Two-thirds of children’s education and care services previously rated working towards now meeting or exceeding

Two-thirds of services rated Working Towards the National Quality Standard (NQS) improve their overall quality rating after reassessment, demonstrating the continuous quality improvement occurring in the children’s education and care sector. 

The latest quarterly National Quality Framework Snapshot released by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) finds 84% of services are rated Meeting NQS, Exceeding NQS or Excellent – a substantial increase from 57% in 2013 when quality ratings were first published. 

Almost 12,000 quality rating reassessments have taken place, with approaching half of these being for services rated Working Towards NQS. Of these services, 66% improved their overall quality rating after reassessment. 

A rating of Working Towards NQS is not a ‘failure’, not least of all because the assessment and rating system is not designed as a pass-fail system. Many services rated Working Towards NQS are close to being rated Meeting NQS. For example, 41% of services rated Working Towards NQS received that rating due to not meeting only one or two of the seven quality areas of the NQS. 

“This report is an endorsement of the hard work of service providers, teachers and educators in early childhood education and care and school age care services across Australia. It shows that services across the country are continuing to improve their programs and practices to deliver positive outcomes for children,” said ACECQA CEO Gabrielle Sinclair. 

“The National Quality Standard sets a high bar for services and is designed to encourage continuous quality improvement in every service – something this report shows is occurring”. 

In addition to detailed information about the quality of education and care services, the Snapshot and interactive Online Snapshot include data about temporary service closures related to the impact of COVID-19 and other aspects of service regulation. 

On 2 April 2020, in recognition of the COVID-19 global pandemic, Education Ministers announced four critical areas for time-limited regulatory action, including the temporary suspension of quality assessment and ratings. All state and territory regulatory authorities have now recommenced the assessment and rating process.

Families are encouraged to visit StartingBlocks.gov.au for more information about their local education and care services.

Information, support and guidance about COVID-19, including temporary service closures, is available on the ACECQA website.