Safety and Quality
All approved services in NSW are monitored, regulated, assessed and rated by the department to ensure children are kept safe and secure.
The Department of Education’s central priority is to ensure safety and quality is maintained within early childhood education services.
A robust National Quality Framework has been in place since 2012 to ensure the highest safety standards are in place for children attending early childhood education services in NSW.
The department works closely with the Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), an independent national authority, to implement the National Quality Framework (NQF). The ACECQA Board is accountable to the Education Council. The Board provides advice and reports to the Education Council through the Australian Education Senior Officials Committee (AESOC).
ACEQCA’s website features many helpful resources, including the Starting Blocks section for parents.
Regulations and ratings
Long day care, preschools, outside school hours care and family day care are regulated under the Children (Education and Care Services) National Law and the Education and Care National Regulations, Occasional care and mobile services operate under the Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Act 2011 No 70 and Children (Education and Care Services) Supplementary Provisions Regulation 2012.
National Quality Framework
Long day care, preschools, outside school hours care and family day care services are assessed against the National Quality Standard (NQS).
The ratings are:
- Exceeding NQS
- Meeting NQS
- Working towards NQS
- Significant Improvement Required
The Early Years Learning Framework
Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on an approved learning framework. This should focus on addressing the developmental needs, interests and experiences of each child, while taking into account individual differences. There are 2 nationally approved learning frameworks which outline practices that support and promote children’s learning:
Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (EYLF): Approved learning framework under the NQF for young children from birth to five years of age
My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia: Approved learning framework under the NQF for school age children.
Diversity and inclusion
Every young child has the right to be included and to participate in early childhood education (ECE) programs and in the community. All children need to feel accepted and to have a meaningful sense of belonging. You can learn more about children’s rights and supporting young children’s rights.
The NSW Government is committed to ensuring that children in NSW can participate in quality ECE, no matter where they live or what their circumstances are.
The National Quality Standard aims to ensure that all children have the same opportunities to participate fully in early childhood education regardless of their age, gender, background or abilities.
Through a range of grants, funded programs and sector supports, the NSW Department of Education works to ensure the early childhood education sector is making services accessible for all children, including those who are from Aboriginal families, who may have a disability or additional needs, live in regional and remote areas or are from disadvantaged backgrounds .