Legislation, ratings and standards information on the National Quality Framework (NQF)

The NQF is a national system for the regulation and quality assessment of child care and early learning services.

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The NQF was established on 1 January 2012 and sets out requirements for child care and early learning service providers, including qualification and educator-to-child ratios. Information on these requirements is available on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website.

Key legislation and standards under the National Quality Framework

A national legislative framework

The framework creates a national approach to the regulation and quality assessment of child care and early learning services. It replaced existing separate state/territory licensing and quality assurance processes. For many services, this has meant less red tape. The national legislative framework consists of the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.

A National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard sets the national benchmark for the quality of education and care services, and promotes the safety, health and wellbeing of children. It includes seven quality areas:

  1. Educational programme and practice
  2. Children's health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management.

A national quality rating and assessment process

Approved services are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard. The aim is to promote continuous improvement in the quality of child care and early learning services. Further information is available on assessment and ratings on the ACECQA website.

The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority

ACECQA has been established to guide the implementation and administration of the National Quality Framework, and to ensure national consistency.

Information on the NQF, including information sheets and sector support material, is available on the ACECQA website.