The future is now: Welcome to the revised NQS

Published on Tuesday, 06 February 2018
Last updated on Thursday, 16 January 2020

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The revised National Quality Standard (NQS) is now in effect and comes with fewer elements and standards and, according to ACECQA, clearer language.

The assessment and rating process for services has also been streamlined and services are now being assessed against the revised version of the NQS.

Under the revised NQS services are now being assessed against 15 standards and 40 elements as compared to 18 standards and 58 elements, with the overarching goal of driving constant improvement in the provision of education and care services.

Each standard and element has a quality concept, which ACECQA says will make it easier for navigating the NQS.

As of this month there are also new guidelines and rules for determining the Exceeding NQS rating for quality areas. All standards with a quality area must now be rated as Exceeding NQS for that quality area to be rated Exceeding NQS.

In addition, there is new guidance for services and assessors on determining the Exceeding NQS rating for standards, which more clearly describes the difference between the Meeting NQS and Exceeding NQS rating levels for standards.

Read the Guide to the National Quality Framework for more information on these changes.

Quality Improvement Plans

Services must continue to review and revise their Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) under the new NQS, at least annually or when directed by the relevant regulatory authority. As your QIP will be taken into account when your service is rated, ACECQA is recommending that services review and update it in line with the revised NQS.

You can access an updated version of the QIP template for the revised NQS here.

Changes to the Excellent Rating – Eligibility and criteria

As of this month changes to the ACECQA-awarded Excellent rating have also taken effect. The key changes are:

  • To be eligible to apply for the Excellent rating services must be assessed as Exceeding NQS in all seven quality areas (in WA this change takes effect on 1 October 2018)
  • The application fee has been axed
  • Two themes under criterion 1 will be combined to streamline the application process – 'Positive workplace culture and organisational values' and 'Sustained commitment to professional development and support of educators'. The updated criterion is 'Positive workplace culture, organisational values, support of educators and sustained commitment to professional development'.

Learn more about changes to the Excellent rating here.

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