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The National Quality Framework raises quality standards in education and care services across Australia.

The National Quality Standard is more demanding with higher benchmarks than previous systems. The NQS also allows room for continuous quality improvement.

It is important that families and third parties (such as insurance companies and banks) appreciate the new rating system takes a substantially different approach to the former quality assurance measurement. This means a service rated as high quality (which 90% of long day care services in Australia had reached under the old system) are likely to move to a rating of Working Towards or Meeting or Exceeding National Quality Standard. It doesn’t mean the service has suddenly dropped its performance, it simply means it is now being assessed against a new scale with more challenging criteria.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

A regulatory authority in each state and territory administers the NQF.

If you are a provider or educator, go to your regulatory authority for information on:

  • submitting application and notification forms
  • temporary and service waivers
  • provider/service and certified supervisor approvals
  • assessments and ratings
  • transitions and savings provisions unique to your jurisdiction.

Click here to find your regulatory authority’s contact details.

ACECQA guides and monitors the implementation of the NQF to ensure consistency across all states and territories. Go to ACECQA for:

  • information and news on the NQF
  • resources and templates
  • application and notification forms (for submission to regulatory authorities)
  • link to the National Quality Agenda IT System
  • educator qualification lists
  • assessment of qualifications
  • excellent rating applications
  • second tier review applications
  • registers of approved providers, services and certified supervisors.
  • quality ratings of approved services.

Click here for ACECQA’s contact details.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Visit the ACECQA website regularly for news, updates and information. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

You can subscribe to receive ACECQA email updates and newsletters here.

For questions about the application of the National Law and Regulations, email enquiries@acecqa.gov.au.

For questions about state or territory specific areas of the National Law and Regulations, contact your local state or territory regulatory authority.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

To gain a complete view of current performance, assessors may consider the service’s history and planning records when compiling background information about each service.

The authorised officer may consider:

  • provider approval
  • service approval
  • notifications
  • complaints
  • investigations
  • conditions on provider approval or service approval
  • waivers
  • inspections
  • compliance action
  • other intelligence, and
  • previous assessment or accreditation visits (where relevant).

The outcomes of past concerns can also be relevant.

For more information, download The Guide to Assessment and Rating for Regulatory Authorities.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Yes. If an outside school hours care provider is notified that a visit will be conducted during school holidays, it is important to let the regulatory authority know if:

  • the service will be operating with significantly lower than usual numbers of children
  • excursions are planned, or
  • a number of key staff have scheduled leave.

These circumstances won’t necessarily result in a change to the assessment schedule, but you should make the regulatory authority aware of the relevant circumstances.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

The requirements for centre-based and family day care services are slightly different.

The approved provider of a centre-based service must ensure a staff record is kept that includes information about:

  • the nominated supervisor
  • staff members
  • the educational leader, and
  • volunteers.

The information that must be kept in a staff record for centre-based services is set out at regulation 145 of the National Regulations.

The approved provider of a family day care service must ensure a staff record is kept that includes information about:

  • the nominated supervisor
  • staff members
  • family day care educator assistants
  • the educational leader, and
  • volunteers and students.

The information that must be kept in a staff record for family day care services is set out at regulation 154 of the National Regulations.

The approved provider of a family day care service must also keep at the service’s main office a register of all family day care educators and any other person engaged to educate and care for a child as part of the service. Information that must be included on the register is set out at regulation 153 of the National Regulations.

Record-keeping requirements for relief or casual staff are the same as for full time or permanent staff. 

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

There must be an appropriate number of first aid kits at each education and care service. When deciding how many kits are needed, approved providers must consider the number of children and staff, and where kits will be kept.

First aid kits should be checked regularly to make sure they are fully stocked and products have not expired. The Guide to the National Law and National Regulations has information to help decide what items to include and procedures for keeping kits current (see pages 61-62). 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS) is an online tool for providers and supervisors. Use the system to submit forms, applications and notifications to regulatory authorities. 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The NQA ITS provides a streamlined, efficient way for educators and providers to work with their regulatory authority online. It gives users a fast and secure method to seek approvals, amendments and provide notifications online.

NQA ITS saves time, money and valuable resources for providers and educators.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

It’s quick and easy to become a NQA ITS user. We have developed a guide on user registration and how to use the system

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Regulatory authorities apply the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations.

Depending on the decision they need to make, they may draw on policy documents to help their decision-making, including:

Regulatory authorities may also use methods particular to their state or territory. For instance, a regulatory authority may follow certain protocols about when to notify other authorities.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Service waivers are not considered permanent.

Once granted, the regulatory authority can revoke any waiver.

If the regulatory authority decides it is appropriate to revoke a service waiver, for example because the circumstances that led to the granting of the waiver have changed, the approved provider will be given 60 days' notice of the decision, or another time period agreed with the provider.

