InSights. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers working in early childhood education and care services

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1 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers working in early childhood education and care services The SiMERR National Research Centre The University of New England November 2012

2 Acknowledgments The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) would like to thank and acknowledge Dr Bruce Mowbray, Professor Margaret Sims, Dr Greg McPhan, and Professor John Pegg from the SiMERR National Research Centre, University of New England for the creation of this report. Citation Mowbray, B, Sims, M, McPhan, G, Pegg, J 2012, Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care services, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, Melbourne. Prepared in partnership with SiMERR National Research Centre, University of New England. ISBN Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited (AITSL). Reprinted AITSL owns the copyright in this publication. This publication or any part of it may be used freely only for non-profit education purposes provided the source is clearly acknowledged. The publication may not be sold or used for any other commercial purpose. Other than permitted above or by the Copyright ACT 1968 (Commonwealth), no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored, published, performed, communicated or adapted, regardless of the form or means (electronic or otherwise), without prior written permission of the copyright owner. Address inquiries regarding copyright to: AITSL, PO Box 299, Collins Street West, VIC 8007, Australia. This project was funded by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Limited (AITSL). The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership was formed to provide national leadership for the Commonwealth, state and territory governments in promoting excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership with funding provided by the Australian Government.

3 Contents Executive Summary 5 Acknowledgements 6 1 Introduction Purpose of the Project The Policy Context The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership The Early Childhood and Care National Partnership The Context for Teaching in the Early Childhood Sector The Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce The Purpose and Use of Professional Standards Structure of this Report 18 2 Methodology Desktop audit of documentation Stakeholder teleconferences Focus group meetings 20 3 Desktop Audit of policy documents and resources Identification of Key Documents The APST EYLF and NQS Mapping the EYLF and NQS Against the APST Outcomes of the Mapping Issues Arising During the Validation of the APST Contextual Alignment Findings 27 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

4 4 Analysis and Summary of Stakeholder Views Stakeholder Feedback Engagement with Professional Standards Within the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector The Nature of Service Provision Within the Sector Regulation of Teachers and Teaching Within the Jurisdiction Structures, Policy Settings and Quality Improvement Strategies The Relationship Between the APST and Elements of the NQF Mapping of the EYLF and NQS Against the APST Commonalities and Differences Between the EYLF and NQS, and the APST Engagement with Professional Standards Within the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector Relating the APST to the EYLF and NQS Interpreting the APST for Early Childhood Education and Care teachers Linkage Between Career Stages Models for Consulting and Engaging Teachers in the Sector Stakeholder Views Consultation Principles Building on Past Practices and Structures The Relevance of the Higher Level Standards to Leadership Roles Stakeholders Views Mentoring and Leadership Within Services Limited Opportunities for Professional Collaboration The Context for Assessing Achievement of High Level Standards Comment from ACECQA 39 2 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

5 5 Feedback From Focus Group Sessions The Participants Purposes and Benefits for Implementing the APST Status and Recognition Teacher Development Consistency The Aspirational Nature of the Standards Framework Parity of Salary Regulation of Teacher Quality Teacher Appraisal and Accountability Intrinsic Purposes Implementation Issues Practicalities of Implementing Teacher Standards The Context of Early Childhood Education and Care Services Industrial Implications Clarity of the Purpose for Implementing the Standards Communication Strategies Implications for the Culture of EC Services Alignment of Processes Connections Between the APST, EYLF and NQS Communications Channels for Promoting Engagement With and Use of the APST The Audience Strategies for Engaging Teachers Responsibility for Communicating the Message Support for Implementing the Standards The Audience Clarification of Linkages Between the Frameworks Support for Achieving the Standards Focus Areas Requiring Greater Support Access to High Level Standards 47 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

6 6 Discussion and Findings Selling the Concept of Standards Applying Teacher Standards to the Sector Alignment of the Frameworks Communicating With the Sector Access to Higher Level Standards Conclusion and Recommendation 53 7 Works Cited 54 8 Appendices Appendix 1: List of Teleconferences and Participants Appendix 2: Teleconference Interview Protocol Appendix 3: Example Focus Group Meeting Program Appendix 4: Mapping of EYLF and NQS against the APST 62 List of Figures Figure 1 Map of the National Quality Framework 9 Figure 2 Early Childhood Education and Care Services, by Management Type, a,b 15 Figure 3 ECEC services by Ownership type a 16 Figure 4 Stakeholder Mud Map Linking APST to the NQS 23 Figure 5 Mapping of APST onto QA of the NQS 24 List of Tables Table 1 Table 2 Educational attainment of the preschool, long-day-care and occasional care workforce, 2010 a 16 Educational attainment of service leaders in preschool and long-day-care, 2010 a 17 4 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

