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Your first step into early childhood education & care

Child Care Ratings

Education and care services across Australia are assessed and rated by their state and territory regulatory authority.

All the approved services are assessed against the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard.


 Educational program and practice

 Your child is supported to participate in play and learning

 Children’s health and safety

 Your child is protected from illness and hazards

 Physical environment

 Your child plays in a safe and well maintained environment

 Staffing arrangements

 There are enough qualified staff to give your child the attention they need

 Relationships with children

 Your child is made to feel supported and welcomed

 Collaborative partnerships with families and communities

 Local community involvement and respect for the beliefs and values of families

 Governance and leadership

 Your child is cared for in a positive and well managed environment

They are given a rating for each quality area (above) and an overall rating based on these results. You should consider all these ratings when choosing a service

Most services will receive one of the three middle ratings below.

Significant Improvement Required

Service does not meet one of the seven quality areas or a section of the legislation and there is a significant risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children.

The regulatory authority will take immediate action.

Working Towards National Quality Standard

Service provides a safe education and care program, but there are one or more areas identified for improvement.

Meeting National Quality Standard

Service meets the National Quality Standard.

Service provides quality education and care in all seven quality areas.

Exceeding National Quality Standard

Service goes beyond the requirements of the National Quality Standard in at least four of the seven quality areas.


Service promotes exceptional education and care, demonstrates sector leadership, and is committed to continually improving.

This rating can only be awarded by ACECQA.

Services rated Exceeding National Quality Standard in all 7 Quality Areas may choose to apply for this rating.

You might also come across a service with the following classification, ‘Provisional - The service has not yet been assessed'. This is because services are generally allowed 6 months or so after approval prior to being assessed, and during this time they show this rating.

See our checklist on how to spot quality on your first visit to an early childhood service.

If you wish to know more about the Assessment and Ratings process, read our resource on the topic.

More information