WHAT IS QIP & WHY DO WE NEED IT?
An Approved Provider must ensure that their childcare centre has a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). This must be updated regularly to reflect the childcare centre’s service delivery and standards.
Childcare centres are expected to operate using a continual quality improvement process, to regularly examine practices and procedures, and critically reflect on these. Then, based on current research, collaborate with all stakeholders to develop a plan to improve each area. It is a continuous documented process.
The goals set for improvement should be clear, measurable, achievable, realistic and support the documented long-term goals of the centre.
Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)
This document assists centres to identify Quality Areas of strength and need in the childcare centre. This must be completed with input from staff, the director, and families. It is written so that strategies and timeframes are included to achieve the results centre teams plan for, across all 7 quality areas in the National Quality Standard.
The 7 quality areas in the National Quality Standard are:
- Educational program and practice
- Children’s health and safety
- Physical environment
- Staffing arrangements
- Relationships with children
- Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- Governance and leadership
Each quality area has several elements to be met with specific descriptors for childcare centres to address and implement to the standard required. Discussions around the QIP should be included at team meetings so all staff are able to contribute to the update process and critically reflect on practices together, then make necessary changes to continue to improve.
Approved Providers must ensure that the QIP is updated at least annually – quarterly is better, as the childcare service develops. It is important to show evidence of reflection and development of the QIP. The QIP must be kept at the centre and be available for perusal by centre staff, families and Department of Education officers, if requested.
Childcare centres should also keep all stakeholders informed about progress and steps taken. It is a collaborative effort and reflects the childcare centre’s relationships with staff, children, families and the community.
Assessment and Ratings
The QIP is submitted to the Department of Education prior to assessment and ratings against the national Quality Standard. Officers use this to understand how your centre operates, and as a guide to discussions during the assessment and ratings visit. It is important that what is written in the QIP is a true reflection of how your centre operates and functions in the community.
QIP writing is challenging, and it needs to be allocated appropriate time to achieve the desired result. The QIP is an important part of the assessment and ratings process and affords centre teams the opportunity to explain how well their childcare centre operates and explain what they are working on currently to improve the centre.