7 Executive Summary This report provides advice on the potential to apply the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) 1 to teachers working in Early Childhood Education and Care services. The focus of the investigation concerns public and private preschools, long-day-care services (a number of which include preschools) and home-base care services. The staff of Early Childhood Education and Care services comprises teachers with recognised tertiary Early Childhood teaching qualifications, educators whose highest qualification is a Vocational Education Diploma or Certificate, and a range of other workers. The majority of teachers working in the sector are employed in preschools and other settings working with children aged 3-5 years. There are few teachers working with birth to 2 year olds However, changes to regulations are likely to change this.. Approximately 8 per cent of people working in home-base care services hold a university degree as their highest qualification. Teachers in Early Childhood Education and Care are currently implementing the National Quality Framework. This Framework constitutes a range of initiatives including implementing the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the National Quality Standard (NQS). A mapping of these documents, EYLF, NQS and APST, indicates that although they have different purposes, they are not different in their intent. In addition, we believe that with adequate time and support the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) could be applied to teachers in the sector. The main area of difference is in the language used in the different contexts. The language of schools (and school classrooms) is generally unfamiliar to teachers in Early Childcare settings. While, teachers in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector have embraced the EYLF and NQS, the magnitude of the change needed by them to conceptualise the APST should not be under-estimated. While there is a need to hasten slowly towards implementing teacher standards in the sector, there is also a need to ensure that there is sufficient flexibility and cognisance of the particular contexts and needs of teachers in the sector as the school-based sector develops processes and procedures for certifying teachers. Patently, what was evident from conversations with stakeholders and teachers in the sector is a desire to have the same status and standing as teachers in schools. Yet, there is a sense that the sector wants also to maintain and protect its values and special characteristics. If the desire is for a unified profession then there needs to be greater dialogue and interaction between the Early Childhood Education and Care sectors and schools. Such interaction except at the point of transition between prior-toschool services and schools is not evident currently. The results of this project highlight the many complexities involving the application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) to teachers in early childhood settings. Some of the issues are emotive while some rely on historical precedents. It is the view of this report that there is no real impediment to working out a viable solution that offers a genuine pathway forward for both AITSL and ACECQA. Building upon the discussion and findings in this report we recommend a joint working party be established. 1 Previously know as the National Professional Standard for Teachers Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

8 Acknowledgements The successful conduct of this research was due to the help, advice and support of numerous groups and individuals. To the members of AITSL we acknowledge the close working relationship that continues to develop and the ongoing support that was offered in working with education jurisdictions and professional organisations. In particular, we thank Anne Loos, Manager Policy and Programs, and Melanie Boyd the AITSL Project Officer. We acknowledge the support of the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and, in particular Karen Curtis and Collette Tayler, and their members nationally for their efforts in facilitating the focus group workshops and the extensive telephone interviews. We also thank them for their willingness to participate, and the honest and forthright manner in which they addressed what were complex issues of significant personal and national significance. The research team from the SiMERR National Centre comprised Dr Bruce Mowbray, Professor Margaret Sims, Dr Greg McPhan, and Professor John Pegg. This team brings to this project a mix of prior research, and experience in validating and working with Professional Standards for Teachers and evaluating their implementation. In particular, I acknowledge the detailed and thorough work undertaken by Dr Mowbray in the construction and writing of this report. To members of the SiMERR National Centre at the University of New England we extend a large thank you for their many efforts behind the scenes in facilitating this research. In particular, we thank June Billings (Report Preparation); Russel Glover (Finance and Contracts); and Rhiannon Wright (General Administration and Support). John Pegg Professor and Director SiMERR National Research Centre 6 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

