National Quality Framework

IMG_2736Atchison Cottage and Atchison Preschool has received a rating of “Exceeding the National Quality Standard”


Atchison Cottage and Atchison Preschool in the past have received a rating of “High Quality”

Prior to the  National Quality Framework (NQF) which replaced the educational and developmental rating under the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC) Atchison Cottage and Atchison Preschool consistently received a “High Quality Rating” which was the highest rating achievable.

The National Quality Standard

The National Quality Framework (NQF) is the result of an agreement between all Australian governments to work together to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for children using education and care services.

The NQF introduces a new quality standard to improve education and care across long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten, and outside school hours care.

The need for a national approach

Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn.

Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life.

Children need quality care and attention that meets their individual needs.

The National Quality Standard (NQS) is a key aspect of the NQF and sets a national benchmark for early childhood education and care, and outside school hours care services in Australia.

As the NQF progresses, every service in the country will be assessed to make sure it meets the new quality standard. In the meantime, as safety is paramount all day and every day, every service must comply with rigorous health and safety requirements.

To ensure children enjoy the best possible conditions in their early educational and developmental years, the NQS promotes continuous improvement in quality.

The major benefits for parents and children include:

  • improved educator to child ratios
  • greater individual care and attention for children
  • educators with increased skills and qualifications
  • better support for children’s learning and development
  • a national register to help parents assess the quality of education and care services in their area.

Informed by extensive research

The National Quality Standard is linked to national learning frameworks that recognise children learn from birth. It outlines practices that support and promote children’s learning. The Framework for Early childhood Education is:

Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (‘Early Years Learning Framework’)



Assessment of services

The National Quality Standard (NQS) promotes continuous quality improvement.
Children’s education and care services covered under the Education and Care Services National Law are assessed and rated against the NQS. The process reflects a uniform approach to assessment and reporting across the range of service settings. The relevant regulatory authority in each state and territory undertakes the assessment and rating process. It is also the point of contact for any questions services may have about the assessment and rating process.

 Rating a Service

Under the National Regulations, the Regulatory Authority must consider a range of information when assessing and rating a service, including:

– the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) for the service

– the service’s history of compliance

– any rating assessment history of service, including any records of previous rating assessments made under the National Law

The Regulatory Authority must arrange for a site visit and may consider any other relevant information disclosed by the service or available to the Regulatory Authority.

The National Quality Standard ratings

Ratings promote transparency and accountability and help parents assess the quality of education and care services available. Every service receives a rating for each quality area and an overall rating.
The seven quality areas’ covered by the National Quality Standard are:
  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management
These ratings must be displayed by each service and are published on the ACECQA and the My Child websites.

There are five rating levels within the national quality rating and assessment process:

  • Excellent rating – awarded by ACECQA
  • Exceeding National Quality Standard
  • Meeting National Quality Standard
  • Working Towards National Quality Standard
  • Significant Improvement Required

Excellent Rating

Under the National Quality Framework, the Excellent rating can only be awarded by ACECQA. Providers with a service rated Exceeding the National Quality Standard, and which meet the criteria for excellence, are eligible to apply.