills, and capability of the workforce, and supporting there. And also that sustainable support to all service types, and really trying to provide that stability, and help with reduced turnover. Conscious that the national ECE workforce strategy census is also underway. And we're keen to get that data, and use that feedback to help us have a really clear and updated picture this year, of how the workforce is going, and what we need to do to inform further initiatives, and keep building on that. I'm very conscious too also that, the issue of paying conditions is very significant, for all educators and teachers working in the sector. And particularly in the context of recent decisions, around the fair work. Obviously for us, we are actively considering, and looking into to the implications of that, and what needs to happen in the future. So of course, very conscious of that important issue, for all of you as well. I think that's where I'll pause on work force. And hand back to Sharon.

 

- Okay. Thanks Liam. Okay. So we're coming to the end of our session now. And I just wanted to close with a bit of a call to action for all of you. So we know that together we can have an even create an impact on children's outcomes, by sharing our knowledge of the benefits of positive experiences in the early years of families, supporting parents to feel capable and confident, as they meet the challenges of raising their children. The Brighter Beginnings webpage and navigator are great resources for families. And we will post that link in the chat. Working with communities to create environments, that support children's health and development. So we're keen to hear from you, about any great place-based initiatives in your communities, that are aligned with the Brighter Beginnings goals, and that make a difference for children and families. In fact some of the things, that Marc was just talking about as well, that holistic approach to engaging with children and families. So if you do know of any good initiatives, please send us information. We wanna learn from those, and we wanna work at how we can share those learnings further, and scale up under the banner of Brighter Beginnings. So the email address is on the screen. Please feel free to shoot us an email at any time. Okay. I think that actually brings us to the end of the session. I think we seem to have got through it more quickly, than we had anticipated, which is probably a good thing. We don't want to do death by too much PowerPoint. But it's been great to have the interaction in the Q&A, as we've worked through that. We have got a bit more time now for you to put any other questions. Then we've managed to answer quite a few. There's some we probably have to take on notice. But just while you have a think about any other questions, we do... Obviously this is the first of the Roadshow sessions, and there's a whole bunch of other ones. Some of them are up on the screen. You can visit the Eventbrite page, and sign up to the other sessions that capture your interest. There's a number of sessions coming up over the next week and a half, including for example, a great session from psychologist, Beth McGregor, talking about positive behaviour support. We've scheduled that one because we often get requests from services, about wanting more help with behaviour support. So how to manage challenging behaviours, how to support children's positive behaviour, and how to engage with families on behaviour management, and all of those things that you grapple with each day. So Beth has been highly recommended. So do sign up for that session. There's also sessions to answer your regulatory questions. So I think that there was a an opportunity, to submit questions in advance, but please go on to those sessions, and ask your trickiest questions. And hopefully they will all be able to be answered. But we would love to hear your feedback, and suggestions for content for future Roadshows, as we will soon commence planning for our October sessions. So please do include any thoughts in the follow-up survey, that will be sent out following this session. Okay. So I might just pause while we see, how are we going with the Q&A. It's quite hard multitasking, actually looking at the notes and the slides.

 

- It is. It is. I think we're doing pretty well getting through them. I just also encouraged people to themselves look at some of the answers, that we've put against them, because sometimes they're crossover themes. So useful. Oh, that's a good practical question here. Advertise the length of each session. Good point. So we'll get onto the practicalities as well. Since Liam covered the workforce issues, there's the appropriate set of questions coming through, about some of the really genuine challenges, on pay and conditions, and also about attracting, and retaining the workforce. So we put up before email links. We think that we've got some good ideas in this space, but we think that these are really significant challenges. And some of the challenges particular to the ECE sector, but some of the challenges are shared, by a range of other parts of the Australian economy. So we welcome all ideas from a range of perspectives. And certainly with the work of the National Workforce Strategy underway, we are conscious that that will be helpful framing, at that Australian level, but there will be particular things in regional, rural communities in New South Wales, or particular pockets in Metro that we think that, we need to lean into too. So that will be ongoing work in process. Helen's is written a question about transition to school. Currently it's only in transitional... That is a really good point. The department has been improving, I think the web channels, on student, parent, teacher ECE, engagement for the questions, but I think that's a really good example, of where there's probably improvements to make. One of the things that we have been doing in the transition to schoolwork, is some of that journey mapping of what is the experience for parents? What is the experience for educators, as they navigate out information? So that's a really good call out. And if other people have examples of communications, that we provide as a department, that could be clearer, or could be more parents centric or educator centric, that is something we're always interested in. And it's funny, isn't it? When you look at something too closely for a long time, you often can lose that perspective. So you need to get it from other people. So we really welcome those. We might just... Sharon, answer a couple of more questions, that have come in, and then give people a bit of an early mark, knowing that we're really keen for you to be coming into a whole bunch of other sessions. So I think the one I'd just pull out is just a cup... A number of great thank yous to Marc, for his contributions, and also wrestling with some of those questions, about the handoff points, and the transition to school. So that's great. I'd encourage everyone who's interested in that space to come along to the specific transition to school session, where we have some great team members, talking through that work. And Sharon, is there one either that you've answered, or that's pulled up that you wanted to touch on?

 

- I have answered a couple on the way, there was just one comment, I think it related to the I & E line. But I'm not 100% sure that I have answered that person, just to get some clarity on that. Just seeing if there's any others that we can answer right now. There's a great suggestion here about the programme, that's being delivered by the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. So thanks Liam for that.

 

- Yeah. And along those lines helping, they're writing about assessments attainments, and speech pathologists, et cetera, I think is a comment, and Westmead Early Education Centre contribution on that partnership. So that's wonderful. Thank you. So this is our last slide, and it's just to encourage you to follow our Facebook page, so that you can stay up to date with our news, and also see a range of resources. There's lots of fabulous resources, that get posted there on a regular basis. So you can use the QR code on the screen, to connect to the Facebook site, or you can go to Facebook, and just search for NWS Early Childhood Education. So we'll just give you a moment to scan that in.

 

- Great. And just looking through the comments and reflecting, I will say another one which is, Marc referred to some of the comments being the tricky tension points, and that's important for us as a department. So there have been comments that have come through, and I've answered a number, and Liam has too about funding of community preschools, and the difference in the approach of funding community preschools, from long daycare. I want you to all know that we really appreciate those perspectives, and that there are a range of perspectives in the sector, on those issues. There are wonderful things and complex things, about being a Federation, and having different levels of responsibility, for the Australian and state government. And one of those means that we are the primary funder, for community and mobile preschools. And the New South Wales government has to make decisions, about the funding provision for those. And we do do additional funding and support, through the provision of the universal access national partnership money, for other parts of the sector. And of course the really significant to the regulatory function. But it is true that because other parts of the sector, long daycare, family day care, are primarily funded by the Commonwealth. That means that there's some differences between how the funding works, what the priorities are. So it's incumbent on people like me, and the governments to think about when that works, and when there's opportunities to improve it. When we might be able to change the parameters, or when we just need to explain why they exist. So I always have neat answers to those questions. Some of those things get decided, through Commonwealth and state budgets, and the Commonwealth budget is obviously this evening, and the next New South Wales government budget, will be handed down in June. Those are decisions that I contribute to the information flow about, and give the range of perspectives that we hear from the sectors. But they're for the ministers and for the premier, and of course for the prime minister to decide. So it's really helpful that we hear from your perspectives. We're very happy to receive emails, or for you to go through Peaks or whatever, to provide us more advice. But I hope you appreciate that it's a really a complex space, and there are a range of different views, and the complexities of the Federation. So keep pushing, keep advocating, and I hope you appreciate that it's not for want of dealing with those issues, it's just that they're complicated, and there's also phasing to those decisions. So that's the hard funding bit. But as Sharon said, we're really excited that you've been here with us today. We've traversed a lot of ground in a really short space of time. We hope you can dig into many of these topics, over the course of the virtual Roadshows. And we're planning additional Roadshow sessions later in this year, and thinking about whether they'll be virtual too, or whether we'll have some in-person stuff. So if you've got perspectives on that as well, or the format of it, we'd love to hear. Thank you very much. Have a happy day, everyone.

 

- Enjoy your day, bye.

 

- [Gillian] Bye.

Compliance with Grant Funding Agreements: Being review ready

Compliance with Grant Funding Agreements: Being review ready

- So welcome everyone to today's Roadshow session, Funding Compliance with Grant Funding Agreements. So my name is Kristi Brown, I'm the Director of Early Childhood Education programmes within the Department of Education. And today we're going to run you through some key findings and an overview of our grants funding compliance arrangements. Now just before we kick off, I do want to make sure that people are clear on the purpose of the session. So it's focused on those organisations that receive funding from the department, and that can be quite different to those organisations that might engage with us in terms of their regulatory compliance. So the funding that you're most likely to receive from the department that we're going to cover off on today is Start Strong Community Preschool funding or Start Strong Long Daycare funding. So we did have a few people registered for this session who were possibly from service types that are unlikely to receive funding from the department, or at least through the early childhood education grants mechanisms. So just in case there's anybody confused about the purpose of today's session, it is focused on funding compliance and the state government does not administer the CCS or the Childcare Subsidy, so we won't be speaking about those funding arrangements today, if you happen to have come along thinking that that might be in scope. So hopefully that helps you just to set up what we're focused on today. I know there's lots of sessions happening, so I just wanna make sure that before you kind of invest your lunch hour, you've got a clear understanding of why you're here and what we're gonna be talking about. All right, we might move on to the acknowledgement of country now

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations, today, and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- So I'd just like to add to that by recognising the Dharug people, I'm in Parramatta today, and to pay respects to elders past, present and emerging, and in particular to acknowledge the Jarjums that are coming through many early childhood education services across the state and to acknowledge any Aboriginal people we may have present with us today. One thing that I find useful with my team, just to get a sense of the different lands that occupy where we're all working from, is if you wanna pop in your comments, the land that you're coming from today, just as a mark of respect and a mark of the diversity of Aboriginal lands and the diversity of where we work from, please feel free to do that. You're not obligated to, it's just nice to be able to extend that acknowledgement to the range of different lands that this kind of online forum allows us to work. We might tick along. All right, so this is just some housekeeping elements where we set things up today. So first thing is that microphones, video and chat functions are disabled during the presentation. There is of course a Q&A section and I think some of you are found that already and I would encourage you to pop any questions that you've got or if there's anything you'd just like to share with the group, you can pop those in there. And we will try and answer as many questions as we can as part of that Q&A. And I also just want to let you know that there's an upvoting mechanism, so I think what that means is that if you tap on somebody's question, then it makes it clear to us, to the presenters, that there's strong interest in that question, and we'll then try and prioritise that for an answer within the session. In the event that we don't get to all of the answers, we'll try and then come back out of session to provide you with any information that might be helpful in answering that. And also, just to note, I think it should have let you know when you dialled in that the session is being recorded and will be made available when the Roadshow is complete. All right, so as I said, for those of you who might've joined us a little bit late, we are talking today about Grant Funding Agreement Funding Compliance. So it is focused on funding compliance arrangements for those services that receive funding from the department. So that is, many of you who might be particularly community preschools as well as long daycare services that are receiving funding through our Start Strong preschool arrangements or our Start Strong Long Daycare arrangements or some of the other grant and funding arrangements that we have for funded services. So we'll give you a long list in a minute, but I do just wanna clarify that that's the focus of what we're gonna talk about today. So we're not talking about regulatory compliance, so compliance arrangements that might exist under the National Quality Framework or that align with the National Quality standards. There's a number of sessions happening across the roadshows around those elements. This is specifically related to grant funding arrangements. I just wanna give you a bit of an introduction as well today on who you've got with you. So as I said, I'm Kristi Brown, I'm the director of Early Childhood Education Funding within the department. We also have with us Angelina Pillay and Angelina leads our performance and assurance work for Early Childhood Education Funding. So that's actually her title funnily enough, Manager, Performance and Assurance. We also have with us Edvin Edisho, who's the Partner of Risk Advisory at Deloitte. So Deloitte undertake the funding compliance processes on behalf of the department and provide advice to the department. So we thought it might be useful to have him along today to talk to some of the things that they have found through the funding compliance works. I think that's probably it for the introductions. So we might just move on. Angelina was there anything else that you wanted to cover just in terms of context?

 

- No, that's it. Thank you very much.

 

- Excellent, I'll hand over to Angelina now. Thanks everyone.

 

- Welcome everyone. Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. So getting into what is funding compliance review, and Kristi has provided a bit of background in terms of that and hopefully that gives you some context in terms of what we are doing in our work and a little bit of detail about that today. So what is compliance review? It is a review that involves assessing an organization's continuance with agreements and programme guidelines and requirements of funding. As you know, when you get funding from the department in terms of grants, these comes with certain terms and conditions. It comes with certain guidelines that needs to be followed. And so this review looks at adherence towards that. As you know, in the terms and conditions there are lots of requirements placed. It can be around record keeping, it can be around insurance coverage, it can be around advising the department when the service has been closed for a little bit. So those requirements are all included when funding is given to you. Also to come in with that is guidelines. So we'll talk a bit later in terms of the different programs and department funds. Each of the programmes has got its own guidelines, its own requirements, its own spending rules. So this review looks at adherence to that and to ensure that the funding that has been provided for this particular programmes, that those terms and conditions, the programme guidelines and requirements are followed. Apart from that, the review also looks at opportunities and improvements that we can make as a department as well. So whether it be clear processes, whether it be clarity in terms of information that we have provided, whether it be clarity in terms of the guidelines itself, the rules and requirements itself. So it's basically a two-way process where we look at adherence of funding, rules and requirements, and also it gives us some opportunities in terms of how we can improve processes, how we can provide better information to services. So that's a bit about what the review is about. Moving along to the next slide, we look at why the department organises the funding compliance review. So as I said in accordance with early childhood grants terms and conditions, the department of carries out this monitoring process, and the reason why we do this is it gives us a mechanism to provide assurance as a department that services are complying with the terms and conditions and that state government funds that used to meet the programme objectives and it's guidelines. The funding that is provided to the department is given to us by the government as you know, and that comes with certain accountabilities as well for the department. And this process helps us not just to provide assurance to ourselves in terms of how the funding is used, but it's also used as a mechanism by which we are accountable to the government as well that we are doing all of the processes necessary to ensure that the funding that is provided to us is actually used for the correct purposes for the right requirements, and it's following the guidelines that has been drawn off for these funding programmes. So that's in a nutshell why we do this review. And moving on to the next slide, how and what we do in this process in terms of what the compliance review involves. As earlier Kristi mentioned, that Deloitte carries out of this process for us, and it is an annual process that is carried out. There are a number of services that are selected for the compliance review process itself. Around 200 services are selected on a yearly basis and you would have been notified when you get selected for a review itself. So it's not just, you know it'll just fall upon you, somebody is gonna contact you, a proper letter is gonna be sent through in terms of a particular service has been selected for a review. And then Deloitte will guide you through the whole process in terms of how that is carried out. So what does a funding compliance review involve? The review itself involves requesting information, and carrying out certain processes to ensure that the funding that has been provided for a particular programme and generally itself is being used according to the spending rules. So in terms of that Deloitte provides a questionnaire initially to start off with, and that has certain questions in terms of adherence to terms and conditions. As I said earlier on, it can be around documentation to be kept, it can be around insurances that you've got, it can be around sort of records that needs to be kept. And have you kept those records or not? So those are some question that is asked and then alongside that some evidence is required. So when evidences is required, it's not about everything that you have, spent your money on or all the records that you've got. It's about a sample, so it's a small sample that is selected. So for example, if you've got, you know if it's looking at enrollments of kids within your service, it's not gonna look at all the records of all your kids. It might choose a sample of five or six to look at and looks at records of that. So we try and keep this process is as simple as possible and as efficient as possible and as helpful as possible to the service as well. So when Deloitte carries out the process, it's very clear in terms of what information we require and how much for each of the requirement processes. And basically as we said, you know it is about assessing accountabilities, such as adherence to terms and conditions, funded programme guidelines and a timely submission of acquittal requirements. And then relevant information that is requested, it can be evidence of expenditure according to the spending rules, it can be child related information such as immunisation records, healthcare records, consent forms by parents and guardians et cetera. So that's basically what the review encompasses. And in terms of that, it is a process which as I said, helps us to identify where there are certain gaps in terms of information as well. And whether that's probably a lack of clarity as well that we can improve on. And also to provide you with some guidance in terms of what are the rules and requirements that is in place and also to what types of records, what types of information that needs to be kept to ensure that there is adherence with the funding requirements. So that's in a nutshell what the compliance review is about. We will move on to talk a bit about which programmes this funding compliance is a part of, and Kristi will take you through that.

 

- Hello again. So as you can see, there's quite a large number of funding programmes that are covered as part of this process. Many of you, I think having had a look at the list are likely to receive funding under Start Strong for Community Preschools. And so if that's the case, you may then also be receiving funding under Disability and Inclusion Programme, Quality Learning Environments, Community Grants, Drought Support Funding. So it's likely that there might be a combination or different combinations of funding that your organisation receives and there's obviously a long list up on the screen for you. So when the audit happens, it's likely to sample different pieces of documentation and to ask questions that relate to a range of those different funding programmes and funding responsibilities. And for some of you, you might just be receiving funding through Start Strong Pathways or you might just be receiving funding through Ninganah No More, which is our Aboriginal language programme, or through Aboriginal families as teachers. So the questions that are asked are generally tailored to those particular programmes, as well as covering off the requirements that sit across all of our funding agreements that exist in the terms and conditions of funding. So I think Edvin and Angelina are probably going to speak to this in a little bit more detail, but as you can see there's quite a broad range of programmes that are captured as part of the scope of the funding compliance process. Back to you, Edvin I think

 

- Yes, thank you, Kristi. And firstly before I start, I just wanted to thank everybody, all the services that are on the call , that have been part of the audits in the last two years, we sincerely wanna thank all of you for the support and assistance you've provided in the reviews so far with our team as they've been conducted. On this slide you'll see a number of themes that we've grouped together by way of findings that we've seen in our reviews. And they're grouped into two categories. Category one is the items that we see in the terms and conditions. And the second bucket are those issues that we've seen around the particular programme guidelines or specific programme guidelines. I'll firstly go through the terms and conditions and then the guidelines, as far as they impact the preschools and mobile preschools. In the terms of conditions, it is quite clearly stipulated the amount of coverage that services are required to have. What we have been able to see in our review is that wealth insurance is often in place. It is not up to the level that is required as per the terms and conditions. And this is common across a number of services. So thematically it's it's risen to the level where we have reported it back to the department. Similarly, in terms of conflicts of interest, the terms and conditions have certain requirements on how conflicts of interest are recorded and managed. A simple way of managing that is often the conflicts of interest register, for instance. So in our questionnaire, we ask questions to understand how you manage that process. And again, thematically we've seen that there are services who don't have the right mechanisms in place to be able to capture their conflict of interest and manage them accordingly as per the requirements of the terms and conditions. The next two pieces are somewhat related in that they relate to records management. In our review we ask for a number of samples for the children around consent forms as well as staff, and also documentation around immunisation records and health records and other information that is captured for at the child level. What we see is that often either the records are not found, which indicates that the records may not have been kept or that the records are not provided to the audit team within the due timelines. And as a result, we're unable to verify the existence of those documents, to check against the data that has been provided. So it's an issue of records management and an issue of not complying with the terms and conditions because there's a requirement that these records should be kept for a certain period of time over a number of years. So these four items combined are the main issues that we see arising out of the terms and issues testing questions that we have. In relation to the particular programme guidelines, applications of fee pass through, and fee reduction for equity children, I'll group these two together as well. What we've seen across a number of services is that these requirements are not consistently applied or that over the years there's been an ambiguity in how that have been applied. In our review, we typically ask for documentation to support some of the decisions that services have made in terms of how the fee pass through process is working or how the fee reduction for equity children has been captured. So if we get those records we're able to verify those instances. And again, like there is a number of services that we have not been able to see that tying into the requirements as per the guidelines. Priority of access guidelines is a requirement that priority obviously needs to be given to a set criteria of children who are enrolling within the services. With this one, it's a bit of what we call in or the language on the statement, in the sense that we'd like to see what processes you have in place to demonstrate awareness of this issue and that you do actually provide priority to the children that need it. Again, thematically we've been able to see there are a number of services that are either unaware of the priority of access requirements or that they do not capture it in their enrollment forms, websites, or in any of the documentation they have to demonstrate to the auditors that priority of access has been considered. So again, these three are thematic issues that we see across a number of services as related to the specific programme guidelines. Back to you, Angelina.

 

- Thank you, Edvin. So in terms of the next couple of slides, this probably gives you some guidance or as a cheat sheet in terms of when you're preparing for a review, when Deloitte does come to you. What are some of the things that you can prepare for earlier on that will avoid you sort of getting into these findings that Deloitte has seen in other services as well? So in terms of some of the key lessons what we'd like to let you know is just make sure that there are adequate processes for conflicts of interest in place and which could include maintaining a risk register. So the different services may have different processes by which you do that, but the key thing is just to ensure that you've got a conflicts of interest process in place and you're using that process actively and maintaining a record in terms of conflicts of interest within your service. The other lesson that we have seen in this is ensure that there is appropriate insurance coverage as per the terms and conditions. The terms and conditions set out certain requirement that needs to be followed and that is what we look at. So please ensure that those insurance coverage requirements are actually followed. Moving on to the next slide.

 

- I might just pause you there, Angelina, if that's okay. Sorry, I'm sorry to jump in. We just had a question on the chat and I thought I'd be a little bit interactive about how long should records be kept? So that can be a little bit confusing. Different records can sometimes need to be kept for different periods of time, but section 8.5 of your terms and conditions is the relevant part. And that indicates that it's seven years from the ending of the funding agreement. So I just wanted to kind of time in and chime in there. Sorry, and just let you know that if you're just looking for a little bit more information around the record keeping requirements that that's in section 8.5, and have a bit of a look at that in terms of the detail that it sets out there. And thank you, Drum and Pop preschool for that question. Keep going Angelina.

 

- Wonderful, thank you so much. So that neatly moves into the record keeping slide. So one of the other things that we would encourage is to ensure that you've got consent forms and relevant records obtained from parents on record as well as on the file. And as Kristi said, in terms of the requirements, you've got seven years after the terms and conditions and funding agreement ends. And also to the next thing that we have seen is ensure that up-to-date child related information is actually kept. So your immunisation records, your healthcare records, those need to be maintained on file as well. And this just helps avoid having to go through that process of missing information, missing records et cetera, as well. And then moving along to the next slide, we've got a few more lessons in terms of what Edvin has just pointed out. Ensure that the fee pass through criteria is being adhered to by passing fees reduction to families. And if you've got concerns in terms of understanding that portion, we would really encourage you to reach out to the department to help with that understanding or go through the website, have a read of what the requirements are. There can be a lot of complexity in terms of this as well. So we would really appreciate if you could just go back and have a read of what are the fee pass through criteria? What are the fee pass through requirements? And all sorts of fee reduction for equity children are applied and maintained during the relevant periods. So this is really important. These are some key findings as Edvin has pointed out that gets raised from time to time. And the final one is ensure priority of access guidelines are applied and adhered to during the relevant funding period as well. So this gives you some upfront things that you can work on before even Deloitte coming in and ensuring that all these requirements are actually in place. And you're able to explain in terms of a particular criteria in terms of the guideline, how you have maintained the records, how you have implemented the programme guidelines and the spending rules for the funding. Thank you. We'll move on to-

 

- Okay, will we... Sorry Angelina, will we pause there? I'm just conscious, there's a few questions popping up. And while we're talking about some of those elements you've just raised will we engage with some of those now, before we move on to long daycare?

 

- Excellent.

 

- Yep. So there's a couple of questions in here around conflict of interest and risk register and what we're referring to in regards to conflict of interest. So Edvin, I wonder if you wanna kick us off with that just by perhaps kind of outlining, the purpose of conflict of interest as a general concept, recognising it, you probably understand that. So maybe in this field particularly and maybe describing a little bit risk registers and how risk risk registers could be used to mitigate against conflict of interest.

