The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to improve the quality of early childhood education and care services in Australia.
Providing children with quality experiences early in life can lead to better health, education and employment outcomes, building a productive and fair Australia.
The NQF includes legal requirements that all services must comply with, including:
The NQF sets a high National Quality Standard (NQS) to encourage services to continually improve their programs and practices.
Services are assessed and rated against the seven quality areas of the NQS:
Educational program and practiceYour child is supported to participate in play and learning
Children’s health and safetyYour child is protected from illness and hazards
Physical environmentYour child plays in a safe and well maintained environment
Staffing arrangementsThere are enough qualified staff to give your child the attention they need
Relationships with childrenYour child is made to feel supported and welcomed
Collaborative partnerships with families and communitiesLocal community involvement and respect for the beliefs and values of families
Governance and leadershipYour child is cared for in a positive and well managed environment
Our factsheet on understanding the NQS for early childhood education and care services shares more information on these quality areas.
State/territory regulatory authorities assess and rate services against the seven quality areas of the NQS.
Services receive a rating for each of the seven NQS quality areas and an overall rating.
Services must display their ratings.
Services receive one of the following ratings:
Services rated Exceeding in all 7 quality areas may apply to ACECQA to be awarded the Excellent rating.
If a service is assessed and there are serious compliance issues it is rated Significant Improvement Required. The regulatory authority uses penalties to make sure the service improves or stops the service from operating.
Our national quality system sets a high bar for services: they need to be providing quality education and care in all quality areas to be rated Meeting the NQS.
The NQS quality ratings can help you choose a service for your child. It is important to look at the rating for each of the seven quality areas as well as the overall rating.
You can also discuss quality ratings with the service provider to learn how they are working to meet the NQS
StartingBlocks.gov.au can help you find services and their quality ratings, fees, vacancies and inclusions.