The initial survey was designed by Dr Sarah Alexander with assistance from three ECE practitioners who provided guidance and input into question selection and wording. The initial survey was then trialled with 10 people who worked in different ECE services in the sector. Before a new survey goes live, at least 10 randomly selected people who work in different ECE services are asked to complete the survey for testing purposes and to provide feedback before the survey is finalised.
The main topics or areas under which the questions fall are:
- Wages, benefits, and employment conditions
- The quality of the ECE setting for children, including things like whether respondents feel they have time to develop individual relationships with children
- Working conditions and wellbeing, including stress level, workplace injury, workplace bullying and employer-employee relationships
- Demographics and personal characteristics, which includes qualification status, gender, type of service they work at, geographical area they live in, and union membership.
Each survey can differ in what specific questions are included, depending on whether there is a need for information. For example insight into the proportion of people who are union members and why they do or do not hold membership may only be necessary to gain every second or third survey.
In the wake of the measles outbreak in 2019 it was decided to include a new topic question in the 2020 survey asking respondents to indicate if they were immunised against several well-known vaccine-preventable infectious diseases.
Sections of the results are analysed separately and used for our information in identifying issues and changes in the sector.
We also prepare small easy-to-read reports on the findings related to different topics and these are made available on our website for survey respondents and the public.
Participation in the online survey is voluntary. No incentive or payment is offered. There is no obligation on the part of any person to engage in the survey. Participants are provided with a link to the online survey. They can spend anywhere between 8 to 20 minutes on the survey (the average is around 10 - 11 minutes) depending on how much in the way of comments they wish to contribute.
The survey is advertised via a call for participants that goes out on our mailing list and social media channels.
Numbers participating in the survey have increased each time it has been carried out and this suggests two things to us: people see value in contributing the survey and people trust the survey.
We are committed to protecting participant identity and protecting participants from harm. Participants are not asked for their names and they may do the survey anonymously.
Very occasionally a survey respondent has asked to withdraw their response form after it has been submitted. While this is difficult because participants can complete the survey anonymously, this request is always met if it is possible to identify their form based on any notes or copy that the survey respondent may have kept or their recollection of their responses. No individual forms are ever shared with survey respondents or published electronically, in print or in any form.
No one is compelled to participate. People can choose not to do the survey after receiving or clicking on the online survey link