Last updated on Thursday 1 August, 2013

Visit the ACECQA website regularly for updates and information. We are also on Facebook and Twitter.

 
For questions about the application of the National Law and Regulations, email enquiries@acecqa.gov.au.
 
For questions about state or territory specific areas of the National Law and Regulations contact your local state or territory regulatory authority.
Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

The National Law and Regulations do not define ‘medical condition’. The approved provider must ensure the service has a medical conditions policy that sets out practices for managing medical conditions including asthma, diabetes or a diagnosis that a child is at risk of anaphylaxis. In this context ‘medical condition’ should be taken to mean a condition that has been diagnosed by a registered medical practitioner.
 
A full list of matters that must be covered by the medical conditions policy is at regulation 90 of the National Regulations.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The intent of the National Regulations is to ensure that regulatory authorities are notified of incidents that seriously compromise the health, safety or wellbeing of children. The regulatory authority is then able to take appropriate action.

The National Regulations were amended on 1 September 2013 to clarify the definition of serious incidents (except in Western Australia). The definition in WA remains at regulation 12 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations (WA).

The definition of a serious incident from the Education and Care Services National Regulations is:

Regulation 12: meaning of serious incident:

(a) The death of a child:

(i) while being educated and cared for by an education and care service or

(ii) following an incident while being educated and cared for by an education and care service.

(b) Any incident involving serious injury or trauma to, or illness of, a child while being educated and cared for by an education and care service, which:

(i) a reasonable person would consider required urgent medical attention from a registered medical practicioner or

(ii) for which the child attended, or ought reasonably to have attended, a hospital.

e.g whooping cough, broken limb, anaphylaxis reaction

(c) any incident where the attendance of emergency services at the education and care service premises was sought, or ought reasonably to have been sought

(d) any circumstance where a child being educated and cared for by an education and care service

(i) appears to be missing or cannot be accounted for or

(ii) appears to have been taken or removed from the education and care service premises in a manner that contravenes these regulations or

(iii) is mistakenly locked in or locked out of the education and care service premises or any part of the premises.

You need to notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware of a serious incident.

Complete the form SI01 Notification of Serious Incident and send it to your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

It may be sometime after the incident that it becomes apparent it was serious. If this occurs, you will need to notify the regulatory authority within 24 hours of becoming aware that the incident was serious.

For example, a child may hurt their arm at the service, be in no obvious pain and continue to play. If the parent later advises that the child’s symptoms had worsened and a fractured arm had been confirmed, then the service should report this as a serious incident.

Complete the form SI01 Notification of Serious Incident and send it to your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

Approved providers must ensure a range of prescribed information is displayed at the entrance of the service, including: 
  • the name of the approved provider and the name of the education and care service 
  • the provider approval number and service approval number 
  • any conditions on the provider approval and service approval 
  • the name of the nominated supervisor or, if the nominated supervisor is a member of a prescribed class, the class 
  • the service’s current rating level for each Quality Area and the overall rating (or rating under previous NCAC system if not yet rated for National Quality Standard)
  • details of any waivers held by the service, including elements or regulations waived, duration of the waiver and whether the waiver is a service or temporary waiver 
  • the hours and days of operation of the service 
  • the name and telephone number of a person at the 
service to whom complaints may be addressed 
  • the name and position of the responsible person in charge at any given time 
  • the name of the educational leader 
  • the contact details of the regulatory authority 
  • if applicable, a notice stating that a child who has been diagnosed as at risk of anaphylaxis is enrolled at the service 
  • if applicable, a notice of an occurrence of an infectious disease at the service. 
A family day care service can satisfy this requirement by displaying the prescribed information at the main entrance to the office of the family day care service, and at the main entrance to each family day care residence and venue.
 
For more information, download our information sheet ‘National Quality Framework Service Approval'.
 
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The intent of the National Regulations is to ensure that regulatory authorities are notified of circumstances that pose a significant risk, or represent significant change to the service's usual operation. These notifications are largely reporting on situations that have happened to, or impacted on the operation of the service, but could also include non-serious incidents that may pose risks to children.

An example of circumstances that need to be notified is where parents may be unable to get to a service to collect their children because the service is in a flood affected area with flood water rising. Another example would be a land subsidence at the property adjoining a service. The service may be deemed structurally safe by experts and remain operational, but a large hole in the neighbouring property could potentially pose a risk to the health, safety and wellbeing of children.

NL01 Notification of complaints and incidents (other than serious incidents) should be used to advise regulatory authorities when there are circumstances at the service posing a risk to the wellbeing, health or safety of a child or children at the service.