 

- Excellent.

 

- And I'm not sure if you wanna kind of add to that, but Edvin, do you wanna just give people a little bit more information on that? 'Cause there's quite a few questions coming through about that.

 

- Sure, happy to do so. Well, again in the terms and conditions there is a requirement that conflicts of interest is managed by the service. And by conflicts of interest, what we mean is instances where there may be a perception or an actual conflict that may arise. I can give you some examples perhaps to best articulate that. You may have a member of the board who is also a teacher and is paid by the service, or you may have a parent who has children at the service who also takes on different roles within the service, or other third parties that you may engage with whom you have a relationship with. So if there's a relationship between the service and those third parties, there often is a conflict of interest. It doesn't mean that you can't have those relationships. The requirement is just that you call those out and you demonstrate that you have identified those and you are managing them. And that's where the conflict of interest register comes through. Effectively this is a listing of all the conflicts that you've been able to identify. You've noted those down and you've demonstrated that, yes we are aware of this, and these are the things that we are doing to make sure that conflict does not actually arise so that there is an actual benefit, that everything is at arm's length. Again, in the example that I used around the person being on the board, a teacher or a parent in the service, if you've just articulated that you've identified it, you've gone a long way in being able to manage that conflict because you're now aware of it. And by recording in the register, you're able to demonstrate to the auditors that you've taken preemptive action in making sure that nothing untoward actually takes place. The register is one way of doing it. Some services do it by a different way, through the minutes of the board, minutes of the monthly meetings, et cetera. We just found that the register is probably the easiest way of doing it. Having said that we have definitely seen services do the right thing through different mechanisms.

 

- I might just add to that if that's okay. So for those of you who wanna get at your terms and conditions and have a look at those, this is section six of the current terms and conditions document. And I'll just clarify. So what the terms and conditions require is that there is a management of conflict and conflicts of interest. They don't specifically require you to do that through a risk register. As Edvin has said that's one way that services have done it. It's not the way you'll necessarily require to do it and there might be other ways that you are doing that. What's important is your documenting that that you've considered the process and that you've got a process in place, that the process is appropriate and it works in terms of identifying conflicts and being able to effectively manage those. And that you're able to demonstrate for the purposes of audit, but just generally for the purposes of the functioning of your organisation that you are able to identify and manage conflicts. I would also say that this is a really good example of where the feedback loop from audit actually helps the department to understand how we need to give further guidance. So I would say that the content that's in the terms and conditions at the moment about conflict is relatively high level. And one thing that we are certainly looking at is how we can give greater clarity to our expectations or the department's expectations or better understanding of what the responsibility and requirement is in relation to conflict and conflict of interest, as we review the terms and conditions for the next financial year. So all of you know that you'll need to go into ACAMS relatively soon and accept your terms and conditions of funding for the next period. So that is one thing that we will be looking to make clearer as a result of the feedback and the findings of the audit. So there's a responsibility on the department as well to just make sure that there's clarity in what those responsibilities are and what we're expecting. So kind of two pieces there, there's some things there which hopefully help you to understand that a little bit better, but also some acknowledgement that I think there's some work that we need to do and are doing at the moment just to make that a bit of a clearer space for everyone as well. All right, so we have a question. The next most popular question is in relation to consent forms and do they only need to be done once? So we recommend as part of good practise with consent forms that you do them annually, or in fact if something changes in the nature of your service that might impact on the consent form that you would do that more frequently. So very much recommend that they're done at least they're renewed every year if a child's re-enrolling. However, I think Edvin that there would be an acceptance that a consent form is in place if it's a continuing child, if it wasn't renewed. However, I think it is worth you thinking about making sure that you've just got that active consent from parents and from carers. And that they're clear on the consent that they're providing particularly in terms of sharing information about their child with the department for the purposes of the annual census and things like that. So it's actually a really important part of I think the relationship that services have with parents is that informed consent about information and how it's used. So that's why we would really highly recommend that you as a mark of good practise, review or renew those annually. All right, we might just carry on a little bit into long daycare, but we will pick up more of these questions towards the end. I just thought that might be good to handle those bigger topics or more popular topics while we were talking about them. So Angelina and, oh, Edvin actually I think I'll hand back to you now.

 

- Yes, thank you, Kristi. So as you can see, not much on this slide. So this is the thematic findings in relation to the Start Strong for Long Day Care as you appreciate, the rules are quite broad in how the spending is to be undertaken, so the requirements around how funding to be used for the benefit of children indeed before school is something that we we look for in the review. And we are quite open to having conversations with the services to understand the nature of that expenditure to be able to document that, to demonstrate that it is in compliance with the requirements of those spending rules. It's in this issue, it thematically has come up in the instances where that connection is a bit too far removed, and that we can't reasonably demonstrate that the funding was used as the requirements adjust in terms of it being for the benefit of children in the first year before school. But then the access is a bit too far removed. And when we engage with the services and we are unable to identify what that connection might be, we raise that for the department's awareness. And secondly this is similar to the preschool issue, the second bullet point there around records management. So once again, we seek to get evidence to demonstrate what we are being told through the questionnaire is actually accurate. So we have two sets of questions I suppose, we ask a question to understand and then we seek evidence to verify. In that seeking evidence to verify component where the supporting material is not provided because it cannot be found or where it is not provided within the timelines that are required for the audit purpose, we note those as missing records or not having them on file which go towards the terms and condition rules. So quite short on this particular programme Back to you, I think it is Angelina.

 

- Thank you Edvin, you've just spoken to my slide in your slide as well. That's excellent. So I suppose just reiterating in terms of the key lessons, it is about ensuring that funding is spent within the spending rules and also to ensure that all documentation is kept. And we would encourage if there's any clarification that is needed, I know when Deloitte goes out to different services they do ask about clarification in terms of spending rules. So we would really appreciate if there's any sort of confusion in terms of that, please reach out and we would be really happy to assist in terms of a particular spending and whether they fall within the spending rules or not. Having said that as you know the spending rules are quite broad for this programme. And so, you know, it is important to ensure that we acknowledge that and just to sort of make sure that all records are kept so that when Deloitte comes in they can see clearly in terms of how the funding has been spent and then proper records are kept as well. Thank you. So we would hand over to Kristi now to finish this session off and then to answer any leftover questions we've got. Thank you Kristi.

 

- Well done guys. I feel like you've covered up on a lot of content there. So do we need to move the slides along a little bit? There we go. Okay, so that is the presentation today. So hopefully that gives you a good sense of why we do funding compliance audits, what's involved when we do do them, and some of the key findings that have come out of the most recent audit process and some kind of heads up and tips for those of you who may be looking at your own practises about what you might be able to learn from the experiences of others in terms of the findings, who've gone through that process. Now we've popped up on the screen there, the details, the email details for my team which is the Early Childhood Education and Care Funding team. So sometimes completely acknowledged that you might have very specific questions about your service or something that's prompted you based on today's information to consider or to question how you might handle matters in relation to an audit. Or you might just wanna check something in with us, please feel free to do that. You can do that by emailing through that account there, we're then able to refer any of those matters that relate to funding compliance over to Angelina and her team who work in a different part of the department, but obviously quite closely with us. And we've also popped the programme guidelines link up there for you. As you know, we've talked today about two documents, we've talked about the terms and conditions of funding, which is in ACAMS for you. And that's the document that is approved or endorsed as part of the funding agreement each year along with the programme guidelines. The programme guidelines are obviously also available up on the website and there's different programme guidelines for all of the different funding streams that we have. So I might just flip back to some questions now. Okay, so immunisation record. This one is primarily a regulatory matter in relation to enrollment requirements for children in relation to immunisation. So I'm gonna have to get some advice from our regulatory team on that one. It's a complex space and I'm not going to pretend to understand what the different requirements that sit across immunisation for particular children are from a regulatory perspective. So we'll take that on board from today and I'll make sure that we get some information out to services around both the regulatory requirements and then the flow through impacts to funding. So apologies I'm not able to answer that one off the top of my head. I did see it pop up and seek to get some information so I could share it with you live, but unfortunately that is a little bit beyond me in the timeframe. Next question we've got up there is "Should both parents sign the consent form?" Again, a good question. And one I would say that you are best placed to answer in engaging with families. In terms of the requirements of the consent form, it's required signed by a parent or a guardian of the child but I would very much encourage you to make sure that you think about the circumstances of individual children in relation to that consent form, and whether or not consent is required from multiple people depending on those circumstances. So again, the purpose of those consent forms is that parents and guardians or carers for children have informed consent about the information that's being collected and shared about individual children. And that's a really important part as I said earlier, of the relationship between services and families. But obviously the circumstances of families are quite different. So think about the purpose of the form and think about what's required in the context of that family. And we will certainly get some information from... This is an issue that comes up for us semi-regularly that we have a look at what the requirements are in relation to consent and we're often reviewing that consent form to make sure it's up to date and is as clear and fulsome for families as it can be. So we'll certainly continue to review that and to provide guidance around what the requirements are in relation to consent to services. So make sure that you keep an eye out for that information from the department, if you're a community preschool and you are required to complete those consent forms as part of your funding agreements. All right, if you have, following an audit, does the service receive a report or summary and how long does that usually take? Angelina, I'm gonna hand that one over to you.

 

- Thanks Kristi. So yes, definitely. There is a report in a summary that is provided to each and every service. As you would appreciate, when we do carry out a large scale audit as such it takes some time to finalise the reports. So we go through a process in terms of requesting information and then these are analysed and then put together as part of a report and then individual reports are created for each of the services. What we do is we highlight if there's any key findings that has been identified for a particular service and we provide a report based on that. It's not really a huge report, it's really crisp and sharp in terms of what the findings are. And also to some suggested recommendations that we provide in that. With that comes as well some timelines in terms of implementing the recommendations. So definitely you will get a report and it will tell you what are some of the key areas that needs to be focused on for that particular service. Even if there's no findings, there's nothing, everything was great for your particular service, we give you a report as well, saying that there is no findings for that particular audit. So yes, definitely you really get it. We are in the process of providing those at the moment. So from the time an audit starts to the time it ends it takes about a six-months process from the beginning, for planning and then executing all the audits and then report writing, consolidating them all together and then providing recommendations as well. So you will definitely get a report for each of your reviews that has been conducted and it's divided up into terms and conditions and then programme guidelines as well. So there's a lot of clarity in terms of which areas are we talking about and are we talking about terms and conditions? Are we talking about a particular programme or a particular part of that programme as well?

 

- So I think we have a few questions to that effect in there, so hopefully that's answered that for those of you who are asking. Okay, so Eva, you've asked a question about your conflict of interest beyond a meeting's agenda is at risk, or is a register enough? So I think I touched on this earlier. We don't currently specify the form or the mechanism through which you should manage conflict. So I think you've got the discretion within your service to have a process in place that's suitable and appropriate. The key thing to do is to make sure that it works. So basically that you've got a process in place that assists to identify and manage conflict as a risk. And that there's documentation that reflects the process that you have in place. Edvin, did you wanna add to that at all?

 

- No, that is precisely right. And in the audit, if there are way other ways of doing it please do share that with your auditor at the time we're always interested in seeing how you are, actually what mechanisms do you have in place and we'll take that on board. So I think I have no more to add to what you just said Kristi, but just speak to the auditors at the time of the audit, if you have any concerns.

 

- Okay, cool. Bromwen, you've asked a question about the reg numbers that go with each of these criteria. I'm afraid this must've been a particularly confusing session for you and you might've missed my intro at the start. So we're not talking about regulatory compliance in this session, we're talking about funding compliance. So I think you've asked this one a little while ago and no doubt, that's a bit clearer now. So this doesn't relate to regulatory compliance in terms of the National Quality Framework. It relates to funding compliance which is the funding agreement that's established between the department and organisations that receive funding under our funded programmes. Alrighty, so Kim you've asked a question around "Will the Annual Preschool Census ever capture children that started the year with the current health care card and then it is not renewed later in the year?" Good question. There are gaps in recording this information, which also affects our funding in the two weeks of August. Okay, Edvin, do you wanna speak to how that is dealt with under audit?

 

- Sure, so this goes to how we select children for our sample from our sample population for testing. So depending on the timelines or when you know the incidence that you are articulating there, we try to mitigate this by making sure that we have the census for admissions test but also testing information outside of that period. Effectively, this is quite unique and these instances if they do happen, they are case by case managed that way. But if there is that gap, again, it's something to discuss with the auditor at the time. We try to rectify or mitigate this issue through our selection process on the source data that we use when we are picking actual samples for which we seek evidence to make sure that they are aligned to what is in the census information.

 

- Yeah, I looked in, that's a really interesting one. It's not something that had come across my radar before and I just wanna check what the census requirements are. I think the census requirements are that it needs to be current at the point of the census, in which case it's about it being valid in August. But I'm not entirely sure of that and I just wanna double check it. So we might come back to you in that one offline. And if you'd like to shoot us through an email, I'm not sure what service you from Kim, but if there's particularly a dynamic that's impacting your funding or impacting your operations, why don't you shoot us an email through to ecec.funding? So that's the email address on the screen? I just wanna understand that a little bit better from you if that's okay. I think there's a few things in that. Alrighty, so Amy has asked a question. "If we can show evidence we have emailed, called parents et cetera, to get the child's immunisation records, is this sufficient for the audit? Interesting, Edvin.

 

- Again, in instances such as those please do share that information with the audit team at the time. It may be that it may be that for the requirements of the audit, this does appear as an exception, but we always acknowledge the efforts made by the service or the attempts that they've made to capture the information. So whilst we might still record this as an item from an audit perspective that we were not able to see, we definitely always acknowledge in our reporting back to the department, that effort was made to receive this information. So to answer the question shortly, yes it might pop up on the report still, but there will be an acknowledgement of all the effort made but technically it was not there at the time of the audit.

 

- All right, so we've got another question here. Oh, there's a bit of feedback from Lisa, "This is really helpful." Thank you, Lisa. When we completed the forms for audit, so this was for Deloitte, we could not see what we had uploaded and could this be changed as it was frustrating. Edvin, is there a kind of, have we got an issue here? What are we doing about it?

 

- A number of services did request to receive the information back from us at the onset. As Angelina said, there is a process that we go through in terms of getting, collecting the information from questions, getting the evidence, reviewing and reporting back. So there is a bit of a time period where this does take place. It's not instantaneous, so you can hit submit and receive your forms back on the spot. But if you were ever to need that information, if you called Angelina's team or our team from Deloitte with the numbers that are provided on the question we'd be more than happy to provide that to you if possible, if we can. And if they're up in as you are filling the questionnaire, if that happens and you wanna see something that you've uploaded, you want to amend it, or you want to replace or just actually see what it is, please do call our assessment centre. And somebody from our team will be able to help you on the spot

 

- Maybe something for us to have a think about in the future how we might automate that or make that a little bit easier but we'll take that on board. Sometimes the technological systems are our friend and sometimes they're not so friendly. So we'll work through that but that's a great piece of feedback. Thank you.

 

- Just to add to that, whenever we've had any requests to get information back in terms of what has been uploaded by the services, we have been able to refer that to Deloitte, who have provided the information back to the service in terms of which records, how much information has been provided, so it can be done but we will definitely look at how that can be done more real time in terms of services seeing straight away the information that they've uploaded here. Thank you very much for that.

 

- All right. So a question in here about, "Do Long Day Care services need to complete they consent forms?" No, so for the purposes of the funding compliance requirements, the consent forms are required from community preschools because we are collecting child related data from around particular enrollments. And so the consent is largely around the agreement of families to an acknowledgement of families that that information is being provided to the department and giving them an informed overview of how that information is being used. So we don't collect data directly from Long Day Care services, the data that we use to calculate funding for Long Day Care we receive from the Commonwealth and that doesn't share individual identifying factors of children, it's aggregate data. So no, you are not required to complete consent forms if you just receive Long Day Care funding for the purposes of the New South Wales department of education. But I'm very sure that you're required to complete them for the purposes of the CCS. Sorry, there's a few popping up now. Okay, there's a good one here. How often will a service go through an audit? So Angelina, I think that's one for you.

 

- Thank you, so audits are done in a cycle. So if you're audited this year, definitely won't be audited next year again. It goes through a cycle and generally we try and look at all the services within the sector to complete that. So you would definitely not go through an audit every year, but it would come back probably in five years, or in seven years or whatever. So once we do an audit of your service, we would highly likely not come back in the next year again. So it does sort of go through a particular cycle. Yeah.

 

- Thanks Angelina. So there's another question here around healthcare concession cards, and yes I will get back to you about it. I just need to double-check the funding guidelines and also the census information. And it's the census information that I just don't have at hand with me. The census is managed by our data team and I know they're deep in that process at the moment. So I will come back to you about health care concession cards absolutely. And somebody's added in some information, I think from the programme guidelines about healthcare concession cards as well. Some feedback about the questionnaire. So I'm not sure if this was a particular service but just there's some feedback from an anonymous attendee about the functionality of the questionnaire and just being able to complete it. So we'll have a bit of a look at that as well. I mean, obviously Angelina and Edvin and I I think have quite a number of conversations about how we make the process smooth for services and how we can make sure that there's not any unnecessary administrative burden in the completion of the funding compliance work. So that feedback is really helpful, thank you. And I know that at the completion of each of the audits, there is a survey as well that's done around just your experiences. So it's really important that you fill that in and shoot that back to us so that we've got that feedback about how it's working at your end. And we can make sure that we're constantly improving that process for you. Angelina, I'm not sure if you, I mean, it's your lead. So I don't know if you wanted to comment on that.

 

- No, just echoing what Kristi has said. We really want this process to be efficient and simple and straight forward for the services. So thank you very much for the feedback. It is very, very helpful for us. And also to, as Kristi said, once an audit is completed, in the survey, please do tell us 'cause it's really important feedback. That's why we send out the surveys to make sure how we can continuously improve. So this feedback we will take, oh, it is an anonymous attendee. So thank you very much for your comment. And we will consider these as well and have a chat with Deloitte in terms of how that can be done and improved on. Thank you very much. Thank you, Kristi.

 

- Sorry guys, I just had a bit of a technological problem there. Okay, so if the child attends preschool two years, do they need a new consent form each year? So I think I touched on that one earlier that yes, good practise would indicate that you renew that consent form each year, but if you have a valid consent form for the child, it is not a requirement under the current terms and conditions or programme guidelines that you complete that annually. However you should, you know, as I said earlier, there's constantly a review around consent and consent forms. So please make sure that you are checking the most recent advice around the consent requirements because it does change from time to time. All right, some of these we might need to take on notice just because it's a little bit difficult to do the checking and to give you really firm answers in a live environment when I just wanna make sure it's accurate. And we do really need to come back to you around the requirements around healthcare concession cards. Can we speak about priority of access and how services show this in their records? Good question. Edvin, did you want to touch on some of the ways that you're seeing services illustrate priority of access through the audits?

 

- Absolutely, so firstly in the question, there is a specific question that asks if the service is aware of the priority of access requirements. So I think the best thing would be in those instance to click Yes to that response because that is our first entry point into understanding the area. Secondly, we do look at the enrollment policies if they are in place to see whether they are mentioned by the service. We look at enrollment forms or even check the website where available to see if these things are identified and mentioned by the service. All this having failed we do have conversations obviously with the service as well in the process and we do ask the question to see how else they may have captured this awareness and actually implemented it within their organisation. But I'd say the best tip I have and the easiest way to demonstrate this is firstly answer yes to that question if you are indeed aware of the power of access issues. And secondly, if you do have an enrollment policy or enrollment form, it is good practise perhaps to have that in there. But again, it is not prescriptive to that nature. That is just a one data point that we use to inform ourselves. So much similar to the conflict of interest register. There is different ways of doing this, so long as you can demonstrate to us that you are aware of the part of access and you've actually implemented it in the audit. In terms of how we test that approach, we also do some backend data analysis, reviews, et cetera to evidence and verify what you do actually put into the questionnaire. I hope that answers the question.

 

- Thanks, Edvin. Okay, so if a parent refuses to complete a consent form where does this leave the service with funding for this child? So I think where it leaves the service in relation to the child is a decision for the service. But I suppose at a functional level, the department calculates funding for community preschools off the back of information that is provided to us through the Annual Preschool Census. If you don't have consent from the family to provide information to the department, then I can't see how you'd be able to complete the census for that child because you need the consent to be able to share that information. So that means that having not been able to provide information on that child through the census, the funding calculations won't include that child in terms of the calculations and the data that's been provided. So where that leaves you in terms of your engagement with that child, I mean, that's been a separate question for the parent and for the service to engage in. Some services have a range of different funding arrangements for different circumstances with children. And it might be that there is a relationship with the family and you continue to support that child and that they pay a fee to the service associated with that enrollment and in line with your fees policy. But if a child is not entered in the census, then the child is not calculated as with the child's enrollment, not the child, it can't calculate a child but the child's enrollment is not calculated then as part of funding calculations. Alrighty, we are at time. So we'll have a look through the rest of the questions that are in here and make sure that we get you any answers to any of the ones that are still in there. We'll come back to you too around some further information around the health care concession cards and the validity of those, both from an audit perspective and from a census perspective, 'cause I think there's a couple of aspects to that, to be honest. And we'll have a look at what that looks like at our end too in terms of our arrangements and how they're set up. I just wanna say thank you to everybody for your time. I think maybe some of you joined us on your lunch break, and to those of you who've come off the floor to be able to join in today in particular, thank you. For those of you who've been through the audit process and have popped up today to give us some feedback about that experience for you, again, thank you very much for that feedback. We really appreciate it. This is the first time we've done something like this on funding compliance audits. So we haven't really had an opportunity to provide this kind of feedback about what we're seeing to the sector in this kind of environment. So I'm really keen for your feedback about, you know if this has been helpful for you and what you'd like to see or hear more from us. We have tried to take as many of your questions as possible and I apologise to those that we didn't quite get to. You will receive a survey around this session today. So really keen for your feedback. And we did think hot and deeply about what would be most useful for you and very keen to continue to get feedback about how we best support you with information around funding compliance and the processes of funding compliance arrangements that we have in place. So I might leave it there 'cause I'm technically a minute over time, but thank you everybody for your time. Thank you Edvin, thank you Angelina, for your all lovely and useful insights.

 

- [Angelina] Thank you very much, thank you everybody. Appreciate your time.

 

- Thank you

 

- And again, thanks everybody for your time. Appreciate it.

Regulation: Your toughest questions answered (OSHC)

Toughest questions answered (OSHC)

- Thank you for joining us for the session titled Regulation: Your Toughest Questions Answered with a focus on Outside School Hours Care services. To begin, we'd just like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands in which we are all meeting.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australian as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people here stay. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I'd also just like to acknowledge that I'm coming to you from Darkinjung land, and I'd like to pay my respects to Aboriginal Elders past, present and emerging and extend that respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues joining us today. Just to note on housekeeping. So your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. However, we do encourage you to use the Q&A button which you will find at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can talk directly into the Q&A and you can also see and vote on other people's questions which you would like answered using the thumbs up button. We will try and prioritize the questions with the most votes and try to answer these during the webinar. If there are questions that don't get answered, we will collate them after the session and the FAQ's will be sent to everyone who attended. We will also be using Menti and Kahoot during the session, so please do have your phone or another web browser ready to scan or enter the code on screen when it comes up so you can participate in the interactive components of the session. The session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshow is complete. So my name is Diana. I'm one of the policy managers in the New South Wales Regulatory Authority known as the Quality Assurance Regulatory Services Directorate within the New South Wales Department of Education. I'm joined today by my colleague, Kathy, who I will hand over to introduce herself and get started.

