Report finds significant improvements in early childhood education and care

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) today released its inaugural Annual Performance Report detailing the performance of the National Quality Framework (NQF) across the early childhood education and care sector over the past five years.

Under the National Partnership on the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care, on behalf of all governments, ACECQA is required to provide an annual performance report to the COAG Education Council that includes an assessment against the objectives and outcomes of the agreement.

“Since its introduction in 2012, the NQF has set a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services, streamlining the previous eight different state and territory licensing schemes, as well as the previous national child care quality assurance system,” said ACECQA Chair Judy Hebblethwaite.

“This report suggests that the NQF is realising a number of its intended benefits, including continuous quality improvement in service provision and efficiencies in regulation.”

The report found that:

  • NQF support – overall support for the NQF among providers of education and care services has remained consistently above 95%.
  • Quality improvement –the proportion of services meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard has increased over time. Furthermore, around 60% of services improve their overall quality rating at reassessment.
  • Skilled workforce – 85% of paid contact staff in long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and vacation care services had an education and care related qualification in 2016, up from 80% in 2013 and 69% in 2010.
  • Family awareness – the National Quality Standard and quality rating system is not yet well understood by families. Increasing the level of awareness is an ongoing focus for ACECQA.

Education and care services approved under the NQF include long day care, outside school hours care and family day care services, as well as most preschools/kindergartens.

The report is available at 

A second Annual Performance Report will be produced by ACECQA in 2018, focussing on changes and developments since July 2017.