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Social distancing no barrier to supporting you

4 May 2020
Thank you all for your valued work for children, families and communities during this challenging time. Our authorised officers appreciate the flexibility and commitment of educators to adapt to changes in how they work and how we regulate.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing requirements, the Education Standards Board (ESB) recently changed how it conducts monitoring visits with early childhood services. 

Previously these have been conducted by authorised officers on-site. The focus has been on providing information and support to service staff. 

We already knew that services valued these visits. So to continue this support, the ESB introduced tele-monitoring. This has been very well received by the sector. 

The intent of tele-monitoring is to stay in contact with early childhood services. It is about providing reassurance, guidance and support, and monitoring continuous improvement.

Authorised officer Rebecca Hillson said the organisation had tailored it for the current situation.

“We are focusing on supporting services with any concerns or support needs they have about health and hygiene, health-care plans, risk-minimisation plans and communication plans, immunisation (in relation to the changes that came into effect on 1 January 2020) and quality improvement since the last assessment and rating,” she said.

COVID-19 is a highly infectious disease. SA Health has recommended using good hygiene to limit the spread of infection. So this is a focus for the ESB.

“During tele-monitoring phone calls, authorised officers will ask you about how you are managing the challenges of COVID-19, particularly in regard to hygiene practices used in your service,” said Rebecca.

“It is useful for you to still consider quality improvement during this time—what this looks like now and what it may look like when health restrictions are relaxed or lifted.” 

Authorised officers can provide support and guidance and can do follow-up calls if requested.

One service that recently had a tele-monitoring session was Guardian Childcare & Education St Clair. Lisa Littlewood, Centre Manager, said the experience was “helpful and supportive” and focused on challenges her service, and the industry as a whole, are facing at this time.

“I think this is a great initiative and a good way to touch base about topical issues,” she said. 

“I would love to see this type of monitoring happening in the future to keep in touch with ESB on a more frequent basis. As regular feedback always helps us to improve and keep us thinking and moving forward.”

The Education Standards Board suspended it assessment and rating visits in March because of social distancing requirements. We will restart these once it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to stay in touch with services through tele-monitoring.