1. What is the National Quality Framework?

The National Quality Framework (NQF) provides a national approach to regulation of the quality of education and care services across Australia.

The National Quality Framework (NQF) was introduced in 2012 and aims to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and consistency in education and care services through:

  • the Education and Care Services National Law 2010 and the Education and Care National Regulations 2011
  • the National Quality Standard and assessment and quality rating process
  • national approved learning frameworks
  • a regulatory authority in each state and territory responsible for the approval, monitoring and quality assessment of services in their state or territory
  • a national body – ACECQA, which guides the implementation of the NQF and supports regulatory authorities, service providers and families.

2. Why is there a review of the National Quality Framework?

The NQF Review provides an opportunity for you to provide feedback to ensure that the NQF remains current, fit for purpose and is continuing meeting its objectives.

On 14 December 2018, the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Education Council endorsed the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the NQF Review. The ToR outlines the scope of the review and establishes the range of issues that will be reviewed.

3. How can I have my say during the NQF Review?

The NQF Review is a consultative review process, involving two major rounds of consultation with stakeholders before Education Council decides which changes will be made to the NQF.

Anyone can have their say on the NQF Review such as education and care providers, peak bodies, parents and families and other organisations and government agencies.

The ‘NQF Review: Issues Paper’ marks the beginning of the consultative review process. There are a number of different ways for you to have your say during the NQF Review:

Attend a face-to-face consultation session

Face-to-face consultation sessions will be held in all jurisdictions to capture further stakeholder contributions to the NQF Review.

Take the online survey

Responses to the Issues Paper can be submitted by answering an online survey. Responses will be analysed and inform development of the options in the ‘Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement’.

4. What is the process of the NQF Review?

The NQF Review has four major stages:

1.  Stakeholder consultation on the ‘NQF Review: Issues Paper’

The ‘NQF Review: Issues Paper’ seeks stakeholder feedback on a range of issues within the ToR of the NQF Review.

2.  Stakeholder consultation on a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement

Following collection of contributions from stakeholders, options will be developed on the issues raised and presented in a ‘Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement’ (CRIS) for a further round of stakeholder consultation.

3.  Development and agreement between governments on required changes

After analysing feedback from the CRIS process, governments will recommend preferred options for improving the NQF and how they would be implemented in a ‘Decision Regulatory Impact Statement’ (DRIS).

All members of COAG’s Education Council need to agree before any changes to the NQF can be implemented. Education Council members are government Ministers responsible for Education and Care regulation across states and territories, and the Australian Government.

4.  Implementation of changes into the NQF

The final stage of the NQF Review will be the implementation of the changes as agreed by governments.

5. Why is there another NQF Review?

The last review of the National Quality Framework was in 2014. It is good practice to regularly review the NQF to ensure it remains contemporary, fit for purpose and consistent with ‘best practice regulation’, particularly while the education and care sector continues to evolve.

6. How long is the NQF Review expected to take?

From its commencement to implementation, the entire NQF Review process is expected to run from 2019–2022. 

See FAQ – ‘What are the key milestones in the NQF Review’ for more detailed timing.

7. What issues will the NQF Review consider?

The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the 2019 NQF Review as approved by the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council outline the scope of the review and issues to be considered.

The NQF Review will assess whether the objectives of the National Quality Framework are still being met, and possible improvements to the system.

The 2014 NQF Review resulted in a number of regulatory changes including a revised National Quality Standard. The NQS and other changes implemented from the 2014 NQF Review are out-of-scope for the 2019 NQF Review.

You can read and provide feedback on the ‘NQF Review: Issues Paper’ (the Issues Paper) here.

Some parts of the NQF have not been included in the Issues Paper but will be presented for consultation in the ‘Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement’. These include:

  • some technical and regulatory governance arrangements
  • findings from other completed or ongoing reviews such as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the National Review of Teacher Registration and the Review of the Australian Qualifications Framework
  • residual issues from the 2014 NQF Review that were deferred for implementation

8. What are the key milestones in the NQF Review?

April–July 2019:   Begin consultation with stakeholders on the ‘NQF Review: Issues Paper’ (the Issues Paper).

July–December 2019:   Analysis of stakeholder feedback on the Issues Paper and development of a ‘Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement’ (CRIS) that will propose different options for change to the NQF using earlier feedback collected from stakeholders.

First half of 2020:  Consultation with stakeholders on the CRIS.

Second half of 2020:  Development of the final changes to the NQF that are presented to the Council of Australian Governments’ Education Council for agreement and endorsement.

2021–2022:  Implementation of agreed changes into the NQF.