9 1 Introduction 1.1 Purpose of the Project The purpose of the consultation is to explore and advise the Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), on the application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) to teachers in early childhood settings. The focus of this consultation is teachers in settings with children aged from 0-4 years but will also include, for consistency and connection with school settings, teachers in settings with children aged 5-8 years. The deliverables of this engagement are to provide advice on the support required to assist with the application of the APST to Early Childhood Education and Care teachers. The consultancy involves: a. Mapping the APST against existing early childhood standards b. Determining the areas of the National Quality Standard that relate to the APST c. Analysis of the existing APST validation report for implications and recommendations for early childhood teachers d. Determining the most appropriate focus areas of the Standards, which require supporting documentation to assist with the application of the Standards to early childhood teachers e. Advising on the incorporation of the Early Years Learning Framework in supporting documentation f. Developing a strategy for consultation and communication with early childhood teachers regarding the application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers g. Considering the implications of the leadership roles of teachers in early childhood settings against the Standards. 1.2 The Policy Context An important reason for the National Partnerships between the Commonwealth, and States and Territories was to provide a new way for the Commonwealth to fund and manage a range of reforms that would have been funded previously under the title of specific purpose programs. However, the overall stated purpose of the new arrangements was complex, as indicated in the communiqué from COAG. COAG has reaffirmed its commitment to cooperative working arrangements through an historic new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that provides an overarching framework for the Commonwealth's financial relations with the States and Territories (the States). It is aimed at improving the quality and effectiveness of government services by reducing Commonwealth prescriptions on service delivery by the States, providing them with increased flexibility in the way they deliver services to the Australian people. COAG agreed that the new National Agreements are central to achieving service delivery improvements and reforms. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

10 Primary areas for National Partnerships activity were across Healthcare, Disability Services, National Schools, National Skills Workforce development and National Affordable Housing. Within these areas, a range of National Partnerships have been established including the Smarter Schools National Partnerships, which encompasses the Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership, and the National Partnership Agreement on the Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. Broadly the partnerships established in the school and early childhood education and care sectors are designed to respond to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Commission s National Productivity Reform agenda The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership has provided funding to support state and territory teacher quality initiatives and Commonwealth programs including funding to support the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) in its work to raise teacher and school leader quality. The letter of expectation of AITSL provided by the former Minister for Education sets out a specific remit for AITSL to develop rigorous professional standards and foster and drive high quality professional development for teachers and school leaders. The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST) developed by AITSL were the subject of extensive consultation and psychometric validation prior to their endorsement in late December 2010 by the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). The APST were released for implementation on 9 February Work to support the use of standards in nationally consistent processes for the approval of initial teacher education courses, the licensing (or registration) of teachers and the accreditation (or certification) of teachers against voluntary standards remains an important aspect of the on-going work program of AITSL. The AISTL website notes that: The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers is a public statement of what constitutes teacher quality. The Standards make explicit the elements of high quality, effective teaching in 21st century schools and provide a framework that makes explicit the knowledge, practice and professional engagement required across teachers careers. AITSL, Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

11 1.2.2 The Early Childhood Education and Care National Partnership Paralleling developments to raise the quality of teaching in the school sector is COAG s reform agenda in Early Childhood Education and Care, which comprise a number of quality initiatives under the umbrella of the National Quality Framework. The elements of the National Quality Framework, which was implemented in January 2012, are set out schematically in Figure 1. They include: a national legislative framework that consists of the Education and Care Services National Law and Education and Care Services National Regulations a National Quality Standard an assessment and rating system a regulatory authority in each state and territory who will have primary responsibility for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their jurisdiction in accordance with the national legislative framework and in relation to the National Quality Standard. the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) (ACECQA, 2011). 1 Guide to the National Quality Framework Education and Care Services National Law Source Documents Education and Care Services National Regulations 2 Guide to the National Law and National Regulations Support Documents National Quality Standard 3 Guide to the National Quality Standard 4 Guide to developing a Quality Improvement Plan Early Years Learning Framework & Framework for School Age Care (or other approved learning framework) Figure 1: Map of resources for the National Quality Framework (The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2011a) Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

