Imagine if we thought of our Quality Improvement Plan as our cycle of planning. Would it make a difference to the way we engage with it? I often have questions from Centre Managers/Directors about the Quality Improvement Plan and ‘how to write a good one’, and ‘what the Assessors will be looking for’. Today when asked that question, I simply asked the Centre Manager I was speaking with, what she thinks the QIP is for (Assessors aside – sorry Assessors). There was a long pause as she considered what the document is for. She said ‘I guess it’s, so we can achieve our goals’. We then talked about how she managed to achieve goals if the goals ‘live’ inside the very long Quality Improvement Plan template (which we don’t need to use). We again hit a snag where we realised that her cycle of planning was not visible to her or to others. The children’s voices, team’s voices, families’ voices or her voice were not evident or captured.
So... we spent time unpacking the process of Self-Assessing and Quality Improvement Planning and came up with a few ideas…
Creating a Self-Assessment Process.
Firstly, thinking of S-A and QIP as two separate processes were helpful. You have to assess before you plan your goals. How do you do this? If the QIP is your cycle of planning, how do you ensure that there is a cycle and that you are taking regular observations, including both strengths and areas for improvement? Do you have a system in place? Sometimes I think the QIP has been misunderstood, similar I guess to the cycle of planning. When you sit down and make sure all the components of the cycle are covered, it’s a lot easier to stay on track. So, just like the cycle of planning our QIP and self-assessment should have a process.
Some ideas for this could include:
- Creating a system that you follow to ensure your S-A and QIP are two separate processes and are active
- Pull your goals out of the document and make them visible to everyone and review them at least monthly
- Room teams could review the goals weekly and provide updates and inform the progress notes
- Team meeting agendas could include a review of QIP goals each time you meet
- Have fewer goals. It is much easier to achieve 1 goal in each area than many. For example, could the goal be broader and cover a standard rather than an element? This way you can also encourage and facilitate creativity and innovation from your team. If they can work towards a goal but have some freedom in their space to do that, you will see new and fresh ideas. https://www.acecqa.gov.au/assessment/quality-improvement-plans
- Families, children and team members to be included on a scheduled and spontaneous basis
- Treating our goals as projects
- Educational teams could review goals or projects weekly on a form or document (or a project book) and pass on to the centre leader
- Setting up an accountability buddy to keep you on track
- Plan out a year and how you will Self-Assess across all the areas/elements and standards over this time. What opportunities are scheduled to discuss these areas? How are you documenting this?
Delving deeply into our goals –
Working on fewer goals with more intent and focus will see these goals achieved and exceeded. Think big with your goals! Set goals to exceed the standard and then you will achieve more. Spend time focused on these goals and drive the whole team to be involved in this process. For example, if you are going to review your Philosophy, spend 3 months doing this.
Imagine again for a moment that you and your whole team know the goals you are working on and you are all actively discussing them and working to achieve them. One way to measure your success in this is to aim for the team to be able to articulate the goals from the QIP and also articulate how they contribute to your Self-Assessment against the National Quality Framework.
From GOAL to STRENGTHS
The ultimate goal would be for areas for improvement to shift to become areas of strength. When setting goals, consider how you would make this area a strength and what you need to do to get there. Is there someone who would ring you or touch base with you on a regular basis as part of your process to keep you on track?
First thing’s first, set a goal to create and document a Self-Assessment Process AND a Quality Improvement Planning Process, or feel free to reach out so I can support you.
Be Assessment ready every day!