Changes to the NQF from Oct 2017

What are the changes to the NQF and why are changes being made?

The Australian, state and territory education Ministers have agreed to changes to the National Quality Framework (NQF) following a review of the National Partnership Agreement on the National Quality Agenda (NQA) for Early Childhood Education and Care.

The changes are outlined in a Decision Regulation Impact Statement (DRIS), available on the Education Council website. The DRIS provides an analysis of the regulatory impacts of changes to the NQF and stakeholder views. 

The NQA Review commenced in 2014 to determine if the goals of the NQF to improve the quality of education and care in Australia are being met in the most efficient and effective way.

Proposed options for changes to the NQF were tested with the sector, families and communities. Overall the review found the NQF is an important and successful reform with strong stakeholder support, and some technical and operational improvements are required after five years of operation.

Key changes to the law will be:

  • A revised National Quality Standard (NQS) to strengthen quality through greater clarity, remove conceptual overlap between elements and standards, clarify language and reduce the number of standards and elements from 18 standards to 15, and 58 to 40 elements.
  • Improved oversight and support within Family Day Care to achieve better compliance and quality across the whole sector.
  • Removing supervisor certificate requirements so service providers have more autonomy in deciding who can be the responsible person in each service, and to reduce red tape.
  • Introduction of a national educator to child ratio of 1:15 for services providing education and care to school age children. A 12 month transitional period will apply in NSW to allow the sector time for introduction of this new requirement.

When do the changes come into effect?

Changes to the National Law will be introduced into the Victorian parliament and will come into effect from 1 October 2017 in all states and territories (except Western Australia which will implement these changes by 1 October 2018).  There will be a transitional period for some changes to allow services time to adjust.

A revised NQS will be introduced on 1 February 2018 in all states and territories (including Western Australia).

How do I find out more about the changes?

NSW would like to thank the education and care sector, families and community for their feedback and commitment to improving and strengthening the NQF.

The Department will be working to support the sector to prepare for these changes. More information and resources will be available to the sector throughout 2017.

What support and guidance will be developed?

NSW Department of Education and ACECQA are committed to supporting the sector to understand and prepare for these changes. The ACECQA website has a summary of the changes and how they will impact education and care providers across all service types, this page will be updated as more information and guidance is developed over the coming months.

The Early Childhood Education Diretorate will also host forums for service, providers and peaks in mid-2017 to ensure the sector is supported and prepared for the changes to commence in October 2017.

Our service hasn't been rated yet; does this mean we won't until the changes come into effect?

NSW will continue assessing and rating services up to and following the revised NQS starting in February 2018.

Do we need to do another Quality Improvement Plan (QIP)?

Changes are expected to reduce the time spent by providers on their QIP. More information and guidance will be released over the coming months to support services with this.

Services should maintain or develop their QIP in line with current legislation requirements until then.

Who do I talk to if I have questions?

The ACECQA website has a summary of the changes and how they will impact education and care providers across all service types, this page will be updated as more information and guidance is developed over the coming months.

You can also contact:

NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Directorate

Information and Enquiries

Ph: 1800 619 113


Postal Address: 

NSW Department of Education and Communities

Locked Bag 5107



More information

Visit ACECQA's webpage for a summary of key changes.

Download the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (PDF 2.2MB).

Sign up to the ACECQA newsletter to stay informed of changes to the NQF.


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