From 1 September 2013, approved providers also need to notify the regulatory authority if their centre-based service is educating and caring for extra children in an emergency. The notification must be made within 24 hours from when the service starts providing education and care to the extra child or children. It must include a statement from the approved provider that they have considered the safety and wellbeing of all children at the service when deciding whether to provide education and care for extra children.

The NL01 Notification of complaints and incidents (other than serious incidents) form is available here.

The above requirement also applies to Queensland family day care services seeking to cater for additional children in exceptional circumstances. This requirement is specific to Queensland until 31 December 2015.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

Approved providers must ensure that relevant staff hold, or are actively working towards, ‘approved qualifications’.

Approved qualifications are education and care qualifications that have been approved by ACECQA. Lists of approved qualifications can be found on our website. Individuals who do not hold a qualification on the lists of approved qualifications may still be able to work as qualified educators in Australia.

Some educators and teachers are ‘taken to hold’ approved qualifications because they meet the requirements set out in the transitional provisions of the National Regulations. For example, individuals who obtained a qualification that was previously approved and those who were previously recognised as a qualified educator or teacher under the former law may be ‘taken to hold’ an approved qualification.

Individuals may also apply to ACECQA to have their qualifications assessed as being equivalent to an approved qualification.

Last updated on Tuesday 23 April, 2013

There are three levels of approved education and care qualifications in Australia:

  • early childhood teacher (ECT)
  • diploma level educator
  • certificate III level educator. 
Last updated on Tuesday 23 April, 2013

You should check ACECQA's lists of approved qualifications and former approved qualifications.

If your qualification appears on one of the approved qualification lists, you hold an approved qualification and may be employed at that level.

If you were recognised as a qualified educator under the former law in any Australian state or territory before 1 January 2012 (or 1 August 2012 in WA), you will be taken to be a qualified educator under the NQF.

If your qualification appears on one of the former approved qualification lists, and you obtained that qualification before 1 January 2012, then you hold an approved qualification.

If you were enrolled in a qualification on the former approved early childhood teacher qualification list before 1 January 2012, you will hold an approved early childhood teacher qualification when you complete the qualification.

If your qualification does not appear on one of the lists of approved or former approved qualifications and you wish to work in Queensland, you should check the list of approved qualifications for Queensland only; if your qualification appears on this list, you may work as an educator or family day care co-ordinator in Queensland.

Regulations 241, 243 and 244 set out some other circumstances where individuals will be taken to hold an approved qualification. You should check these regulations to see if any apply to you.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The information displayed needs to be accurate and current. Regulatory authorities must be informed promptly of changes to services. For more information, refer to regulation 174 – Time to notify certain circumstances to regulatory authority here.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

If you obtained your qualification outside Australia, it is likely that it will not appear on one of the approved qualifications lists. In this instance, you may apply to ACECQA to have your qualifications assessed. ACECQA will determine if your qualifications are equivalent to an approved qualification in Australia.

If you need help contact ACECQA.

Note: Some international qualifications are approved in QLD. If you wish to work in QLD, you should check if your qualification appears on the list of approved qualifications for QLD.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

You may apply to ACECQA to have your qualifications assessed. ACECQA will determine if your qualifications are equivalent to an approved qualification.

If ACECQA assesses your qualifications as equivalent to an approved qualification, you will be able to work as a qualified educator in education and care services across Australia.

Note: If you wish to work in Outside School Hours Care (OSHC), ACECQA will assess your qualifications against the relevant state/territory requirements (where applicable). You will only be approved to work in OSHC in the state or territory in which you apply.

Last updated on Friday 17 May, 2013

A centre-based education and care service must have at least one of the following people present at the service at all times the service is educating and caring for children:

  • the approved provider, or
  • the nominated supervisor, or
  • a certified supervisor placed in day to day charge.

This person is sometimes referred to as the 'responsible person' for the service.

For a family day care service, one of these three people (the approved provider, the nominated supervisor or a certified supervisor placed in day to day charge) must be available to provide support to the family day care educators at all times the service is educating and caring for children. 'Available' includes being available by telephone.

For more information, read our information sheets on Nominated Supervisors and Certified Supervisors.
Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

To have your qualifications assessed by ACECQA, you must:
Completed applications (electronic applications are preferred) can be sent: 
 
By post:
Qualifications Assessment 
ACECQA
PO BOX A292
Sydney NSW 1235 
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Your application should include your completed application form and certified copies of key documents, including:

  • proof of identity and evidence of any name changes
  • qualification(s)
  • transcript(s) of academic record.

If you hold a qualification from overseas, ACECQA may require confirmation of the Australian Qualification Framework level of the qualification. However, you do not need to seek this confirmation prior to submitting your application to ACECQA. If confirmation is subsequently required, you will be notified of this by ACECQA. An Overseas Qualification Unit (or any unit responsible for recognising overseas qualifications in the state or territory you live in), the Australian Education International – National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition (AEI-NOOSR), and Trades Recognition Australia all provide confirmation of qualification services.

