Q. How long do I have to complete the evaluation form?
A. Once you’ve bought the QfA pack, there is a 2-year time limit set for completing the evaluation and submitting it for assessment.
Q. I don’t want to waste my time and money, can someone support me through it?
A. Unfortunately, we can’t provide a mentoring service. When we designed QfA we decided that a provider knows their own business best and has responsibility for quality monitoring and improvement plans. However, if you start filling in the evaluation and get stuck, or you’re not sure about something, please contact the QfA co-ordinator via (email@example.com). You can either ask a question or send the evaluation for a quick check to see if you’re on the right track.
Q. How long does it take to complete the evaluation?
A. This really depends on how much time you can commit to working on it. We have some evaluations returned just a month after buying the pack, some take about three months – which seems to be the usual.
Q. How long does it take to be assessed and get the result?
A. Once you email your completed evaluation to us we send an invoice for the assessment. Once payment is received, our group of associate assessors are invited to express interest for the work. This will take a couple of weeks, and then you should hear from the assessor when you can arrange the assessment visit date and time.
Q. Who is the best person to complete the evaluation?
A. This really depends on each provider. It may be the person in charge/manager, or the registered person/owner. It may be helpful to delegate sections to members of staff to complete as part of their own development. This would create a team response and would certainly show how a provider values staff, and how they work together and share findings and information.
Q. We really want to improve our service and get the best QfA result we can, but the assessor wouldn’t tell us what we needed to do to get a higher result next year.
A. Assessors are just that – assessors, not advisors. Of course, we all want the best care for the children, but while assessors all have excellent qualifications and experience in early years childcare and/or play work, they are in your setting to make a quality judgement about what you are doing. Sometimes an assessor may make a recommendation about something for you to consider within your practice – but it is for you to consider it and decide whether or not it will work in your service. Remember that the guidance section in QfA has some suggestions, prompts and links to information about meeting and improving outcomes for children in your care.
Q. The assessor gave us ‘Highly Commended’ last year and we were so disappointed this year to achieve only ‘Pass Plus’, even though we feel we’ve worked just as hard and achieved similar outcomes.
A. It’s important to remember that achieving a quality assurance award is a huge achievement in itself and shows that you are working hard to keep improving. The assessor will have given you feedback at the re-accreditation assessment visit and within your assessed evaluation form. This feedback should help you understand why the result was perhaps not what you expected. Year on year, situations change; staff changes, management changes, and even different intakes of children and their parents will have some impact on the daily operational practice. However, it’s really important to understand that re-accreditation is not just a matter of staying still with your evaluation. The assessor needs to be able to see what you’ve done to make progress on the action plans you set last year and what improvement plans you’ve identified for the coming year.
Q. Why didn’t the re-accreditation assessment visit last as long as the initial assessment visit last year?
A. Re-accreditation is largely dependent on your written re-evaluation. The assessor needs to see what you’ve done to make progress on the action plans you set last year, and what improvement plans you’ve identified for the coming year. The re-accreditation visit should reinforce your written submission and unless there is reason to spend more time in your setting, for example, by asking more questions to confirm any matters arising, then it means the assessor is clear about your practice and needs no further confirmation.
Q. Do you remind us when our re-accreditation is due?
A. The certificate has the date of expiry on it. The QfA coordinator will send a few gentle reminder’s starting 3 months prior to your expiry date.
Q. Why should I undertake QfA when I already have so many other evaluations to complete?
A. QfA is designed to link with Care Inspectorate Wales, (CIW) regulatory requirements and the demands that are made on you by other regulators and local authorities. Why do two separate annual reviews when you can use one to inform the other? This is also made easier because QfA is completed in a Word document format so you can easily transfer information to suit your evaluation needs, whether it is for QfA or other external agencies. Apart from the above, achieving QfA will show the people whose children you care for how you continuously work to be the best you can be for their children
Q. Why wouldn’t the assessor tell us our result at the end of the assessment visit?
A. The assessor will usually have a good idea about the final result a provision is likely to receive. However, once the assessor starts writing up the report, they find that their judgement overall may shift slightly. They need time to consolidate all the evidence they’ve been given and all they’ve seen at the visit before making a final considered and fair judgement.
Q. Will we have the same assessor next year?
A. You may do, but as we ask our group of associate assessors for expressions of interest for each assessment, it depends on their circumstances at the time. A variety of assessment approaches helps ensure a fair and independent assessment.
Q. The re-accreditation form doesn’t have space to write about everything our provision offers. How will the assessor know what we offer?
A. Re-accreditations concentrate on the improvements/changes you have made since your last assessment. However, the assessor will spend time observing your practice and asking questions, she will also present opportunities for you to discuss any additional information, all these factors will aid her overall judgement.
Download our our Terms and Conditions here, if you have any other questions about QfA please email (firstname.lastname@example.org)