From February 1, a new revised version of the National Quality Standard will be in place for all services operating under the National Quality Framework. Here are the key things educators and leaders need to know.
Less standards and elements
The original NQS that launched in 2012 consisted of 58 elements, across 18 standards, within 7 Quality Areas.
The revised NQS consists of 40 elements, across 15 standards, within 7 Quality Areas.
The reduction is primarily due to similar elements and standards under the original NQS being combined and clarified.
Concepts and descriptors
Elements and standards in the original NQS were descriptions of different length, for instance:
Element 1.1.5: Each child is supported to participate in the program.
The revised NQS has a slightly different format, with the introduction of concepts and descriptors. For instance:
Descriptor: Each child’s current knowledge, strengths, ideas, culture, abilities and interests are the foundation of the program.
ACECQA has provided a guide to the NQS changes here.
Changes to the Exceeding rating
Under the original NQS, it was not always necessary for every standard within a Quality Area to be rated Exceeding for the overall rating for that Quality Area to be Exceeding.
Under the revised NQS, every standard within a Quality Area must be rated Exceeding for the overall rating for that Quality Area to be Exceeding.
Authorised officers and services have been provided new guidance on the difference between Meeting and Exceeding by ACECQA.
What should services do from February 1?
The first thing services should consider is updating their Quality Improvement Plan to reflect the new standards and elements. While this does not have to be in place on February 1, updating QIPs will ensure that services have a good understanding of the revised NQS in preparation for their next assessment and rating cycle. The requirement that QIPs are updated at least annually is still in place.
New services starting operation on or after February 1 must ensure their QIPs reflect the revised NQS.
ACECQA has prepared a new Guide to the National Quality Framework, that includes guidance on the revised NQS, and the recent changes to the National Law and Regulations. Services should ensure they have a copy of this available in their services.
If services have any questions about the changes, they should contact their local regulatory authority.
For services located in the ACT, Northside Children’s Services is running a free sector forum on Wednesday February 14 on The New NQS. Click here to RSVP.