If your documentation is in a language other than English, you must provide translated and certified copies. You can search for NAATI accredited translators here: NAATI Translators.

Applications that do not provide the requested information will be delayed until all the information has been provided.

Last updated on Thursday 29 August, 2013

When assessing your qualifications, ACECQA may take the following into account:

  • the levelling of your qualification against the AQF
  • your English language proficiency
  • any supervised placements you have undertaken
  • your educational history
  • how your qualifications satisfy the ACECQA Board’s qualification criteria*.

*The criteria contain a specific requirement that ECT qualifications include a professional experience component with children in the ‘birth to two years’ age range. Further information is available in the criteria.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

There are four possible outcomes:

  • your qualifications are assessed as equivalent to an approved qualification at the level you requested
  • your qualifications are assessed as equivalent to an approved qualification, but at a lower or higher level than you requested
  • your qualifications are assessed as not equivalent to an approved qualification
  • you are advised you already hold or are ‘taken to hold’ an approved qualification.

If ACECQA determines that your qualifications are equivalent, this does not guarantee teacher registration or a job in Australia. 

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Yes. The National Law requires the application fee be paid before ACECQA can consider the application. The application fee is set by the National Regulations and is not subject to GST. The fee is currently $102.

Last updated on Wednesday 21 August, 2013

ACECQA will consider requests for internal review in limited circumstances. Those circumstances include where the application process has been flawed or unfair, or if ACECQA failed to give weight to special circumstances or facts existing at the time of the assessment.

If you believe you have been unfairly treated by ACECQA, you may complain to the Education and Care Services Ombudsman. For more information, please visit www.necsombudsmanprivacy.edu.au

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Yes it is different. Meeting educator to child ratios does not automatically mean adequate supervision. For example, additional educators may be needed when going on an excursion or when children are engaged in a water activity.

A number of factors must be considered when determining if supervision is adequate, including:

  • the number, age and ability of children
  • the number and positioning of educators
  • each child’s current activity
  • areas where children are playing, in particular the visibility and accessibility of these areas
  • risks in the environment and of experiences provided to children
  • the experience, knowledge and skill of each educator.

More information about adequate supervision is in the Guide to the National Law and Regulations (pages 64-66). 

Last updated on Tuesday 12 November, 2013

Further information about the individual qualifications assessment process can be found in the Guidelines for assessing and determining equivalent Early Childhood Educator qualifications.

If you have read the guidelines and require further information, please email ACECQA at enquiries@acecqa.gov.au.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Approved qualifications are education and care qualifications that have been approved by ACECQA. A list of approved qualifications can be found on our website.

Universities and other training organisations may apply to ACECQA to have new qualifications approved and published on one of ACECQA’s approved qualifications lists.

More information can be found here.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

You must notify your regulatory authority about changes that affect your service approval or provider approval. 
Information on matters you must notify is in the Guide to the National Law and Regulations (pages 112-115), including the timeframes for notifying your regulatory authority.
You can notify your regulatory authority using the NQA ITS, or by downloading a notification form from this website. 
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

There are three levels of approved education and care qualifications in Australia:

  • early childhood teacher (ECT)
  • diploma level educator
  • certificate III level educator.

ACECQA also approves the following early childhood education and care (ECEC) training qualifications:

  • first aid
  • anaphylaxis management
  • emergency asthma management training.
Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

You can phone, email or write to your regulatory authority. To seek an approval, amendment or notify a change affecting your service, you should register and use the National Quality Agenda IT System (NQA ITS). 
The NQA ITS is an efficient way to work with your regulatory authority. It simplifies the process for applications, notifications and amendments and helps state and territory regulatory authorities manage contact with services. 
 
Find your regulatory authority contact details here.
Last updated on Thursday 12 December, 2013

Individuals are not eligible to seek employment as a qualified educator in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Australia unless they hold, or are actively working towards, an ‘approved qualification’.

Individuals who obtain, or are actively working towards an ‘approved qualification’ will automatically be able to be employed as a qualified educator in the ECEC sector in Australia.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

You should first check the lists of approved qualifications on our website. If your organisation’s qualification is on one of the approved lists, the qualification is considered an ‘approved qualification’ under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Qualifications that were approved under schemes that existed before the introduction of the NQF can be found on the lists of ‘former approved qualifications’. Students who obtained any of these qualifications before 1 January 2012 will be taken to hold an approved qualification and may continue to be able to be employed as qualified educators under the NQF. If an individual was enrolled in an early childhood teacher course on 31 December 2011 of a qualification on the former approved early childhood teacher qualifications list they will be taken to hold that qualification at the completion of that course.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

You can post documents to your regulatory authority to seek an approval, amendment or to provide notifications, or use the NQA ITS for an easier and faster way.
 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

To have your qualification assessed for inclusion on one of the approved qualifications lists, you must:

  • complete the relevant application form
  • attach the necessary documentation
  • pay the required fee.

