Exceeding NQS

Exceeding NQS is going above and beyond what is expected at the Meeting NQS level.

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

About Exceeding NQS

Rated Exceeding NQS

Exceeding NQS practice is:

  • Embedded in service operations (Theme 1).

Practice is embedded in service operations when it occurs consistently, frequently and intentionally as part of an ongoing process that is understood and implemented by all educators across all aspects of the program.

  • Informed by critical reflection (Theme 2).

Critical reflection involves a deep level of regular and ongoing analysis, questioning and thinking that goes beyond evaluation and review. Critical reflection informs practice when the continuous reflection of all educators, individually and together, influences decision-making and drives continuous quality improvement. 

  • Shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community (Theme 3).

Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement with families and/or the community when educators actively seek input, guidance and feedback from children, families and the community. Meaningful engagement with families and/or the community helps to shift thinking, shape ongoing practice and foster a culture of inclusiveness and sense of belonging for all.

These themes are explored further within the Guide to the NQF.

To be rated Exceeding NQS overall, all Quality Areas must be at least Meeting NQS, and four or more Quality Areas must be Exceeding NQS, with at least two of these being Quality Areas 1, 5, 6 or 7. 

The higher level of quality is assessed against each of the 15 NQS Standards using the three Exceeding NQS themes. 

The Guide to the NQF

The Exceeding NQS guidance in the Guide to the NQF includes general guidance on the Exceeding NQS themes, reflective questions for services on Exceeding NQS practice for all Standards, as well as questions used by authorised officers to help establish whether Exceeding NQS practice has been demonstrated.

Case studies

We have developed case studies offering practical examples of high quality practice in outside school hours care, prior to school centre-based and family day care services for each Standard.

The case studies are collections of layered, detailed examples of how high quality practice relating to each Standard could look across a service. They focus on particular aspects of practice, within a particular service context.

It is hoped they will support increased understanding and confidence in recognising and demonstrating Exceeding NQS level quality, and inspire discussion and reflection on ways that practice can be improved. The Exceeding NQS guidance in the Guide to the NQF, which includes the indicators for Exceeding NQS practice, the reflective questions for Exceeding NQS practice at the Standard level, and the questions used by authorised officers to establish Exceeding NQS practice against each Exceeding NQS theme, may be used to consider the case studies and facilitate this discussion and reflection. 

The case studies are not extracts from assessment and rating reports for services that have been rated Exceeding NQS in those particular Standards, and they do not comprehensively describe or set the benchmark for the ways that a service can demonstrate Exceeding NQS practice for those Standards.

Please come back to visit this page as more case studies will be added over time. 

We welcome your feedback on the case studies, including features you particularly like or ideas for improvement. Please send your feedback by email to [email protected].