From 01 Feb 2018, a revised NQS will be introduced to help clarify how quality is rated in education and care services.
The number of standards of the NQS has been reduced from 18 to 15, and the elements from 58 to 40.
Services will be assessed and rated against the revised NQS from 1 February 2018.
Here is a summary of each quality area and the changes that will come into effect:
Quality Area 1
- The number of standards has increased from two to three to reflect the three primary contributors to quality education: programs, practice, and assessment and planning.
- Under the current NQS, concepts relating to assessment and planning are referenced in multiple areas. These are now grouped together under the new standard 1.3.
Quality Area 2
- The number of standards and elements has reduced from three standards and ten elements to two standards and six elements.
- The new ‘Health’ standard includes healthy lifestyle, wellbeing and comfort, and health practices and procedures.
- The current standard 2.3 has been consolidated into a new ‘Safety’ standard to ensure each child is protected and adequate supervision is provided to protect children from harm and hazard.
Quality Area 3
- The number of standards and elements has reduced from three standards to two and seven elements to five.
- The two standards cover the design of the service environment, and the use of the service. There has been a slight shift in the concept of environmental responsibility to focus more on the child’s experience.
Quality Area 4
- There are no changes to the number of standards and elements in Quality Area 4.
- All elements relating to staffing arrangements and staff continuity under Quality Area 7 are grouped together under Quality Area 4 in the revised NQS.
- The elements about educator to child ratios and qualification requirements have been removed as they must be maintained at all times under the National Regulations.
Quality Area 5
- The number of elements has reduced from six to four as elements that were similar have been combined. For example, responsive and meaningful interactions build trusting relationships which engage and support each child to feel secure, confident and included.
Quality Area 6
- The number of standards has reduced from three to two and the elements from nine to six. Elements that were similar have been combined. For example, under the current NQS, there are two elements about ensuring current information is available to support families.
Quality Area 7
- This quality area was renamed. The standards have been reduced from three to two and thirteen elements to six.
Although this may look like a big change, six of the elements that were removed duplicate minimum legislated requirements. For example, the requirement to maintain and store records.
The revised NQS replaces elements that relate to specific regulations with a broader element about decision making and systems.
Note: We will update our article The National Quality Standard and Elements, just before the changes come into effect from 01, Feb 2018.
Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, Revised National Quality Standard and Changes, April 2017