Completed applications (electronic applications are preferred) can be sent:

By email:       apply@acecqa.gov.au

By post:         Qualifications Assessment

                       ACECQA

                       PO BOX A292

                       Sydney NSW 1235 

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Your provider approval and service approval number appear on your annual fee invoice from your regulatory authority. You can also contact your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Your application must include a detailed outline of the qualification program, including the proposed delivery mode(s) (on/off campus) and documentary evidence to support your claims:

  • course handbooks
  • assessment requirements
  • relevant policy documents, etc.

All documents should be page numbered and referenced accordingly.

Organisations must also include a statement explaining how the program meets ACECQA’s four key criteria for that course type. It is preferable that this statement include a mapping of the qualification’s outcomes against the ACECQA criteria.

Further information on the criteria for each course type is available here: ECEC qualification criteria, Training qualification criteria.

Applications which do not provide the requested information will be delayed until all the information has been provided.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

When applying to be an approved provider, every applicant must demonstrate they are fit and proper to be involved in providing an education and care service. Each person who will have management or control of the service must demonstrate they are a fit and proper person.

It is the provider’s responsibility to determine who will be in management or control of the education and care service. For companies, this will generally include the directors. For committees and associations, it will usually include the executive members. People in other positions may also have management or control if they are responsible for delivery of the education and care service.

You can contact your regulatory authority if you need more information about how to decide who needs to demonstrate they are a fit and proper person. 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Child seats or restraints are not covered by NQF. The national standard for car seats, restraints and booster seats is AS/NZS 1754 and each state and territory applies the standard under its own law.

The Guide to the National Quality Standard offers some information about using car seats, restraints and booster seats in accordance with Australian Standards.

For more information about Australian Standards, contact Standards Australia.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

ACECQA will assess your organisation’s qualification against broad criteria* which are heavily based on the existing Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

ACECQA will also consider whether the course content has been linked to the relevant early childhood curriculum. For instance, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF).

*The criteria contain a specific requirement that ECT qualifications include a professional experience component with children in the ‘birth to two years’ age range. Further information is available in the criteria.

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

ACECQA will assess your organisation’s training qualification against criteria relevant to first aid, emergency asthma management and anaphylaxis management.

The training qualifications must be ECEC specific and must be nationally endorsed or state/territory accredited. Further information is available in the criteria.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Yes. The National Law requires the application fee be paid before ACECQA can consider the application. The application fee is set by the National Regulations and is not subject to GST. The fee is currently $2040.

Last updated on Wednesday 21 August, 2013

ACECQA will consider requests for internal review in limited circumstances. Those circumstances include where the application process has been flawed or unfair, or if ACECQA failed to give weight to special circumstances or facts existing at the time of the assessment.

If you believe you have been unfairly treated by ACECQA, you may complain to the Education and Care Services Ombudsman. For more information, please visit www.necsombudsmanprivacy.edu.au

Last updated on Thursday 11 April, 2013

Further information about the qualifications assessment process for organisations can be found at:


If you have read the guidelines and require further information, please email ACECQA at enquiries@acecqa.gov.au

 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

An important part of the NQF is to encourage continuous quality improvement in children’s education and care services across the country. Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs) help providers document the strengths of their service and recognise areas for improvement.

The aim of a QIP is to help providers self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care, and to plan future improvements. Regulatory authorities review the QIP as part of the quality assessment and rating process. 

Last updated on Monday 29 April, 2013

ACECQA has available the Guide to Developing a Quality Improvement Plan and an editable QIP template

If you require further clarification about your Quality Improvement Plan contact your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

Ratios are not set specifically for excursions, however you have to meet the same minimum ratios that apply while at the service. You must consider if you will need extra people to provide adequate supervision at all times and a risk assessment should be completed before an excursion.

To assist you, ACECQA has designed a template excursion risk management plan that is available for download here.

For more information on excursion ratios, refer to the Guide to the National Law and National Regulations pages 65 and 70.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

There may be state and territory provisions which affect requirements in your area. These provisions are set out in Chapter 7 of the Education and Care Services National Regulations. If you have any questions about these requirements, please contact your state or territory regulatory authority.

