National Quality Framework Changes
Children form a critical component of any country’s future economy. It is imperative to not only ensure that our children get the best of education and have a healthy personality development, but also instil in them the virtues of life that help them grow up into confident and responsible adults.
Childcare services play a vital role in providing the required care and attention to young children while their parents go out to work and earn money. That being said, it is important to ensure that the childcare providers in the country maintain high standards of quality when it comes to nurturing young minds and catering to their educational needs outside of school hours.
In Australia, the NQS or the National Quality Standard is responsible for setting a high national benchmark for early childhood education as well as outside school hour care services. The education ministers in Australia had been mulling over introducing certain changes in the National Quality Framework in a bid to improve the quality of childcare services across all states and territories in the country. The changes in the National Law and Regulations will come into force starting February 1, 2018, across all territories and states with the exception of Western Australia, where the changes will be enforced starting October 1, 2018. Here is all you need to know about them.
Key Changes in the National Quality Standards
- The number of standards have been reduced to 15 from 18. Also, the number of elements have been reduced to 40 from 58. The aforementioned steps have been taken to promote better clarity and quality of the National Quality Standards.
- The guidelines and templates have also been revised to ensure suitable alignment of the resources with the changes in the NQS.
- Suitable revisions have been made in the Significant Improvement required category.
- The FDC has been provided with greater support and oversight for ensuring higher quality and compliance across the entire sector.
- All the various standards will be essentially rated as Exceeding NQS.
- There will no longer be any need for supervisor certification of either the National Law or the National regulations. As such, a separate provider may be appointed for the purpose of taking suitable decisions with regard to a responsible person.
- These approved providers will also be attributed with the responsibility of appointing other nominated supervisors for overseeing the day to day operations. An approved provider must necessarily be at least 18 years of age, possess the required skill set and be physically fit and mentally sound for the role.
Key changes in the OSHC (outside school hours care) Services
- All childcare service provider that offer care and education for school going children must have a national educator to student ratio of 1:15. Some of the territories and states have been permitted to undertake provisions for making transitional arrangements.
- Childcare providers in regions of the New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory that provide care and education for children older then preschoolers are not obligated to document the details of an individual child’s personal development. These childcare providers will, however, be required to maintain written records of the development of their educational programs. However, these aforementioned amendments are not applicable for the childcare providers that cater to school going children in the regions of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.
The revisions to the NQF have been made in accordance with the stipulates of the National Partnership Agreement that was discussed on the National Quality Agenda for the purpose of Early Childhood Education and Care. These changes have been made on the NQF for the purpose of improving the standards of care and education of the service providers across all the different territories and states within the country.
For more information visit the ACEQA website