National Quality Framework
In December 2009, all Australian governments, through the Council of Australian Governments, agreed to a partnership to establish a National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (‘National Quality Framework’).
The Australian Government and state and territory governments recognise the importance of increasing their focus on the early years to ensure the wellbeing of children throughout their lives and to lift the productivity of our nation as a whole. The drive for change is based on clear evidence that the early years of children’s lives are very important for their present and future health, development and wellbeing.
The National Quality Framework aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement in education and care services through:
- the National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care (‘National Quality Standard’)
- a national quality rating and assessment process
- streamlined regulatory arrangements
- a new national body jointly governed by the Australian Government and state and territory governments—the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA)—to oversee the new system.
The new system replaces state and territory licensing and quality assurance processes.
The National Quality Framework takes effect on 1 January 2012, with key requirements being phased in over time. Requirements such as qualifications, educator-to-child ratios, and other key staffing arrangements will be phased in between 2012 and 2020.