 

- Good afternoon, everyone. You're either getting lunch ready, or you're about to head off for lunch. So we really wanna keep you engaged in this session. So, oh, sorry, I should introduce myself properly. I'm a State Operations Manager with the Early Childhood Directorate. I oversee basically everything south. So my role is to oversee all the officers that come out and visit your services for compliance and for assessment and rating. So what we thought we might do to start off with because I can say that there's still people coming in. If you can head to Kahoot and what we're going to do, I know that we're supposed to be answering your questions today but just as a bit of a warmup, we are going to see how much you know. Now, we think that you're going to know these answers very, very well. So it's a timed thing. So let's see how competitive you are out there at this time of the day. And we'll get Matt to set up Kahoot. So once you're ready, Matt, and we've got a few more people in there, we will start the Kahoot and see who can be the fastest finger on our quiz to get you started. You'll also find that on the Kahoot will ask you to put in a name, you can be creative if you want to, you can be anonymous if you want to. I'd like to say we've got a prize for you, but we don't. So our prize would be our admiration. We've got a few more coming in. OOSHie always, Ooshrules, you have a really good name and you win, we're gonna have to see who you are. We like to know who these creative people are. And we welcome those coming in. Okay, what is the name of the nationally approved learning framework for school aged care in Australia? Multiple choice. Being, Belonging and Becoming. My Time our place: Framework for School Aged children, childcare in Australia. How to train your Dragon or how do I get my children to listen? Ooh, well done. Obviously, everyone's children listens to them. So there's 64. Well done people. Okay, and La. In a very quick start but we're all very, very close. So I knew you all knew or Ashlee out there will know your stuff. Next one, the outdoor space requirements for children. Different long daycare and preschools, context specific and how tall each child is, 3.5 square meters per child, seven square meters for the child. Well done, 30. La, oh no, we're changed, Jankel. Jankel has jumped ahead. Well done, Jankel. The educator to child ratio for school aged children is: one to 11, one to 15, one to 25 or one to 32. Well done. The one to 32, is that wishful thinking or is that, does it? That's what it feels like every day when you've got the school and to children in there. Jankel still going ahead. We've got a few more on the leader board. Rozz is catching up. Okay, next one. My Time our placed: Framework for School Aged children in Australia acknowledges the importance of: Highly structured schedules, help with homework, completing worksheets or play and leisure in children's learning and development. Fantastic everybody. Okay, here we go. Oh, Jankel, you're still up there. Rozz's catching up and Ashlee for top three. Someone else is on fire. Okay, 5 of 6. The Quality Improvement Plan must be reviewed and revised having regard to the NQS at least: The night before it's due for submission, annually as required under Regulation 56, the day I get my visit notification letter or twice a year. Well done. I think the night before I due for submission refers to my university assignments the most of the time I was there, but yes it is under Regulation 56. Oh Jankel, Ashlee and Rozz, I think we've sort of got some clear leaders there. We've got one more question. Last one, which is not a primary purpose of documenting children's learning experiences? To send families a daily email, to gather evidence if what children know, can do and understand, to record children's participation in the educational program, to make learning visible to children and families. Is not. Well done. Sending a family email to the families every day, it's fantastic but it might not necessarily be about learning experiences. So let's see who won. Who's the podium? Louise, third. Rozz jumped up and Jankel who was our early leader, kept her lead. Congratulations, Jankel. Well done. So now we've had a bit of time to limber up our fingers. What we will actually move to is we'll answer your questions that actually came in once we set up and walked the invites out. So Diana and I will be sharing that responsibility and we'll be going through the questions. So apologies if I'm reading from scripts, but I wanna make sure that we're very clear with our answers. So Matt, if you can move to the first one. Why is OSHC programming documentation the same as ECE when parents utilize our service to be able to work, not prepare their children for school? It's accepted that the focus of OSHC services is on children's wellbeing as well as leisure time. It's a break from the everyday academic work and in the Educator's Guide for the My Time, Our Place: Framework, it's acknowledged that evaluations against the outcomes in school aged care can be achieved in a variety of informal and formal ways which you might include the whole group, small groups, individual children's, and a variety of different ways that you can actually collect that information. The service actually need to demonstrate that the suitable process has been developed and implemented, which ensures that each child has opportunities to influence the program with their own ideas and interests. Programming documentation should always be appropriate to the service context and the service should demonstrate an effective process for ensuring each child's participation and engagement in the program. This may be evidence by educators selecting particular methods of engagement based on the children's and the families that they service. Or by educators engaging in critical conversations with children and documenting it based on children's and families within the services. Sorry, and children documenting the actions taken as a result of these evidence conversations. Educators made document how they have used their knowledge of children gathered through a simple observation as a record of a child's progress in the service including evidence of personal and group interactions, activity preferences, successes and challenges, conversations with families, visual reflections, and anecdotes recorded by the educators. This document could be used to inform discussions with family or reference when planning program experiences and developing program goals. We recognize that the additional challenges that educators in OSHC services such as highly casual transient workforce, a short broken shift with less time for observations is really important when our officers come out to assess you. And it's really important that our officers have realistic expectations for documentation. Another thing that I see in OSHC services all the time that really works is get the children involved, have the children document their own interests in the program and take some of that responsibility. It's really about your service, your children, your context and your families. So, I'll hand over the next question to Di.

 

- Thanks, Kathy. The next question is OSHC educators don't need to be qualified with a Certificate III or above, will this change in the future? So there are currently no national qualification requirements for educators working at Outside School Hours Care services, caring for School Aged children. Some states and territories do have their own specific qualification requirements. However, this does not include New South Wales. It is difficult to know the future requirements. Periodically, the National Quality Framework undergoes a review to ensure that the NQF is current, fit for purpose and implemented through best practice regulation. One of the objectives of the NQF is to improve the educational and developmental outcomes for children attending education and care services. A sustainable high quality workforce that meets the needs of children and their families is really critical to achieving this objective. So while public consultation for the current NQF review has recently closed throughout May, ACECQA does actually want to hear your views on the actions and initiatives that you believe will assist in improving the supply, retention and quality of the sector workforce. So this is through the national workforce consultation. Consultation for the National Workforce Strategy. So on the next slide, we've provided the link to this consultation. This is coordinated by ACECQA. So they're developing the new strategy. They've undertaken consultation with national sector stakeholders and government representatives. These consultations have informed the potential actions and initiatives that have been included in the consultation paper which was published at the start of May. So ACECQA is now consulting with the sector and the wider public. And we very much encourage you to have your say by attending an information session and completing the online survey. ACECQA will then use this feedback to inform the development of the ten-year workforce strategy which is scheduled to be considered by national sector stakeholders, government representatives and education ministers in the second half of this year.

 

- Okay. My turn. When will OSHC have an appropriate A&R for our industry in line with the school age education rather than nought to five years? This question's probably been around since we first introduced assessment and rating in 2012. In 2019, the New South Wales Reg Authority reviewed the way we undertake A&R looking at what makes an effective A&N process for all service types. Based on feedback from the sector, including OSHC we introduced self-assessment for quality and improvement. The quality support team was established around the same time to assist services to connect with the national quality standard. So the assessment and rating is linked to a continuous journey of improvement rather than an event that occurs every few years. Since November, 2019, the Quality Support team have engaged with over 1400 services to self-assess their quality and build confidence in preparing for and connecting with the assessment writing process including the visit itself. And over 400 of these services are OSHC services. A commitment to continuous improvement is inheriting the National Quality Framework and striving for best practice underpins this commitment. Self assessment is about reflecting on your current key practices. Simply put key practices are what you do and how it aligns to the NQS. And that's why it makes it about you and about your service and not other services even if it's another OSHC service. Self-assessment can also help the team see the service with fresh eyes and from a different perspective and with that comes a greater understanding of the service programs, as well as increased confidence in the quality improvement planning and understanding the what and the why of what you do which is going to be different in each service because you're gonna have different families and you're gonna have different children. We know that when all staff and educators understand the guidance or the practice and they can all work together, continuous improvements to enhance outcomes for children are evident. Self-assessment processes allow the service to reflect on their practices and how this is aligned to NQS. Your educators know your service unique aspects best. And self-assessment provides an avenue to clearly articulate this to the reg authority in preparation for an assessment rating visit. The authorized officer will use your individual self assessment information of your articulated key practices to guide the assessment visit. We are hearing very clearly from the sector that when this educators no one understand what guides their practice, they're actively involved in the improvement journey. What comes with that is an increased competence around the assessment visit. This is an open book assessment. You're encouraged to share your key practices with educators so they know what to expect when the A&R visits and what they might ask and talk about. What we're gonna look for, what we're gonna observe, what we're gonna site and what we're gonna discuss because that information will be already provided to us by you through yourself assessment. The reason we also introduced the quality support team is because you don't have to wait for the A&R schedule to happen. You can contact our quality support team on 1800 619 113 or an email address, which we'll actually provide to you later on. Assessment and rating of OSHC services is also an issue currently being considered as part of the National Quality Framework review. So if you would like to respond to that as well, there'll be further information coming out about that. Next one will be Di.

 

- Okay, so the next question is can you please clarify the term 'under the roof' as it relates to educator to child ratio calculations? So this is a common question. So the phrase under the roof is not actually a regulatory concept and it's not found in the national law or the national regulations. The term under the roof originally came from paid or unpaid lunch breaks and have nothing to do with how to apply ratio requirements but it's become confused with this over time. So there's a misconception, an educator on a plan break or undertaking administrative tasks can still be counted as part of the ratios because they are working on the premises. This is incorrect. Educator to child ratios apply at all times that an education and care service is operating. And to be included in the ratio, educators must hold or be actively working towards an approved qualification and be working directly with children at the service meaning they are physically present with and directly engaged in providing education and care to the children. This means an educator on a scheduled break or undertaking administrative tasks cannot be counted in ratios as they are not directly engaged in providing education and care to the children. It is also important to remember that ratios are applied across the service and not by individual rooms or locations. This means that the number of educators required to be working directly with children will be calculated by using the total number of children across all rooms or locations the service is operating. In other words, the ratio does not need to be met in each individual room or location. We have published guidance and we've recently developed a ratio calculator. So if you're not aware, on the next slide, we've provided the link to the ratio calculator. This was developed in conjunction with ACECQA and it's a really useful tool to help guide services as to the number of educators required to meet educator to child ratio requirements at any one time. It is important to note that the tool is a guide only, and that educators must be directly involved in the education and care of children to be counted in ratios. And that adequate supervision of children must be maintained at all times. So the tool is accessed through ACECQA's website. If we just move to the next slide, we can see the URL for that. The department's also provided specific guidance available on the website to further unpack the educator to child ratio requirements and the requirements of adequate supervision. And we've provided the URL for that on the following slide too. So it's a good idea to visit these resources and just get to know the requirements and the guidance a little bit better. Okay, so the next question. Where can an educator or staff member report a confidential concern about a service or an approved provider? And how can educate is working at a service that have concerns do it confidentially without reprimand? So there's a number of aspects to this question. And it's unclear, I guess the type of concern that would be raised, we've covered off a few different avenues because there are several in terms of reporting a concern. So if you are talking to the department, so for example, throughout information inquiries line, educators can request that the information they provide remains anonymous. We can still investigate with a minimal detail. However, we may not be able to take compliance action without the specifics. In the first instance, where possible, we'd recommend that educators and staff members refer to their Services Grievance Policy or Complaints Handling Policy to see if there is a pathway to raise concerns within the service. It's important to remember that promoting and protecting the health safety and wellbeing of children is paramount. So if the matter relates to child safety, it is important that the educator understands their responsibilities as a mandatory reporter. So all educators working in Early Childhood Education and Care and Outside School Hours Care services are mandatory reporters under New South Wales Child Protection Law. Mandatory reporters must make a report when they have concerns about the safety, welfare or wellbeing of a child known to them. Further information can be found by searching mandatory reporting on the Department of Communities and Justice website at dcj.nsw.edu.au. So, when making a report to Child Protection, the Child Protection hotline is a mandatory reporter. So this is another possible avenue. So reports made to the Child Protection helpline are confidential and the report's identity is generally protected by law. The law offers the following protections to a person who makes a report in good faith, that making the report will not breach professional etiquette or ethics or amount to professional misconduct, that the reporter will not be liable for defamation, that the reporter is protected from civil and criminal liability, that the reporter is protected against retribution for making or proposing to make a report except in specific limited circumstances, the report or its contents is not admissible in any proceedings. And a person cannot be compelled by court to provide the report or disclose or give evidence of any of its contents. However, the current legislation allows New South Wales police to access the identity of the reporter if this is needed in connection with the investigation of a serious offense against a child or young person. The request must come from a senior law enforcement officer and the reporter must be informed that their identity is to be released, unless informing them of the disclosure will prejudice the investigation. So the department has recently also put together a resource to support services with their reporting requirements. This resource follows the steps that should be taken following an incident disclosure or suspicions of child abuse. In step two, the relevant authorities are listed requiring a report across different situations with a brief explanation of when you might be required to report. So relevant authorities include the New South Wales Department of Education, the New South Wales Office of the Children's Guardian, New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice and New South Wales police. So the reporting resource will seem to be made available on our website and an email will be sent when this is made available.

 

- Are head counts a requirement of the regulations, or are they just advisable? Head counts are not a reg requirement. Head counts would be considered best practice and maybe one of the methods a service will put into practice to mitigate an identified risk. When undertaking a risk assessment, head counts should be considered as a strategy to mitigate risks associated with supervision of children across different areas which you're doing to transitioning from one space to another, such as indoor to outdoor, when children are leaving or returning to the premises for examples, on excursions or to ensure all children are accounted for when offering regular transportation. I heard of a funny thing on the radio the other day about people doing head counts and they were talking about children and how easy it was. And one of the mothers was talking about she's got twins and they're identical twins. And she kept looking up and thought she was seeing two children but she realized that one of her twins had actually walked out the front door. So it's always important to do head counts even when you're familiar with the children. The department has developed video guidance assisting services with risk management. The guidance works in identifying hazards and risks and supporting best practice risk management including developing, communicating, reviewing and updating risk assessments. The guidance can be found on the department's website in the ECE Resource Library.

 

- Thanks Kathy. Next question. So who has duty of care in the time between the school bell ringing and the child being signed in at the OSHC service? When leaving an OSHC service and transitioning into the care of the school, how does the service ensure they are leaving in accordance with the Regulations and what method can a service dismiss the child from the service into the care of the school, for example, at bell time, to ensure they meet regulations? There are a number of questions in there so I'll try and address them one by one. So for the first question, so the safety of children during transitions between services including school is an issue currently being considered as part of the National Quality Framework review. It is recognized that there is a gray area here and a number of changes have been proposed to address this issue in the review. If you are interested in seeing what those options are, I'd recommend visiting the NQF review website and having a look at the consultation regulation impact statement. So for the second question, when leaving an OSHC service, so Regulation 99, specifies the instances where a child may leave the premises. These include if the child is given into the care of an authorized nominee, such as the school teacher or leaving the premises in accordance with the written authorization of the child's parent or authorized nominee named in the child's enrollment record. So this means seeking the explicit instructions of the parent or authorized nominee. And in terms of the methods, so it's important to consider the circumstances relating to the transition as part of our risk assessment. So Regulation 168 requires a service to have in place policies and procedures on the delivery of children to and collection of children from education care service premises. So policies and procedures developed for the service should be informed by and reference any arrangements that have been made with the school to dismiss the child into the care of the school, seeking input from parents and families as well as considering the ages and abilities of the children are important considerations when defining these arrangements. Where authorizations are required by a parent, it is important to store these documents appropriately. Okay, next question. I think I have this one too. Okay, the question is, if you collect children from different schools in a bus to take them to an offsite service, are you required to have an educator at each pickup destination? So there is no regulatory requirement for educators to be at each pickup destination. However, the service would need to determine whether this would be necessary and there would be a number of considerations in determining that. So the first consideration would be whether transportation actually forms part of the education and care service. So it's taken to form part of the service if the service remains responsible for children during that period of transportation. And if the transportation does form part of the service, the responsibility for, and the duty of care owed to children applies. It's ambiguous from the question but I'm assuming that the service is arranging the collection of the children. So it's assumed that the transportation does form part of the service. We'll say if the collection of children is a regular occurrence, then the service would be providing regular transportation which is defined in the regulations and the regulations pertaining to this would also apply. So these would normally be 102 B, C and D. So the service would be required to carry out a risk assessment to identify and assess risks that transportation may pose to the safety, health or wellbeing of children. And to specify how the identified risks will be managed and minimized. This may, for example, be through the use of additional educators. So approved providers and nominated supervisors must ensure that there is adequate supervision of all children at all times, and that they are protected from harm and hazard, these are legal requirements. And a number of factors should be considered when determining if supervision is adequate. This, for example, could include the number, age, level of development and ability of the children, any requirements of the individual children, the number of educators, the visibility and accessibility, the experience, knowledge and skill of the educators, and the capacity of the educators to immediately respond. So ratio requirements must be adhered to across the service during periods of transportation. And it's important to note that an educator driving a vehicle cannot be counted in ratio requirements as they are not directly engaged in providing education and care to the children. So whether additional educators are required to accompany the drivers of the vehicle, it's really a matter to be considered as part of meeting ratio requirements and the requirements of adequate supervision. So the department has put together a number of resources to support services in transportation. So this includes excursions but also regular transportation. We worked quite closely with an organization called Kids and Traffic, and I would recommend that you visit this URL and have a look at the resources. So, there's example, policies as an example, procedure, there's risk as an example, risk assessment. That's just useful in, I guess, helping you consider the different matters that need to be factored in when transporting children.

 

- Okay, I have it to me. Does non-prescription medication, such as Panadol, have to be labeled with the child's name and dosage or is the recommended dosage on the packet and parent authorization adequate? And the second half of that question are topical creams like Savlon and Sting Go's considered a medication or can they be applied to a child without parent authorization? To pass this, medication must not be administered to a child in a service unless it is authorized and administered in accordance with the requirements of Regulation 95 and 96. Administration of medications to a child is authorized when it's recorded on the medication record for the child when verbal authorization is given in the event of emergency by an authorized person. A medication record must be kept for each child who has received or will receive medication administered by the service. Medication includes both prescription and over-the-counter non prescription medications. If the non prescription medication has been supplied by the family, it would be best practice to label it with the child's name. So it can be easily identified as belonging to that child. If the non-prescription medication is supplied by the service, a part of their first aid procedures, this would need to be communicated with the family on enrollment so consideration can be given to potential allergies. Administering non-prescription medication needs to be authorized by the parent or authorized person named in the child's enrollment record. Being administered in its original container bearing the original label and instructions. And before the expiry or use by date in accordance with the instructions attached to the medication. A service may have policies in place that restrict certain types of medications that will be administered at the service. This may include the use of parasol. Oh, I'll start again, Paracetamal being administered as a first aid strategy or response to a fever to safeguard against potential overuse. And I guess the thing with school-aged children, if they have it in their bag and it gets lost, you know who belongs to. The second part of that question is, are topical creams like Savlon and Sting Go's considered medication or can they be applied to a child without authorization? In this case, it is a service's discretion whether the creams and lotions are to be considered a medication. But best practice would be to advise families on enrollment that this has forms part of your practice. And if they want to opt out of that, they can have the option to say that we want to use something else other than what you've actually got in your first aid kit. Okay, next one Matt. Thank you. Okay, is an email or Kinderloop acknowledgement suitable for an incident report? Do we notify of an accident or illness where we recommend medical attention but the child did not receive it? Notifications about prescribed incidents must be made by the services within the prescribed timeframe to the regulatory authority by the national IT system or by contacting us directly by ECD with email address or our 1800 number. But making a notification whether it be by email or through NQA ITS, please be sure to include details such as your service ID number, full names of all people who were involved, staff parents and children, the time and the date of the incident, a clear description of what happened and the outcome of the incident. For example, the child fell over because of water on the floor and injured themselves. They ran into someone in the playground. Details of any first aid or medical treatment and its outcomes and any risk mitigation measures that are or will be taken to minimize similar incidents. For more information on incident reporting including incident notification timeframes and the full list of what should be included, please visit the department's website. Second part of that question is, do we notify accident or illness where medical attention was recommended but not received? You must notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware of a serious incident under Section 17428 of the National Law and Regulation 17628. Regulation 128 defines a serious incident as any incident involving a serious injury or trauma to a child while that the child is being educated and care for for which a reasonable person would consider required urgent medical attention from a registered medical practitioner. So it follows that if you were providing education and care, the child that you are providing education and care for suffered an injury where you ended first-aid but still reasonably believe that further medical attention should be required and the families or the guardian refused or did not do so, you should still make a notification to the Reg. Authority because you don't know. And it shows that you're documenting it and that you are understand that it should have reasonably thought, it may be when the child gets home, it's not as bad. And the parents make that decision but if you'd make that decision yourself then you should be reporting it. This one's mine too. Okay, if children bring food for lunch in a thermos, are they able to eat it without it being refrigerated or reheated? I'm assuming this is for vacation care and it hasn't been sitting in their bag all day but the same rules still apply. You need to keep food hot at more than 60 degrees or cold at less than five degrees. Heating and cooling full properly will help prevent germs from growing in the food. Australia's Food Safety Standards state that reheated food should reach 60 degrees. So heating to this temperature will destroy germs that may have grown in the food since it was cooked. However, it's further recommended that if food is reheated until it reaches 70 degrees centigrade and it should stay at that temperature for two minutes this is because the Education and Care Services won't have that knowledge about how that food was prepared at home and whether or not it's been kept within the temperature outside the dangers while it's been in the thermos. So you should use a food thermometer to ensure that cooked or reheated food reaches the correct temperature. You should keep a non mercury thermometer in your fridge so you can check that temperature is always below five degrees centigrade. Check that the food has cooled before giving it to the child. You should throw out all leftovers and not send them home with the parents. You should tell the parents what food their child left but do not return the leftover food to the parents. Again, you should have really clear policies and procedures. If you're in a service that doesn't have facilities for microwaving food, that's a conversation that you would need to, overheating food, that's a conversation you need to have with those families on the enrollment or when it's been discussed with the children when they first start.

 

- Okay, so the question is, do services have to practice both emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures every three months? So Regulation 97, 3 requires education and care services to rehearse their emergency and evacuation procedures every three months. So if you refer to page 378 of the guide to the NQF, it states that an emergency refers to all situations or events posing an imminent or severe risk to those present at an education and care service premises. So for example, an emergency could include of fire, flood or threat that requires a service to be locked down or to shelter in place. So if your service has both evacuation procedures and lockdown procedures in their emergency plans then both of these procedures must be rehearsed at least every three months. So the departments also have been working on a number of resources relating to emergency planning. These can be found on our website. So there are six video modules that have just recently been released. Apologies, I'm not sure we have the URL for these ones, but we can certainly send it around. They're really useful. They're short 10 minutes sort of modules. And they're really useful to listen to to help services in their emergency preparedness and planning. That's the sort of the end of, I guess, of the official questions that we received coming in to this session. So we also did just want to flag a number of resources that you might find useful. So the first one is the Outdoor Learning portal. So we've developed a learning portal an outdoor learning portal with Early Childhood Australia. And it contains resources to support New South Wales services to create rich outdoor learning spaces and to ensure that the children can engage in meaningful learning when outside. The portal comprises video modules, learning modules including a NESA accredit module, e-books and articles. There is a specific Oshkosh learning module in there which is titled Supporting Children to Become Environmentally Responsible. So the portal is available until the 9th of September of this year. So it certainly encourage you to have a look if you haven't had the chance to already. I just wanted to mention that there are some useful application guides for providers in the approvals process. So these documents state the requirements for the following application types. So provider approval center-based service approval and before and after school care. Oh, this one's titled incorrectly. It says outdoor learning portal but it's actually supposed to be policies for approvals and services that'd been published on the department's website. So these are a really good resource for providers to clarify any questions that they have regarding the application process. So as you are likely aware, so the Child Safe Standards are being implemented from July of this year. So the department has been busy preparing a guide for ECEC and OSHC services to assist in implementing the Child Safe Standards. So the guide provides education and care services with strategies and tips to consider when implementing the standards. It also offers points of critical reflection and promotes continuous establishment of systems that prevent, detect and respond to child abuse. So the guide applies to a range of children's age groups and roles in services and is designed to be used to support all service types. It's currently being finalized. And once available, it will be communicated to all services. And finally, the Department of Education has worked in conjunction with CELA on Early Education Leaders Peer Network. So it's a network for professionals in the early education sector and it really supports a community of practice. So it tries to connect groups of people who share a concern or passion and helping them learn to--

Employer Webinar: Funding and Education Pathways to Support and Upskill Staff

Funding and education pathways to support and upskill staff

- Good morning and welcome to our webinar funding and educational pathway support to up-skill staff. But we will get started. I wanted to say good morning and welcome to our seminar speaking about funding and education pathways and support to upskill staff, run by Training Services New south Wales and the workforce development team that is working in the sector to help address some of the skills needs that do exist within the sector. Our initiative grew out of the skilling for recovery initiative and the workforce development team is working on some new projects to support the sector, as well as today's about reminding you of some existing benefits and programmes that are working in New South Wales at the moment and how you might be able to tap into them. We'll now move on to the acknowledgement of country.

