The Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA), in collaboration with all governments, has released its fourth Annual Performance Report on the National Quality Framework (NQF) endorsed by Education Council.
The report highlights how education and care service providers adopted new strategies to support and protect children, staff and families from the risks presented by the 2019–20 bushfires and coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.
Service providers and regulators rapidly adopted new strategies including using technology to provide ongoing learning and support when children were unable to attend services in person.
This year’s report highlights the sector’s commitment to continuous quality improvement including:
- More services than ever rated Meeting National Quality Standard (NQS) or above – from 56% in 2013 to 81% in 2020.
- Continuous improvement across all seven quality areas of the NQS.
- Almost two-thirds (65%) of services rated Working Towards NQS improved their overall quality rating at reassessment.
The quality of services in the most disadvantaged areas continues to improve. However, there is a growing gap between the quality of services in the most disadvantaged and most advantaged areas.
The report also identifies other sector wide challenges, such as workforce sustainability, educator wellbeing, provider and service viability, and skilled migration.
Education and care services approved under the NQF include long day care, outside school hours care and family day care services, as well as most preschools/kindergartens.