Legislation and Regulations

News Update: Changes to National Quality Framework: 13 February 2017

National Quality Framework

The National Quality Framework for early childhood education and care and school age care is a national approach to the regulation and quality assessment of education and care services. It aims to improve quality and drive continuous quality improvement through national legislation, quality standards, learning frameworks and a new rating system.

The National Quality Framework applies to most long day care, family day care, public and independent preschools and school age care in the ACT.

Legislative Frameworks

Education and care services that are part of the National Quality Framework are required to comply with the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 and the Education and Care Services National Regulations, including requirements in the areas of staffing qualifications and educator-to-child ratios, health and safety, educational programs, physical environments, interactions with children and service management.

Childcare services that are exempt from the National Quality Framework, including occasional care, playschools and some vacation care services, continue to be licensed under the Children and Young People Act 2008. These services are required to comply with the ACT Childcare Services Standards, including requirements in the areas of staffing qualifications and educator-to-child ratios, health and safety, educational programs, physical environments, interactions with children and service management.

ACT Childcare Services Standards

National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard sets a new national benchmark for the quality of education and care services. The National Quality Standard is divided into seven Quality Areas:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children's health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Leadership and service management.

Education and care services approved under the National Quality Framework will be assessed and rated against each of the seven Quality Areas of the National Quality Standard and the National Regulations. They will also be given an overall rating. The assessment and rating process aims to drive continuous quality improvement at services and provide families with clear information about their service's quality.

Regulatory Authority

The Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA) - a section of the Education Directorate - administers the legislation covering approved education and care services and licensed childcare services in the ACT.
The role of the CECA includes:

  • Providing information about education and care in the ACT to families, services and the community;
  • Issuing approvals for providers, services, waivers, certified supervisors and licenses;
  • Monitoring compliance with the Children and Young People Act 2008 and the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 through announced and unannounced visits, data collection and review, targeted monitoring campaigns, and email and phone contact with services;
  • Quality assessment and rating of education and care services in accordance with the National Quality Framework; and
  • Investigating complaints relating to compliance with the relevant education and care law.

The CECA is staffed by professionals with experience and qualifications in children's education and care.