Changes to the NQF starting from 1 July 2023
In 2022, Education Ministers agreed to changes to the National Quality Framework based on findings from the 2019 NQF Review. The 2019 NQF Review included extensive consultation with the sector, families and other parts of the community which informed government decisions.
The first round of approved regulatory changes, relating to regular transportation of children by centre-based services, came into effect on 1 March 2023.
The second round of approved regulatory changes, coming into effect for the majority of jurisdictions* from 1 July 2023, will:
- Assist in addressing workforce challenges by providing flexibility for services when replacing educators during short term absences and resignations.
- Improve oversight of providers by regulatory authorities by expanding the definition of ‘person with management or control’ of the service to better capture persons exercising significant influence over the operation of services, and closer alignment between the Education and Care Services National Law and the Family Assistance Law on matters relating to the ‘fitness and propriety’ of service providers.
- Amend documentation requirements for OSHC providers in Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia* and Victoria who will now be required to keep ‘program level’ documentation about the educational program, rather than documentation at the ‘individual child level’.
- Provide flexibility to FDC services that have been operating for at least 12 months, by allowing some adjustments when calculating family day care coordinator to educator ratios. This change will assist in addressing workforce challenges within the FDC sector.
- Improve the provision of quality education and care by ensuring all FDC educators hold at least an approved certificate III level qualification prior to commencing their role*. Existing educators will have a period of up to 12 months to complete their qualifications (not applicable in South Australia where this requirement is already in place).
- For the first time** since the introduction of the NQF in 2012, moderately increase several prescribed fees as well as introduce a new category to differentiate fees applied to ‘large’ and ‘very large’ services.
- Increase the incentive and reduce administrative burden for services applying for the Excellent Rating by extending the period of approval from three to five years*.
- Implement a cut-off date for the original national Approved Learning Frameworks in early 2024, at which point services will be required*** to use the new versions of the national Approved Learning Frameworks.
A third round of regulatory and legislative changes will come into effect later in 2023.
All decisions made by Education Ministers from the 2019 NQF review are published on the nqfreview.com.au website. The 2019 NQF Review website provides the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (DRIS) and the comprehensive FAQs on all of the incoming changes to the National Law and Regulations.
(* Please note: the implementation of some of the regulatory changes in this round will be delayed for services in Western Australia. Contact your Regulatory Authority for further information)
(**Except for annual consumer price index increases)
(***The Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework will continue to remain an approved learning framework under the NQF)
We have published guidance information and resources on the ACECQA website
Key changes for centre-based services from 2023
Short term relief of educators at centre-based services from 2023
Educators who are ‘actively working towards’ a qualification from 2023
Legislative Requirements for family day care providers from 2023
Legislative Requirements for family day care educators from 2023
Documenting programs for school age services
Identifying persons with management or control of a service from 1 July 2023 – Existing Providers
Identifying persons with management or control of a service from 1 July 2023 – Prospective Providers
Suspending or cancelling a provider approval under National Law from 1 July 2023
Increases to fees and offence penalties as of July 2023
Excellent rating guidance
Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF)
An updated version of the Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF) will be published on 1 July 2023. We will also continue to update it throughout 2023 to reflect the agreed changes from the 2019 NQF Review.
The Guide to the NQF is a key resource we publish, designed to help education and care providers, educators and authorised officers understand and apply the requirements of the NQF. It provides information for all types of services in all states and territories.
ACECQA will also continue to provide information updates through its newsletters, website and social media channels as well as on the 2019 NQF Review website.