 

- [Announcer] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest-living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- We would like to acknowledge that we are meeting in Albury today on the lands of the Wiradjuri people and we pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. My name is James Moran. I'm the manager of workforce development for Training Services New south Wales. And I'm joined today with Stacey Mitchell Bales who's our senior project officer responsible for working in the childcare sector. We're excited about the workshop this morning and we will now move on and cover a bit of housekeeping before we get started.

 

- Good morning. So just a bit of housekeeping, your microphone video and chat functions will be disabled during the webinar. However, we encourage that you use the question and answer button at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can type your questions into the Q&A, you can also see and vote on other people's questions which you would like to be answered. The thumbs up button is the best button to press so that moves it up. We will prioritise the questions with the most votes and try to answer these during the webinar. If there are questions that don't get answered we will correlate them after the session, and the frequently asked questions will be sent to everyone who's attended. This session is being recorded today and will be made available after the roadshow show is complete. Thank you. We're coming up on the next slide.

 

- Yeah, we really look forward to getting your questions this morning. It is an interesting area with it and we are gonna cover a lot of ground. So our project from workforce development is very much funded as part of the job trainer initiative that grew out of the COVID recovery strategy and the bushfire recovery strategy in New south Wales. And you'll see on this slide that our project is coming in under the workforce development area, looking at programmes in priority industries and definitely early childhood education, and working with early childhood providers is very much a part of being a priority industry for us. So you'll see in that slide that our role is to look at, you know engaging more people and making sure more people are aware of the skills information that is there. And you'll see an awareness campaign that of was part of job trainer initiatives like this this morning, very much about making you aware of what our initiatives are available so that you can engage, very much navigating options. So it's no secret that there were a lot of people who ended up unemployed as a part of COVID and the bush fires. And our role was to come in and start to get those displaced workers into jobs, help to negotiate training and undertake training to get people into work. So part qualification training, in some instances full qualification training as well was very much a part of the initiative to support people getting into work. And then it comes down to finding work. And I guess where we come in is we're focused on getting people into jobs, but also in getting people into training so that they can get into jobs in these specific high priority sectors such as early childhood education. Next slide please. So you'll see in this next slide that our initiative in the middle there is speaking about Bespoke Skilling solutions. So our team is very much focused on looking at barriers that might be existing to getting people into jobs and how training can assist in those, getting over those barriers. So very much around providing information, definitely talking about financial support and there's a range of financial support that's available from New south Wales but also via the Commonwealth. And we're very much about educating about what those financial solutions and support functions are. Workforce development as I mentioned before, it looks at some barriers that might be existing, and you'll see later in the slide session where we're looking to come up with a solution in the childhood teacher space, and we'll be talking to that a little bit later on but very much around local market expertise, so we work very closely with the brokers in each of the local areas and where we can see there's an initiative required that the brokers in our local area can work with you as an employer we will definitely be connecting the local broker in with you to be able to assist with that. So there will be multiple options for you to engage throughout today. And we're really keen to have conversations post webinar so that we can assist you in doing what you need to do which is continue on and have a skilled workforce to do the work that needs to be done. On the next slide you'll see very much around our approach. So it's about, you know, how do we when we're forced to, I'm looking at a skill sector or a sector that's needing skills, we look at all of the areas that we could be looking to attract talent into the industry. And you'll see on the slide here that we have a programme that attaches and works with the schools, it's our REAP programme, and if we need to be building profile of industry with schools, it's definitely something we will work on with ECE. Vocational education and training, Stacey and myself are both people who've been around the vet sector now for a while. I've been around longer than Stacey obviously, and I guess our skills are helping you to navigate the VET sector so that you can get the best out of it in building your workforce of the future. It's no secret that traineeships are very much part of what we'll be talking about today, because they are still fundamentally good ways of getting people into industry, but we can talk later about some preemployment and those sort of things. We have linkages with higher education. And when I touched on before a possible programme that could look to addressing the teacher shortage we've had while we've been working with higher education in that space. We are definitely looking at funding training that helps you both start your existing workforce. So, you know, one of the key things about driving employment within a sector is making sure that you're retaining the people that you do have on board. And one way of retaining people is to look at what their training and skills needs are now, and we can look to funding some training with you to help those people get more skilled in key areas that might be causing them some problems and hopefully help you with that retention piece. So that's that other part that's fair enough having a funnel or bringing new people in but we're very much about addressing and helping you to address, you know what you could do to be retaining your workforce and continuing to educate your workforce so you're ready for the growth opportunities to come. It's no secret with the budget announcements recently you are gonna be having more demand and we are very aware of that, with that demand will come the need for more growth and where we can support in that space by helping you bolster your organisation with existing training, and also looking at attraction strategies to bring new people in, it's very much a part of the work that we're doing. You'll also see in there the note about displaced workers if there are people that are currently unemployed and we do have linkages with the Commonwealth and if we can be seeing that people might have transferable skills they might've come out of one industry that hasn't done so well during COVID but they may need a little bit of training to transfer into your industry, that's very much a big piece of the work that we're doing at the moment. You know, we did see unemployment pick up at around the 1.3 million mark, and it's definitely dropping now, but part of what we can do is get those people that do have skills into work, and we have strategies around how we can assist the sector to do that. I'll now pass to Stacey to talk about the sort of initiatives that we've got to involve. And if we can move on to the next slide please.

 

- Thanks James. So access to future skills and the vocational programmes that are available the workforce development team can facilitate the access to potential recruits by offering funded training, there is a number of different avenues and these can be tailored solutions to your business and in collaboration with the Commonwealth government. So you'll notice there that we've got preemployment training with employer based work experience and I'll actually explain more and go through the exact model of what has been a proven model a little bit later on. We've also got targeted preemployment programmes with mentoring attached to those. And I suppose that transitions into your new recruits and supporting them in the workplace as well as the funded training part qualification. So that is all around up. It could potentially upskill your existing workforce and looking at those tailored skills, and obviously the training that needs to go with that. As James mentioned before traineeships is definitely there's a pathway for the early childhood traineeship pathway, attached wage subsidies which James will talk to you a little bit later on, and the full qualification. So staff who were looking possibly to get into the industry can do full qualifications funded under smart and skilled, but also if they're existing staff members that would like to upskill in the workplace and progressing their career, they do have access to those four qualifications and additionally, the regional skills brokers. And we can definitely connect you as an organisation to the regional skills brokers for advice and connections. Just on the next slide. So this is where we actually have a range of opportunities for organisations to access and be linked with potential school recruits through a range of programmes. We have the Regional Industry Education Partnerships initiative which is a programme designed around career awareness and career exposure for students to really understand what careers are available, and what opportunities that are in their local regions. There are RIEP offices in all regions across New south Wales. So we have those connections and can link you up with a regional project manager. We also have the School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships, which are facilitated over year 11 and 12. And then we have VET in schools. So that is where a student may undertake a certificate three in early childhood, over year 11 and 12. There is a work placement element within that, and that is usually 70 hours over the two years of their training. And then they come out of year 12 as a qualified childcare certificate three worker. Then we also have in the Southwest Sydney and also the north coast region, we have Education Pathways Pilots. Now they are a number of pilots that are delivered within schools that are actually providing career awareness, career exposure and developing students' employability skills. So definitely we have those connections and linkages to raise a profile of your organisation within the school sector. And leading on to the next slide for James to take over.

 

- Thank you. And we thought we just mentioned this morning the jobs plus programme which is a programme that sits outside of our area in workforce development, but it's a programme for employers that are looking to expand their businesses in the coming years. Definitely focused on new projects and creating new jobs, so if you are looking at a specific new project there could be some funding available through the jobs plus programme. And if you did wanna indicate that you were interested in this, we could have someone contact you about that. It's about new projects. It's about employing more people, upwards of 30 people if you're thinking about where that might be. And again, that's just another programme that can help you to develop your business over time. If you would now go to the next slide. Another initiative that sits outside of what we're offering to on the next slide is talking to the local jobs or launching into work programme. So if you're an employer that is looking to target people that might have higher needs as candidates for roles or possibly build diversity in your workplace, then the launch into work programme which is a Commonwealth supported programme, could be of interest to you in helping people enter the industry that might just need a little bit more support, and that programme is very much targeted on that, and we work with the Commonwealth on such programmes, if that is of interest again, be aware that it does exist. It is a little different to the preemployment programme that Stacey will take you through a little later, in that the support needs of the candidates are considered to be a little bit higher. If you could move on now please, to the next slide. And the next slide pretty much talks to how we work together with the Commonwealth in that partnership to help employers to access the skills that you're going to need going forward. So there's very much the Commonwealth incentives that are existing and we'll talk to those a little bit later on that are in place which include, incentives for training and also wage subsidies. So that's through our connection with the Commonwealth very much around the bespoke programme design, so we would love to have a conversation with you about what the bespoken needs that you might have and then lining you up with registered training organisations that can support. One example of such a programme that we might run where we see the Commonwealth initiatives and our programmes come together in the funded training area is in preemployment, where we do offer support, and Stacey will take us to an example here of helping to access candidates, give them some preemployment training then have them placed with you over time. Very much looking at possibly in the launch into work programmes, there's funded training available there. As I mentioned at the start, there is funding available to assist you to upskill your current workforce. And part of what we're offering is a wraparound support programme. So we're looking at what your workforce development needs are, and then providing access to all of the myriad of different options that might be available for you to help you build a skilled workforce. We'll now move on and Stacey's gonna take us through a candidate attraction strategy, which is around preemployment, and Stacey I'll let you pick this up from here, thank you.

 

- Thanks James. And so this is I suppose, a bit of a model of a preemployment programme that has been run before, and worked quite successfully in many different industries throughout my time with training services and it really just outlines what elements are within the preemployment programme. So if I talk to the attraction piece and I suppose we have the access and connections with DESE and also there are concierge services New south Wales, and also local a job active providers. We have connections to actually support the attraction of candidates into the programme, and that would be the first part of the programme. We then usually have an information session which is the preemployment recruitment and that is all about exposing the student and as to the opportunities that is available the employer expectations and also what the programme expectations would be, so that they really know what they're getting into at the beginning and making sure those candidates are suitable for what that employer is really looking for. And then following on to a skillset training. So this is where we would actually assist connections with the training provider as well as the employee to really define what content is required for them to enter into the workforce, and really tailor a programme to suit industry and what might need to be, I suppose an entry level requirement before entering the workforce. Then also following the programme the skillset training would be a work experience element, and this can be negotiated usually with an employer, it's usually around the one week mark. We have had opportunities where an employer has half week or part-time arrangements for work experience but this is really good for both the employer as they sort of get an opportunity to see whether that student fits within their workplace, and also for the students to see whether or not this is an industry that they would like to enter into, I suppose there is a job for them to continue working. Then at the end is usually the employer does the industry recruitment. And this is where you would actually employ the appropriate candidates into either a full-time role, part-time role, or whether it's a traineeship full-time or part-time. The benefits of these programmes is that you actually get to pick what content is required and really have input into the structure of how it is facilitated. You get to screen the candidates to participate in the programme, as well as it's low risk you're able to assess capability of candidates over the programme. And then also these programmes usually run for usually about two to six weeks depending on the content of training that's required. And the next slide please. So this really gives you a bit of an idea about the pathway from school to a postgraduate or a doctorate in early childhood education sector. And it gives you a bit of an idea about what possibilities there could be for a student to take a pathway at school, and what options are available as we've discussed some of those. Then we've also got under our part qualification funding for skilling, for recovery we have a number of skillsets available. Now they're just listed the names there, but there are a number of units within those two to three units of competency that can be done, which actually prepare people to go into the early childhood sector. Then we have the certificate three moving onto the diploma of early childhood. And then I suppose more in a management role we've got advanced diploma of the community sector management, and then under the smart and skilled system that's usually what is funded under our banner and then moving onto higher education and bachelor and degrees. And on the next slide please.

 

- Just touching on that Stacey as well with all those programmes and specifically the skillsets programmes they're areas that we organise funding for. So very much funded for you in that role, in our role.

 

- Absolutely. Absolutely. So this gives you a bit of an idea about what's actually funded with smart and skilled, and what potential opportunities are there for certain qualifications and certain skillsets. I know you'll all get a copy of this as it's recorded. So it actually outlines the preemployment skillsets. And then we've got ticks in potential opportunities whether it's a skilling for recovery initiative, whether it's a skill set, or whether the qualification is a traineeship. And you'll see on the very far column that there is a tick if it is eligible as a traineeship, and then has a t next to it for traineeship. So I want to go through all of those, but I'll move onto the next slide which I'll hand back over to James.

 

- So together with those initiatives that Stacey just mentioned and how funding attaches to those skillsets, with four qualifications there and the traineeship programme there's never been a better time to continue and to look at traineeships as a model of building your business. I guess one of the things that we've seen which is new is the wage subsidy that is applicable to people who go into traineeships between now, and I think it's March next year now. So it's been extended recently with the budget. So where 50% of the wage of that person is going to be covered by a wage subsidy up to $7,000 per quarter. So, you know, if you think about the traineeships there are other incentives that apply definitely the $1,500 commencement payment as is noted on the slide there as well as a completion payment of $2,500, and they're both for full-time workers, and so total of 4,000 for full-time workers. But if you add that to the wage subsidy that currently exists, it really does provide employers with a lower risk opportunity to bring people in at a lower cost for the next few months. So we really encourage employers to be thinking about in traineeships as a way of bringing in new people, you know, especially if we lead off with a skillset and some exposure to your business before they actually enter a traineeship, it can provide a very low risk way for you to add to your workforce and also provide great opportunities for new people to enter the workforce in the childcare area. So other incentives that apply as I noted there in New south Wales, if your organisation is subject to payroll tax, then payroll tax rebate ability does apply for people who are on a traineeship. Some benefits for them is that they would get a travel concession card for the period that they're on traineeships as well. So if you're establishing yourself as an employer of choice having the traineeships and the incentives that apply here can be very attractive for you in helping you to build that workforce model. And the other incentives are noted at the bottom there around mature aged people and also people with a disability. So again these are a range of incentives that are available, that we're happy to advise on. And in building your workforce plan to help you overcome, you know, your shortages and also to help you build a talent pool. We'd definitely be touching on these incentives as part of helping you to fund that as well as the funded training that we're offering. Over onto the next slide. It really is a chance now for us to have a look at a couple of the questions that have come through and to see. One of the questions is when will these initiatives be released? We need them sooner rather than later. So I guess the good news there is that all of these initiatives we're speaking about today are very much available today. So that's good news, the options you are presenting on accessing to future skills, whoops. So if you've got someone on a traineeship before March next year they'll still get full funding even though they're only studying the traineeship. So if they're commencing the traineeship now until March, that's when the full suite of incentives will be available there. So I'm conscious of time. We might keep going now onto the next slide and pick up any of those questions that we haven't covered so far, and we'll definitely come back to you on that. But now moving on to talking about another initiative that the workforce development teams being working on now and we're very much aware of the shortage of teachers in childcare centres and that's been brought to our attention. A number of times it's become a project for us. We've been working with one educational provider about providing a linkage from diploma through to a degree so that this skill shortage area can be addressed. We're not going to mention the education provider at this stage, but I guess the bridging programme sees people who've completed a diploma, complete the bridging programme and they will enter, as you can see on the slide here, halfway through their second year of their degree. So at the end of six months, there'll be at the end of their second year of their degree, Stacey, they will also at that point will qualify for the 50% mark of their degree which allows them then to teach as a teacher under that programme. So our goal is to get people who've got a diploma through to being able to teach within a six month timeframe. This programme does that. I guess we've developed that bridging programme with an education provider, and we're looking to fund that in New south Wales. And we're very keen to get a reading from the market as to how popular that would be in terms of, you know the uptake because we do see that being able to significantly address the shortage of teachers in New south Wales in a six month timeframe, we are looking to move very quickly on this and the development of that bridging programme will commence very soon, so that way we have something in place hopefully by the second semester of this year. So if that is something of interest if you've got employees who have completed a diploma, have got an interest in going through into a degree are looking at this and this could be one way of getting them 50% qualified through their bachelor's in six months time, and then are able to teach. That's about it on that one, Stacey, isn't it?

 

- Absolutely. Yeah. So just noting that the bridging programme they're actually concurrently enrolling in the bridging programme as well as their second GS, so they're doing it at the same time, I think there is about 24 hours within the bridging programme of attendance for the student with some additional content that they can do in their own time.

 

- Yeah. So it's really, it's just a way of short-circuiting anyone who is sitting there with a diploma at the moment that wants to become a teacher. We can address that in six months, we are looking at funding that programme but we are looking at interest from industry to be able to move that forward fairly quickly. So now I think we're asking you in a poll to express whether you do have interest in that, and that'll give us a rating as to, you know, the demand from market at the moment and where that stands. So think we have to get you to now. Oh, yes. You've got a question that's coming up. Is this bridging programme of interest would you like to express your interest in this space? So yes or no, it would be fantastic. If you could click on the options on your screen now that would be great. Okay. So, well, I'm thinking that the polling has all been done on that one. And if we could now move on to the next slide conscious of time. So we've all got busy lives.

 

- I suppose, just move it just on the polls today we'll just be gathering the data from the polls just so that we can inform our best practise moving forward for this poll, and there's another poll later on in the slides. Thanks James.

 

- Thanks Stacey. So by way of summary of where we've ended up and what our involvement in working with the workforce development team, is we're very much providing advice on customised workforce skilling solutions. We're doing that with employers one-on-one but we're also doing that as part of the sector and working on sector solutions of which the bridging programme is definitely part of that in getting more people qualified and more people qualified to be teachers. We provide specialist information on training solutions that are available. We very much provide connections to higher education and connections to other solutions, even down to group training being a possible solution for employers that, you know may not wanna take a trainee on themselves, but might want to host one via group training, then that's another connection point that we make as well. Definitely got that connection through to apprenticeship and traineeship providers that can help with the signing up of contracts. When your trainee goes into a traineeship. And again, we've got the connections through the Commonwealth to help you access all that's available in terms of incentives from the Commonwealth, but also helping you to access potential candidates that might be sitting as unemployed people at the moment that might need a little bit of training to come across, to work in your industry, and to help grow the people in the industry from that perspective. So very much our wraparound service we're providing, we're looking forward to engaging with you post this webinar to handle any questions that you might have, or to have a one-on-one consultation, and it's definitely gonna be a way for you to do that. So that's where we stand at the moment, I guess Stacey we're after a little bit of information too, aren't we, in terms of, you know where we have our employees are at the moment. So if we could move on to the next slide, that would be great. Thanks.

 

- Yeah. So we've got another training poll question and I suppose it's just really, I suppose what training or support is your organisation interested in? There are a number of questions here, it's some multiple choice. So we've got workforce development advice planning, preemployment training to grow your workforce, traineeships, upskilling your existing workforce, early childcare teacher the bridging programme of interest, jobs plus, or launch into work, all of the above, which is a quick one, and then none. If you could just work through those, there's also two other questions. How many staff does your organisation employ? Which is another multiple choice. And are you looking to grow a workforce? I suppose these information will give us great intel in how to better support your organisation moving forward. And just reminding you that we capturing this data in the back end today too. I suppose while everyone's actually answering the training poll at the moment, there will be a survey sent out today directly in response to this particular presentation. But also we are actually Training Services New south Wales we'll be sending a separate survey out to you, just to really define what workforce development I suppose support our needs are out there. So I suppose if you can take just a couple of minutes to answer that at the end and also the additional one that probably myself will be sending out that would be really appreciated.

 

- So we've now got quite a few questions here Stacey, that we might try and tackle from the top down. And one of the first question here is degree helps. So if a staff member is currently already enrolled in a uni course, can we still access the funding? That's an interesting one, I guess it's depending on whether they were at what stage of their uni course they are and whether they're a diploma holder or so, and we would encourage a more full conversation there I guess. Next question, bridging programme is great, however, there's a need for work placement outside of current workplaces a massive toll on staff completing their degree can this be addressed as to complete placements at the current workplace?

 

- We have to get back to--

 

- We'd have to come back to that.

 

- Yeah, we'd have to get back to the provider and respond in a later in the frequently asked questions.

 

- Got another question on the bridging programme. So how much does the bridging programme complete towards the degree, is it 50% or 25%? So if people have got a diploma they will come halfway through their second year of their degree is where they will enter the programme. They will complete the second year of their degree, as well as the bridging programme in that six month period, and at the end of that six month period they will actually be 50% complete. Their degree will be 50% complete.

 

- So really the diploma credits the first year of the degree the bridging programme and also the second year, second stage is done within six months, which then entitles them to be 50% complete of their degree in another way.

 

- Yeah. It's got a question here about there being no targeted programmes. I guess our initiatives through workforce development is very much looking at what your needs are and then being able to tailor targeted responses in that way, so we can access funding through skilling for recovery, and also through our part qualification funding. And so we would definitely look at what the options are when we look at individual employer needs or sector needs if we get feedback through the webinars today that there are other issues that we need to be addressing, we're definitely happy to have a look at those.

 

- The next one is what funding comes with the bridging pathway. I suppose, what we're looking to do is actually fund participants into this programme or funding the training provider to develop the programme and bridging programme, but we're also looking to fund the individual to undertake the programme. So really the student would actually save approximately a bit under $5,000 in university fees, or training fees by us actually funding that bridging programme. OOSH options, look if there are OOSH options I can actually do an OOSH pathway. There are definitely options for OOSH definitely. So I suppose if you're interested in getting in touch with us to have that one-on-one conversation I can definitely provide you that pathway and the options available for OOSH.

 

- Natalie also mentioned here a possible diploma pathway available through the University of New England, Natalie, thanks for that information. We'll look into that and see whether we can make that part of our overall offering as well. One of the questions here is I always struggled to find trainees to take on for a cert three. We can definitely assist with that. Some of the attraction strategies we've mentioned before in working with the schools, also working with the unemployed people who might be sitting with the Commonwealth at the moment, part of our strategies will be to work with you in the region that you're in, to work out what are the best attraction stratergies there can, that do exist. So definitely that's something that we would assist with. Just looking at any more of these questions. Can you get funding to put a staff member into a post-graduate course? We wouldn't be able to assist you in that area at this stage Hayley. So that definitely sits outside of the the workforce development team. However, if you were looking at any qualification needs for your existing teams that go up to the diploma advanced diploma level we'd definitely be happy to have a conversation with you in that space. So yeS. So I guess we're looking at time now we've got five minutes left to run on the webinar, and we'll just go back to the see if we've got any more questions here. It's fair to say that this morning was about giving you some information about what is available through the traineeships and the other programmes and the skillset funding that we've got available to us. You know, there's definitely opportunities there to build attraction strategies to get people working in the sector. We touched on before some of the options and our role will be to work with you to identify registered training organisations that can assist you, often they have their own attraction strategies and we'd be working with them to end up with the best outcome there for you. I touched on group training before, it is an option for employers to employ, you know, host trainees so that you're not really exposed to employing them yourselves, you'll be hosting them and you can get some support in the mentoring space in that area as well. Just looking at some more of those questions that are coming through. So what if someone already holds a diploma can they support to the bachelor's degree? That's a question that's come here through here Stacey. Definitely that's what the bridging programme was designed to do, is to capture those people who might be currently sitting on your workforce that do hold a diploma and do want to proceed to becoming a teacher, the diploma programme or that bridging programme we're talking about. We'll get them to halfway through a degree within six months. The education we're providing we're working with in this space, doesn't believe that there'd be any reduction in the quality and they definitely a high quality provider and, you know to get people to our 50% mark through the bachelor education, there isn't gonna be any reduction in quality as a result of that.

