"A quality assurance programme is essential to the success of any business. To make a difference, good quality practice must be adopted by senior management and instilled within an organisation's culture. Quality is not just about implementing a system or working towards a set standard. It is an attitude, a way of working, which not only improves service but also enhances the way people work and live".
(Institute of Total Quality Management)
Since 2004 when the nursery first opened, we have been following a Quality Assurance Programme (QuILT) developed especially for early years, which will examine and continuously improve the way we do things. Setting targets, measuring service and rewarding staff performance will be at the heart of everything we do. If we can retain motivated and skilled staff, this will have positive benefits for your children.
The nursery is currently enrolled in two quality programmes:
QuILT (Staff, Operations, Curriculum)
Scores on the Doors (Food Hygiene)
QuILT (Quality Improvement in Learning and Teaching)
Quality Improvement in Learning and Teaching, or “QuILT” was originally developed by Brighton and Hove Local Education Authority. It is now being used in a number of local authorities. “QuILT” is a modular Quality Assurance and Improvement scheme for settings that provide care and education for children in the Early Years Foundation Stage. QuILT’s ethos is to provide a supportive way for practitioners to continually develop their practice and improve the quality of children’s early care and learning.
The programme is divided up into three monthly modules which set out to examine and improve every aspect of the nursery operation. The modules are as follows:
- Aims, Values and Principles (previously Aims and Objectives)
- Equal Opportunities
- Learning and Teaching Strategies
- The Learning Experiences (previously The Curriculum and Learning Experiences)
- Observation, Assessment and Planning
- Parental Partnership, Home and Community Liaison
- The Physical Environment
- Relationships and Interactions
At the end of each module the nursery is graded either fail, pass or credit. I am happy to say that the Wishing Tree has credits in all modules. The advantage of QuILT is that it is an ongoing programme, such that when all nine modules have been completed, the programme begins again with the first module.
QuILT supports the view that where practitioners are engaged in systematic, honest and informed reflection on what they do, the quality of provision for the children will be enhanced. In this way, standards of good practice are achieved within an ethos of continual development.
QuILT supports practitioners in becoming more self-reflective, better equipped to explain what they do clearly to others, and more confident in sharing their work with parents and the wider community.
QuILT is a modular scheme based on a ‘rolling programme’ or cycle of reflective practice. Nine modules are worked on over a possible period of three years. This supports a ‘step by step’ model of development. Each module is supported, moderated and achieved separately. These modules reflect Pascal and Bertram’s ‘10 Dimensions of Quality’ (1996).
The moderation panel consists of a Local Authority Early Years Adviser, Primary Adviser or equivalent, a minimum of three QuILT Consultants and additional advisory colleagues who have contributed to the process in settings. Levels of achievement are addressed by both the process of the quality improvement and the outcomes or standards achieved in the setting.
As a nursery owner, nursery worker or as a parent or child, a quality accreditation scheme has far reaching benefits.
Benefits for Children
- Develops, encourages and maintains high standards in care and education for the benefit of children and their families.
- Research shows that good quality childcare benefits children by positively affecting cognitive, language, social and emotional development.
Benefits for Staff
- Creates a positive culture of continuous improvement, thereby increasing staff involvement and commitment to team building.
- Delivers positive benefits for staff motivation and empowerment, promoting increased retention of staff.
Benefits for Parents
- Provides a kite-mark to inform parental choice of childcare and reassurance and confidence in the quality of the setting.
- Encourages and facilitates partnerships with parents in the care and early education of their child.