Two young children looking at each other while watering four flower pots on a windowsilNational Quality Framework (NQF)

As early childhood educators, we are living through a formative and historic stage in our profession. Important developments in curriculum, compliance and management have recently come into effect. The Independent Schools sector has always operated in accordance with best practice in ECEC. Now, as well representing a broad range of philosophies and delivering unique programs, we all come under the umbrella of the National Quality Framework (NQF).

On 1 January 2012 the National Quality Framework (NQF) came into effect.

The NQF has six distinct areas. The table below summarises the components. Scroll down for detailed information about different parts of the framework.

1. The National Law and Regulations

The National Legislative Framework is established through an applied laws system and it consists of:

2. The Regulatory Body

The regulatory body for the NQF is the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), on which each state and territory is represented.

3. The National Quality Standard

The legal structures and regulations are interpreted for practical purposed into the National Quality Standard. There are seven areas covered in the National Quality Standard.

  • 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.

4. The National Assessment and Rating System

Commencing in June 2012, each service will be assessed by a representative of the regulatory body. The service will be audited according to the National Quality Standards and will receive a rating. In the immediate future, the rating will not be made public, but in time, parents will have access to online information so that they can make informed decisions about where they would like their children to be educated and cared for.

The Rating System has five levels

  • Excellent
  • Exceeding National Quality Standard
  • Meeting National Quality Standard
  • Working towards National Quality Standard
  • Significant improvement required.

5. Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)

There is a mandatory requirement that every approved service does a Quality Improvement Plan (QIP) and has it in place by April 2012. The QIP relates directly to the seven areas of the National Quality Standard listed above. ACECQA has released a template for the Quality Improvement Plan (QIP). Each service will need to decide how best they might approach the creation of a QIP. The more staff involved, the lighter the load and the more effective the process will be.

6. Belonging, Being Becoming, the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF)

The final component of the NQF is the curricular framework: Belonging, Being, Becoming. Select Curriculum on the left hand sidebar for detailed information.

Persons working in ECEC environments must be certified to supervise the children in their care. Under the new regulations you need to ensure that the relevant persons are registered with the Department of Education and Training (DET) as a certified supervisor, or a nominated supervisor.

Our intention at Independent Schools is to assist you to negotiate the complex issues of curriculum and compliance and to have information at your fingertips. Follow the links on the left sidebar for detailed information about the National Regulations and the National Curriculum: Belonging, Being Becoming.

See below for resources to support your practice.

  • Regulations
  • Curriculum
  • Health and Inclusion

Resources for working through the National Quality Framework

If you have any questions or queries about the Regulation and Legislation you can click on the underlined or email Independent Schools Victoria’s Senior Advisor, Early Years – Helen Schiele.

Resources and Links

External linkSample Forms and Templates

External linkWorking with Children Check