Frequently asked questions

Answers to commonly raised queries

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

Top 5 questions

First you should check to see if your qualification is approved. If your qualification is published on the approved NQF Qualifications List and meets the requirements on the list, you can work at the level specified.
 
If your qualification is not on this list, you can apply to ACECQA to have your qualification assessed under the NQF. You must read the assessment requirements before you apply.

If you are applying for a skilled migration visa under the Child Care Centre Manager or Child Care Worker (group leaders only) occupations you will require a Skills Assessment. This is a separate application to the qualification assessment function under the NQF. Please refer to the Skilled Migration section of our website.

Please note: If you require an assessment under the NQF and a Skills Assessment for migration purposes, you will only need to submit a Skills Assessment Application. ACECQA will automatically assess for both purposes if you do not hold an NQF approved qualification.

 

ACECQA has a qualifications checker which helps you to determine whether your qualifications are recognised under the NQF. If your qualification is listed and meets the requirements on the list, you can work at the level specified.

  • To work as an early childhood teacher (ECT), or a diploma or certificate III level educator in early childhood education and care, you must hold (or in some circumstances be actively working towards) an ACECQA approved qualification. A primary teaching qualification on its own is generally not equivalent to an approved early childhood education and care qualification under the Education and Care Services National Regulations.  
  • A transitional measure for primary school teachers may apply to you. Educators must obtain this combination of qualifications before the end of 2021 to continue to be recognised under this measure after 2021.  
  • If you don’t currently hold an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification, you may choose to enrol in one. ACECQA publishes a list of approved qualifications you can review to make an appropriate choice. You can discuss recognition of prior learning with training organisations or universities offering approved courses.    
  • This transitional measure interacts with the ‘actively working towards’ provisions outlined in Regulation 10 and the ‘taken to be an ECT’ provision outlined in Regulation 242. If you hold a primary teaching qualification and Australian teacher registration/accreditation, once you have enrolled and commenced an ACECQA approved diploma level (or higher) qualification you may be taken to be an ECT. Note: Regulation 242 does not apply in Victoria or if you are working in a centre-based service educating and caring for 30 or more children preschool age or under in NSW. Regulation 242 is scheduled to expire in the ACT, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania on 31 December 2021, and in the Northern Territory and Western Australia on 31 December 2023.  
  • Depending on which state or territory you intend to work in, your primary teaching qualification may meet the requirements to work with school aged children in OSHC. If your qualification isn’t published on the ACECQA approved qualifications list you would need to submit an application to ACECQA.

If you are 'actively working towards' an ACECQA approved qualification (certificate III, diploma or early childhood teaching (ECT))  you may be counted towards qualification requirements. Read more about actively working towards a qualification.

Yes. Visit the Opening a new service page on the ACECQA website for lots of information.

General

ACECQA can give you information about the laws and regulations the service should be following. We encourage you to raise any concerns you have with the service in the first place. Every service must have a complaints handling policy that they should follow. You can ask to see this.
 
If you are not happy with the response you get from the service, you can make a complaint to the regulatory authority in your state or territory. They are responsible for the compliance and assessment and rating of services.

The approved provider and nominated supervisor are responsible for ensuring children are adequately supervised at all times (section 165 of the National Law).

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

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

Meeting the educator-to-child ratio requirements may not always mean there is adequate supervision. At times services may need to provide additional educators to ensure children are adequately supervised at all times, for example, when going on an excursion or when children are engaged in a water activity.

More information about adequate supervision is in the Guide to the NQF.  

The National Law and Regulations do not require a 'director' or 'room leader' to have specific qualifications. Unlike nominated supervisor or educational leader, which are defined roles under the legislation, the roles of director and room leader are job titles and their meanings vary between services.

As an employer, the provider may decide what qualifications and experience a director or room leader requires. This is the provider’s decision.

A director or room leader may also hold other legislated roles such as nominated supervisor or educational leader.

If a director or room leader is also working as an educator as part of their role, they must meet the minimum qualification requirements for educators.

There is a useful information sheet about responsible person requirements on the ACECQA website.
 

Regulation 126 allows individuals who do not hold, and are not actively working towards, an approved qualification to be counted towards the requirement for certificate III level educators (regulation 126 (1A)) for a three month probationary period. 

This regulation only applies to centre-based services caring for children preschool age and under, and does not apply in South Australia or New South Wales.

The probationary period is linked to the approved provider. This means the probationary period is not extended if an individual moves to another service operated by the same approved provider once the three month probationary period expires. However, if an individual is employed by a different approved provider, they will be eligible for another three month probationary period.

The Fair Work Ombudsman manages and provides information and advice about Australia's workplace rights and rules.

You can use the 'Find my award' function to search the award you may fall under.

You can access and download Belonging, Being and Becoming - The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) on the Department of Education website.

These resources are no longer available in hard copy and at this stage there are no plans to make copies available again.

