Self-assessment for quality improvement

Why self-assessment is important and how it can be included in the assessment and rating (A&R) process. The information on this page is for early childhood education and out of school hours care services.


Self-assessment and quality improvement are inherent in the National Quality Framework (NQF) and are essential in providing quality outcomes for children. It is a cycle that involves examining what is happening at the service, and helps you identify your service’s strengths and opportunities for improvement on an ongoing basis.

Engaging in self-assessment is a great way to drive your service’s quality improvement process. You can also share your self-assessment information with the regulatory authority in preparation for assessment and rating.

We have developed 2 options that services can use to document and share their self-assessment information. The newly released Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal allows live access to information and easy updates. Alternatively, the existing NSW Self-Assessment Working Document also remains available. Both tools are designed to support your service self-assessment and quality improvement journey.

NSW services who choose to maintain and submit their self-assessment information will not be required to submit a separate quality improvement plan (QIP), as part of the assessment and rating process.

A summary of the assessment and rating process and how it supports continuous improvement in ECEC.

Hi, my name's Shane Snibson and I'm from the NSW Department of Education. We are the regulatory authority for early childhood education and care in NSW. The department regulates over 6,000 early childhood education and care services across the state. One of our core functions is to assess and rate services guided by the National Quality Framework. Assessment and rating is an important part of supporting continuous quality improvement of services to ensure children have a quality education and care experience. It's an opportunity for services to reflect on their practice, examine why they do what they do, and how they can make further improvements.

So we ensure that we implement sustainable practices in terms of our critical reflection, and that looks different depending upon the different quality areas that we're looking at and the key areas of improvement that we're focusing on. So that might involve brainstorming, engagement in professional development, and really breaking down the ... the why behind our practice.

So for us having developed a continuous improvement document, our self-assessment, now the challenge is to ensure that we are constantly referring back to it. We do it through weekly reflection as a senior staff team. And I guess what we are trying to unpack is whether our practices are still reflective of that document or whether we need to make changes and update, whatever that looks like for us at that moment in time. And our kids committee that runs with our five-six children, we're very active in deciding what our programs look like and specifically what they wanted to showcase across our assessment and rating visit of those 2 days. So children's voices were really important, right from the start of the process. They're also seen all through our self-assessment document, as well.

Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal

An online Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal has been developed to support services’ quality improvement journey and will streamline the process of sharing service information with the NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority, in the lead up to assessment and rating.

Users of the portal will be able to record information relating to their service philosophy, compliance with the National Law and Regulations, key practices aligned to the National Quality Standard and maintain an up-to-date improvement plan.

The design of the portal is based around the NSW Self-Assessment Working Document with additional features that have been incorporated following feedback from the sector.

Our November 2023 ECE Connect session ‘Planning for quality improvement’ provided an overview of the Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal. If you missed it, you can access the recording on the ECE Connect webpage.

NSW Self-Assessment Working Document

Another option for documenting your service quality improvement journey, is our NSW Self-Assessment Working Document, which is a PDF resource. The Self-Assessment Working Document can also be shared directly with the regulatory authority when scheduled for assessment and rating.

Note: you will need to have Adobe Acrobat Reader on your device to use the self-assessment working document.


The Continuous Improvement Team are experienced authorised officers who are available to support services engaging in self-assessment and quality improvement. To schedule a free support session to discuss your own improvement journey or guidance on using the portal, reach out to the team by:


Services who have engaged with a self-assessment process have shared that they are more connected with their service planning as an ongoing cycle and have felt more engaged and confident in showcasing the unique aspects of their practice during the A&R visit. However, you may choose not to share your self-assessment information in preparation for your A&R visit, you will continue to complete the service context form and submit your service QIP.

Using the portal to maintain an ongoing self-assessment and quality improvement plan is encouraged and beneficial for services, although is not mandatory. Services may choose another method to document and share their quality improvement journey, for example the NSW Self-Assessment Working Document or QIP.

The Self Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning portal is now live and can be accessed any time through the above link. The online portal enables services to manage their self-assessment and quality improvement plan, and streamline the process of sharing information with the regulatory authority when scheduled for A&R.

Yes, the portal and working document both allow for services to record and share up to 5 key practices for each element in every standard. There is a 500 character limit (for each key practice) to support services to clearly articulate their key practices.

No. The portal has been designed to support service’s quality improvement journey. The information recorded is not accessible by authorised officers. Services will decide what information from the portal is relevant to submit when requested, in preparation of a scheduled assessment and rating visit.

No, regulation 55 requires services to develop a QIP that includes an assessment by the provider of your practices against the NQS and Regulations, areas for improvement and your philosophy.

The Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal has been designed to meet the requirements of Regulation 55 and if you are using the portal or the NSW Self-Assessment Working Document to support your quality improvement journey, you are not required to maintain a separate QIP.

In addition to contacting the Continuous Improvement Team, peak bodies such as CELA and other organisations offer training and support relating to self-assessment and the A&R process. Other resources related to self-assessment and A&R can be found on the ACECQA website.

A user guide and frequently asked questions are available on the Self-Assessment and Quality Improvement Planning Portal webpage.

Services are encouraged to engage with the Continuous Improvement Team at any time they’d like support with their self-assessment and quality improvement planning. To contact the team and book in for a free self-assessment support session, email or call 1800 619 113.

Related information


  • DoE

Business Unit:

  • NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority
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