Many opinions exist on the use of agency casuals in the early childhood and OSHC sectors. An analysis conducted by a specialist educational staffing solutions group, anzuk education, compared the impact of agency use with overall NQS ratings. The aim was to prove that the organisation in question provides a direct benefit to the sector by showcasing a correlation between agency staff usage and its impact on increased overall NQS ratings.
Over a 12-month period (June 2017 to May 2018) anzuk supplied approximately 800 early childhood and OSHC services with casual staff. In the two states that they operate there are approximately 9000 registered early childhood and OSHC services meaning anzuk supplied approximately 9% of these services. Recently anzuk compared NQS data from the national register with their own supply data and this is some of their findings:
Overall across all 3 centre based services those that work with anzuk perform far better than the average.
The difference across long day care which is anzuk’s largest market is significant.
Kindergarten/Preschools perform higher in terms of NQS ratings when compared to Long Day Care and OSHC but those working with anzuk still perform better than the average.
The OSHC sector performs lower in terms of NQS ratings compared to both Long Day Care and Kindergarten/Preschool. However those working with anzuk perform significantly better than the average with only 15% working towards and 85% either Meeting or Exceeding.
70% of the top 10 users of anzuk casual staff held which were all Long Day Care held either Exceeding NQS or Excellent ratings.
When compared to the data released by ACECQA (below) it is undeniable that those services that chose to use anzuk Education are typically of a higher standard than the national averages.
The information also highlights that 70% of the top 10 users hold Exceeding ratings thus there is some evidence to suggest that high quality services will use anzuk or other agency staff heavily in times of greater need as a way of maintaining certain standards.
To be more conclusive in this matter, a broader study across all states and using data from more agencies would be required. Given the limitations of this study, there is not enough evidence to conclude that high quality services choose to use anzuk ahead of other agencies, or that the volume of use of agency staff directly correlates to higher NQS ratings. However, what is conclusive is that many high-quality early childhood and OSHC services use agency casuals and it is very suggestive that this can be a means by which they maintain high standards in times of significant need translating into high NQS ratings.
Note: ACECQA data used is from NQF Snapshot 2018 Q2 https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-08/NQFSnapshot_Q22018.PDF