Skip to main content
Photograph of a group of preschool-aged children looking attentive

National Quality Standard

National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard is established by the National Regulations and is a significant part of the National Quality Framework.

Two five-year-olds are animatedly talking to an educator while they play dress-ups

The National Quality Standard sets a national benchmark for the quality of education and care services. Services covered under the National Quality Framework are assessed and rated against the National Quality Standard.

The National Quality Standard aims to promote:

  • safety, health and wellbeing of children
  • a focus on achieving outcomes for children through high-quality educational programs
  • greater understanding by services and families about what distinguishes a quality service.

Quality areas, standards and elements



Provides an overview of each quality area and the associated standards and elements that children's education and care services are assessed and rated against.

Getting to know the National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard brings together structural components (such as educator qualifications and educator to child ratios) with process aspects of quality (such as relationships with children and families and stimulating environments and learning programs).

Rating services against the National Quality Standard promotes transparency and accountability and assists families to assess the quality of the available services. This enables families to make informed decisions about the services providing education and care to their children.

National Quality Standard rating system

The National Quality Standard is accompanied by a national quality rating and assessment process. 

Go to the Assessment and rating page for more information about the National Quality Standard rating system.

The National Quality Standard allows your service to adopt approaches that are appropriate to the children in your setting.

How the National Quality Standard was developed

The development of the National Quality Standard was informed by research on best practice and the way in which high-quality education and care contributes to positive outcomes for children.

The OECD identifies aspects of quality critical to the provision of early childhood education and care services. These aspects of quality are reflected in the National Quality Standard.

National approved learning frameworks

The National Quality Standard is linked to the national approved learning frameworks. These frameworks recognise that children learn from birth. They outline practices that support and promote children's learning.

Together, the National Quality Standard, the national approved learning frameworks and the approved learning frameworks of states and territories guide the delivery of nationally consistent, high-quality experiences, programs and care across Australia.

Adapted from

'Guide 1: Guide to the National Quality Framework', National Quality Framework Resource Kit, Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority, 2013


  • National Quality Framework: National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care
  • National Quality Standard: National Quality Standard for Early Childhood Education and Care and School Age Care
  • OECD: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Supported by the Australian Government.
© 2016 Commonwealth of Australia, unless otherwise indicated
Supported by the Australian Government.
© 2016 Commonwealth of Australia,unless otherwise indicated