 

- How to get the payroll tax rebate. So when you actually sign up a trainee, then the apprenticeship support provider that does the national training contract with you, actually facilitates the paperwork for that to actually be done, and they can actually get it all sorted for you at the beginning when you sign up your trainees.

 

- Checking on any other questions that might be, wage subsidy what is the eligibility for the employer? Really the eligibility is that your trainee is registered as a trainee before at this stage before the end of March next year, and then you would be eligible for the wage subsidy and the notes there around, you know no more than $7,000 a quarter but that also goes along with the federal incentives that are payable on traineeships as well. So yes, very much around. They've got a commenced with you, have been registered as a trainee and as some provider would be able to assist you on how you go about claiming those wage subsidies. Where conscious that we're down to the last four minutes of our webinar now, we wanted to thank people for being part of the webinar today. Hopefully this is the start of the journey of you having conversations. And we're happy to look at all of the questions that we do have that. Yeah. I'm happy to look at all the questions that you do have and then provide responses to those after the webinar today. Today was a chance to showcase some of the programmes that are available. We really encourage you to look at the skillset training if that's something that you are looking for, a number of trainees and helping you access candidates that could go through that preemployment funnel. If you like Stacey could be a lower risk way for you to actually have a look at candidates before you have them sign up as a trainee. So that's definitely something that we can assist with and do have funding to address at the moment. We really challenge you to give some thought to the training that might be required for your existing workforce. We're working on a number of initiatives in that space at the moment, but if you've got ideas that might be useful for us to consider then we'd be interested in talking with you on what the needs of your existing workforce is in that. If we can help with retention we also know that we're gonna help keep the numbers in place of people working in the workforce. Just gonna go back to the questions for one more and see if there's any more. Once an employer enters into the programme, is there funding for coaching and mentoring in the workplace or is it expected that this will come through the RTO or employment service provider? There's a number of options for mentoring and coaching in the space. Usually the RTO will provide some of that. They will be if it's not a group training, traineeship the employer will be expected to do some coaching and mentoring as part of bringing someone new into the workforce. Under the launch into work program there is mentoring that is provided as part of that programme from the Commonwealth, so that's very much part of the offering. If you were considering group training as one of your options then there's definitely mentoring support that comes as part of that model in terms of offering traineeships and supports. Okay. I don't think. Lots of questions that are coming in thick and fast now. So we will, do diploma trainees attract wage subsidies at the moment? I believe that they would, yeah. They're coming in as trainees.

 

- My understanding is.

 

- Yeah. Yes. They would, they are coming in as long as they're signed up and registered as a trainee. Yes. That's definitely something you should talk to your ASAM provider about that, refer to them and get your trainee registered as quickly as you can. We're now at 10:44, again, would use this as a chance. Thanks Stacey, for this morning.

 

- Thank you.

 

- It is our chance just to sort of welcome you and let you know of the work that we're doing to help address some of the skill shortages and barriers within the workforce area. Very keen to get your feedback on the bridging programme as we mentioned. Very keen for people to reconsider traineeships as an option for building workforce into the future. But also that connections with schools is another area that we're working on as well. Thanks so much for joining us today. We look forward to coming back to you with answers to your questions. If you do, as Stacey mentioned in the survey there will be a chance for people to reach out so that we can engage with you one-on-one, if you see the need to do that, please answer that question.

 

- Thanks for joining us today. If you wanna stay up to date with the department and see a range of resources, you can also like or follow our Facebook page, you can search the New south Wales Early Childhood Education in Facebook, or follow the links or QR code on the screen. But thank you for today.

 

- Thanks so much and have a good day.

 

- Bye-bye.

 

- Bye.

More than 'Just Convenient Care' (OSHC)

More than just convenient care

- Hi, everyone. I see that it's ticked over to one o'clock. So I think I might jump in now and welcome you all to our Roadshow session, More than "Just Convenient Care": what the research tells us about equitable access to Outside School Hours Care, here today. So I don't know how many of you are joining us from Sydney but it's a beautiful sunny Friday afternoon. So I hope you're all are in the mood for a fabulous session. I think we'd like to start this session by acknowledging country. So if we could just flick to the next slide.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respects to elders' past, present, and emerging, and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, and the relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations, today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- So I'd like to say a warm welcome to everyone for joining us here today. My name is Amanda Cole, and I'm the Relieving Policy Manager for before and after school care for the department. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce our session here today. Not the least because our session today includes several of the superstars of the Outside School Hours Care sector, Jennifer Cartmell and Bruce Hurst, as well as Sam Williamson, who many of you if you're not familiar with her centre already I'm sure you will be by the end of our session. I have been told that I should actually explain to you how to use the Menti codes, which I'm stumbling on because I myself I'm not very technological, but I'm sure many of you have attended other roadshow sessions. The QR code will come up. I've been told that we just have one QR code and so if you just scan the QR code once when it comes up you'll be invited to participate in our questions today. We have four questions I believe in our session this afternoon. So once you've filled out the question, it should stay on the same screen until we're ready to progress to the next question. Just brief housekeeping, I've already done theMenti part but basically we all know the drill, the microphone, video, and chat functions are disabled during this presentation, which is bizarre for me. I feel like I'm talking into this massive void, but anyway our questions will be very engaging. So I hope you stay and answer the questions for us. And also this session is being recorded and it will be made available after the session. So, today's roadshow, why are we all here today? We have a few reasons why we wanted to bring you all together today. The first of these is to discuss work commissioned by the department in the past six months. We've been working very closely with two academics, Jennifer Cartmel, and Bruce Hurst, who've written a literature review titled, More than 'Just Convenient Care': what the research tells us about equitable access to the Outside School Hours sector. I can say in all honesty when I first started researching what the research tells us I kept thinking I was missing a trick somewhere, where is all the research? Where is the evidence? Where is that sound evidence-based that our policy makers like to use? Jennifer, and Bruce will give you the answers to that. And their review goes a long way in trying to fill in the gaps in this research because what the review shows us is there's not much research out there, much good practise but not much research, especially peer reviewed research which tells us more about what's fabulous about the Outside School Hours sector, and how we can really maximise the benefits of this important sector. One of the key things Jennifer and Bruce's review turned up was the importance of school and OSHC relationships. And so on that note, we thought we'd start today's session from hearing from two of our wonderful school principals, Ms Trish Fisher, from South Coogee Public School, which is home to South Coogee Children's Services, a parent-run service. And Mr Geffrey Smith, from Michelago Public School, quite some distance from South Coogee. And it is home to the Country Kids OSHC service. So Trish, if you'd like to turn your video on and your mic and jump in, we'd love to hear from you.

 

- Thank you so much for having me today. When Amanda asked if I was available to have a conversation about my OSHC service. I'm really proud that we have this opportunity. And then when I spoke to Jack, who is our coordinator, he was very enthusiastic and excited to get the opportunity. But in saying that, oh, he will send an apologies because he is not at work this afternoon. So he has organised, we worked together and organised a few points that we wanted to share with you today, but I'm not sure when questions are but my email is available to you if you have any other questions about how South Coogee and our OSHC service work so nicely together. So what I'll do is I'll start off just talking a little bit about South Coogee Public School itself. So we have a very diverse cultural and diverse socially economically community as well. So we have a lot of the low socioeconomic housing commission in our space, but we also have some families that come from a Lurline Bay by which is right on the Coogee shore line. The good thing about our school is the kids don't necessarily know that like it's a difference, they're all just one group of kids and they seem to behave that way. Of course, we have bumps, we're not the perfect school but I actually quite like the mix and so do our teachers. There are 23 classes, we have 560 learners. And as part of that make up, there's 34% EAL/D. So English other than language, we have 10% of our students that are from the Australian Defence Force Families. Now that's a unique piece within itself. We have a Defence School Mentor and that works in our school three days a week, and her role is not to help the children academically but in transition with families as they move in and out and change schools quite often. And we have another 5% that is our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Myself, I've been here since 2015. And during that time we've always had an onsite committee-led OSHC service. And we also have a community-based full daycare from years two to five that operates five days a week. That's always just been part of our community. And I'm actually a little surprised when people tell me that they don't have OSHC services on-site because I've always had schools that have had OSHC sites and good relationships, which I guess is just an expectation of what we do here at the school in the way that we work together all of us. I've worked at Bronte, Randwick, and in each of those schools some of them are small OSHC providers and some are large OSHC providers. I also spent a little bit of time at Pottsville, which is on the Tweed Coast, and I had 600 odd students at that school and a very low number of children accessing the OSHC service. So we did start trying to build that before I returned back to South Coogee. So that's a little bit about where that's coming from. A couple of things that Jack also wanted me to emphasise here, that the reason why it tends to work here is a real collaboration and positivity about building that trust and mutual benefit about how the school operates and how the OSHC operates. So I sort of see it as a bit of just an extension of our working day. So South Coogee OSHC for example has been here for 25 years, and has it expanded over the last five years up to 155 children each day which tends to be about 30% of the school's total number. And when I was talking to Jack about that his staffing he said to me that there were between 20 and 24 teachers on-site at any one time, where educators as they call them, and 12 to 14 of those being in the afternoon. So the OSHC service itself starts at 7 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m.. So the staff that Jack brings in are not only just young staff but those people that are doing teaching degrees or other sporting degrees. So he takes on people that are not only enthusiastic about kids, but also that they're providing or giving benefit to the service. So Jack's doing a really good job. Another thing I'm gonna mention a few things that Jack would like me to talk about as well 'cause he was very proud of the fact that we have this opportunity. And he said, "The goal of our relationship is to provide the best possible service for not only both parties but the children and families as well." So the fact that even Jack comes from that mindset or that kind of thinking sort of gives you an idea of how well we can work together. Our door, my door is always open. We have a very open communication. So Jack will come in and have a conversation or say hello to the girls at the office for a moment as he's picking up all the daily attendance data or information that he's gonna need about OSHC in the afternoon. So some of the things I guess, that we as a school provide OSHC on a daily basis is that attendance. And we talked to him generally about the breakdowns of activities that are happening in the spaces. So when the classrooms, or the hall or the library are available, if there's any change to routines. And in return to the OSHC teachers sort of liaise with teachers and our office staff about anything medical that the children might need or emotional, or if some of our children have had incidences throughout the day and they might then bring that over to OSHC because sometimes children bring those behaviours to both settings. So they're very open in having that conversation and making sure that we are essentially on the same page. So that's a really important thing for us especially if there are difficult situations or family events or those sorts of things we make sure that we have those conversations often which is a really positive thing. So that doesn't always include an official sit-down meeting. So we might catch each other in the hallways or just updates, but it's a good way of just keeping on the floor about what's happening with our kids. The other thing that I wanted to just mention too, stop me if I am banging on too long, but the use of shared space is always a very sore point for schools and OSHCs, and building those respectful relationships. We have to benefit from both of those because the benefit is that our parent community are accessing the service. And if we're going to be stubborn and not provide opportunity for that, that causes tension not only between ourselves and OSHCs but also our family or our parent body. So our OSHC, for example, they use classrooms, the school library, the hall, of course playground, so that also includes if they do outside activities or vacation care where they might bring in a provider or the jumping castle or anything else like that. So we kind of know what's happening when it's happening all the time. We also have two indoor classrooms that they get to use on a more permanent basis. And that's so it's still a shared space that they can access. And the really practical thing about that is OSHC get to benefit from the furniture and the equipment and the resources so they can use the computer and the tables and chairs. They just move them to wherever they want the classrooms set up for the time, and then respectfully they turn it back into a classroom for us when the children have been sent back to their classrooms. So that's a really good working relationship I feel. They also have an outdoor classroom, so there's a space for craft and gardening, but we also have a school veggie patch, and we work in that together, which is an advantage for us at school holidays because they water the gardens and weed it and take the excess fruit and veggies and all those sorts of things. But we use that as an indoor-outdoor learning space that they get the opportunity to use as well in the afternoon. So I guess summarising that, Jack has written me a little note there, it's a little bit about give and take and about sharing space. The last thing I will talk about now and give me a wave if you think that that I'm talking too much, I'm very proud of the relationship, but let me know.

 

- And that shows Trisha love it. How about 30 more seconds? And then we'll jump across to Geoff.

 

- Beautiful, absolutely. So they have introduced homework clubs. So homework club for us is where they connect with our assistant principals and they find out what's been happening in the week and they share those activities and do all those sorts of things. But I also connect, like even this morning we had the Mother's Day breakfast. It was delayed from the rain last week and all the OSHC provider, educators, were out there talking to the parents, grabbing a cup of coffee. I thought that was a really good way to show that just what it's our site. Everything that lives in our site is all just part of what we do every day. So it is the cornerstone of building that relationship because I think it truly does take a village to raise a child and OSHC is a part of what we do here. Thanks, Amanda.

 

- Thanks, Trish, and thank you so much for volunteering to speak today. I've heard such wonderful things about your OSHC. Now I can completely understand why I have. And Geoff, would you like to turn your video on now and jump in with the Michelago experience?

 

- Yeah, sure. And I'm listening to Trish. I can assure you it's quite a different experience down in a rural community, by coming to you today from Ngarigo lands, which is highlands of the Aboriginal people. These lands used to be used by Aboriginal people to track the bogong moth migration, which is whenever I get on camera and talk to people across the State it's always nice to kind of provide a bit of context in that side of things, but talking about OSHC, I mean, and talking about equity and giving people the freedom to choose where they live and to have the same sort of accessibility to things that people have in metropolitan areas. I mean, OSHC really is really important to us in our community out here. So a bit of context for us Michelago is a small rural village. It's 40 minutes south of Canberra's Centre. The town itself has a fire service, a community hall, a general store, and a school. The surrounding areas are predominantly sheep grazing areas, but given the proximity to Canberra in the last 20 years we've seen a lot of tree changes. So people who are working in Canberra have been escaping that. Well, compared to Sydney, I suppose the traffic. So basically the school has been servicing this community for 150 years. And predominantly the student population has been of those just farm, the farmers really, people who, it started as a wheat belt, gradually became pastoral land for sheep and wool. And basically up until about 20 years ago it was very small. And the tree changes have slowly changed the face of the community. We have a few houses on the main street but really it's no Coogee, it's a small rural community. However, there's a developer that's got their hands on some land so it might change soon. But anyway, back to equity in what the Before and After School Care has done for our school. So basically it's provided parents with an alternative. Most parents who have chosen to live in this location have done so for a very specific reason, that tree change reason and the proximity to Canberra means that they can have kind of that country living but with the city benefits. And the before and after school care really was the last piece of the jigsaw puzzle that went into place for our school to ensure its survival really. And I do underline that survival because even in our area, our 40 kilometre radius we've had a school going to recess just recently due to not having those facilities and the community changing its demographic. But also having Before and After School has dramatically increased the probability of parents in our community choosing our schools. Even though we do have before and after school care there are a lot of parents who still choose to send their children to independent schools in the regional areas of Queanbeyan and Canberra. So before and after school care has tipped that percentage of parents who are still choosing those and people who have decided to keep their kids in that rural setting. So basically through that situational analysis process that we did in the school improvement cycle, focus groups really did highlight this idea that the parents that were in the community wanted to have their children to have a rural school experience but they didn't want that to come at the cost of their careers. So basically the OSHC, as you could imagine, is that piece, is that that jigsaw puzzle that completes the equity circle because parents get to choose and they're not forced to make a decision based on the availability of OSHC. So that's become, that is just such an important part of our school survival. And that has flow-on effects. So for me as the principal, I can with some certainty arrange temporary contracts knowing that my enrolment's population won't deviate because it's in the last 20 years before having OSHC we've been as low as 21 and now we're as high as we've ever been. So that a big part of that has been the establishment of the before and after school care and Country Kids Club have done an amazing job here. And the relationship that was built between us has certainly ensured that the parents feel like the community is being serviced in that educational capacity. So I guess on top of that I can proudly say that last week I had an enrolment come from the independent sector in Canberra to our school. And a big part of that was having OSHC. making that having that availability of before and after school care has meant that that person has pulled their child out of an independent sector in another state, in another jurisdiction, and gone to their local school which is a massive win for public education if you asked me, and a massive win for rural schools. So I guess, how do we work? Oh, before I go on and how we work together I just wanted to sort of talk about the journey of the establishment of OSHC. So the teachers that were here prior to my appointment which only happened recently, the school, the teacher, and the principal that were here were running sporting clubs, homework clubs, and actually taking on after school care responsibilities just to ensure the enrolment. So you could imagine the monumental responsibility and the extra workload that would have come along with just ensuring that we were able to offer that extra service around those after school hours. So like I really wanted to acknowledge the hard work that has been done by the school just to maintain the population that was here prior to the before and after school care. And it was actually roadshows not dissimilar to this one where the teachers were attending. And the SAM from this school overheard a conversation from Country Kids Learning Centres about the possibility of getting a before and after school care. And that's what started the ball rolling to get our OSHC happening. So I had to pay, acknowledge that. So how do we work together? Well, it's really interesting. If you know about small schools you know that informal conversations do make up a majority of how people work together. How we keep on top of health and safety, and how we keep on top of relationships, and how we keep on top of learning and support and all those sorts of things. And the before and after school care is not the dissimilar to how that works. But every afternoon we're chatting to our educators in those OSHCs saying, "Look out for this student. They've had a bit of a tough day." Or, "This person is going through a bit of a rough situation. Do you mind putting these extra supports?" I've run sort of just informal information sessions about how we can incorporate the positive behaviour for learning aspects that that school uses into OSHC to support some of our kids. We try and use a common language when it comes to welfare and discipline matters. And then we just pretty much work together in a communication like in an ongoing communicative way to ensure that there is a consistency between our learning environment at school and the consistency in our before and after school care. And it works a treat, which is great. So the other thing that Trish was mentioning about was the sore point of sharing resources. I guess for us we really appreciate what Before and After School Care do for our school and our community. So we invest pretty heavily on equipment that's shared and we do encourage that shared space, shared our sports equipment. Everything that we have technology is available for our before and after school care. And we do have an ongoing investment in equipment that can be shared 'cause they use our library. So it's fantastic, but again it comes down to the equitable education factor and the fact that we do live in a country that does afford choices. But when you look at whether or not people can choose to remain in rural settings and get the same sort of access to education facilities. OSHC is that jigsaw puzzle. It's that thing that can make that happen. So I do thank you for all listening to me today. And if you ever want to drop by and have a pop into Michelago and see our school and before and after school care, we're here and just send me an email if you've got any questions or you'd like to come visit.

 

- Thank you so much, Geoff, and Trish. We really appreciate the two of you setting the same today for our two academics, Jennifer, and Bruce, to speak about their review and their findings because the two of you have done a wonderful job at presenting what I feel is best practise school relationships with their OSHCs. Wonderful, thank you both. So without any further ado I might jump in and suggest Jennifer, and Bruce, both to turn their videos on. I'm sure the audience has been looking forward to hearing from you both. We've just got a slide coming up now with a little bit of background about both of these academics. All I can say is that if there's anything the two of them don't know about the OSHC sector I haven't found it yet because they are in my eyes. They're absolute experts. I believe there are three PhDs in Australia on School Age Care and these two of them. Thanks very much, Jennifer. Thank you, Bruce.

 

- Thanks, Amanda, and how nice it was to hear from those principals about the relationship. I'm going to ask if we can shoot onto the next slide. And I think we've got a Menti on that slide, haven't we? We'd be really interested in knowing just who is our audience for today. As Amanda said, Bruce and I are very passionate about Outside School Hours Care. And we just like to know who we're talking to. So I think that if you scan that QR code scanner it will pop up a graph of who's actually attending our session today about Outside School Hours Care. Bruce and I we're really pleased to be invited by the New South Wales Government to actually undertake this review. And we were particularly looking at the inclusive access about Outside School Hours Care. So we really were interested, Bruce and I have been involved in Outside School Hours Care in a number of different ways. And Amanda mentioned that many of you may be interested in lots of different parts of the Outside School Hours Care sector. And we were the two PhDs, but Bruce and I both worked in Outside School Hours Care ourselves. We've been administrators of Outside School Hours Care services, and I've been a parent user of an Outside School Hours Care. So we've had a lot of involvement in outside School Hours Care. More recently, and it looks like we've got a lot of people from the Outside School Hours Care sector joining us today. So that's lovely. We're gonna move on to the next slide and have a little bit some other people from the Outside School Hours Care sector who are internationally based. So if we pop to the next slide, we can see that when Bruce, and I were undertaking this review we were drawn to Australian literature but there's not a lot of peer reviewed literature here. And Bruce, and I are members of the World Education Research Association International Reference Network for Extended Education. And so this is an international group of people who are really interested in School Age Care services and the things that happen after school. And so this particular group have been meeting since 2017. And even though they use the term of extended education under that umbrella term comes Outside School Hours Care and a range of other different services. There's membership from Korea, and in Korea and some of the Asian countries have a lot of extracurricular activities. So they pop under this umbrella as well. So we have the academics from Korea, Japan, the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, and the Eastern and Western Europe. And in particular in the European mix there's a lot of Scandinavian researchers. Now, the Scandinavian researchers have been working in this space for a really long time but not all of their work has been translated into English. So Bruce, and I are really keen to make contact with these people to help us understand what's happening for the Outside School Hours Care. And so particularly in this space they acknowledge how much education and learning occurs in Outside School Hours Care services. And one of the interesting things that the group has found that they were looking at the children's academic scores and they found that the children who had access to rich Outside School Hours Care experiences were the ones who are more likely to achieve more highly in academic circumstances. And so this was a really important thought for us in around equitable access and Outside School Hours Care being more than just convenient care. If we move on to the next slide, and that's pictures of people from all over. You can see Bruce, and I hanging out with our colleagues from Sweden, Scotland, and the United States, and also from, I think there's some of Australian researchers gathering together there as well. So if you switch onto the next slide. In undertaking this literature review we're highly aware of the landscape. It's a really complex area. And as both Trish, and Geoff alluded to, when we look at Outside School Hours Care, it's not just about the children. It's not just about the space where parents park their children while they're at work or studying. It is a much more a broader space and we need to take into account that landscape about how important the Outside School Hours Care space is for our families and community. We also need to look at, Outside School Hours Care began perhaps particularly in New South Wales, began with a recreational focus and has now become more interested in the space for care and for learning. And so we need to have some systems for delivery. And then we also need to look at some of the changing social norms and the fact that perhaps both parents are working depending on COVID has said it was grandparents that haven't been as available for the care of children after school. So this complex landscape, it's one of the things that we took into account as we were thinking about Outside School Hours Care. And so, as I said to you Outside School Hours Care is changing and we've had a framework to guide our practise, My Time, Our Place. And this year, both the framework, the regulations, and our workforce are all under review. And those of you in the sector know where this consultations are happening about this space. And so this review, even though it was addressing an issue for the New South Wales Education Department is actually going to be publicly available to those people undertaking the updates for the sector. So it's a really important document. But I'll let me let Bruce tell you a little bit more about what's inside the document. Over to you, Bruce.

