The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is an independent national authority that educates and informs the wider community about the importance of improving outcomes in children’s education and care. The National Quality Framework (NQF) was released in January 2012, outlining the National Quality Standard (NQS). The 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.
The NQS promotes continuous quality improvement in centres across Australia. Services under the Education and Care Services National Law are assessed and rated against the NQS. The relevant regulatory authority in each state and territory undertakes the assessment and rating process.
Ratings promote transparency and accountability and help parents assess the quality of education and care services available. Each service receives a rating for each quality area and an overall rating. These ratings must be displayed by each service. 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
For more information, see the ACECQA website.