Childcare centres aren't being checked regularly enough by regulators, with 360 Queensland centres still rated as "working towards" national quality benchmarks, a peak lobby group says.

But the sector says the ratings - which tell parents how centres compare in areas like health and safety, staffing and educational programs - aren't everything and they should trust their instincts on what makes a good centre.

 

 

With some Queensland centres last rates six years ago, Early Childhood Australia chief executive Sam Page said a lot could change over the years and more regular checks would give parents more confidence in the ratings.

"Our preference would be that the initial intention of checking services every three years would be implemented," she said.

"I know that regulatory authorities will say they need a lot more resourcing to do that.

"But a lot can happen in three years.

 

Van Kurz, Anna Madden and Ruby Baguley-Gela playing at Everton Park Child Care which has been rated excellent by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority. Photo: Lachie Millard
Van Kurz, Anna Madden and Ruby Baguley-Gela playing at Everton Park Child Care which has been rated excellent by the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority. Photo: Lachie Millard

 

"You can have a complete turnover in staff, the service can be sold, so a regulatory visit every three years would be good."

She said there had been so much growth in the sector that they had trouble just keeping up with rating the new centres opening.

Centres are rated as 'Excellent', 'Exceeding', 'Meeting', 'Working Towards' and 'Significant Improvement Required'.

 

 

The Education Department monitor services rated as 'Significant Improvement Required' and makes suggestions for improvements at centres rating as 'Working Towards', which is not considered a fail.

Australian Childcare Alliance Queensland president Majella Fitzsimmons, whose group represents long daycare centres, said the ratings confused parents, as a service that was "working towards" the framework was still good quality.

"I think it's very subjective at times," she said of the ratings.

"I always say to parents at the end of the day that services are compliant... (and) a parent will know a quality service."

She said parents should visit centres at different times of the day to observe if they had concerns.

 

 

Originally published as FULL LIST: Search how your childcare centre is rated


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