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National Quality Standard
The National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard (NQS) is a key aspect of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and sets a high, national benchmark for early childhood education and care services in Australia.

Early childhood services are rated against 7 quality areas of the National Quality Standard:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children’s health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Governance and leadership
Benefits for children and families

Research shows quality education and care early in life leads to better health, education and employment outcomes later in life. The early years are critical for establishing self-esteem, resilience, healthy growth and capacity to learn. Quality education and care shapes every child’s future and lays the foundation for development and learning.

The major benefits for parents and children include:


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Service promotes exceptional education and care. Services rated Exceeding NQS in all 7 Quality Areas may choose to apply for this rating. Rating awarded by ACECQA.

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Service goes beyond the requirements in at least 4 of the 7 quality areas.

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Service provides quality education and care in all 7 quality areas.

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Service provides a safe education and care program, but there are 1 of more areas identified for improvement.

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Significant Improvement Required – this is a service that does not meet 1 of the 7 quality areas or a section of the legislation and there is a significant risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children.  The regulatory authority will take immediate action.