 

- Thank you, Jenny, and hello everybody. And just to acknowledge that I'm presenting from the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation here in Melbourne, today. So my task is I guess to reveal to you some of the content of the review. So as we've already stated, the purpose of the review was to really address the question of how we improve access for priority groups in OSHC. So for us this raised two main questions, who currently uses OSHC? But then probably more important for this review, who doesn't? And the question I guess, who doesn't? Is probably the most significant. But with respect, firstly to who does. So the longitudinal study of Australian children revealed that there are two significant dominant cohorts of OSHC users. The first and the most dominant cohort are two parent families where both parents work full-time. And they're the most likely to take up OSHC. The other significant group, are sole parent households where that parent also works full-time. But it's not as simple as employment status income which is related to employment obviously also plays a role. So we've discovered too that children from the middle and top income tiers are much more likely to attend OSHC than children from the lower income tier. So those from the top tier are 7.4 times more likely to attend OSHC than children from the lowest SES backgrounds. So this brings us to the question of who doesn't use OSHC? The focus of the review. Given the somewhat predictive nature of income it doesn't surprise anyone I think to learn that children from low SES backgrounds and vulnerable children are the least likely to attend OSHC. There are no universals in these trends of course, however, vulnerable children we do understand from most of the research, I'm sorry, thank you for switching slides, are more likely to live in households where adults either don't work or work limited hours in poorly paid jobs. And it's easy to see why in these families you know the parents or caregivers for children would be unwilling to pay for what is regarded in this country as primarily a care only service, when money is tight and care isn't necessarily deemed necessary for children. And this is the case despite the fact that vulnerable children arguably those who would benefit most from the social and economic benefit or developmental benefits of being in OSHC. Then we also have the question of children with disabilities. The 2019 New South Wales Government have your say survey showed that for parents of children with a disability, access was the key barrier to attending Outside School Hours Care. We know anecdotally and statistically that children will universally attend the OSHC that is provided at their school. So the notion of a marketing OSHC is kind of a furphy. Children will go to the OSHC that's provided with their school. As Geoffrey said, sometimes parents might choose a school because of the OSHC. Parents also, like parents of children with disabilities sometimes raise the questions or queries about the capacity of staff in mainstream services to care for children with additional needs. And this is also backed up by the realities too, that there are very few specialist schools that actually provide OSHC. So you see there is limited opportunities for these children as well. This is also backed up by a very small body of research. And we need to acknowledge that it's small that also refers to perception. Sometimes that OSHC services can have negative attitudes towards the inclusion of children with high support needs. Although we recognise of course, because of what we know about the sector, this is not universal, and perhaps sometimes are outliers. Another group who don't use OSHC very frequently are children from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. As Amanda has already said there is no research or very little research into OSHC and therefore it doesn't surprise at all that there is literally no research investigating the attitudes and perceptions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities and their engagement with and attitudes towards OSHC. So this for us communicates. So I guess a desperate need for deeper understandings to work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to try to understand how communities engage with OSHC. The other group who are slightly different to these previous groups are a group who aren't considered vulnerable, but they are a group for whom OSHC is fundamentally designed, but do not attend. And I'm speaking to the older children. Those who are age nine to 12, and broadly in grades five and six. Even though OSHC is supposed to cater for 5 to 12 year-olds, this age group are half as likely to attend as younger children. This has been the focus of my research. I could talk about it all day but I won't. But the reasons for this age group attending not attending are complex. I think as a community we see this group is more capable of self-care. However, ABS statistics show us that this group still require and parents still place them in care. They just don't place them in OSHC. They engage in sibling care, in kinship care, and also community care with neighbours and friends. Older the children I've worked with often complain about a range of things that the services they attend may perceive as being better for younger children. They are populated with activities such like challenge aren't age appropriate. And because of the low numbers of older children in services often have an absence of same age peers. But what we took away from this aspect of the review was it if we were to improve access for these groups, how these non-users of OSHC, say, Outside School Hours Care is critical. Can I the next slide please? So one thing that we think is really important is that we begin to see OSHC as having benefits beyond just being a workforce service that provides care. OSHC has other benefits. These benefits are communicated quite clearly My Time, Our Place: the framework for OSHC but they're not broadly widely understood across the community, but it's so important. Jenny often points out that some children spend more time in OSHC than they do in the classroom. In the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Sydney, there are children who spend up to five to six hours a day at Outside School Hours Care. There is international research now, emerging international research from the sites that Jenny has mentioned through our network that are starting to demonstrate the importance of participation in high quality OSHC programmes and their capacity to influence children's social and emotional development, which we all know is a mediator of academic achievement. However, in Australia there's really no research examining relationships between time spent in OSHC and educational outcomes. This research is starting to demonstrate that OSHC programmes are unique educationally. They prioritise social and emotional skills of self-management, self-efficacy, social awareness, and communication, and that these skills are linked to children's holistic wellbeing, their academic performance, and therefore their future life outcomes. We need research desperately in Australia that investigates the benefits of OSHC with particular attention to Australia's unique focus of leisure, learning and care. Not every country provides OSHC in the same way as Australia. So we need research which speaks to our context. So in recognising the benefits of OSHC, of children attending a high quality service, for us we began to realise this opens possibilities for seeing OSHC as something more than just a care service for working parents. And if we think about the most vulnerable families in our communities, OSHC has tremendous educational potential. So I can have the next slide, please? So for us, what it came down to the most significant finding in our review and one which is really exciting for us and sort of something we've all known and for those of you who work in OSHC I think you will know this. My significant finding relates to the image of OSHC. How OSHC is seen, everything came back to this fundamental position, that how different groups view our services has implications for people's willingness to use those services. For me and my theoretical bench it comes back to discourse. The taken for granted assumptions that as communities we have about Outside School Hours Care, and how those taken for granted assumptions produce realities and ways of working with children and families and the realities for the workers in services and the communities they provide for. Because OSHC is positioned in this country as primarily as a workforce service. It is too limited in being seen as just care as such. Parents are unlikely to understand the wider benefits of OSHC, and we'll only use it for just care. For some families seeing OSHC as just the basic service might mean that they hold an image of OSHC as being unable to care for children with additional needs and high support needs. School leaders often say OSHC and not always as we've heard from our principals today but often say OSHC is not core business as Jenny's research has demonstrated. This produces realities where OSHC is undervalued and sidelined from mainstream school operations. Recent research into children's perspectives of OSHC show that they want to see OSHC as a place of fun and friendship. But often when we think about how policy makers react to OSHC and how they prepare for it and cater for it, it's a view that is sometimes ignored. I think when we just say OSHC is our only care, older children in particular say OSHC is a place for mostly younger children and not for them. We think that the image of OSHC matters to improving access. And as you can see there are multiple images of OSHC, not just one. Seeing OSHC as a service with developmental and social benefits we think will broaden its appeal for all parents and all communities. Saying it as a core concern might improve how it's perceived from schools, how it's perceived within schools which Jenny will talk about. The image that children hold as important. If all the children see OSHC is the place for people their age they might be more likely to attend. Similarly, if adults are open to all children's views they might see new ways of programming and plan and curriculums for children that are more responsive to children's desires. And then finally, the image of OSHC is also related to the state of the OSHC workforce. It's a workforce that is low status, it's casualised, it's undervalued, it's underpaid, and it's transient, as you would expect any workforce that provides just care to be. And we think OSHC workforce provides much more than that and needs to be seen in that way. Is it any wonder the parents perceive OSHC is limited in its capacity to provide the children with high support needs? Is there any one that Australia has only produced three OSHC PhDs in 30 years? Work needs to be done to improve the capacity and perception of the workforce to sort of further OSHC's perception in this way. So I think this is an opportunity to re-imagine OSHC, to change its image. It's not quick work, it's slow work. It's much harder than simply allocating more space and lowering fees, but we think gradual shifting discourse will more accurately capture OSHC's value and role in society and how people perceive it. Alright, Jenny, I'll hand back to you. Oh, I'm sorry, we have a Menti, but what the question is, what images do you think you currently have of OSHC? We'd really like your perspectives on on those now.

 

- And Bruce, if you could see them scrolling up we should have interviewed everybody who is online today and not just gone to the peer reviewed literature. It really speaks to the fact that we haven't got a lot of Australian literature that really shows in depth what people actually know and understand and how they value Outside School Hours Care. We just need everybody who is online to sign them up for an ethics of research and we have that data for our Australian services. So thank you for everybody who is putting up that image of Outside School Hours Care. And I'm going to actually ask if we can go to the next slide. Thanks, Bruce. Because Bruce, and I work a lot together. I'm based here in Queensland and Bruce in Victoria. We think we've got the East Coast of Australia probably at Queensland. Yeah, with Outside School Hours Care. Now the importance of the school relationships and the importance of school partnerships came up strongly in our peer reviewed research. And we've had two lovely examples of how those partnerships have worked really, really well. And how important is the role of the principal, and it's really important. And that notion of if we're going to be a look at inclusivity of all children and how we need to actually see things holistically and recognise also the specialist in mainstream schools, what role that they play. I did want to mention the Swedish model that came up and Trish, you could move to Sweden and be a principal in Sweden and have no trouble fitting into the schooling system there where the Outside School Hours Care and the school sing together as one. The staff are prepared to go through the unit and the education training institutions at the university where they train together, and then they separate and work in the different services. And their curriculum has an early childhood, a primary and an Outside School Hours Care component to it. So it's really good. So Bruce, and I did a lot of work. And on the next slide you'll see that we've pieced together our summary which is going to be publicly available to you and into four main elements. We talked about the benefits of Outside School Hours Care, the image, the workforce, and the relationships. And from those four findings, we spread out into some recommendations that we had from our review. And I'm going to ask for the next slide to go up and for you to read those recommendations and use the Menti to list the top four of your ideas of those recommendations, that's around raising, is it around raising the benefits of Outside School Hours Care? Is it prioritising Outside School Hours Care as a site for play and friendship? Perhaps it's the introduction of the professional standards for School Age Care. So you can see that our recommendations are really highlighting the need for research, looking at ways that we can uplift the image and taking steps to strengthen the partnerships. And one of the other key things is to support the workforce. And I'm just wondering if we can have a look at the Menti responses and whether they'll come up on the next slide. So thank you for that. And that's really interesting that the Outside School Hours Care workforce came up really strongly because if you go to the next slide last year we had COVID and I'm not telling anybody anything that they don't already know. And COVID was a really interesting disruptor for the School Age Care. It had both positive and negative benefits. And one of the things that COVID did was really highlight how important the workforce is in Outside School Hours Care. So it's interesting that you noted that because 70% of our workforce in Outside School Hours Care is casual. And that's an interesting note on itself. But the other thing about the Outside School Hours Care service delivery and the workforce, is when children attend school and they go to the Outside School Hours Care on a regular basis, as Sam who is next presenter will note, that Outside School Hours Care was that strong positive conduit, a place that's a safe haven for children during the period of COVID because I was seeing those same familiar faces and children attending Outside School Hours Care see those same familiar faces over a long period of time. But if you're on a casualised contract that can be a little bit difficult but that's a whole other story. So the other thing that I want to mention about the research, the inclusivity of children in Outside School Hours Care that came out of COVID was a couple of three pieces of information that have come from overseas. In the United States, they realised and they were looking to the Outside School Hours Care sector and to see what strategies they put in place to open their schools because they knew that Outside School Hours Care embrace the whole community and so that would help them with their strategies for opening up at schools, which is interesting. In Scotland, they found that the Outside School Hours Care staff and children spent a lot more time outside, and they found out how richer their programmes were for the time spent in Outside School Hours Care and how all age groups and all abilities could be included in this space. And the other one is in Italy, where they're now in their summer programmes reaching out to actually provide social and emotional opportunities of learning for groups of children because this was one of the things that they felt the children missed during the period of COVID. So it's not about more maths, it's not about more English, it's not about other kinds of activities, but it's about that rich social relationships that come through the opportunities of children being in Outside School Hours Care communities. And so I'm going to hand over to Sam to tell us a little bit about her Outside School Hours Care service which Sam is inclusion at its best. I think you would say it really embraces everything that Bruce, and I want to recommend from our literature review. Thanks, Sam.

 

- Thanks, Jenny. For those of you that do know my service I am a large service, I have 280 children each afternoon, but I think that for services that size that can't let you stop from having quality and doing everything that those children are entitled to. We run a very outdoors-based programme, which I was talking with Jenny, and Bruce about earlier. And half of it comes back to obviously not wanting children squished into indoor space but giving them the opportunities to do things that they normally wouldn't get to do in their home environments. So we do a lot of outdoors as you can see, and fire is something that's been part of our programme and is definitely embedded in our practise and has been for a lot of years. We also run forest play programmes. So they involve taking children off-site or into more bush located areas. And we are very blessed with our school and the amount of space that we have within our school. But the point being that we take children into spaces and get to do experience with them that not only are about connecting to nature but are about building resilience, building self-esteem, and teaching children the life skills that they wouldn't learn elsewhere.

 

- [Bruce] Sam, can I ask you a question?

 

- [Sam] Yeah.

 

- I was just gonna ask you, how do you think your service is perceived by your community? What images of OSHC do your community have of your service?

 

- Yeah, that's probably one of the things that we really pride ourself on. Our relationship with our local community, with our families, and with our school staff, we do a lot of functions with our families and have started them back up this year. As you can see, one of those photos shows our Mother's Day breakfast from last week. Without community you don't build those relationships with your families and thus get to know your children. And the last thing you want is to be having a conversation with a parent for the first time about something that's more sensitive with their child. So working hard to build those relationships. And we have probably 300, 350 families that are regular users of our service but taking the time to really get to know them so that when something is more sensitive or requires more of your time, it just comes naturally. And when families feel included they feel that their child is valued, their child is respected, and their child is in an environment that is safe and nurturing from the minute they arrive to the minute they go home. And we need to remember that parents place a lot of trust in us as educators, but that it's a privilege to work with children and moreso with school-aged children because the depth and the conversation that you get to have with them sticks for life.

 

- Sam, I'd love to jump in with a question too, if that's okay.

 

- Yeah.

 

- I should have mentioned right at the outset that your service has been awarded the excellent rating three times now. You're one of four OSHCs in Australia with this rating. And you're the only service in New South Wales with this rating, which is commendable in itself. I guess I would like to ask a quick question about your experience of COVID and how you guys faired in 2020, and any of the comments that might've been made about your service during that time?

 

- Yeah, we started the year at capacity. We had 270 places on offer last year. And by the end of term one we were down to approximately 20 to 30 children of essential workers, April vacation care, so days where we had seven to nine children that was just unheard of and fascinating to watch staff work at a different level with children because they were used to such mass numbers of children. And so for us the comments that came back were all about the consistency that we were able to provide for those families, the safe haven of a place where we were having open conversations with the children about what was happening out in our community and out our world at that time. And then as our numbers started to increase when children went back to one day a week we then started to increase that engagement with families. Us like many other services were also not allowing families on-site. So lots of flexibility with delivering a programme, organising pickup from our boundaries, but ensuring that there were always multiple staff to be meeting and greeting families and having conversations. And even though they weren't coming into the centre anymore we got into the habit which we still are in, of bringing the centre out to them. So we, again, that meaningful relationships with families sometimes as educators we just need to think outside the box and find other ways to have those conversations and continue those relationships.

 

- Thanks, Sam. I regret to say that I've just seen the time. Can anyone help us to understand the last time we introduced our review via round table, we actually had two hours allocated. I think I could listen to Bruce, and Jennifer, and Sam, and indeed our two principals talk all day on this but I'm well aware that everyone's time is precious. And unfortunately we are out of time. I was going to encourage everyone to head across to, we now have a second roadshow session on before and after school care. This particular roadshow session is there before and after school care election commitment reform roadshow. And it'll be an update on the $120 million election commitment that's currently underway. So it's being led by the school's infrastructure team. Anthony Futia, the Director of that team will be answering questions to the election commitment across in the other roadshow. Oh goodness, I'm just being reminded by the slides that we had one last Menti. And that was to ask our wonderful audience to type in any word there that comes to mind when they think of equitable and inclusive access to OSHC. So if anyone is still, I noticed we still have most participants here so they haven't darted across to that other session yet. If anyone would love to type in their answer there, we would love to see it. As I say, we are extremely excited about this literature review and hope to release it publicly in the coming weeks. So if participants would like to enter in any word there we will help to inform our review and all of our research on the basis of your feedback. Mesmerising, I find these are very, one, a very meditative way to finish a virtual roadshow to see everyone's thoughts summed up in one beautiful word cloud there. Well, thanks again for joining us today, and I look forward to future collaboration across the sector.

Assessment and Rating in Family Day Care in action

Assessment and Rating in Family Day Care in action

- Good morning everyone and welcome to the A and R in Family Day Care in action Roadshow. Thank you so much for joining us today and making yourselves available. My name is Nadal and I'm a Coordinator with the State Operations Network Team at the Department of Education. I have with me here Jenny who is co-presenting. Jenny is an Authorized Officer from the same team. So before we begin I'd like to play a video on acknowledging the original custodians of this land in which we meet today.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent. Whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pair respects to elders past, present and emerging and we respect that cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here today. They share the memories, traditions and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generations today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for 1000s of years.

 

- And I'd also like to acknowledge, Jenny and I would like to acknowledge that we are meeting on the land of the Dharug people and we pay our respects to elders, past, present and emerging, and to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues who are with us today. I am just moving on to the next slide. So just a bit of a housekeeping. Your microphone, video and chat functions will be disabled during this presentation. However, we do encourage you to use the Q and A button at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can also type your questions in the Q and A. You can also see and vote on other people's questions which you would like to answer using the thumbs up button. We will try to prioritize your questions with the most votes and try to answer these during the webinar. If there are any questions that don't get answered we will collect them after this session and the frequently asked questions will be sent to everybody who has attended here today. And also to let you know that this session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshow is complete. So I might just move on to the next slide. Okay, so a bit of introduction on why and what started the Family Day Care assessment and rating pilot? Where did it come from and why are we doing this? The answer is you. As a group providers, coordinators, educators and so forth, you asked for change. We listened to your comments that your educators were feeling anxious, unprepared, nervous and scared about participating in the assessment rating process. We heard you say that your educators felt unprepared and didn't know what to expect during assessment rating visit. So we decided to review the assessment and rating process for educators to improve educator experience. We heard you when you asked for authorized officers to increase their knowledge experience and understanding of the Family Day Care service when conducting Family Day Care A&R visits. We acknowledge your feedback that Family Day Care is different to other service types. We have taken action when you asked the department to review how the assessment and rating process and visits are conducted in Family Day Care services and to make some changes and improvements. So your comments and feedback form the development and implementation of the Family Day Care assessment and rating pilot. So that's really important that we really listen to what you have to say. And we do do that. And we going to spend some time now talking about the pilot and what's being offered and implemented. It's important to recognize your educators build their confidence and empower them to share their quality practices to showcase the work that they do with their children and their families, this forms the aims of the pilot and what drove the pilot for the working group and those that have participated in the pilot so far we'll just move on to the next slide. So the objectives of the pilot are to improve quality outcomes for children in Family Day Care services. What we would like to see when we conduct assessment and rating visits is educators and children engaging in typical practice when an educator feels comfortable and in the process is at the process is familiar to them. This assist the educator to help the children also feel comfortable and we are more likely to see educators everyday practices that way, another objective is to increase the educators understanding of the AR process and reduce educator anxiety. Why is that important? Because when we understand the process better it reduces feelings of anxiety, worry or concern around participating in the AR visits for educators. And it also allows educators to understand what is expected from them at the visit. Another objective is for the educators to feel comfortable with the authorized officers prior to the visit, seeing and talking to an officer before the visit which Jenny will talk about a little bit later around the zoom visits can assist educators also put a name to a face and become more familiar with them. Which we hope to assist educators feel more prepared when the visits actually occur, for authorized officers to undertake training specific to the operations for Family Day Care services all authorized offices who are conducting an A and R visit, to Family Day Care services as part of the pilot have undertaken further Family Day Care specific training on Family Day Care operations through ACECQA, well. We are looking to roll out more training to all authorized officers moving forward. And lastly, the inclusion of resources to support services to improve quality in their Family Day Care service. A number of resources, including the educator flyer which we will talk about a little bit later are available on the ECEC website. There are links to a range of other professional development resources. Again, Jenny, will talk about these in a little bit more detail and a little later, speaking of which I'm now going to hand you over to Jenny to discuss how we will achieve these objectives that I just talked about.

 