12 The Australian Children s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) was established on 1 January 2012 with responsibility for guiding the implementation of the National Quality Framework at the national level and for ensuring consistency in its delivery. ACECQA provides national leadership in promoting quality and continuous improvement in education and care services that are governed by the National Quality Framework. These services include long day care, family day care, outside school hours care (OSHC) and preschool services. Occasional Care is not currently in scope of the National Quality Framework. These services will be both public and private, some will be part of a school environment. It is also responsible for: reporting to and advising the Ministerial Council on the National Quality Framework promoting continuous quality improvement by approved education and care services keeping national information on the assessment, rating and regulation of education and care services establishing, maintaining and publishing national registers of approved providers, approved education and care services and certified supervisors publishing, monitoring and reviewing ratings of approved education and care services assessing approved services to determine the highest level of rating excellent educating and informing services and the community about the National Quality Framework publishing guidelines and resources to support services, parents and the community in understanding quality in relation to education and care services publishing practice notes and guidelines for the application of the Law determining the qualifications and providing support and training for staff of Regulatory Authorities deciding the qualifications required to be held by educators, including the assessment of equivalent qualifications. (ACECQA, 2011b) Embedded within and central to the National Quality Framework are two initiatives. The first is the National Quality Standard, which provides criteria for assessing and accrediting the quality of early childhood and care services. The National Quality Standard: was informed by research about best practice and the way in which high quality education and care contributes to positive outcomes for children. It comprises quality areas, standards and elements. The seven 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 Leadership and service 10 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

13 The second quality initiative is the development and implementation of Belonging, Being and Becoming, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) will be used with children in whatever context they are being educated and cared for relevant to their age group. The framework: "describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Framework has a strong emphasis on play-based learning as play is the best vehicle for young children s learning providing the most appropriate stimulus for brain development. The Framework also recognises the importance of communication and language (including early literacy and numeracy) and social and emotional development." DEEWR, 2010 COAG notes in the Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework for Australia that: "when starting to use the Framework remember that it is just that a framework. It is not a syllabus, not a program, not a curriculum, not a model, not an assessment tool, not a detailed description of everything children will learn. It is a framework of principles, practices and outcomes with which to build your curriculum." Council of Australian Governments, p.3 Consequently, research undertaken to inform the development of the EYLF found that most states and territories were already using state-based early childhood curriculum framework documents prior to the EYLF s development. Under the NQF, jurisdictions were able to use the EYLF as an overarching document, to replace, complement or supplement existing documents (DEEWR, 2010a). Under the NQS states and territories are to implement the EYLF or another approved learning framework recognising the investment that some jurisdictions have made implementing their own curriculum. Other approved learning frameworks under the National Quality Framework include: Australian Capital Territory: Every Chance to Learn Curriculum framework for ACT schools preschool to Year 10 Tasmania: the Tasmanian Curriculum, the Department of Education of Tasmania, 2008 Victoria: the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework Western Australia: the Curriculum Framework for Kindergarten to Year 12 Education in Western Australia. The recent analysis and report jointly commissioned by Early Childhood Australia and ACARA into the linkages between the EYLF and the Australian Curriculum being developed by ACARA considered the question: What does it mean to say the Australian Curriculum builds on the EYLF? Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

14 It concluded that it means: respecting the nature of learners at particular stages in their learning lives recognising that there is a set of foundational dispositions, knowledge and skills that underpin future learning success acknowledging the diversity of starting points that learners bring to next-stage learning allowing teachers to connect their pedagogical practices in the first years of school to those used in prior-to-school contexts. Complementing the EYLF is a further statement, My Time, Our Place Framework for School Age Care in Australia. This Framework, which was endorsed also by the Council of Australian Governments, is designed to contribute to realising its vision that All children have the best start in life to create a better future for themselves and for the nation. My Time, Our Place represents Australia s first national framework for school age care to be used by school age care educators. It aims to extend the principles, practices and outcomes of the EYLF to the contexts and age range of the children and young people who attend school age care settings. The National Quality Standard supports the implementation of My Time, Our Place by ensuring that necessary environments, facilities, staffing arrangements, resources and management structures are in place. The National Quality Agenda in Early Childhood Education and Care presents a range of challenges and opportunities for improving the quality of teaching. The challenges relate to ensuring that the intent of the EYLF and NQS are fully realised including ensuring that an adequate supply of quality teachers is available to put the initiatives in place. On the other hand, the initiatives provide opportunities to capitalise on the broad support for quality improvement focused reform across the sector and to professionalise and increase the status and standing of teachers working in the sector. Most importantly, the initiatives provide opportunities to enable a better future for the youngest and most vulnerable in our society. There is an overlap between ACECQA, AITSL and ATRA's responsibilities that needs to be acknowledged. An individual who wishes to work in an NQF preschool in a jurisdiction where teacher registration is required will need to be registered as a teacher and will also need to have completed a course approved by ACECQA (or be found to hold equivalent qualifications). Not withstanding the outcomes of this project, ACECQA implementing a regulatory framework around approval of initial qualifications for teachers. ACECQA has a role in assessing overseas qualifications for equivalence and will determine someone s qualifications to be equivalent to those of an early childhood teacher required by the Education and Care Services National Regulations. The project team was advised that this work, which has adopted as a starting point the APST and Program Standards and Procedures set out in the Accreditation of ITE Course framework negotiated by AITSL, remains a work in progress. 12 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

