Quality and regulations
The National Quality Framework is a regulatory system for the continuous improvement of preschools and early childhood and care services in Australia.
The National Quality Framework is supported by a nationwide assessment and rating process involving the:
- Education and Care Services National Law
- Education and Care Services National Regulations
- National Quality Standard.
All Department of Education preschools must comply with the framework.
Quality improvement plan
The National Law requires education and care services to prepare a quality improvement plan and keep it up to date. Quality improvement plans must include a service philosophy, a self-assessment component and a plan for improvement. Authorised officers review a service's quality improvement plan when assessing and rating a service. Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority contains information and resources to assist in developing quality improvement plans.
National Quality Standard
The National Quality Standard is a benchmark for early childhood education and care services. All preschools must ensure they meet 18 standards across the seven areas of the National Quality Standard.
The seven quality areas covered by the standard are:
- educational program and practice
- children's health and safety
- physical environment
- staffing arrangements
- relationships with children
- collaborative partnerships with families and communities
- leadership and service management.
Assessment and rating
The rating system is designed to improve quality and drive improvement in education and care services. Early learning and primary education is responsible for assessment and rating in NSW.
Preschools are assessed and rated against each of the seven quality areas that make up the standard. They receive one of the following overall ratings:
- significant improvement required
- working towards the National Quality Standard
- meeting the National Quality Standard
- exceeding the National Quality Standard
- excellent (this rating may be awarded on application to the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority).
Parents and carers can search for ratings on the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority national register and mychild websites.
Preschools are required to display their ratings.
- Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the national body overseeing the implementation of the National Quality Framework.
- Department preschools and the national regulations (PDF 103KB)
- National Quality Framework resource kit
- Explaining the National Quality Framework
- Developmental milestones
- What is quality? (PDF 47KB)
- Early childhood education regulates and assesses all preschools in NSW. Read their newsletter, The early childhood extra.