Management Consulting

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Do you have a permanent headache and furrow in your brow? Can’t sleep with worry? Don’t know what you don’t know? Well, you are not alone but you do need to act – children’s lives depend on you.

Astute Early Years Specialists understand the complexities service providers face daily. Your service has a unique context and so needs an individual solution to the challenges you experience. This can be multiplied if you have more than one service or can become very complex if your services have challenges or contexts that differ from each other.

Practical solutions that will increase your profit and do what’s best for children in your service. Yes, this is possible, in fact it’s vital for a thriving profitable early years business.


We can help with:
  • New service acquisition and establishment
  • Strategic and business planning
  • Annual operational planning
  • National Quality Framework solutions
  • Human resources assistance
  • Designing a good governance approach for you and your team
  • Problem solving and operational know how
  • Service management

New service acquisition


New service acquisition and establishment

Are you a new owner, school Principal or P&C thinking about starting or building your own service, then congratulations! The rewards for owning and operating an early years service are immense, however there are a few hidden gems you will need to learn along the way – most often these only become apparent once you begin the program management and transition to operating the service.

It really can be sink or swim! But don’t worry, having built, acquired and opened more than 200 services in our careers, we’ve got this.

Call us if you need help & support:
  • Centre design, including contemporary and innovative learning spaces
  • Profit and loss forecasting
  • Service approval transition management
  • Contractual obligation support
  • Human resources assistance
  • Marketing and community engagement
  • Systems support


Strategic planning


Strategic and business planning

Do you have one service, two services or multiple services and know you need a strategic and business plan but don’t know where to start? Do you want to grow or downsize your service portfolio? We’ve got this!

We will work with approved providers and your teams to get you from thinking and operating day to day to being planned and purposeful in all that you do.


We ensure you think about all aspects of your business through this process including financial forecasts, systems, people, marketing, families and children.

Our strategic and business planning covers the following:
  • Current state analysis including a good hard look at your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT)
  • Visions for the future
  • Deciding on the future
  • Actions for the future


We don’t leave it at that though, we help assign the actions for the future. We work with you to make sure you have the right people doing the right thing at the right time. Once you have that sorted, we can pop in from time to time to keep on eye on progress or we can be the program managers for the whole shebang! You choose what level of involvement and service that suits you best.



National Quality Framework and continuous improvement solutions

Don’t know your NQF from your NQS? You wouldn’t believe how many services we see and professionals that we meet, that don’t know the difference. Sometimes we meet people that have never read the standards don’t know the National Law or haven’t seen the Early Years Learning Framework.

We don’t think that is good enough if you want to own and operate an early learning service or if you are in day to day change (or, work with children). We can help in understanding the legal frameworks and requirements for you and your team. This will include coaching the team through the process to ensure a great result and a quality program for children and families.

It’s vital that you know the National Quality Framework is made up of three individual documents: the National Quality Standard (NQS), the National Law (2011) and the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).

It’s equally vital that you have read these documents and they are in use in your service every day.

Want to know what we can do to ensure you’ve got this then check out the following on our website:

Alternatively, talk to us about our full service management.


Human resources


Human resources assistance

The single biggest and best (or worst) investment a service can make is in its people.

We have a saying here at Astute: People First! And we don’t apologise for this, because without great people in your service, your service can’t be great.


We will look after all aspects of the following people management for you:
  • Service director recruitment and selection
  • Coaching the director in choosing the right people for the team
  • Induction program for new team members
  • Learning needs analysis for team members
  • Team member appraisal and performance evaluation
  • Poor performance management
  • Investigations
  • Team satisfaction survey
  • Record keeping
  • Succession planning.

Talk to us about how we can support you.

Want something that’s not here – ask us and we will do our best to help out. If we can’t help directly, we will source great support and advice from our trusted friends.




Designing a good governance approach for you and your team

Governance refers to the policies and practices put in place to support and guide the service owner and director, and the continuous improvement and monitoring of these policies and practices.

Not to be confused with the policies and procedures required under the National Quality Framework, a good governance approach will provide accountability, transparency and fairness for all.

We can help with:
  • Establishing a cyclic, consistent and predictable meeting schedule
  • Supporting the monitoring and compliance of National Law and other mandatory laws for your business
  • Improving human resources data collection and people management
  • Improve and clarify communication channels and information flow
  • Clarifying roles, responsibilities and decision making accountabilities.


Experienced and knowledgeable within multiple governance frameworks, Astute can help you choose the right model for your service and its people.


Problem solving


Problem solving and operational know how

Need an operational review? Don’t know what you need, can’t quite put your finger on the problem. Know deep down things aren’t ‘just right’ or are you new to this and just need support with your annual operational plan? Maybe you have so much going on that you need us to take the reins for a while!

We will work with you to get to the bottom of your problem, big or small, and then help you to build a plan for the future.

Here are a few things we can do:
  • A complete assessment of your service’s current state and provide you with a ‘warts and all’ report
  • Develop your AOP ‘Annual Operational Plan’
  • Competitor analysis
  • Revenue / income review and improvement plan
  • Expenses analysis and reduction plan
  • Project management of new system implementation
  • Market analysis and local area marketing improvement plan
  • Opinions matter program- new, existing, exiting families and community opinions all matter
  • People analysis and competency matrix
  • Critical incident and investigations management
  • Workplace health & safety assessment




Don’t see your problem here, ask us – if we don’t know the answer we will use of network of trusted friends to find the answer or find someone that can help you.


Service management


Service management

Tired, sick, want an extended holiday or just need a break from running your own service to do other things? Happy to hand over the reins but not the bank account details?

Short term or long term support is our thing. We have two select and serve options.

  1. Operational and business management
  2. Educational and practice management

Our ops and business managers and education and practice managers will assess your needs and tailor a support package to suit your service and your budget. Some of the types of tasks they will do are.




Astute has been extremely professional and supportive towards our service. Mel has gone above and beyond and worked around the clock to support our team.  

Our service loves the EarlyEd Academy. It is user friendly and is developed to inspire and shape all services and their team, no matter what skill level we are all at. 

From the moment we met Mel from Astute, we felt comfortable with her warm and friendly presence. Mel is professional, takes pride in sharing her experiences and knowledge. We are lucky to have had the opportunity to work closely with Mel and her team.

Simply Sunshine Child Care

Astute, and Mel in particular, really helped me to get my head around my position as Educational Leader at my centre.  I had been in the role for a couple of years with no real direction or clear idea of what my job involved.  Mel worked with me and gave me clear guidelines and processes to put into place to effectively fulfil my role.  I am now an important part of our leadership team and am enjoying empowering the other teachers to consistently reflect on and improve their practice. 

Gena Smith Teacher and Educational Leader at Next Steps Kindy

“Astute,” which derives from the Latin noun astus, meaning “craft, suggests cleverness, mental sharpness, and diplomatic skill”

Every child you teach will teach you something new about yourself and your teaching style.

Teaching is not a skill one collects when you graduate and pick up your qualification; it’s so much more than formal qualifications.

It doesn’t matter what position you hold, what matters is how you hold that position.  That’s true leadership.