- Thanks Nadal. We'll move on to the next slide. So how do we, as Nadal said achieving these objectives and what are we at? What does the pilot actually entail? So I'll just start by saying in any of you who may have met me, I tend to speak quite fast. So I'm going to try my very best to speak nice and slow for everybody. But please do me a favor and just pop it in the question and answers if I am going she quickly particularly when I'm excited and passionate about the topic I'm talking about. So just tell me slow down, Jenny too fast. Any of those kinds of comments will put me back on track if I get a bit excited. So, what we're going to do in terms of what we're actually doing in the pilot and in the A and R FDC space go through the steps of what are currently the processes and talk about what's the same in those steps and what's different as part of this process. So, the first step is step one obviously is the assessment and rating email notifications. So what's the same in that space is that the approved provider will still get the email confirming that their assessment and rating visit has commenced or the process has commenced. They will be asked to submit their quality improvement plan and their self-assessment or their self assessment and the date in which it's due the timeframes of which that's due is all the same. So that remains unchanged. The approved provider will still get a second email that asks them to provide their educator register. What's different in this initial step is that you the approved provider at both of those emails will now get the educator A and R FDC flyer, and we ask that the approved provider passes those slides onto the educators, we wanna make sure that the educators are getting this information right at the very start of the commencement of the AR process. And we want them to be coming familiar with them and it can answer some of the questions that may help them reduce some of their anxiety around the AR process. So that's step one, step two. You may or may not be familiar with the ECE. So our quality support team. So, currently what's in place with the quality support team is that they may call your service and they may have a conversation with you about self-assessment what that means using the self-assessment tool, saying, if you want to opt into self assessment, you're not already doing that. And they may be able to provide you some support or assistance around using the self assessment tool. So that's the current process in relation to the pilot itself, the quality support team have and are actually contacting all or each Family Day Care service that is part of the pilot and they are having a conversation with them about self-assessment and about whether that self-assessment is something that they'd like to consider. And also the same supports that are available currently in the quality support space. And also talking to the provider about the option of a pre visit zoom meeting will be offered to them prior to the assessment and rating visit for their educators. So, the quality support officer will let the approved provider know and record their interest in the previous zoom meeting. So it is optional. So you don't have to take it up but it is something that will we're offering. So, the quality support officer will record that interest. And she'll also pass that interest on to the authorized officer or the lead officer who will be conducting a visit who will also have the same information about that conversation, so that we're, you know what information we've had with you, and vice versa. We'll just move on to the next slide, please. So the next step is, and it's two parts. So it's the authorized officer will give you or the approved provider, a phone call and talk about an offer the pre visit zoom meeting. So, what's the same in this space is that if the approved provider that stage says I don't think the zoom meeting will work. I'm not really interested. I don't think it will support my educators that authorized officer will say, no worries, thanks very much. They would probably have a conversation and encourage you to consider it. But then if you choose not to, you are afraid to do. Then they will just make a note and they'll let you know that they will contact you closer to your visit date and confirm all your visit details as per normal process that you would get the phone call for you and get the visit details and the confirmation details around the visit. If you take the option of the zoom meeting. So you're keen and you're think your educators will benefit from that and you're interested in having the zoom meeting the authorized officer will talk to you about some dates and times that might be available for the zoom meeting to occur. So, for some our officers have been very flexible in negotiating those times and dates with the approved providers that support wherever possible the needs of your educators. So we've had some officers who have conducted the pre-visit zoom meeting early in the morning because that worked for some schemes. We've had some new predominantly provide before and after school care that one at that in the middle of the day. And we've even had some into that, 6, 6:30 even seven o'clock at night to that early evening stage. So, our offices have been really engaged in supportive and working with the approved providers to offer that at a time that wherever possible is reasonable and appropriate for your educators and works for them. The officer will then send out a pre visit zoom meeting confirmation email which will have the link to the zoom meeting itself. So we ask that the approved provider accepts that first and then forwards that on to their educators because the A and R is about your service and your educators. We ask that you only send that to your educators or that you don't send that or forward that to educators outside of your scheme or attached to other schemes because it's about your service and your A and R experience. So that's the AO phone call or to offer the pre visit zoom meeting. So that's step three. So step four itself is actually the pre visit zoom meetings. So that's when the officer and yourselves as the approved providers, or nominated supervisors, coordinators they can all join in, and your educators they'll join the meeting at the scheduled time the authorized officer will introduce themselves and they'll introduce any other authorizer authorized officers that might've joined them. So, often we do have at least two officers doing Family Day Care A and R. Sometimes we have more offices, so wherever possible you'll meet at least the lead officer, who's responsible for the assessment rating visit and usually their second, and sometimes if it's available other people, it's a conversational approach. So it's about the officer saying, hi this is who I am, meet the educators ask them if you've got any questions, tell them a little bit about the A and R process, answer those questions and really make them feel comfortable. It's not us telling you what to do. It's not anything like that. It's about helping the educators answering any questions. they might have putting a name to a face. Sometimes it's just helpful to say, and we hear that. We hear that. You're saying it's really nice to get a face that we've seen before and having that name or face might be the person who knocks on your door when they come to do the visits for the A and R. So, that's the approach. It usually doesn't take any more than 15 to 30 minutes up top, but again, that's gauged by I guess, how many questions your educators have and the level of engagement they're having in terms of the zoom meeting, at the conclusion of the zoom meeting. So, the authorized officer would have at the end I forgot to say that, sorry, at the phone call stage to set up the pre visit zoom meeting, they would have said to the approved provider, are you happy to stay on with me at the end of the zoom meeting just to confirm your visit details and dates. So, that's a little bit different. We don't make a separate phone call given we're actually already on the phone with you or on the zoom meeting with you. So we just confirm the visit details and the arrival dates and times, and that with you at the end of the zoom meeting, so your educator jump off and then you stay on and we just confirm those details. Move on to next slide please. Okay, step five is the assessment and rating confirmation phone call. So the what's saying in that space is asking the same because we have the pre-visit meeting. The pre visit phone call is a new part of the process and a new part of this pilot itself. So, I think I just jumped ahead and said step five at step four. Sorry about that. So that's where the officers stays on with the approved provider. So we've just covered that part. They'll also talk to the approved provider about the visit itself and the flow of the visit. So we still, as per current process visit the principal office and a number of educators as part of the pilot we think visiting both announced and unannounced with it. And how do we select educators is often our hot question that we get asked. So are we gonna cover that one now? So the department takes a risk based approach to the number of educators that we visit and how many educators we visit and in doing so, we want to, the aim of any A and R visit is to be able to visit as many educators as we need to, to determine the quality of your service. So, and determine your quality rating. We wanna make sure that we're seeing enough educators in that sampling process to ensure that we're getting an accurate picture of the quality service that you're providing for your children, your families and your educators in your service. A part of the pilot is also that we're actually offering for approved providers to nominate two or three educators that they might want us to consider as part of that selection process for visiting educators to visit, sorry. And the purpose of that is in your quality improvement plan or your self assessment you may have identified some quality practices that you really liked the officer to consider and perhaps visit and showcase as part of your assessment and rating process. In relation to that, we've had kind of had 50, 50. Some people are really excited and happy to do that. There is no guarantee that those would be the educators that would be visited but they would certainly be considered by the officer. Other services and the feedback we've had is that we actually don't wanna nominate anyone. We're actually really happy for you to visit any and all of our educators. So, we'd rather leave that selection up to you. So, it's kind of being 50 50 on that and we're open to both of those ideas, but it is something as part of the pilot that we have been offering. The next step is step six which is the assessment and rating visit. So, in terms of how that operates for what's the same, it's the same. The officers will still visit the principal office. They'll still visit a number of educators usually across several days, for Family Day Care A&R visits. And they usually finish the visit at the principal office itself and kind of wrap up the visit at that stage. What's different, obviously is step six is if you have taken up the option of the pre-visit zoom meeting your educators have had access to the educator flyer either way, because it's given out in that initial email. And we ask that you pass it on shared also in the zoom meeting, but your educators have actually had the chance to have a conversation with the person who may the officer who may be visiting them or at least an officer that's visiting your scheme. So, that's what's really different about this space and really quite exciting. So, we'll just move on to the next slide. We'll talk a bit more about that in a little bit. And we've got, I guess, Becky who's going to share their experience. So, we'll just cover the A and R educator flyer. So we talked a lot about that and we've brought it up a couple of times already. So we wanted to be able to show you what that flyer looks like. So we've got two slides on that and we'll have a chat about some of the key points. So, the photos and the images are all Family Day Care related. So they're educators with children in their own homes. And I think that's really important with the material that it's relevant to your educators and to your service and it's targeted for your educators. So, there's lots of frequently asked questions that make up the questions that are in the A and R flyer such as what is A and R, what should I have ready? Those kinds of things. So we'll just move to the second slide. It's four pages in total. This slide, sorry. Sorry. Yeah. So the second page is the same, it opens up, it flips. So it's nice and colorful. We do hand out physical copies of these during our visits and at the A&R visit the officers will hand them out to the educators as well, but they are available as Nadal mentioned on our website. So, if we just jump to the next slide which talks about some of the key A and R five points. So, one of the key questions is what to expect. So, officers will and the flyer talks about the officers introducing themselves showing their ID, talking about the visit and viewing the approved play spaces and observing your interactions with children. So that's what your educators can expect. What officers will do. What will they, or might they ask? So, there's no specific set of questions that officers will ask. Officers will tailor their questions based on your service and their interactions with your educators and what they're observing and the documents they might be looking for. If there are no children in any care at the time of the visit. So that's a common question that we get. The officer may reschedule the visit when the children are present or they may continue their visit as planned. So that's something that's done in negotiation with the approved provider yourself as an educator and the authorized officer at the time of the visit, what is assessment and rating? So obviously assessment & rating is the services opportunity to showcase what you do every day and the quality care and education that you provide to children. Often people want to know how long are the officer's going to be there. So on average offices are there for around about two to three hours. It can be more or less depending on what else is happening. So if an officer might stop the visit, while you go an educator goes and collets some children from after-school care or drop some off at before school care and then vice versa when they come back. And it's also helpful sometimes people are trying to say, what do I need to have? What should I have ready? So, obviously your interactions and your care of the children is always your priority and anything that an officer needs in an A and R visit we can and do wait for that. So it's okay to say, and for your educators to say can I get that for you shortly? I'm just doing such and such with the children. And we try to make sure we don't interrupt the flow of the day too much, if we can so that she can focus on the children. And we just get the things that we need as we need them but it can be helpful to have some documents out ready such as your compliance folder, your children's programming, your enrollment forms that can be just help the educator feel more comfortable that they say all my stuff's right here for you when you're ready for it. And it helps take, hey, sorry helps keep the visit flowing nicely and allows the educators to continue to focus on the children, which is what we like to see. And now it's with great pleasure that I actually get to introduce Kristy Banister Kristy is the approved provider and Nominated Supervisor of Around the Clock, Family Day Care and Kristy and her team have recently just gone through their assessment and rating, visit and they were part of the pilot and Kristy's come along today to share her experience for herself as the approved provider and that of the educators who's just participated in this so, welcome Kristy, thank you so much for giving up your valuable time and joining us. So, we'll hand over to Kristy. She's just gonna share a bit of her experience.

 

- Good morning. Thank you for having me. Can everybody hear? We can hear. Thank you. So I just thank you very much, obviously for asking me to come along today, it was a great honor to be a part of this program. I've been in childcare in the early childhood, sorry childcare sector for too many many of years around about the 20 years. Family Day Care has been my passion. So Around the Clock opened in 2016 this is our second assessment and rating that we have undertaken in our Family Day Care, family that we've had. So the pilot program, wow, absolutely incredible. It is a complete change. And it is specifically, it was as though the program was written for us and it is, it is written for Family Day Care. The highlight that I found as a service is absolutely the meet and greet zoom opportunity that we have. We believe that that opened up room for discussion. It took away all of the nervous feelings all of our educators were on board. We had 20 educators and the three staff behind the scenes. So it was a big event that we had, but it was great. It was perfect. It made the process a lot smoother. We were only done, went through our assessment and rating on the 19th of April. So very fresh. We had three of our showcased educators visited which was we believed, which was really, really positive. We showcased our educators as pinpoints in the quality areas. So, it was nice that some of those educators were chosen. I do believe that the unannounced visits that we had were also great. So we had three unannounced visits and it was perfect. It was beautiful. I attended all of the services whilst our assessors were on premises and it was a delightful experience to go through, Michelle and Kimberly were beautiful. They were very, very accommodating, right from the beginning when we had Katie our support contacts throughout A and R portal. So, I must say the whole process in as a holistic approach is absolutely incredible. And it really supports a Family Day Care sector. It really supports what the unique people that we are. So we run a different service than and obviously in a center. And I do believe that this program really does assist us in going through this process. Don't be nervous. Don't be scared. It is a really, really good progress process to go through, our educators loved it. We would do it again in a heartbeat. I do once again, believe that the key to this being smooth obviously is going through that pre visit zoom meeting. As I said, it is something that I believe is a must. So if there's something that I can give out of this pilot program, as advice to anyone else going through A and R is to please take the time and do that zoom meeting, it most certainly did make for a great visit for us. So, please flick over any questions. If there's anything that you'd like to know we had a fantastic experience. I could not fault any of it in any way, shape or form. Please give, pop any questions over, happy to answer those. And yet again, thank you very much to the department of education for setting this pilot program up. As I really do believe that it is designed for us. And I think it's fantastic that we've had that opportunity to have something that really does work for us. So, please feel free to pop your questions in and thank you very much for having me.

 

- Hi everyone. Sorry about that. Just a little technical hiccup there. Wasn't sure if I was muted or unmuted but we fixed that now. Thank you so much, Kristy, for sharing your experience in coming along today and telling us about your experience for your educators and for your yourself as a Provider in engaging in the pilot project. We have, I'll just pop this in. I know we've got some questions coming up but someone asked, how can I be a part of the trial and part of the pilot, at this stage it's still an active pilot. So the pilot still running and it's being offered to also offer FDC services that have received their commencement letter. So, up until the conclusion of the pilot which is still continuing, 'cause it's active that's how you become part of the pilot. We'll have a conversation, we'll have a bit of a chat a bit later about what happens at the end what might happen at the end. So, hopefully that answers that question for the person who popped it in there. Move on to the next slide, please. So we wanted to share some of the feedback that's come through in relation to the pilot so far. So feedback is something that's been really really important to us because we want it to be able to measure the outcomes and the objectives of the pilot at lots of different levels not from the perspective of the authorized officers and how the work that goes into doing this zoom meeting and the additional steps in the pilot process to how does it work for the approved providers? How does it work for the educators and really test that in lots of different spaces. So, we were getting feedback at every part of the process. So, from the initial conversation right through to the zoom meeting, right through to where the educators are feeling more comfortable about their process following the changes that the pilot has made. So, we're gonna share some of that feedback with you. And as I said, it's an active pilot. So we're still getting feedback as we go. Can we just go back to the previous slide? Sorry about that, bit too quick for me. Okay, so these results are straight from our survey monkey which have gone out to our providers, our coordinators and our educators directly. So of the people who have participated in the pilot so far and who've provided feedback via the survey monkey you can see that 16% of those participants have said that they strongly agree that it has reduced their anxiety, and 84% have said that they agree which is just a fantastic result 'cause it means that 100% of people who've replied to the survey actually felt that the zoom meeting and the A and R flyer and having those conversations with the educators before their visit occurs has helped reduce the educator anxiety which was one of the really big objectives. And was one of the really big clear messages that comes through from you guys in the sector about educators experiences in the A and R process, again, 42% agreed and 58% strongly agreed that the A and R information. So, again, the flyers, and the zoom meeting and the changes that are part of the pilot were very informative for their educators and for them as providers. So, again really positive feedback. And in terms of we wanted to gauge whether it met people's expectations. So, again we've got 100% of participants who said either agrees or strongly agrees that what they were expecting would happen in a zoom meeting and the conversations and the A and R experience was what actually happened. So, again really positive feedback. We're still getting that feedback, as I said because it's an active pilot at the moment. So, we've also got, we'll jump to the next slide now which of course I got some direct quotes from some of the participants who provided that feedback. So, and we've had them from a few different people. So you can probably work out who said what from the content of the speech bubbles, but we've had people say that the zoom meeting provided the perfect opportunity for the service and the educators to familiarize themselves with the assessing officer before the visit. So that's about meeting the officer, that it was a great idea. It was very informative as they hadn't been through A and R before. And it took away most of the stress of regarding it. I mean, I think we can all agree when someone's coming to watch your practices and they're in your home, that often is a nervous it triggers nervous feelings for all of us. So anything like this that can reduce some of that is certainly worthwhile. And it's great that for this person, that's how they felt. So, and another one was the assessment and rating pre visit zoom meeting is a good arrangement to reduce the anxiety of the educators in the service, so that one's probably come from a coordinator or an approved provider. But again, we want the feedback from all of you. And we wanna make sure that if as pilots that we're testing this information and that it's useful for you and for your educators. So we'll move on to the next slide which is the resources side. So, some of these resources you may be familiar with or hopefully are familiar with but we do like to share them with you. I won't do them in order because I'm gonna cover the ECEC ones first and then we'll do the other two. So, the A and R educator flyer we talked a lot about already this morning. So that's available as an Nadal said on our website. It's also sent out as part of the pilot for people who are in the pilot and we encourage you to and we handed out in educator visits and Family Day Care visits to principal offices as well. So we really encourage you to share that with your educators, and your families is, it's good for your families to know what's happening in the FDC space and for the A and R space and that they know that A and R is coming up and they might have some questions as well. And the FDC, A and R flyer might be able to answer some of your family's questions as well. The next thing is the ECEC quality in practice newsletter. So hopefully all the providers and services out there already receive the ECEC quality in practice newsletter but your educators can actually receive that directly themselves as well. So if they jump onto our website and they sign up there is a button that they click and they sign up to receive it themselves. So they will automatically get that. And that's just a nice way for them to not miss out as well takes a bit of pressure off the services having to forward it onto their educators if you get them to register themselves and then they'll get direct. So, there'll be guaranteed not to miss any interesting information that can be really supportive to them. And assists them both at your level for providers and services and at their level for educators. So, we certainly encourage, and our communication [Inaudible] encourages all of the educators to jump on board and register to receive the ECEC quality in practice newsletter. Then we've got the great spaces, safe spaces. So this is a really exciting project that's been around for a couple of years now. It's got some really detailed booklets around keeping children safe in Family Day Care creating learning spaces and what that might look like, keeping children safe setting up your home toys and equipment. Again, this is free. You can access it online. There's videos that talk through the booklets as well as the booklets. There's also checklists, and that might be beneficial to educators, share them with your families as well. And all the imaging and all of the information is specific to Family Day Care. So it's looking at what's relevant to your educators in their spaces, the PD in your pocket. So this is a new one that just rolled out this year. So it commenced in February, both the PD in your pocket and the great spaces, safe spaces is supported by the ECE. So, we've had some involvement with that and continue to do they're available in the New South Wales Family Day Care association website. Again, both free. The PD in your pocket series is live webinars. So there's a live webinar that occurs every month on a range of different topics that support early childhood practices for educators. They just have to register. If they can't attend the webinar directly they'll have access to all the recordings of the webinar. Again, there's flyers and brochures and booklets and resource guides that support that. And some of the topics so far that they've presented is play based learning in Family Day Care, critical reflection which I think we can all agree in the A and R space. is one of those quality areas that is can be challenging to get some consistency around that and see what works for your educators and in their family day care space around that critical reflection. And children's self-regulation topics that they've already presented. And this month's topic being made is actually about practices, which is using the learning frameworks and practices to promote learning with children. So as you can see, they're really a broad range of really good topics that link both the law and regulations with the quality practices and support educators to be able to undertake professional development, both live through the webinar or at a pace that works for them with self-learning through watching the videos back in using the resource guides. So, certainly encourage you to jump on board and have a look and pass that out to your educators if they haven't got it already. So we'll just move on to the next slide. So yeah.

 

- This takes us to the questions. So we've tried to answer a few questions that have popped up in the chat already. We can see a few more in there that we haven't yet attended to. So, feel free to put any more while we answering some of the ones that have popped up feel free to continue to put your questions in. So I will try to type some in otherwise we will speak to so some live.

 

- The question we've got occur. A question from Theresa. So, we'll probably jump in and share off this one if that's okay with everybody. So at the meeting, so Teresa asked at the meeting after the pre visit zoom meeting will we be notified about which educator is being visited. I was not sure when you mentioned this that there's an unannounced visit. So, the answer to that is yes. So that's the purpose of the approved provider staying online at the end of the zoom meeting with the officer. And that's where they'll confirm the visit date. The time of the visit they'll confirm that some of the educators that they will commence the visits with but as we said, yeah there is both announced and unannounced visits. So you will certainly get the names of some of the educators that we'll start to visit, and then they'll do some more visits as the visit progresses. So hopefully that answers your question.

 

- I guess what is unannounced, is that we, the officers might attend to some of your educators that we may not have put forward the names to you.

 

- Kristy's also answering that one, which is great. So, see what Kristy puts in there. One of the questions we've certainly had is if the officers are doing some of the unannounced visits so they'll start with the educators they've given you the names of and then they'll say look, we might today we're also going to go and visit this person and this person. And what they'll do is they'll, we'll give you time to get there. So, if you want a coordinate to support that person would you still support that process? So the service isn't in any way disadvantaged by having those visits, it's just it allows us to be able to gather as much information about the quality practices that are happening at your service in and across your service, so to determine that rating. So, and Kristy's actually obviously still typing. I was hoping to be able to read out what she's written because...

 

- We can come back to that one.

 

- Yeah, because she's certainly been in the situation and of course gone through the pilot. So her feedback on that question would be really valuable. So do we have to continue with the Quip or start the self-assessment? Okay. We can answer that one level up. Someone's actually written that one for us as well. That's a choice. You don't have to do self assessment, again you can still submit the quality improvement plan or you could have just have in the pilot the quality support team is just having a touching base with the Family Day Care services, just to talk to them about self-assessment and how that might work for them. And if it's something that they're interested in but self-assessment is still something that you have the choice to opt into. And it's not a mandatory requirement of either the pilot or A and R generally. So, you can still do either a quality improvement plan or you can be opt to do self-assessment. Yeah. Okay. So, I'm sorry. We've got a question that says, hi please advise we had our A and R last year we submitted our Quip at that time, we are still continuing our Quip. My question is and I'm not sure what the rest of the question is. If the question is, are we allowed to continue using our Quip? Absolutely. Yeah. There's no, you can use either. You just have to have a continuous improvement plan, in place and we'll just see if Kristy. Kristy is still on and she wants to jump in, oh Kristy said, as a service we completed our self-assessment as a team or service staff and registered educators were involved in these processes. Processes and educators were able to showcase the service. And I believe it's important to show that as part of the team. So, excellent. Very good point, Kristy. I think we might've answered most of your questions, which is great.

 

- So feel free to continue putting your questions through. We still have a little bit more time.

 

- Can we, so we've got one more question here that says, can we focus our A and R on only elements that were below meeting? In terms of your quality improvement plan or your self assessment, it's the approved provider's decision to choose what areas of the national quality, framework that they focus on it and that they wanna focus on in that either Quip space or their self assessments. So, that's entirely a decision for you to make based on what's working or not working for you, your service and your children and your families and your educators in your communities.

 

- I can see a few notes there about some attendees loving the idea of the zoom meeting which is fantastic to hear, way to reduce the stress level for all . Totally agree is the whole purpose of this pilot.

 

- So we might leave the questions there. If we haven't been able to answer any questions at this point, they will be provided afterwards as Nadal mentioned. So, I'll hand back over to Nadal.

 

- Sorry. There was a comment in there. Did you answer my question? We will leave with DGS. It's a question from Sheree. Okay. So we might move on to the next slide. Happy for you guys to continue to add your questions. We can collect that at the end of this session and provide some responses in the frequently asked questions a little bit later. Okay, well, thank you everyone for participating in the A and R Family Day Care, pilot presentation hope you've really enjoyed that, the pilot is ongoing and currently in its active phase and we have services participating as we speak. So perhaps you might want to get the opportunity to participate in that site at some point. So hoping your future A and R process is a positive one for you. We are reviewing feedback as Jenny has mentioned before as we go, and this will guide our future practices. So I hope you found this interesting and enjoyed the presentation. If you want to stay up to date with the department and see a range of resources you can also like, or follow our Facebook page we're up to the next slide. Yes, we were there. And you can also search New South Wales early childhood education in Facebook or follow the links or QR code on the screen.

 

- And all participants will receive a survey following the conclusion of the presentation. Just so please, we encourage you to fill that in and tell us what you liked or you didn't like. And so we were always open and looking for ways to continuously improve just as you are in your spaces and work with children.

 

- Yeah, and just know that you can contact the department at any time. If you have any questions you would like answered whether it's Family Day Care related or any other we have a general telephone number that you can contact as well.

 

- And thank you for participating today. We'll leave it there and enjoy the rest of your day.

 

- Thank you very much, everyone.

Regulation: your toughest questions answered (Family Day Care)

Toughest questions answered (FDC)

 - Thank you for joining us today. You're at the session named "Regulation: Your toughest questions answered" with a specific focus on family day care services. My name is Diana. I'm one of the policy managers in the New South Wales Regulatory Authority, known as the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate within the New South Wales Department of Education. I'm joined today by my colleague, Agnes, who's a manager in our statewide operations network area, and she'll introduce herself shortly. But to begin, I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we will meet.

 

- [Narrator] We acknowledge the first Australians as the traditional custodians of the continent, whose culture is the oldest living culture in human history. We pay our respect to Elders past, present, and emerging, and we respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We extend our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait people here today. They share the memories, traditions, and hopes of the traditional ancestors with the new generation, today and in the future. We would also like to thank them for looking after this land for thousands of years.

 

- I just like to acknowledge that we're coming to you today from Dharug Land, and I'd like to pay my respects to elders past, present, and emerging and extend that respect to our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander attendees joining us today. Just a quick note on housekeeping. So your microphone and video and chat functions will be disabled during this webinar. However, we do encourage you to use the Q&A button at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can type your questions directly into the Q&A. You can also see and vote on other people's questions, which you would like answered, using the thumbs up button. We will prioritise the questions with the most votes and try to answer these during the webinar. If there are questions that don't get answered, we will collect them after the session, and the FAQs will be sent to everyone who attended. We will also be using Menti and Kahoot during this session. So please, do have your phone or another web browser ready to scan or enter the code on the screen when it comes up so you can participate in the interactive components of the session. The session is being recorded and will be made available after the roadshow is complete. Okay, so to get started, we thought we'd start with a fun little activity. So Kahoot is a fastest finger type game. So if you wouldn't mind taking a minute just to scan the QR code or enter the URL to get ready for the game. And we'll get started. So there's seven questions in total, all relating to family day care. Okay, so first question: Each family day care educator must develop their own Quality Improvement Plan and display it at their premises, true or false. False, well done. The approved provider is responsible for developing the Quality Improvement Plan. Sasha leading the way. Question two: Children must not be left alone at a family day care residence with a visitor, true or false. True, well done. Children must not be left alone. Sasha continues to lead the way. Question three: Every family day care residence is required to have at least one of the following: an asthma inhaler, an auto-injector, a working telephone or mobile phone, or all of the above. A working telephone or mobile phone as specified in Regulation 98. Well done, Sasha, holding on to the lead. Question four: After an initial assessment, the approved provider of an FDC must conduct an assessment, including a risk risk assessment: every three months, every six months, at least yearly, at least bi-yearly. At least yearly as specified in Regulation 116. Oh, Sasha has lost the lead. C is in front. Okay, true or false, a family day care coordinator does not need a formal qualification in education and care. False. They must have an approved diploma-level qualification or higher. C is still in the lead. Okay, question six: Family day care services are not required to appoint an educational leader, true or false. False. All educational care services must designate an educational leader. And final question: Can children be involved in developing an educational programme? True or false. True, of course, we want their involvement. Okay, let's see . Well done, Di, third. Sa came second. And C, you hang on to the lead at the end, well done. Okay, we'll jump into the session now. So thank you very much for submitting some questions that you would like answered. So we've received a number, and we'll just work through them one by one. So I'm going to hand over to my colleague, Agnes, to talk us through the first question.

