Guide to the NQF

Helping education and care providers, educators and authorised officers deliver the NQF.

Acecqa – The Australian Children's Education & Care Quality Authority

The Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF) is designed to help education and care providers, educators and authorised officers understand and apply the requirements of the NQF.

The Guide is not legal advice and should be read in conjunction with the National Law and Regulations, which take precedence over any guidance.

As there will be further updates to this publication during 2023, hardcopies are not available for purchase at this time.

How to use the Guide

The Guide provides information for all types of service in all states and territories. It is not intended to be read from cover to cover, nor is all of the information within it relevant to every service. Rather, it has been designed as a comprehensive reference document to be referred to when seeking guidance on particular matters, such as applications and approvals, operational requirements, and the National Quality Standard.

The Guide has been designed as an online PDF document and will be updated as required. Any changes to the Guide will be added at the bottom of this page.

Along with ensuring that you will always be referring to the latest version of the Guide, another benefit of using the online PDF is that it enables you to quickly and easily search for content by key word(s).

Accessing the Guide

Download your copy:

Changes to the Guide 

This Guide will be regularly updated with additional advice and improved guidance.

To ensure you have the most up to date information we suggest you always view the online version. Any changes to the Guide will be added to the below table.

Download a print-friendly summary of the 2020 regulation amendments

Download a print-friendly copy of the table of changes

Release date



Summary of change


3: National Quality Standard and Assessment and Rating

4: Operational Requirements



Updating of existing wording and new text regarding new transportation requirements for centre-based services from 1 March 2023 from page 168 and from page 388.

New text and hyperlinks regarding the updated national approved learning frameworks. Services may use Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia Version 2.0 and My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia Version 2.0 from 2023 onwards. The original versions of both frameworks will be revoked from 1 February 2024.

Updating of existing wording and new text regarding notice of an assessment and rating visit on page 322 and partial reassessments on page 329.

May-22 3: National Quality Standard All Standards Amendment of hyperlinks at pages 141, 178, 204, 226, 250, 279 and 313.
March-22 4: Operational Requirements 4.2 – Educator Qualifications Amendment of existing wording at pages 413, 414 , 416, 418, 419 and 420. 
Sept-20 3: National Quality Standard 1 – Exceeding NQS theme guidance The general Exceeding guidance, previously found on pages 331-336, has been moved to pages 93-99, and some edits made including the insertion of questions that are used by authorised officers to establish Exceeding NQS practice.
Sept-20 3: National Quality Standard All standards

In the Exceeding guidance for each Standard found on pages 114, 126, 141, 163, 178, 190, 204, 217, 226, 240, 250, 266, 279, 299 and 313, former Exceeding indicators for assessors have been reworded into reflective questions for services.

The guidance also directs readers to the bank of Exceeding case studies available on ACECQA’s Exceeding the NQS web page.


2: Applications and Approvals

3: National Quality Standard and Assessment and Rating

4: Operational Requirements

5: Regulatory Authority Powers

7: Glossary


Updating of existing wording and insertion of new text at pages 37, 156, 166, 168-170, 173, 295, 360, 361, 363-5, 379, 381-6, 388, 438, 454, 456, 577, and 631.

These changes relate to the introduction of new regulatory requirements for transportation of children outside an excursion, including a requirement for policies and procedures, risk assessments and written authorisations – regulations 168(2)(ga) and 102B-D.

The new regulations are now included at page 168 under Element 2.2.1: Supervision.

A new section 2.14: Transportation was added at pages 382-5.

A new section 2.15: Other important factors relating to the safe transportation of children was added at pages 385-6.

The new regulations are now included at page 388 under 2:16 Responsibilities of the Approved Provider, Nominated Supervisor and Family Day Care Educator; at page 454 under 7.1: Policies and Procedures; and at page 577 under Attachment B: Summary of Offences under the National Regulations.

A minor change was made to the definition of ‘regular outing’ at page 631.

A new definition of ‘regular transportation’ was inserted at page 631.

Existing Part 2.13: Excursions at pages 380- 2 was also updated to include references to new regulatory requirements for transportation of children during an excursion – regulations 100(2)(d) and 102(4).


3: National Quality Standard and Assessment and Rating

4: Operational Requirements

4.1.1 – Organisation of educators


4.4 – Educator to child ratios


4.2.3 – Qualification requirements for centre-based services with children preschool age or under

Deletion of references to Regulations 322 and 323 on pages 212 – as they are repealed – bringing South Australia in line with national requirements for educator to child ratios at centre-based services under Regulation 123(1)(c).

Deletion of the reference to a saving provision in South Australia at page 429 (see above).


Addition of text at page 418 clarifying that an existing three-month probationary period for new educators working without an approved qualification under Regulation 126(1A) now applies in South Australia

Sept-20 4: Operational Requirements 3.16 – Assessment of family day care residences and approved family day care venues Addition of text at page 401 clarifying that a family day care educator need not reside at the residence from which they provide education and care.
Sept-20 4: Operational Requirements 7.4 – Management of records Addition of text at pages 475-6 clarifying the requirements for public liability insurance minimum cover under Regulations 29 and 30.

3: National Quality Standard and Assessment and Rating

4: Operational Requirements

Throughout Addition of references to Educational Leader Resource and Self-Assessment tool
Sept-20 All Throughout
Fixed typos, updated titling etc. – 1, 3, 92, 95, 97, 169, 416, 417, 473.
92-371 – chapter name update from Guide to National Quality Standard to National Quality Standard.
93-315 – Capitalise Standard as required.
Jan-20 4: Operational Requirements Quality Area 4: Staffing arrangements and mainly 4.1 – 4.5 Amended sections on requirement for second ECT or ‘suitably qualified person’ in centre-based services with 60 or more preschool age or younger children
Jan-20 2: Applications and Approvals 1.1 - Application for provider approval Further clarification of approved providers who are not individuals and persons with management and control



Tell us what you think

ACECQA values your feedback on the Guide to the NQF to ensure the information is accurate and helpful.

Your feedback and suggestions will help us to refine this product. Email our Sector Information Services Team at