 

Centre-based services

Age of children

Educator to child ratio

Date requirement applies from

Birth to 24 months

1:4

1 Jan 2012 - in all states and territories

(1 August 2012 in WA)

Over 24 months and less than 36 months

1:5

1 Jan 2012 - in ACT, NT, TAS

1 August 2012 - in WA

1 Jan 2016 - in NSW, QLD, SA

Saving provision applies in VIC

Over 36 months up to an including preschool age

1:11

1 Jan 2012 - in NT

1 Jan 2016 - in ACT, QLD, VIC

Saving provision applies in NSW, SA, TAS, WA

Over preschool age

No national ratio has been set (state and territory ratios may apply)

 

Family day care services

Age of children

Educator to child ratio

Date requirement applies from

Birth to 13 years

1:7, with no more than four children preschool age or under

1 Jan 2012 - in ACT, QLD, SA, VIC

1 Jan 2014 - in NSW, NT, TAS, WA

Last updated on Tuesday 17 September, 2013

Under the Education and Care Services National Law, anyone can advertise an education and care service as long as it is an approved service.

A family day care educator can advertise if they make clear they are part of an approved service. Any advertisement must show which approved service it is promoting and include contact details for that service.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

A regulatory authority in each state and territory administers the NQF. In most cases the regulatory authority is the first point of contact for families with concerns about local education and care services.

Click here to find your regulatory authority’s contact details.

ACECQA guides and monitors the implementation of the NQF to ensure consistency across all states and territories.

Go to ACECQA for:

  • information and news on the NQF
  • to subscribe to Family News
  • registers of approved providers, services and certified supervisors (available soon)
  • quality ratings of approved services (available soon).

Click here for ACECQA’s contact details.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

To ensure Australian children get the best possible start in life, all Australian governments have agreed to implement the National Quality Framework (NQF) for Early Childhood Education and Care.
 
The NQF sets consistent, high quality standards for early childhood education and care, and outside school hours care services. It typically covers long day care, preschool, outside school hours and family day care services across Australia.
 
The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority or ACECQA guides the implementation of the National Quality Framework across Australia.
 
For more information, see the National Quality Framework section of this website.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations apply to services that educate and care for children aged from birth to 13 years of age. 

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The NQF means there is now a new milestone for children’s education and care in Australia. 
For the first time, every state and territory in Australia is working to achieve the same quality outcomes for children. 
The NQF introduced a new National Quality Standard to improve education and care across major service types like long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and outside school hours care.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The NQF is designed to provide better educational and developmental outcomes for all children, wherever they live in Australia. 
The NQF covers the critical areas of education, development, health and safety and provides clear and comprehensive information for families about the quality of care services available.
The NQF is about ensuring services are of the highest possible quality and rated to a consistent standard. It focuses on better learning outcomes for children through improved educator to child ratios and new qualification requirements for educators.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The NQF aims to improve quality in children’s education and care services across Australia. One of the ways it does this is to set high educator to child ratios, so each child benefits from more individual care and attention.

More information on improved educator to child ratios is available here.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The NQF typically covers the following service types:

  • long day care
  • family day care
  • preschools/kindergartens, and
  • outside school hours care.
The National Regulations refer to these services as:
  • family day care, or
  • centre-based services.
There may be some exceptions in your state or territory. The information sheet 'Who is covered' provides more information.
 
You can find out who is not covered here.
 
Contact your regulatory authority for more information.
Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

A family day care service is an education and care service delivered with two or more educators who provide education and care for children in residences or approved venues

A centre-based service is an education and care service other than a family day care service. This typically includes most long day care, preschool and outside school hours care services that are delivered at a centre.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

Some services excluded by the National Law include schools and preschool programs delivered in schools, personal arrangements (for example a nanny), services principally conducted to provide instruction in a particular activity (for example, a sport, language or dance class), services providing education and care to patients in a hospital or medical/therapeutic care service and care provided under a child protection law of a participating jurisdiction.
 
Some other services are excluded by the National Regulations. 
 
For more information, download our information sheet ‘National Quality Framework who is not covered’ here.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The National Quality Standard (NQS) sets benchmarks for the quality of children’s education and care services in Australia. The NQS highlights the importance of children’s development and education as well as relationships with families. 
 
Services are assessed and rated against seven quality areas, 18 standards and 58 elements that make up the NQS. Each service receives an overall NQS rating and a rating for each of the seven quality areas.
 
For more information, see the National Quality Standard page in the NQF section of this website.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

There are five overall ratings:

  • Significant Improvement Required
  • Working Towards National Quality Standard
  • Meeting National Quality Standard
  • Exceeding National Quality Standard
  • Excellent
Providers with services rated Exceeding can apply to ACECQA for the fifth rating of Excellent
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

For more information see the National Registers and the assessment and rating information available here.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Caring for children is an enormous responsibility. Australia has always had safe, regulated child care. The introduction of the NQF has raised the bar to improve education and care outcomes. Part of this process is assessment and rating. Regular assessment and rating ensures the new standards are being implemented, and over time, will measure the quality improvements at every service.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

Family day care and centre-based services, including most long day care, preschools/kindergartens and outside school hours care are assessed against the NQS.
 
