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National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care

In December 2009, COAG agreed to a new National Quality Framework (NQF) for Early Childhood Education and Care and outside school-hours care with a new legislative framework in place from 1 January 2012. This will replace the current licensing and accreditation processes currently managed by the department's Office for Early Childhood Education and Care and the National Childcare Accreditation Council.

The new framework will be implemented progressively from 1 July 2010. Services within the scope of the reform include long day care centres, kindergartens, family day care and school-age care services across Australia.

The NQF has four key components:

  • a new national quality standard to provide clear and consistent standards in early childhood education and care services across Australia, including staffing ratios and workforce qualification requirements
  • a quality rating system to better inform parents about the quality of each early childhood education and care service
  • a new national regulatory approach to streamline licensing, regulation and quality assurance requirements, and reduce the administrative burden on service providers
  • a national Early Years Learning Framework to guide educators on delivering quality learning programs for children from birth to five years of age.

To implement the NQF, COAG agreed to the National Quality Agenda National Partnership in December 2009.

This agreement:

  • delivers an integrated and unified national regulatory system for early childhood education and care
  • reduces the regulatory burden on service providers
  • drives continuous improvement in the quality of services through a national quality standard, including the early years learning framework, and a national quality rating system
  • provides better information for parents
  • ensures children participating in early childhood education and care and outside school-hours care are engaged in, and benefiting from, educational opportunities
  • promotes greater school readiness with programs including knowledge and skills for lifelong learning.

Queensland commenced implementation of these reforms, including field tests of the new assessment process, during June 2010. Information about the department's achievements in this area can be found in Giving children a flying start.

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