The National Quality Framework is a national approach to regulation and quality improvement in early childhood education and care, and outside school hours care services across Australia. The National Quality Framework applies to most childcare providers and services, including centre-based day care, family day care, outside school hours care, and preschool and kindergarten.
The National Quality Framework is made up of the:
- National Law and Regulations;
- National Quality Standard; and
- National Approved Learning Frameworks.
The National Law and Regulations
The National Law and Regulations outline the legal obligations for providers and explain the functions of the state and territory regulatory authorities. They include things like requirements for staff qualifications and requirements for the number of staff working in services with children.
We have a self-assessment in SPP for the National Law and Regulations which ensures providers are aware of, and monitoring their compliance with, the sections and regulations of the National Law and National Regulations that are most relevant to each of the seven Quality Areas of the National Quality Standard.
The National Quality Standard
The National Quality Standard includes seven quality areas that form the basis of ratings and assessment. Services are assessed and rated against the seven quality areas:
- 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
We also have modules in SPP for the National Quality Standard, including a stand-alone module which we developed in consultation with a provider of early childhood education and outside school hours care. Our module closely aligns with ACECQA’s self-assessment tool, and allows providers to track each requirement of the National Quality Standard, and make qualitative comments throughout.
The National Approved Learning Frameworks
Under the National Law and Regulations, services are required to base their educational program on one of the approved learning frameworks. There are two nationally approved learning frameworks:
- Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia; and
- My Time, Our Place: Framework for School Age Care in Australia.
Self-assessments for both approved learning frameworks are available in SPP.
Update of the National Approved Learning Frameworks
Both frameworks are currently undergoing a consultation and review process, to ensure that they reflect contemporary developments in practice and knowledge. The review commenced in April 2021 and is being delivered over three stages.
Stages one and two have already been completed and included a literature review, surveys and stakeholder feedback. Some areas for improvement that came out of the discussion papers included strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives throughout the framework, strengthening the principle of ongoing learning, introducing a new sustainability principle and strengthening partnerships to include other professionals.
Stage three, which is currently underway, involves practitioners piloting the potential updates in their services. We are monitoring this review process and we will update our existing modules in SPP when the updated Standards are finalised. For more information on the updates, you can refer to ACECQA’s website or the Approved Learning Frameworks update website.