Some services are excluded by the National Law and National Regulations. For more advice, download our information sheet ‘National Quality Framework who is not covered’ here.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The higher the rating a service receives, the less frequently it is assessed. 
  • Exceeding NQS – generally, assessed every three years
  • Meeting NQS – generally, assessed every two years 
  • Working Towards NQS – generally, assessed every year
  • Significant Improvement Required – The regulatory authority will work with the service to immediately address the issues. Compliance action may be taken.
For more information, see the Assessment and Ratings page.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The NQS rating system is designed to ensure consistency, continuous quality improvement and provide better early learning and care outcomes for children.
Going forward, services will have improved educator qualifications, higher educator to child ratios and upgraded service environments.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

Services that provide food and drink for children must ensure it is based on individual children’s growth and development needs. The service must also take into account any specific cultural, religious or health requirements. Services must ensure that food and drinks are nutritious and that they provide enough for children. See regulation 79 of the National Regulations. 
 
In addition, all services must have a medical conditions policy that sets out procedures for meeting children’s health needs, including any special dietary requirements. A full list of matters that the medical conditions policy must cover is at regulation 90 of the National Regulations
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

When developing the National Quality Framework, the Australian, state and territory governments agreed standards must be set very high and allow room for continuous improvement.
 
All services should aim to be Meeting or Exceeding the NQS. However, it is realistic to expect that during the transition period to the new system some services will need to improve in certain areas.
 
If a service receives an overall rating of Working Towards, it means the service has not met at least one of the 58 elements in the NQS. 
 
Working Towards does not mean that the service has failed to meet any of the requirements that pose a risk to the health and safety of children. In fact, a service may be Exceeding in a number of quality areas and receive an overall rating of Working Towards.
 
It may take time for services to meet each element required in the new higher standards, which will result in a Meeting or Exceeding NQS rating. This is why the rating of Working Towards is important during the transition phase of the NQF and is expected to apply to many services.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The National Register of services contains quality ratings of children’s education and care services in Australia. They provide an overall rating as well as a rating for each of the seven quality areas that make up the overall rating. 
 
The quality areas 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.
To help you evaluate child care services in your area, check the service’s overall rating and in each of the seven quality areas. This will help you to make a more detailed assessment of the service’s strengths.
Last updated on Tuesday 25 March, 2014

If you have concerns about a service or centre, contact the service’s approved provider or your local state or territory regulatory authority.

Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

Operational information is any information ACECQA uses to make decisions or recommendations that affect someone.  ACECQA is required by the Education and Care Services National Law to publish operational information. 
This is because the National Law applies the Information Publication Scheme under the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Act 1982 to ACECQA.  ACECQA also publishes some operational information that is used by Regulatory Authorities.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

 

The Operational Policy Manual is a document for authorised officers and staff of regulatory authorities to support them to apply the Education and Care Services National Law and Regulations consistently across all states and territories. It does not include information about assessment and rating. 
 
The manual is not legal advice. However, it guides the regulatory authorities when they are interpreting and applying the National Law and Regulations. It is not a substitute for the law. 
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

The Regulatory Authority will use the Education and Care Services National Law and National Regulations. Then, depending on the decision that needs to be made, they may draw on a range of other resources.

For instance, the Guide to Assessment and Rating for Regulatory Authorities, or first tier review guidelines. 
 
Regulatory Authorities may also use jurisdiction specific resources. For instance, a Regulatory Authority may have particular protocols in place about when to notify other local authorities.
Last updated on Wednesday 24 April, 2013

Assessment and Rating resources are available here, and information on the process may be found here.

The Professional Support Coordinator in your state or territory will be able to help your service prepare for assessment. 
Last updated on Wednesday 8 May, 2013

 

A family day care (FDC) educator must not educate and care for more than seven children at a family day care residence at any one time.
 
There may be occasions when a dwelling could include two self-contained residences with an FDC educator operating from each residence. In all cases the approved provider of the family day care service is responsible for assessing and determining the suitability of residences. If the provider assessed a dwelling suitable for two educators, then a regulatory authority would expect to see two residences that are sufficiently self-contained so that there is clear separation of responsibility for the education and care of children in each. For example, there should be separate indoor and outdoor facilities.
 
The health, safety and wellbeing of the children being educated and cared for is paramount.
 
Other aspects of the Law and Regulations must be taken into account, including toilet and hygiene facilities, ventilation, and natural light. There are also sometimes local planning or land use rules (administered by other agencies) that the provider would need to consider.
 
