The National Quality Standard provides an Australia wide rating system to give services and families a better understanding of quality service.
Based on research that has shown how high quality education and care contributes to positive outcomes for children, the National Quality Standard was developed to achieve best practice.
With connection to national learning frameworks ‘Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (Early Years Learning Framework)’ and ‘My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia (Framework for School Aged Care)’, the National Quality Standard recognises children learn from birth and outline practices to support and promote children’s learning.
How does the National Quality Standard rating system work?
Services are rated across seven quality areas. These are:
- QA1 - Educational programme and practice
- QA2 - Children’s health and safety
- QA3 - Physical environment
- QA4 - Staffing arrangements
- QA5 - Relationships with children
- QA6 - Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- QA7 - Leadership and service management
Services are assessed on a number of standards and associated elements under each quality area. Scores from each quality area are combined to give the service a rating in one of the following categories:
- Exceeding National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is exceeding the National Quality Standard
- Meeting National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is meeting the National Quality Standard
- Working Towards National Quality Standard - Indicates that a service is working towards meeting the National Quality Standard
- Significant Improvement Required - Indicates that a service is not meeting the National Quality Standard and the regulator is working closely with the service to immediately improve its quality (otherwise the service’s approval to operate will be withdrawn)
The Excellent rating is awarded through a separate process.
Parents and services should not be worried if a service has been assessed as ‘Working Towards National Quality Standard’. The rating of ‘Working Towards’ is an important part of the successful transition to new and higher standards, and does not mean children’s health and safety is compromised.
Further information on the assessment and rating process, including information on how the ratings are determined, can be found on the ACECQA website Assessment and Rating Resources page.
When did the assessment and rating of services commence?
The assessment and rating of services commenced on 1 January 2012 with services being required to develop a Quality Improvement Plan. Assessment and rating visits to services commenced in mid-2012.