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Find a childcare service
The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) maintain a website containing information for families on comparing early learning services, fees and vacancies. You can use the Starting Blocks website to shortlist early childhood education and care services, view fees and quality ratings and estimate out-of-pocket costs.
Services regulated by the Education Standards Board
Early childhood education and care services under the National Quality Framework
Education and care services in South Australia that fall within the National Quality Framework or the state-based law are regulated by the Education Standards Board. For more information about our regulatory practice, see Our role.
Long day-care, family day-care, out of school hours care services and preschools are mostly regulated under the National Quality Framework (NQF).
Long day-care: a centre-based form of service which provides all-day or part-time care for children age birth to six who attend on a regular basis.
Preschool: a service that provides an early childhood education program, delivered by a qualified teacher, often but not necessarily on a sessional basis in a dedicated service. Alternative terms used for preschool include kindergarten.
Out of school hours care (OSHC): a service that provides care for primary school aged children (typically 5 to 12 years) before and after school and can also operate during school holidays (vacation care) and on pupil free days. Outside school hours services are usually provided from primary school premises. Services may also be located at childcare centres or community facilities. Outside school hours care services are often provided by parent associations or non-for-profit organisations.
Family day care: an education and care service that is delivered by two or more educators to provide education and care to children and operates from two or more residences.
Early childhood education and care services under state law (residual services)
Residual services fall outside the scope of the National Quality Framework and are regulated under state law. These include:
In-home care: a service providing education and care to children in premises where the majority of children usually reside and the educator does not reside.
Occasional care: a service providing education and care to children primarily on an ad hoc or casual basis, where the service does not usually offer full-time or all-day education and care to children on an ongoing basis; and most of the children attending are pre-school age or younger.
Mobile care: a service providing education and care primarily to children pre-school age or under, that transports equipment, materials and staff to one or more locations on each occasion the service is provided.
We regulate all government and non-government schools that provide primary and secondary education. This includes catholic and independent schools.
We undertake the following types of regulatory activities for schools under the Act:
- provider applications: assessing and determining applications for new government and non-government school registration and changes to school registration under the Act
- schools register: maintaining a register of government and non-government schools under the Act
- registration review: reviewing registration against the Standards for Registration and Review of Registration of Schools in South Australia (the Standards).
We endorse schools to provide education services to overseas students; and register and monitor student exchange organisations that operate student exchange programs.
We undertake the following types of international education regulatory activities:
- registering providers: endorsing school providers for registration on the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) under the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000
- registering student exchange organisations: assessing registration applications under the Education and Children's Services Act 2019
- monitoring: monitoring ongoing compliance and reciprocity of inbound and outbound exchange students by student exchange organisations.
Children's services not regulated by the Education Standards Board
Some children's services fall outside the scope of the Education Standards Board's regulatory authority.
- classes primarily offering dance, sport, music, language or religious instruction.
Making a complaint about an early childhood education and care service
Early childhood education and care services must have contact information for complaints displayed at the premises and procedures in place to handle complaints about service quality or breaches of the National Law. Before lodging a complaint with the Education Standards Board, you are encouraged to first attempt to resolve the matter directly with the service's approved provider or a person in a senior role at the service.
When a service receives a complaint regarding a serious incident or a breach of the National Law or Regulations, the service is required by law to notify the Education Standards Board.
Families or educators who are concerned about the quality or compliance of an early childhood education and care service may make a complaint to the Education Standards Board directly where:
- the matter is very serious or critical
- you have tried to resolve the matter with the service, but you consider it was not satisfactorily addressed
- you do not feel comfortable raising the matter directly with the service.
To enable us to effectively investigate the matter, please provide sufficient detail about the complaint.
Complaints should be submitted in writing to the compliance and investigations department through this form.
You may also email to esb.complianceinvestigations [at] sa.gov.au.
For hearing or sight accessibility, phone 1800 882 413. If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment:
- Internet relay users connect to the National Relay Service, then as for the Education Standards Board number 1800 882 413.
- Speakand-listen users phone 1300 555 727 and then ask for the Education Standards Board on 1800 882 413. Call charges will apply and higher rates from mobile phones will apply.
- Teletypewriter (TTY) users phone 133 677 and then ask for the Education Standards Board number 1800 882 413.
National registers of approved providers and services
The National register of approved providers and services is maintained by ACECQA. Search the register for a service or provider, or view the list of approved providers and services by state.
Current compliance action
Early childhood education and care
The Education Standards Board publishes current compliance actions relating to early childhood education and care.