The suitability of FDC residences may be examined during an assessment and rating visit or a compliance check by an authorised officer of the regulatory authority.
 
Last updated on Monday 29 April, 2013

We welcome feedback about our services – it helps us improve what we do.

If you have a complaint about a service you have received or a decision we have made, please write to us. Make sure you provide clear information about your concern – what happened, when it happened, who was involved, and what outcome you hope to get from your complaint.

We will acknowledge receipt of your complaint within two working days. We will also advise what steps we will take next, including how long we expect it will take to investigate your complaint if an investigation is required. More information is available in our Customer Service Charter.

If you are not happy with how we have handled your complaint, you may contact the Education and Care Services Ombudsman. For more information, please visit www.necsombudsmanprivacy.edu.au.

If you would like to discuss your options with us, please contact our enquiries team on 1300 4 ACECQA (1300 422 327).

Last updated on Tuesday 4 February, 2014

Under the National Quality Framework, assessment and rating of children's education and care services is carried out by the regulatory authority in each state and territory. Please contact your state or territory department for information about employment opportunities. Contact details can be found here. You may also find our information on the role of authorised officers useful.

Last updated on Thursday 16 May, 2013

All services assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard must display their ratings on site from 1 May 2013.

The rating needs to be clearly visible from the entrance of the service premises, including all family day care residences, venues and offices. 
Services that have not yet been rated need to display a ‘Provisional - Not yet rated’ certificate. 
 
Services that were accredited by the National Childcare Accreditation Council (NCAC) but are not yet assessed under the new system must display both their provisional certificate and their NCAC accreditation until they are assessed and rated under the National Quality Standard. 
 
If you have questions about what certificates you need to display, please contact your regulatory authority.
Last updated on Monday 20 May, 2013

The approved first aid, anaphylaxis management and emergency asthma management courses are not specific to individual states even though some have a state abbreviation at the end. If you search each unit on the training.gov.au website you will find training organisations who offer the training in each state.

Last updated on Wednesday 31 July, 2013

The first aid, anaphylaxis management training and emergency asthma management training required must be updated at least every three years from the date of completion. The first aid certificate may specify additional requirements to keep it valid. For example, if your first aid certificate requires the CPR component to be completed every 12 months to keep it current, you will need to comply.

Last updated on Wednesday 31 July, 2013

An education and care provider can apply for either a service waiver or a temporary waiver.

A service waiver has no specific expiry date and a temporary waiver applies for no more than 12 months.

Last updated on Wednesday 11 September, 2013

All applications for waivers must be submitted on a SA08 Application for Service or Temporary Waiver form.

Forms can be submitted either electronically using the NQAITS or in hard copy to your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Tuesday 8 April, 2014

Regulatory authorities are responsible for considering applications for waivers and will only approve a waiver when the provider demonstrates:

  • genuine difficulty in meeting the requirements of the NQF
  • children's safety, health and well-being is not compromised or at risk
  • a plan is in place for the service to meet the requirements by the time the waiver is due to expire.
Last updated on Wednesday 11 September, 2013

A complete waiver application will be assessed within 60 days. Incomplete applications will be returned to providers for further information.

Last updated on Wednesday 11 September, 2013

Yes. A regulatory authority can revoke a waiver at any time.

Last updated on Wednesday 11 September, 2013

Yes. If a service is operating with a waiver it can still achieve a 'meeting' or 'exceeding' rating under the National Quality Standard.

Last updated on Wednesday 11 September, 2013

The notification period for family day care educators is changing to ensure a consistent approach across all states and territories. Currently there are varying approaches to giving notice to educators as part of the quality assessment of family day care services under the National Quality Framework.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

A consistent approach will ensure that the assessment and rating process is more comparable for family day care providers in all states and territories and provide services and educators with greater certainty about the process.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

From 1 October 2013, one week (five working days) prior to the assessment and rating visit, family day care services will be notified which individual educators have been randomly chosen to be part of the assessment.

This consistent approach will make each part of the assessment and rating process similar for all family day care services in every state and territory.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

Yes. Family day care services will continue to receive six weeks notice of an assessment and rating visit. However, from 1 October 2013, one week (five working days) prior to the assessment and rating visit, family day care services will be notified which individual educators have been randomly chosen to be part of the assessment.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

The new approach for family day care notification periods will commence in all states and territories on 1 October 2013, and will be trialled for 12 months.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

The one week notice period will be trialled for 12 months for family day care assessment and ratings visits.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

Yes. The family day care notification trial will be evaluated by regulatory authorities and ACECQA at the end of the 12 months.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

No. This change will not affect family day care services that have already been advised of their assessment and rating date.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013

For further information about the family day care notification change and how it affects your service, you are encouraged to contact your regulatory authority.

Last updated on Thursday 19 September, 2013