Navigating the National Quality Framework updates
The next round of approved regulatory changes rolls out 1 July 2023. Learn about the key changes and resources for services.
18 May 2023
Services and approved providers should start preparing for new regulatory requirements under the National Quality Framework (NQF), following ACECQA’s announcement that the second round of changes will commence on 1 July 2023.
Based on recommendations from the 2019 NQF Review, the changes are designed to ensure the regulatory system remains current, achieves its objectives and supports Australia's approved services to provide high quality education and care to children.
Among the changes coming into effect on 1 July are:
- Short-term relief for early childhood educators. Primary teachers can replace educators referred to in regulation 126(1)(a) or (b) for a period of up to 30 days in any 12-month period. In NSW, existing regulation 272(6) will also be extended to add the early childhood teacher’s resignation as an allowable reason for short term relief of early childhood teachers. The approved provider will be required to keep records of short-term replacement of educators and early childhood teachers.
- Expansion of the definition of ‘person with management or control’ of the service to better capture persons exercising significant influence over the operation of services. This expansion will also bring the Education and Care Services National Law and the Family Assistance Law into closer alignment on matters relating to the ‘fitness and propriety’ of service providers.
- Adjustments when calculating family day care (FDC) coordinator to educator ratios required in FDC services that have been operating for at least 12 months to provide greater flexibility.
- FDC educators must hold at least an approved certificate III qualification prior to commencing their role in an FDC service. FDC educators can no longer be ‘actively working towards’ their qualification. FDC educators who were ‘actively working towards’ at least an approved certificate III qualification immediately before 1 July 2023, will have a period of up to 12 months until 1 July 2024 to complete their qualifications.
- Moderate increase to several prescribed fees as well as the introduction of a new category to differentiate fees applied to ‘large’ and ‘very large’ services.
- Extending the period of approval for services applying for an Excellent Rating from three to five years.
- Cut-off date for the original national Approved Learning Frameworks in early 2024 implemented, at which point services will be required to use the new versions of the national Approved Learning Frameworks.
The final round of changes will come into effect later this year and will include revised sleep and rest requirements and embedding the National Child Safe principles.
About the NQF Review
The NQF review was conducted in 2019 to ensure that the framework remains up to date and is implemented through best practice regulation. The full suite of recommended changes – agreed upon by Commonwealth, state and territory education ministers – are outlined in the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS) published in June 2022.
The first changes to come into effect were the updated transportation requirements for centre-based services on 1 March 2023. The new requirements are outlined in our regulatory guidance note, Safe Transportation of children attending ECEC services (PDF 92.1 KB).
ACECQA will publish an updated Guide to the NQF on 1 July 2023 and will continue to update this to reflect any further agreed changes from the 2019 NQF review.
Tips for services
- Stay up to date with important updates by reading our ECEC Update – you can access the latest issues on our Sector updates webpage – and other sources of information, such as the ACECQA Newsletter.
- Set aside time to unpack the changes and how the new requirements will impact on your service practice.
- Establish effective communication strategies to share relevant information in a timely manner with your team.
- Review and update your service policies and procedures in line with changes to regulatory requirements.
NQF Review 2019 – FAQs about the DRIS
ACECQA – Guidance information and resources
NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority – Regulatory guidance notes
For more information, please contact the Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.