Element 7.2.1: Continuous improvement

There is an effective self-assessment and quality improvement process in place.


National Law and National Regulations underpinning Element 7.2.1

Regulation 31 Condition on service approval-quality improvement plan

Regulation 55 Quality improvement plans

Regulation 56 Review and revision of quality improvement plans

What Element 7.2.1 aims to achieve

Quality services regularly monitor and review their performance to guide planning and improve service quality. This creates a shared understanding of the principles that guide the service, and encourages continuous improvement in practice, policies and procedures.

Quality services regularly update and maintain their Quality Improvement Plan as a dynamic document to guide progress towards improvement. Quality services use the Quality Improvement Plan for continuous assessment against the National Quality Standard and the approved learning frameworks, to identify new goals for the service as part of an effective cycle of improvement. Incorporating regular self-assessment and quality improvement discussions in staff meetings encourages educators to participate in reflection on key practices, such as pedagogy and inclusion, and enables all staff members to provide input into planning for continuous quality improvement.

Establishing and maintaining a culture of critically reflective practice and self-review offers challenge, inspires motivation, and supports positive levels of staff satisfaction. This provides opportunities for all staff to improve their practice and programming, which contributes directly to improved learning outcomes for children.

An effective cycle of continuous improvement includes reviewing:

  • the extent to which the service meets or exceeds the National Quality Standard
  • the performance of all staff members
  • how the service and its practices are delivered in accordance with the Early Years Learning Framework and/or the Framework for School Age Care (or other approved learning frameworks)
  • the outcomes for children at the service against the learning outcomes in these frameworks
  • feedback and complaints from children and families.
See ACECQA Self-assessment tool for information on conducting self-assessment.

Assessment guide for meeting Element 7.2.1 (for all services)

Regular self-assessment

Assessors may observe service practices and program delivery that match the service’s self- assessment, which is reflected in its Quality Improvement Plan.

Assessors may discuss:


  • how the service:
    • aligns program delivery with quality improvement planning
    • collects and uses information from a range of sources as part of the process of self-assessment and planning for quality improvements
    • uses reflections on children’s learning and development to plan, implement and evaluate programs and to support children in achieving outcomes (see Elements 1.3.1 and 1.3.2)
    • engages in reflective practice on inclusion in the service’s Quality Improvement Plan
  • how the educational leader supports educators to engage in critically reflective practice to refine strategies and to create and sustain improvements
  • processes for regularly updating the Quality Improvement Plan and identifying new goals and strategies for quality improvement
  • how the views and suggestions of educators, children and families are considered and used to inform the development and review of the service philosophy, quality improvement planning processes, including self-assessments.

Assessors may sight:


  • the service’s Quality Improvement Plan displayed so that families and staff can view the current goals and strategies for quality improvement
  • the documented process for ongoing self-assessment, planning and review against the National Quality Standard
  • systems for collecting information from families, children and staff members about their perceptions of the service.