In December 2009, all Australian Governments agreed to a new National Quality Framework (NQF) for Early Childhood Education and Care.
The National Quality Framework (NQF) aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement for education and care services to improve outcomes for children. The NQF consists of three key elements including:
- The Legislation –
Education and Care Services National Law (South Australia) incorporated into the
Consisting of seven quality areas
Including a national quality rating and assessment process with five different rating levels
- Approved learning frameworks –
The NQF was established under applied law, comprising of the Education and Care Services National Law and the Education and Care Services National Regulations.
Early childhood education and care services are grouped into two categories according to the legislation: those that fall under a national quality framework (nationally in-scope services such as long day care, family day care, out of school hours care and preschools) and those under State legislation (residual services such as occasional care, rural and mobile care, in-home care and family day care services that are not within the meaning of the National Law).
In South Australia the Education and Care Services National Law is incorporated into the Education and Early Childhood Services (Registration and Standards) Act as Schedule 1.
The Education and Care Services National Regulations provide the detail on how the National Law is applied. The National Regulations include detail on a range of operational requirements for education and care services including:
- the application processes for provider, service and supervisor approval (the process for the assessment and rating services against the National Quality Standard)
- setting out the rating levels
- details of the minimum requirements relating to the operation of education and care services organised around each of the seven Quality Areas of the National Quality Standard.