Exceeding the NQS series

2018 Newsletter Issue 2 Image 2: Exceeding NQS logo

Education and care services across Australia are assessed and rated by their state and territory regulatory authority. During the assessment and rating process, authorised officers will analyse evidence collected during the assessment and rating visit to provide the service with a quality rating. This will include determining if the practices observed, discussed and sighted during the visit are high quality practices that reflect Exceeding the National Quality Standard (NQS). 

To support a consistent understanding of Exceeding NQS, a series of articles will be shared to unpack this quality rating with reference to available resources to help you, your team and your service on your Exceeding journey.

But where to start? 

Exceeding or high quality practices are not simply implemented - they evolve over time and should be contextual to each service. Ensuring that all practices are in line with and consistently meeting the National Quality Standard is the foundation to which high quality practices begin. An authorised officer will also ensure that all practices within each Standard are at the meeting level before moving into an analysis of high quality practice. 

When beginning to unpack what Exceeding NQS may look like, services may wish to review the overarching exceeding guidance from page 93 of the Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF). This includes detailed information on the three exceeding themes: 

  • Practice is embedded in service operations
  • Practice is informed by critical reflection
  • Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement

Included within this section is a series of questions for authorised officers to consider when reviewing evidence gathered. These questions are considered by authorised officers in their analysis of the Exceeding themes within each service and for each Standard. 

These questions and further information are also available in ACECQA’s information sheet ‘Demonstrating and Assessing Exceeding National Quality Standard’.

Once your service has an understanding of each theme, the next step would be to consider your practices in relation to the whole Standard. At the beginning of each Standard is the descriptor (see image below article) which details the overall intent of the Standard which your high quality practices must support.

Further guidance in a series of reflective questions at the end of each Standard may also support service leaders, educators and staff in the critical reflection of their own practices (see image below article). 

A review of these resources and a deep self-assessment of service practice will support services in determining if identified practices are above and beyond Meeting the NQS. Services should then aim to demonstrate and share with the authorised officer how their practices are high quality and support the three Exceeding themes. 

Additional resources

There are a number of additional resources available to support you in navigating through Exceeding NQS. These resources include: 

  • Our Exceeding the NQS webpage which includes a series of case studies that offer practical and illustrative examples of what high quality practice may look like for each Standard in a variety of settings including outside school hours care, prior to school centre-based and family day care services.
  • Our information sheet on New Guidance on Determining Exceeding NQS for Standards which is a helpful resource which clarifies the difference between Meeting NQS and Exceeding NQS levels.

You may choose to visit, reflect on and share the above resources with your team as an opportunity to start or continue your Exceeding journey.

Exceeding the NQS