The National Quality Framework 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 National Quality Framework includes legal requirements that all services must comply with.
These include requirements for:
The National Quality Framework sets a higher national quality standard to encourage services to continue to improve their programs and practices.
Services are assessed and rated against seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard:
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
To know more about these quality areas, and how they impact your child and quality of education and care, read our factsheet on understanding the NQS for early childhood education and care services.
Assessors will visit each service to rate it against the seven quality areas of the National Quality Standard.
The quality areas are made up of standards and elements that describe what research shows are the most important parts of a quality early education and care service.
Services receive a rating for each of the quality areas and an overall rating based on these results.
Services must display their ratings.
The services will receive one of the following ratings:
Services rated Exceeding in all 7 quality areas may apply to be rated Excellent. If a service is assessed and there are serious compliance issues, it is rated Significant Improvement Required. In this situation, the regulator uses penalties to make sure the service improves, or otherwise will stop the service from operating.
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 ratings with the service provider to learn how they are working to meet the National Quality Standard, even if your service has not yet been rated.
For service ratings visit: www.startingblocks.gov.au/find-child-care/