15 1.3 The Context for Teaching in the Early Childhood Sector Throughout the consultation, differences between the nature, management and working environment of the Early Childhood and school sectors were raised as issues needing to be considered when applying the APST to the Early Childhood sector. Understanding the range of services and how they operate is an essential first step to determining whether and how the APST may be applied to teachers in the sector. The differences between the school and education and care sectors arise from their historical origins. Schools have been established to support teachers to educate students. In most cases the model for schooling established during the industrial revolution with a single teacher working in a classroom with a class or group of students remains the basis structural unit of schools. While class sizes, the roles and expectations of teachers and the organisation of schools may have changed over time, this basic premise remains the predominant paradigm for teaching in schools and it is only recently that paraprofessional roles have been conceptualised to assist teachers in the educative process. This is different to the way education and care services have evolved. Generally, they have responded to a need and, regardless of their construct, they have been conceptualised around a paraprofessional workforce with the employment of degreequalified teachers being a relatively recent addition. While the numbers of university qualified teachers employed in the Early Childhood and Care sector has increased as a result of the changing paradigm in the sector, that is, the shift from a focus on care to a focus on education, the National Quality Agenda comprising the National Quality Framework has provided significant momentum to these changes. Regulation of the sector has emerged from two foci. In the past, given the initial focus on care, responsibility for regulating the sector was vested in departments of Communities within jurisdictions. The education sectors role in regulation was limited to preschools attached to schools. With the shift to a focus on education the agencies responsible for the two sectors have merged with the formations of departments of Education and Care. However, while policy discontinuities appear to have been reduced, the policy directorates supporting the school and prior-to-school sections of agencies in the main still appear to operate separately, with coordination provided by senior officers and Ministers. This has impacted on consultations for this project, and consequently in some instances it was not clear whether the stakeholders interviewed were providing a jurisdictional, agency or personal perspective on developments within the sector. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

16 1.4 The Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce The Australian Government Productivity Commission analysed and reported (Productivity Commission, 2011) on the range of services in the sector and the constitution of the workforce. It noted (p.11): The early childhood development (ECD) sector provides early childhood education and care (ECEC), child health and family support services. These services are primarily used by children up to school age and their families. ECEC comprises different types of services that are increasingly combining education and care. Examples include long day care, preschool, occasional care, family day care, and outside school hours care. There are more than ECEC services in Australia, attended by over one million children. Long day care is the most popular service, attended by over children. There are nearly long day care centres that are predominantly managed by private, for-profit companies. There are nearly preschools, which are typically managed by government and community organisations, and offer services to over children. Outside school hours care services have registered the fastest growth in the ECEC sector in the past decade, and they now cater for over children. The sector is complex not only in terms of the range and scope of services operating in the field but also in terms of the varying government, private and community interests that are involved within it. These interests bring a layer of complexity to issues of consultation, reform and regulation that are in some ways similar to but in other ways different and foreign to schooling sector stakeholders. The Productivity Commission report throws some light on some of these issues. This complexity is highlighted in Figure 2 below (Productivity Commission, p.16) which sets out the range of management arrangements across the various forms of Early Childhood Education and Care services and in Figure 3 (Productivity Commission 2011, p.78) which reports on the ownership of Early Childhood and Care services across State and Territory jurisdictions. The Productivity Commission also considered the range of roles and responsibilities of Early Childhood workers. It noted (p.57) the following: The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is large, with over service providers employing almost individuals to work with more than 1 million children. The ECEC workforce is overwhelmingly female (97 per cent). The ECEC workforce contains two distinct groups of workers. -- The first group of workers (approximately 30 per cent) consists of directors and teachers. This group is more likely to work full-time, hold high-level tertiary qualifications and have lengthy tenures in ECEC. They often supervise educators in the second group. - - The second group (approximately 70 per cent) comprises educators who commonly work on a part-time or casual basis and hold vocational education and training qualifications. 14 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

