National Quality Standard ratings

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More insight…more easily

At we work hard to provide resources which support and inform parents searching for early childhood education and care.

Recent survey findings have shown that parents looking for child care are unclear about the government's National Quality Standards, what they are used for, how the assessments are conducted and what the results mean.

To this end we have enhanced our information on the National Quality Standards to offer greater insights on the ratings received by early childhood services.

This additional level of detail includes the overall rating as well as ratings given for the seven different quality areas that are assessed:

  • Educational program and practice
  • Children’s health and safety
  • Physical environment
  • Staffing arrangements
  • Relationships with children
  • Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  • Governance and leadership

The ratings a service can receive are described in this table:

Excellent The Excellent rating is the highest possible rating and can only be awarded by ACECQA (effective from May 2013).

Providers with a service rated Exceeding National Quality Standard can choose to apply.
Exceeding National Quality Standard A service that receives an overall rating of Exceeding will have exceeded the NQS in at least four or more of the seven quality areas, including two of the 'key' areas.
Meeting National Quality Standard An overall rating of Meeting means that your service has met all of the elements in the NQS and may have exceeded the standards in some quality areas.
Working Towards National Quality Standard If your service receives an overall rating of Working Towards it means the service has not met at least one of the 58 elements in the NQS. It may have a mix of higher and lower ratings across the seven quality areas.

It may take time for some services to meet each element in these standards, which is why the Working Towards rating is important.

Working Towards does not mean that the service has failed to meet any of the requirements that pose a risk to the safety, health or wellbeing of children.
Significant Improvement Required This rating is given when a service fails to meet requirements in a way that poses an unacceptable risk to the health, wellbeing or safety of children. Services which receive this rating must work with a Regulator to immediately improve their quality otherwise they will have their operating licence withdrawn.
Provisional A service that is yet been assessed against the National Quality Standard.

The NQS Rating information is updated weekly to ensure parents benefit from the most up-to-date information available.

You can learn more about the National Quality Standards, how they operate and why they were introduced in this article.

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