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The National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard sets a national benchmark for early childhood education and care services in Australia. Goodstart services are assessed and rated and display their rating.

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The National Quality Standard (NQS) is a key aspect of the National Quality Framework (NQF) and sets a high, national benchmark for early childhood education and care services in Australia.

These standards include seven Quality Areas against which centres are assessed

  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 managementThe Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority 

What is the National Quality Standard Assessment process?

Services are assessed and rated by their regulatory authority against the NQS, and given a rating for each of the 7 quality areas and an overall rating based on their results. For more information please visit The Australian Children’s Education & Care Quality Authority.

Why is the assessment process important?

The assessment process provides valuable external feedback to early childhood services, including areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. 

How do I know what a centre's rating is?

Each Goodstart centre will display their rating in a common area, if not then please speak with your Centre Director who will be able to advise you.

Alternatively, ratings for the entire sector (not just Goodstart) are available at

What is the Early Years Learning Framework and how does it relate to the Standards?

The Early Years Learning Framework describes the principles, practice and outcomes essential to support and enhance young children's learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school.

Quality Improvement Plans (QIPs)

What are Quality Improvement Plans?

An important part of the standards is the requirement for services to develop ongoing Quality Improvement Plans (QIP).

The aim of a QIP is to help providers self-assess their performance in delivering quality education and care and to plan future improvements. The QIP also helps the regulatory authorities with their assessment of the service. A QIP helps providers to document the strengths of their services and to recognise areas for improvement.

Do all Goodstart centres have QIPS?

All Goodstart centres have comprehensive QIPS in place to support them to meet the requirements of the National Quality Standards. These QIPs identify specific focus areas for each centre which reflects the unique circumstances of the service and the community. Educators, children and families are involved in the initial self-assessment that is done to determine what should form a part of its QIP.

The Quality Improvement Plan must:

  • include an assessment of the quality of practices of the service against the National Regulations and National Quality Standard
  • identify areas the provider considers may require improvement
  • contain a statement about the philosophy of the service

Each centre should develop their QIP in consultation with families and children. Children are consulted for development of curriculum, activities and playground changes and parents are consulted in relation to events at the centre, feedback towards curriculum, playground/environment changes.

Area Managers, Early Learning Consultants, Educators and local schools, communities and councils also support each centre to develop their QIP.

In centres that are meeting the requirements of the NQS their QIP may focus on improving above and beyond the standards to deliver the highest possible quality of early learning and care.

Where can I get a copy of my centre's QIP?

If you are interested in finding out more about the Quality Improvement Plan in place for your centre contact your local Centre Director who will be more than happy to assist.

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