17 The Commission noted that the first group of Early Childhood and Care workers comprised directors, teachers and group leaders who are required to possess higher qualifications. These people have a more detailed knowledge of child development and pedagogic practices, and able to effectively lead Early Childhood and Care educators while complying with statutory regulations. Directors and teachers: "play an important leadership role in the ECEC workforce, by providing the management, leadership and governance skills necessary to implement the NQA. This includes a complex range of skills necessary for a range of activities including: the capacity to deal with boards of directors; committees of management; funding mechanisms; industrial relations arrangements and the mentoring of staff." Productivity Commission, 2011, p Per cent Preschools Long day care Occasional care Family day care Outside school hours care Community managed Privately managed Government managed Figure 2: Early Childhood Education and Care Services, by Management Type, a,b,c a Data do not include services managed by non-government schools. b Data include only FDC coordination units. Data are not available for the Northern Territory. c. Occasional care is not currently in scope of the NQF Source: SCRGSP (2011a). Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

18 Per cent NSW VIC QLD SA WA SA TAS NT ACT AUS Government Community Private Figure 3: ECEC services by Ownership typea a Does not include family day care or OSHC. Source: Access Economics (2009) based on SCRGSP (2009) and data supplied by DEEWR and state governments. The second group identified in the Commission s report comprises Early Childhood and Care Educators who provide care and education directly to children. Early Childhood and Care Educators commonly hold either certificate-level qualifications (30 per cent) or no post high school qualification (43 per cent) (ABS 2008a cited in Productivity Commission, 2011, p. 58). The Commission reported (Productivity Commission, p. 84) further on the qualifications of teachers working in the sector (See Table 1 and Table 2). Table 1: Educational attainment of the preschool, long-day-care and occasional care workforce, 2010 ab Preschool Long day care Occasional care % % % Bachelor degree or higher Advanced diploma or diploma Certificate III or IV Less than certificate III No ECEC qualification a Highest level of attained qualification in an ECEC related field. Does not include qualifications that individuals may be currently studying towards but have not yet attained. b Occasional care is not currently in scope of the NQF Source: DEEWR (ndf). 16 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

19 Table 2: Educational attainment of service leaders in preschool and long-day-care, 2010 a Preschool principle, preschool service director, or teacher-in-charge LDC service director % % Bachelor, 4 years Bachelor 3 years Advanced diploma or diploma Certificate III or IV Less than certificate III No ECEC qualification Attainment not known a Highest level of attained qualification in an ECEC related field. Does not include qualifications that preschool and LDC staff may be currently studying towards but have not yet attained. Source: Productivity Commission estimates based on unpublished DEEWR data from the 2010 National ECEC Workforce Census. While the data in Tables 1 and 2 indicate the numbers of teachers holding teaching qualifications working within the sectors, they do not illuminate the proportion of teachers working across the age range of young children. Anecdotal evidence arising from discussions with stakeholders and teachers in focus groups indicates that the great majority of teachers are working with pre-school age children either within preschools or pre-school rooms within long-day-care centres. Consequently, the proportion of teachers working with children aged 0-3 years is believed to be relatively small. This is as much a reflection of universal access funding policies in some jurisdictions that prioritise pre-school provision as it is about the preferences of qualified teachers choosing to work with older children. Nonetheless several degree-qualified teachers involved in focus groups identified as working with children in the birth to 2 years age group. The discussion above provides a broad overview of the contexts in which teachers in the Early Childhood and Care sector work. It reflects the context in which ACECQA is working to implement the EYLF and the NQS. However, while the data presented summarises what is happening at a national level, it masks what is happening at a jurisdictional level as a consequence of the range of local policy settings, beliefs, historical developments and complexities. While jurisdictional contexts are diverse, there is now a national legislative framework requiring the employment of early childhood teachers across all age groups in the sector and a commitment from all stakeholders towards national consistency. These contexts need to be at the forefront in any consideration of the findings of this project. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

