New Ratings System in Australia Raises the Bar for Early Learning and Care

Victorian services score well under National Quality Standards
By Jianguo Wu
Jianguo Wu
Jianguo Wu
May 2, 2013 Updated: May 3, 2013

Since May 1, Australian families have been able to find out how their children’s education and care services are rated under a new quality rating system.

The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) published the ratings on its website as part of a new national register under the National Quality Framework (NQF) for early childhood education and care.

ACECQA Board member and Chair Rachel Hunter said this was the first time quality ratings under the new National Quality Standard (NQS) had been made publicly available, with more than 2000 services now listed online.

“The NQS raises the bar on quality for Australian children’s education and care services,” Ms Hunter said.

“Over time, all 13,000 long day care, family day care, outside school hour’s care, preschools and kindergartens in the national registers will be assessed on their progress in meeting the new quality standard.”

The new assessment and rating system was welcomed by Early Learning Association Australia (ELAA) CEO Emma King, who told The Epoch Times that “this system is new and aspirational, setting high standards for all early childhood services.”

“This is not merely a ‘tick a box’ exercise,” said Ms King.”Each early childhood education service, whether they be long day care, kindergarten, family day care or out of school hours care, is visited by an assessor who observes the program and service at work and rates them in seven key quality areas.”

“This has never occurred in this way before and it is a significant step forward for the delivery of high quality services and transparency for parents,” she added.

Figures released from the ACECQA on May 1 show that of the 558 services assessed to date in Victoria under the new National Quality Standards (NQS), around 70 per cent secured a rating of “Meeting” or “Exceeding” national standards, while nationally the figure is 55 per cent. 90 per cent of Victorian Kindergartens met or exceeded the National Quality Standards.

Melbourne’s Woodland Education childcare centre was assessed across the categories including educational programs, children’s health and safety and staffing arrangements and was among those awarded “Exceeding National Quality Standard”.

“Apparently excellence can be measured,” General Manager of the centre Mark Woodland told The Epoch Times.

Jianguo Wu
Jianguo Wu