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Reflections on a challenging year: a message from our CE

1 December 2020

As I reflect on 2020, it is safe to say this is a year that won’t be forgotten quickly!

Australia is no stranger to bushfires. But we entered the year battling what would prove to be one of the most devastating bushfire seasons of our time. After many months, the bushfires were finally extinguished in late February. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic was fast approaching our shores.

Thankfully the South Australian Government has acted quickly to reduce the spread of the virus each time there’s been a risk to the community. But this caused us to change how we undertake our regulatory activities.

Due to the pandemic, our normal work was suspended twice: from March to mid-July and in November during the brief lockdown to control the Parafield COVID-19 cluster.

Due to physical distancing requirements, this temporarily affected assessment and rating visits to education and care services (including OSHC) and school reviews. However, monitoring visits were replaced with tele-monitoring calls to ensure education and care services continued to be supported.

Although this was a big change for all involved, we have been excited to receive positive feedback (both internally and externally) about tele-monitoring and its effectiveness.

We also appreciate the flexibility of educators and teachers to adapt to changes in how they work and how we regulate.

Additionally, it highlighted how well we can all work together during times of uncertainty. The collaboration and mutual support between everyone is fantastic to see in these extraordinary times.

I’d also like to showcase how well education and care services in South Australia are doing, according to data compiled and analysed by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

As at 30 September, 86% of services in South Australia were rated as Meeting NQS or above (at 1 January 2019, it was 78%). South Australia continues to demonstrate its commitment to quality with 47% of our services rated as Exceeding NQS.

It confirms that we continue to have high-quality education and care services, allowing families to have access to the best education and care services for their children. This is commendable, especially given the challenges faced this year.

Even though 2020 was a testing year, it is has proved to be a successful one. As we look forward to the new year, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season. We look forward to working with you in 2021.

Chris Chatburn