20 1.5 The Purpose and Use of Professional Standards An enduring question throughout the consultation was: What is the purpose for applying the APST to teachers in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector? It is easy to identify a range of possible uses for the APST in the sector, for example, to: 1. provide criteria for the accreditation of initial teacher education programs 2. support the registration, and renewal of registration of teachers in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector 3. provide a framework for teacher performance and development 4. recognise the status and standing of exemplary teachers 5. provide a basis for remunerating teachers 6. provide for a more unified profession across schools and Early Childhood Education and Care settings. However, these purposes exist as concepts for teachers working in the sector. A key challenge into the future is the development of a program logic to support the implementation of teacher standards within the sector in ways that support teachers in their day-to-day work rather than being seen as an added burden that takes them away from what they understand is their real role, namely, engaging with young children to support and nurture their development. 1.6 Structure of this Report The remainder of the report is structured in five parts: Methodology Mapping of the EYLF and NQS against the APST Analysis of stakeholder views The outcomes of focus group sessions Discussion and conclusions. 18 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

21 2 Methodology The methodological requirements for the project were set out in the Consultation brief. They were stated as follows: 3.2 The engagement will predominantly be a desktop exercise, supplemented by telephone interviews with key informants, and consultation with early childhood teachers through focus group workshops. The focus of the exercise is advising on links between existing early childhood standards and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, support required for implementation and strategies to build ownership In addition to undertaking desktop research the review will include meetings with AITSL, ACECQA and regulatory authority officers and up to ten interviews, of approximately one hour duration each, with an individual/organisation to be identified in the project initiation stage. 4.3 Consultation with early childhood teachers will involve up to five focus group workshops of approximately one-hour duration each held in jurisdictions to be identified in the project initiation stage. The jurisdiction will nominate up to ten early childhood teachers and five jurisdictional representatives (i.e. employers, regulatory authority and union) to attend the local focus group workshop. 4.4 The focus of this consultation are teachers in settings with children birth to 4 years but will also include, for consistency and connection with school setting, teachers in settings with children 5 to 8 years Desktop audit of documentation A desktop audit of documentation was undertaken to provide a basis for mapping the range of standards being implemented within jurisdictions across Australia and to identify the range of support documentation and resources available to those responsible for implementing quality initiatives in each sector. This audit was in part informed by a scan of online resources and documentation and by advice received from those stakeholders who participated in teleconferences and in focus group meetings. The scan of online resources encompassed documentation publicly available from the COAG Reform Council, AITSL, ACECQA and DEEWR websites as well as the websites of the State and Territory jurisdictions. Stakeholder input was valuable in identifying gaps in the audit and focusing effort on key documents. The initial and prime focus of the audit was on mapping strategic documents in the early childhood and care sector against the APST. The reason for first focusing on this aspect of the desktop audit was that unless there was a high degree of coherence between the quality requirements of the National Quality Framework and the APST the remaining questions and the consultation with stakeholders and teachers in the Early Childhood Education and Care sector were largely irrelevant. The outcomes of the desktop audit are discussed in detail in a later stage of this report. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

22 2.2 Stakeholder teleconferences Stakeholders in jurisdictions were consulted via teleconference and in one case via a face-to-face meeting. In total fourteen teleconferences and one face-to-face meeting were conducted over the course of the project. The participants in the teleconferences were identified by AITSL on the advice of state and territory jurisdictions. In the main the participants comprised officers with responsibility for oversight, policy and regulation across the sectors, academics working in the early childhood field and representatives of Early Childhood Australia. The list of people consulted is attached at Appendix 1. The form of the teleconferences followed an Interview Protocol comprising a series of questions being provided to participants prior to the teleconference (see Appendix 2). The protocol was designed to provide both direction and structure to the teleconferences. With the permission of stakeholders, teleconferences were recorded where possible and practicable. These recordings were not transcribed rather they were used to verify the notes taken during the teleconference. In a number of cases the notes were provided to participants for confirmation and further elaboration. 2.3 Focus group meetings The third aspect of the consultation involved focus group meetings to garner the views and opinions of early childhood teachers. Jurisdictions hosting focus groups included New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria. Attendance in the focus groups was by way of invitation from the organising jurisdiction. Each focus group involved between twelve to eighteen participants. Participants in each of the focus groups included teachers working in the public and private early childhood and care sector, union officials, representatives of Early Childhood Australia, and of State Government departments. The meetings were of three hours duration and followed a prescribed format, which enabled participants to work in small groups of four to 5 participants to consider and report back on a range of predetermined questions (see Appendix 3). Each meeting comprised three sessions, which were each followed by a plenary where issues identified with respect to each question were highlighted. Each small group also made notes of the issues discussed and these were collected at the end of the meeting to provide a tangible record of issues discussed. 20 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