 

- Hi, everyone, and welcome to this session. Thank you, Di, that was very interesting and good to see there was lots of the correct answers in that exercise. So as Di mentioned, we're gonna go through some of the questions that you have submitted, and you know they're pretty tough questions, so we're here today to provide the answers to you. So I'm going to start with the first one. Please clarify supervision requirements for family day care educators when engaged in nappy changes, toileting, or when allowing entry to the residence or approved venue to families. This is something that is so, so important, because as you're all aware, we have a ratio of at times one to seven. So I'm going to clarify, the requirement under the National Law is that approved providers, nominated supervisors, and family day care educators must ensure that any child being educated and cared for is adequately supervised. Adequate supervision means that an educator can respond immediately, particularly when a child is distressed or in a hazardous situation, knowing where children are at all times and monitoring their activities and actively and diligently knowing exactly where the children are. Where the supervision is adequate must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. And there's a range of factors to consider. They are the number, ages, abilities, and individual needs of the children in care. Age, children's current activity. What are they doing? Are they painting? Are they having their meals? You must be aware at all times. Areas where children are playing, in particular the visibility and accessibility. Risks in the environment. So you need to have your eyes all over the environment at all times to ensure there's no risk to children. The educators' knowledge of each child and each group of children. The experience and knowledge and skill of each educator. Family day care educators should work with their approved provider and the family day care coordinator or a nominated supervisor to ensure that supervision is considered in their risk assessments of the family day care residents and venues, and ensure that supervision is adequate and appropriate for the ages and needs of the children attending the service. It's important to develop a tailored supervision plan or a strategy, which would be helpful to account for times when family day care educators are engaged in other activities. And we realise that that is the case, where there'll be nappy change times, toileting, and allowing parents to enter into the premises. This should specifically consider the layout areas of care and the number, ages, and abilities of children attending. Educators should also draw on a range of skills, such as positioning, using peripheral vision and monitoring changes in noise and stress levels. I can't express how important this is. And why we say adequate supervision is because we know there are times when educators are changing nappies, for example, or maybe preparing to set some food out for a child. Please ensure that adequate supervision is adhered to at all times. And thank you for that question. Okay, the next question that we received: How do I develop risk assessments for my family day care service under Regulation 97.2? Under Regulation 97.2, the approved provider of a family day care service must ensure that a risk assessment is conducted that is relevant to that particular service. There's no use having a risk assessment that you borrowed from someone or that you think will suit the premises where the children are being cared for, it must be relevant to that service. Your risk assessment will identify all the hazards relevant to that particular family day care premises and will inform what emergency procedures you will have an emergency plan. Every family day care premise is different, and having a generic risk assessment may not capture the relevant hazards for that particular family day care service. When you're developing your risk assessment, it's important to involve others in that process, such as your educators, the nominated supervisor. One approach that you may wish to utilise is to ask, what happens inside? Have a look around the inside of your premises. What do I need to develop in my risk assessment when I look at my premises? What can happen outside? Walk around your premises. Every day, you should be walking around your premises and assessing any risks. That should be ongoing. Just because you have a risk assessment, it doesn't mitigate that, you should be checking it every single day. What could happen in the neighbourhood? It's not just about the inside and outside of the family day care premises. What can happen in the neighbourhood? A majority of the hazards that usually happen are inside of the family day care service. For example, kitchen fire or loss of utilities. It makes sense to start from there. From there, you can consider outside risks, such as maybe dangerous animals or falling tree branches. And then finally, consider the neighbourhoods, such as bushfires, floods, or a neighbouring building that may be on fire. For more information on risk assessments and helping you to do them and plan them and also for emergency planning, please visit our website. We have some fantastic video modules with emergency experts, evacuation diagram, checklists templates, and links to any additional resources that may be relevant on emergency and evacuation requirements. We will display these a little bit later so that you will be able to link into some of these videos. I can assure you, they are very, very helpful. Okay, do services have to practise both emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures every three months under 97.3? Regulation 97.3 requires education and care services to rehearse their emergency and evacuation procedures every three months. So I'll just repeat that, emergency and evacuation procedures, every three months. Page 378 of the Guide to the National Quality Framework states that an emergency refers to all situations, or events, posing an imminent or severe risk to those present at an education and care service premise. For example, an emergency could include a fire, a flood, or a threat that requires the service to be locked down or shelter in place. If your service has both evacuation procedures and lockdown procedures in their emergency plans, then both these procedures must be rehearsed every three months. All right, thank you. Okay. This is something that we do sense in some of our visits that people do struggle with. So this is a really good question. Where do I display my emergency and evacuation floor plan, and how do I know if it is correct under Regulation 97.4? Regulation 97.4 states that approved providers must ensure that a copy of the emergency and the evacuation floor plan and instructions are displayed in a prominent position near each exit of the service premises, that's each exit, including a family day care residence or an approved venue. Each exit in Regulation 97 does not refer to the exits from each room of your service. Rather it refers to the door or doors that are used to enter or exit your family day care residence or approved venue that forms part of your evacuation route. It is important to remember that the primary focus of your emergency and evacuation floor plan is to illustrate the route a person may take from when they are in your residence or approved venue to the emergency exit and into an evacuation assembly area. In your emergency evacuation plans, you will have identified, hopefully, more than one, two, or possibly more evacuation exits and routes that educators and children will take to get there. It is important that these routes and exits are identified on your floor plan, and a copy of the plan is displayed prominently near these identified exits. This includes whether they are located within the family day care space or another part of the residence or approved venue that encompass part of an evacuation route or exit. It is really important. Sometimes we go into residence, educator residence, and they may have the plan displayed at the back door. And the educator may say, "We don't use the front door." But in an emergency, it's quite possible you will. That's why I say you must consider one, two, three, or more parts of your residence or your venue as an emergency exit. So please ensure that you do display your emergency plans on every single exit that's available. You might be out in the backyard and you have to go up the side of the house. So you need to ensure that there's some provision if that's what happens. Just think risk and think, how do we get these children out of here in the case of an emergency? And I think that will actually form the part of your plan. For more information on floor plans and emergency planning in general, again, please visit our website. We have so much information on our website around risk assessments, emergency. And again, there's some video modules with emergency experts. There are evacuation diagram, checklists, templates, and links to additional resources for emergency and evacuation requirements. Again, we will show you some of these links throughout this presentation. And I'll just leave this up here for a little moment so that you can have a look through the links to the emergency planning video modules. This is such fantastic information. And I know at times we all get busy in our day-to-day work, but please do take some time, whether it's at one of your staff meetings or when the children have gone, please take the time to have a look at this. It is such useful information for you. As Di mentioned earlier, the sessions will be recorded. So if you haven't been able to capture the links in time, be rest assured you will get a copy of the recording, the link to the recording, and you'll be able to access the resources. So this is the risk management resource and support link. And just click on, copy that link, all the way down. So that's all about risk management in children's services. I think you'll find being able to listen to it and watch it, it makes it much easier to understand. I know that that's how I like to learn. Okay. I'm gonna hand back over to Di to answer the next question. Thank you.

 

- Thanks, Agnes. So the next question is: For Regulation 158, should children be signed in when they are collected from school or when they arrive back to the family day care residence or approved venue? So effectively the answer is that children should be signed in at the time that they are collected from school. So the purpose of Regulation 158 is to have an accurate record of when each child is attending the service. So children are considered to be under the care of the service at the point that the service is taken to assume responsibility for their care and their wellbeing. So if you are collecting children from school, they are under your care from this point and should be signed in as attending the service from this point. So the next question we have is transport-related. So do all children who take part in transport to several schools and residences in one transportation need to have an authorization for these? It's a really good question 'cause transport, it does come up often. So in effect, yes. So Regulation 102, particularly D, requires that FDC educators ensure that a child is not transported by the service or on transportation arranged by the service unless there is a written authorization. So in other words, written authorization is needed for each child being transported by the service. This includes children who are taking part in the transport, but not being dropped off at their schools or residences. So for example, you may be an educator who educates and cares for a mixed age group. You have younger children who don't attend school yet and you have school-aged children. The younger children might accompany you when you transport the school-aged children to and from school. In this situation, you will need written authorization for all of the children. This is because all of the children, both the younger group and the school-aged group, are being transported. So if you could make sure that each child's authorization states the required information under Regulation 102 specifies what the authorization needs to state. And this includes a description of the destinations, for example, the schools and the residences that you might be visiting. Second one is also related. So what is the difference between transportation and an excursion? So whether the transportation is considered an excursion or regular transportation, other than part of an excursion, depends on the purpose or intention of the travel. So if we look at excursions first, so the department recognises an excursion to primarily include one or more of the following attributes. So it should support and encourage children to explore, extend, and enhance their learning, usually in a non-school or non-formal environment. It might involve children and the service staff taking a walk, drive, or trip to a destination, usually from the service premises. It might be part of the services' planned educational programme for children. So examples of excursions might include outings to the park, the library, the movies, or indoor activities, such as rock climbing or bowling. So when transportation is not part of an excursion, we would call that regular transportation. So there are situations in family day care where educators might transport children but that's not part of an excursion. So examples of this might include transport runs to and from school to drop off and pick up children, transport runs to drop off and pick up children to and from their homes, or if an FDC educator transports three children in care to school each afternoon to pick up two of her own children, or an FDC educator provides education and care to school-aged children and younger children and the educator does the school drop-off and pick-up for the school-aged children and the younger children accompany the educator on these school runs. So the regulatory requirements differ for excursions and transportation other than part of an excursion. So to check your understanding of the specific requirements, we'd recommend revisiting Regulations 100 to 102 for excursions and Regulations 102 to 102 for transportation. The department has also released a number of resources in collaboration with an organisation called Kids and Traffic. These are designed to assist services in understanding the requirements of transportation and they're really useful in providing a sample policy, a sample procedure, a sample risk assessment that can help build your understanding of the requirements. So these can be found on the department's website. Okay, so next question, what glass needs to be certified in a family day care residence or venue? So Regulation 117 of the National Regulation specifies the glass safety requirements for family day care services. So the glass that needs to be safety certified will actually depend on the time that the FDC residence or venue was approved. So FDC services approved after the 1st of June, 2014 are required to meet the height outlined in the Australian standards, so it's a particular standard, it's AS 1288-2006. It effectively provides that for residences, glass that is under 0.5 metres above floor height must meet specified safety requirements. And for venues, there are specific requirements depending on the building type of the venue. So for example, if the venue is a Class 9b building, which is the same as a center-based service, glass or windows under one metre must be Grade A safety glass. Now, for services approved prior to this date, so before the 1st of June, 2014, all glass under 0.75 metres above floor height must meet specific safety requirements. So Regulation 117 talks about the glazed area of a residence or approved family day care venue. This refers to the structural items of the building such as windows, doors, and shower screens. It does not include the non-structural items such as fish tanks and coffee tables. So Regulation 117 requires this glaze are to be glazed with safety glass if the building code of Australia requires this, or in any other case, treated with a product that prevents glass from shattering if broken or guarded by barriers that prevent a child from striking or falling against the glass. So in terms of glass furniture, so it's glass furniture, it's not structural glass, it is not covered under Regulation 117. However, Section 167, harm and hazards, and Regulation 103, premises, furniture, and equipment to be safe, clean, and in good repair still apply in these instances. So these state that furniture that is made of or primarily made of glass must be free from harm and hazard, and must be safe, clean, and in good repair. An FDC provider, educator, or anyone who is qualified to do so, who treats a glass table does not fail to comply with the National Regulations. The glass requirements in FDC are also currently under reviews as part of the National Quality Framework Review. And if you'd like to read more about that, we'd recommend visiting the website of the National Quality Framework Review. Okay, back to you, I guess.

 

- Thank you, Di. Well, this is really hard. I wish I could see you all. It's really difficult. All I can see is myself and Di. So I hope you're all doing okay out there. And hopefully with the next roadshow, we'll actually get to see you face to face, because I do find this a really challenging situation. Not that I mind seeing you Di, it's lovely, but I feel like it's just you and I here. So welcome everyone again. And I hope this is of benefit to you all. And feel free just to say hi in the chat so we know you're there. It makes us feel like you are actually out there. Just one of the questions that did come through earlier, is an emergency pathway, sorry, can an emergency pathway go through a non-approved approved area, such as a garage, if need be as an option? Absolutely, it can. If you need to get children out of there, it may need to be through a garage if there is a fire or some sort of an emergency in your service. So yes, the answer to that is yes. And yeah, the exit on your plan must be displayed near every single exit which we spoke about before. So if it was a garage, I'm sure that there would be some sort of a plan display there, especially if it does give you available access to egress from the building. Okay, so keep the questions coming. I'm going to move on to the next slide now. And that is, can you explain who has access to the information on the Family Day Care Register? So currently, the National Law requires all family day care providers to keep a register of all educators, coordinators, and assistants employed or engaged by the service, and to take reasonable steps to ensure that that record is accurate. That is so important, that you keep your registers up to date. While we understand at times there are changes that happen quite quickly, it is your responsibility as an approved provider to keep that register updated because it is part of the law that upon request from the regulatory authority that the provider must provide this register or any changes to the register within 24 hours of a request. Regulatory authorities do not have immediate access to information on the family day care register unless they specifically request it from the family day care provider. So what that means is we don't have that register. We rely on you to keep it. If we need it, we will ask you for it. So, however, the lack of immediate access limits risk-based proactive approaches by the regulatory authorities to prevent inappropriate family day care educators from providing education and care. Family day care register is an issue currently being considered as part of the 2019 National Quality Framework Review. Proposals for change is set to improve the currency of the information on the register, as well as timelines of regulatory authorities access to this information. It doesn't say to expand the numbers and types of people who have access to this register. Ensuring the safety of children remains the priority and having immediate access to the educators' details during emergency situations, such as bushfires, floods, COVID-19, may allow us, as regulatory authorities, to better support service providers in meeting their obligations to ensure the safety of children. And I'm sure some of you would have had opportunities to comment on that throughout the NQS Review. Yeah, this is a bit of a tricky one as well that does come up quite a bit when our officers are out visiting and conducting audit of your family day care premises. What is the definition of a scalable fence? Does it mean something against the fence that could hold a child's weight? So this falls under Regulation 104, which requires family day care residents or venues where education and care has been provided for children, preschool age or under, to ensure that any outdoor space used by children at the premises is enclosed by a fence or barrier that is of the height and design that children cannot go through it, over it, or under it. Essentially, this means that children should not be able to climb over the fence, burrow under it, pass through a hole in the fence. While there is no hard definition in the regulation of the law of scalable fence in the National Law, some key considerations approved providers and family day care educators should always consider when you're assessing your outside area is if the design or materials of the fence allow it to be used as a ladder. So for example, if it was like chain wire mesh fencing, where children could get their feet into the little holes there, we would say that as possibly being scalable. If objects like large toys and play equipment are placed against a fence or even attached to it, many times we go into educator premises, and maybe on this Sunday, they could have had bigger kids in the backyard where they've got big pieces of equipment, but sometimes people forget to do that check of the yard and remove that risk from the fence. So please ensure at all times that there is nothing against the fence that would allow a child to scale it. If a tree stump or a branch is located close to a fence then in a way that could allow a child to scale that fence. So again, it's a risk you must monitor and ensure that there are good protection there for children not to be able to scale that fence. Some options to consider to minimise children's scaling fences are: planting dense but not climbable vegetation against the fence, or installing a really tall fence so that children cannot scale it. Approved providers should develop this risk assessment with educators to ensure children preschool age and under are unable to scale or get through fences in the approved outdoor area. This should be regularly reviewed with ongoing safety checks as part of the risk assessment. Again, this is not something that if you look in the backyard, the fence seems okay; it should be checked at all times to ensure that there's no breakages of the fence or there's no, you know, maybe dogs dug under it, which would allow maybe a child to go under the fence. It's very important, it's part of your ongoing monitoring of a family day care premise or venue that you keep monitoring any fencing in the outdoor area. As a family day care educator, am I required to complete a permission form to administer medication for my own child or children? The short answer to this is yes. However, this will not necessarily be the case in all situation, because it depends if the child is enrolled with the service and is being provided with education and care as part of the service at the time the medication has been administered. Under the Education and Care Services National Regulations 92.1, the approved provider of a family day care service must ensure the medication record is kept for each child to whom medication is or is to be administered by the service. A family day care educator must, among other things, keep a medication record. That includes the authorization to administer medication, including, if applicable, self-administration, signed by a parent, regulation 92.3 , for each child being educated and cared for by the educator as part of the family day care service. The regulation does not apply if a child is not being cared for as part of the service. If the child is not being educated and cared for as part of the family day care service, then the answer, in relation to whether the requirement to have a medical authorisation form applies, is no. It falls outside the purview of the National Law. And again, here's another great list of resources that are available on our website. This particular one is in regards to the assessment and rating of a family day care service. We will be presenting, as part of the roadshow, a session next week on preparing for A&R in family day care. So keep your eye out for that one. And we will delve more into this family day care fact sheet. But just in the meantime, please jump on and have a look at this. This fact sheet was developed with educators in mind. It's to assist you as educators prepare for an assessment and rating visit. It's to give you some upfront information. It's to ease any angst you may be feeling about having a firm assessment and rating. And we have done this in conjunction with many people. And we're very proud of this and we're proud of all the input we had. And we have had some fantastic feedback on this particular resource, especially from educators who have used it and have said they felt much more prepared for their assessment and rating visit by reading through this document. So please make sure you have a look at that. This is another resource. There's the link there. As I mentioned earlier, we will be recording these sessions and you will be able to go back and access these links, but feel free to contact our information inquiries line if there are any of the links that you did miss today. This particular resource is a family day care webinar, "PD in Your Pocket". Please, engage with this one. It is such a great resource, and again, will help support not only providers but the educators in pretty much preparing and preparing for A&R. It talks about being able to operate your service with some very important information throughout the sessions. There are a couple of sessions, but log into that and it'll give you all the information and the links for you to join the "PD in Your Pocket". We also have a series of booklets and video resources that cover a range of topics, including keeping children healthy, creating learning spaces, keeping children safe, eating and playing, setting up your home, and more. It also provides a series of checklists. So this particular group of resource books are called Great Spaces/ Safe Spaces. I believe many of you would have received these already because our offices, during visits, were actually distributing these out to services and educator homes. If you would like some hard copies, we're happy to get some for you, but again, the links are there for you to go through and read in your own time or to maybe have as a discussion during staff meetings. Lots of resources here. This particular resource is for safe sleep and rest practises. This course provides professional development and training on safe sleep and rest practises. It will help reduce the risk to children in care by building an understanding and skills of educators on sleep, safe sleep, and rest practises. For the topics within this particular training package: sleep and rest requirements in services, including the National Quality Framework, implementing safe sleep and rest practises in services, influences sleep and rest has on growth and development, and respecting the rights of the child. Then the New South Wales Department of Education have been preparing a guide for education and care services to assist with implementing the child safe standards. The guide provides education and care services with practical strategies and tips to consider when implementing the standards. It also offers points of critical reflection and promotes continuous establishment of systems that prevent, detect and respond to child abuse. The guide applies to a range of children's age groups and roles in services, and is designed to be used to support all service types. The guide is currently being finalised, and it will be communicated to all services once it is available. So keep an eye out for that one. And we will also let you know when it is available.

 

- We also have a session next week on the child safe standards if you weren't able to attend the one this week. So please do check schedule.

 

- Great, that was nice.

 

- So we've come to the end of the the questions that we received. So thank you very much for submitting them. We thought we would take another moment of your time to ask you some questions that will help shape and inform the work that we do. If you could, just take a moment to scan the QR code or go to the menti.com URL and type in the code to access the questions that are largely around sort of professional development priorities. So the first question is what are the key benefits to you participating in professional development? So hearing from the regulatory authority, hearing from experts, being able to ask questions and seek guidance, and commitment to ongoing learning. Thank you. The second question is when would you prefer to engage in professional development opportunities? Is there a particular time of day? Or is it the self-paced option that you prefer? It's a pretty even split there, between morning, afternoon, and self-paced. Thank you. The third question is, which modes of delivery interests you most for professional development? So how do you like to receive the professional development? So attending webinars seems to be a popular one and recorded webinars and video resources, as well as attending conferences and face-to-face workshops. What are your professional development priorities for the next 12 months? Are there any specific areas you're looking to focus on for the next 12 months? Child safe standards, assessment and rating and regulations, child safe standards. So we know the child safe standards are being implemented from July of this year. Child health and safety risk assessments. Hopefully, some of the resources we mentioned earlier will assist with those. Child safe standards seems to be a popular one. So I do encourage you to attend the session next week, as well as look out for the guide as it does become available. Assessment and rating and self-assessment. I believe that is a self-assessment session this week if it hasn't happened already. Please do check the schedule. So assessment writing, QIP learning environments, emergency preparedness, Aboriginal perspectives and child safe standards. That's great. Some really good priority areas there. So how can the department better reach educators of family day care services with opportunities for professional development? Webinars after hours, so webinars and resources, free training, evening and weekend sessions, emails, prerecorded and self-paced. So evenings, evenings after hours and the weekends. Okay. With self-paced. Face-to-face weekend, emails. Survey. Come speak to the educators personally. Excellent. And the final question is how can the Department better support FDC services and educators more specifically? Conference, face-to-face training, to continue webinars, empowering opportunities, more opportunities, a supportive approach, sending emails explaining regulation updates regularly, guides when implementing changes, Q&A sessions, talk to us, visit services, phone support, development plans, and webinars. So out of hours, find support, timely information, well, webinars like today. Okay, thank you. It's really valuable hearing your input. It just helps us focus and shape sort of all the work.

 

- That's some great input there.

 

- Yeah, yeah, we very much appreciate that.

 

- Okay, good. So we've come to the end of the session. I'm just going to touch, sorry, just to answer other questions there.

 

- Yeah, I was gonna say, are there any other questions that we-

 

- Yeah, there are few questions. Any that we haven't got to, we will certainly get back to you and we'll get some answers out there. There was a question there, just following on from the emergency path through an unauthorised area, does that mean we need to incorporate this emergency pathway in our quarterly drills? Look, I'll just reiterate that the law requires you to conduct an emergency or a rehearsal every three months. So what that's about, it's about getting the children comfortable and familiar with the emergency evacuation process of exiting in the case of an emergency taking place. So I guess I would put that back to you as providers and educators to ensure that when you're doing those rehearsals that children, in the case that one day they may have to exit unauthorised area, that they will be familiar with that. And the other thing to consider is that you're not walking them into another hazard. So if it's possible that you're going to an unapproved area and it's likely the fire or something is coming from the other end, of course, you're not going to use that. So it all goes back to the whole risk assessment of your premises or your service, and for you to ensure that children are comfortable and familiar with any emergency process that you have in place for any type of emergency. I hope that answers that question. And there was a, sorry, the glass one's already done, I'm just being told. So look, I think that's it from me for now. I just would really like to thank you all so much for attending today. Again, it's not the best possible way that I would like to engage with you all. As I said, I would love to be in front of you all and be able to engage personally, and I have had that pleasure over the years of meeting many of you and coming out to some of your services and your homes. So hopefully, further down into the year and COVID behind us, we will get back to some face-to-face engagement. But again, thank you so much. Thank you, Di.

 

- And just a reminder that the roadshows will be running until the 20th of May. So there are a number of sessions that might be of interest with you. So we very much encourage you to check the schedule to make sure that you don't miss out. And as always, if you wanna stay up to date, please do follow us on Facebook or get in touch.

 

- And just a reminder, next Thursday is the family day care A&R pilot sessions. So jump on board and I'll see you all next week.

 

- Thank you.

 

- Thank you. Bye.

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