The Department's website also includes documents in other languages and other helpful resources such as the Educators’ Guide to the EYLF.

Visit the Starting Blocks website for information about choosing and using a child care service, including finding services in your area, things to look for and questions to ask when visiting a service. Starting Blocks is brought to you by ACECQA.  

Approved providers can change information by making updates in the NQA ITS or contacting the regulatory authority in their state and territory.

To update details in the NQA ITS, the approved provider will need to register a NQA ITS account and then link it to the provider approval number. They can then edit details about the service. 

For help navigating the NQA ITS and for information about how to update the details, please see the getting started online guidance and more comprehensive user guide documents on the ACECQA website.

The regulatory authority is responsible for updating the details so if you have questions about the information listed, please contact them.  

It is the provider’s responsibility to determine who will be in management or control of the education and care service. For committees and associations, it usually includes the executive members such as the president, vice president, secretary or treasurer.

Each new member of a committee with management or control of the service must demonstrate they are a fit and proper person. They will need to complete the form PA02 – Declaration of fitness and propriety. The provider should complete PA08 - Notification of change to information about approved provider and submit PA08 and PA02 together via the NQA ITS.

Committee members without management control do not need to submit the above forms.

For information on who currently has management control of your service, working with children checks and police checks, contact the regulatory authority in your state or territory.
 

Each state and territory has a regulatory authority responsible for conducting assessment and rating of education and care services. When regulatory authorities schedule quality rating assessments, the goal is to assess and rate the quality of services, drive continuous improvement and keep information for families and communities accurate and up to date.

To focus resources on services most in need of service improvement, the actions of regulatory authorities are responsive and risk-based. Services with a lower quality rating will be re-rated more frequently. Services with higher quality ratings will generally have a longer period of time between assessment and rating visits in recognition of their ability to operate above the National Quality Standard (NQS).

Regulatory authorities consider the following factors when managing assessment and rating schedules:

  • The quality rating of a service when previously assessed, including results against the quality area, standard and element level. 
  • A change in service attributes that could be reasonably considered to affect the service’s quality – for example, changes in provider or service management. 
  • Events that occur at the service – for example, serious incidents, complaints or non-compliance with the National Law can indicate a change in quality and a higher scheduling priority. 
  • The length of time since the last assessment – for example, over time a quality rating can lose its currency and value for families. 

Each regulatory authority manages its assessment schedule in a responsive manner, making adjustments to the schedule as new information emerges and making best use of available resources.

Regulatory authorities make unscheduled and scheduled visits to services in addition to assessment and rating visits. These include monitoring, spot check and compliance visits to ensure the service is operating within the national legislation.

ACECQA hosts a list of qualifications approved in each state and territory for working with school aged children. Check the below list of to see if your qualification is approved in the state or territory in which you plan to work:

Qualifications for working with school age children

There are a number of broad categories on this list. If you are unsure whether your qualification fits into one of these categories, we can help. Please email enquiries@acecqa.gov.au a copy of your certificate, academic transcript and tell us which state or territory you want to work in and we will let you know.

If your qualification is not listed, you can apply to have it assessed

You will need to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. ACECQA accepts the following as evidence of proficiency:

  • one year of full-time tertiary or higher education level study in either: Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, the United Kingdom or the United States of America, or
  • a score of seven (7.0) or more in the reading and writing components, and a score of eight (8.0) or more in the speaking and listening components, in the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam in the last two years.

ACECQA may not be able to assess your qualifications without this evidence. If you have concerns, please contact us on 1300 422 327.

Qualification requirements for primary teachers are out of scope for ACECQA. We recommend you contact the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) for information on  becoming a registered teacher in Australia.
 

A primary teaching qualification on its own is generally not equivalent to an early childhood teaching qualification under the Education and Care Services National Law.

If you want to have your primary teaching qualification assessed for equivalence, first check the Guidelines for the determination of equivalent early childhood qualifications to help you to determine the likelihood of your qualification meeting the requirements for assessment.

A person will need to provide evidence that their qualification included supervised professional experience (as a pre-service teacher education student) in early childhood settings with children aged birth to five years. The qualification also needs to have included key early childhood curriculum, including: 

  • Psychology and child development 
  • Education and curriculum studies 
  • Early childhood pedagogies 
  • Family and community contexts 
  • History and philosophy of early childhood 
  • Early childhood professional practice.  

Registration is not a requirement for early childhood teachers (ECTs) under the National Quality Framework (NQF) but it is a requirement under some state and territory legislation.

The early childhood teacher registration and accreditation page lists the requirements for teacher registration in each state and territory. 

The MySkills and Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) websites have useful information on how to choose a training or education provider.

You can also find information that may assist you in this edition of the ACECQA newsletter - Your guide to qualifications under the National Quality Framework.

We recommend keeping an eye out for organisations that specialise in early childhood education and care qualifications and make sure that the qualification you wish to study is recognised under the National Quality Framework (NQF) by checking the list of approved qualifications.