23 3 Desktop Audit of policy documents and resources 3.1 Identification of Key Documents There is a wide range of policy documents and resources relevant to teacher quality initiatives across school and prior-to-school age settings. While the primary source materials for this project comprise the APST, the NQS and the EYLF there are additional materials developed to support their implementation in policy and practice. The following sections report on documents identified to support the primary source documents for this project The APST The AITSL website (AITSL, 2011b) notes that: The Standards align with the career pathways of the teaching profession and form the basis for attracting, preparing, developing and supporting teachers. Through this alignment, the Standards will be used to form the basis for: accrediting initial teacher education programs; nationally consistent registration at the proficient career stage; renewal of registration; and recognising and certifying exemplary teacher practice at the highly accomplished and lead career stages. Consequently the key policy and support documents developed by AITSL to support the implementation of APST in the school sector are: Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia, Standards and Procedures, April 2011 Nationally Consistent Approach to Teacher Registration including renewal of registration, October 2011 Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers, Principles and major features, October 2011 In addition to these documents AITSL has developed and made available on its website Illustrations of Practice comprising videos, annotated documents and work samples to illuminate what the standards would look like in a range of contexts. The Illustrations of Practice are designed to assist to teachers situate their own practice within the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The Illustrations of practice were being developed against a matrix comprising on one axis the focus areas of the standards and on the other career stages, and a range of fields (ICT, literacy and numeracy), contexts (e.g., ATSI, Low SES) and stages of schooling which includes ECE to Year 3 of schooling. While expansive, the range of illustrations of practice does not go to a sufficient level of detail to demonstrate, for example, what an Early Childhood Education and Care teacher would be expected to demonstrate against the Lead Teacher Standards. Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL,

24 3.1.2 The EYLF and NQS While the EYLF and NQS are primary documents for this project the range of support documents give meaning to them and illuminate any mapping of them against the APST. The Educators Guide to the Early Years Learning Framework (Council of Australian Governments, 2010) is designed to support individuals and collegial teams to implement the Framework. It notes (p.4) that: The Guide is designed to be used in interactive ways to promote in-depth conversations and thinking over a sustained period about the concepts which build the Framework. It is not intended to be read in one sitting. Rather, individuals and teams of educators may find it helpful to dip into the Guide at different points, to focus on one section at a time, and to begin with the section of most interest to them. Most readers will find it helpful to read the Framework before turning to the Guide. Resources supporting the implementation of the NQS were identified in Figure 1. These were the Guide to the National Quality Standards (ACECQA, 2011) and the Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan (ACECQA, 2011d). The purpose of the Guide to the National Quality Standards (p. 16): is to assist services to complete the self-assessment and quality improvement planning process by evaluating their current practices and identifying which practices they can or should improve. The Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan recognises that the most effective quality improvement strategies come from within. It supports services develop a Quality Improvement Plan which must be submitted within three months of the services approval. The Quality Improvement Plan is an integral part of the process of assessing the quality of services. 3.2 Mapping the EYLF and NQS Against the APST While a requirement of this project is a mapping of the NQS and EYLF against the APST, it is worth noting at this point that each of these initiatives has a different purpose and audience: The APST sets out the knowledge, practices and professional engagement of teachers throughout their career The EYLF establishes principles, practices and outcomes for young children in prior-to-school age settings The NQS delineates quality areas, standards and elements for regulation of Early Childhood Education and Care services. Consequently any mapping of one against another is a mapping of philosophical intent, rather than a mapping to determine areas of commonality of outcome. These issues are discussed in more detail in the context of issues raised in the consultation. Secondary source documents comprise the range of documents supporting the implementation of these initiatives and the resources available to teachers. In addition to these documents there are the range of Approved Alternative Curriculum Frameworks and other policies and documents in place or under development within State and Territory jurisdictions. 22 Application of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers to teachers in early childhood education and care settings, AITSL, 2012

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