ACECQA shares advice about Exceeding from the start
The Sector > Quality > Compliance > ACECQA shares advice about where to start on the journey to Exceeding the NQS

ACECQA shares advice about where to start on the journey to Exceeding the NQS

by Freya Lucas

August 03, 2023

Many early childhood education and care (ECEC) services around Australia have an ambition to exceed the National Quality Standard (NQS). To support this goal the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) recently shared information about how to start this process. 


The first point that ACECQA makes is that Exceeding or high-quality practices are not simply implemented they evolve over time and should be contextual to each service. 


“Ensuring that all practices are in line with and consistently meeting the National Quality Standard is the foundation to which high quality practices begin,” the article notes.  


An authorised officer will also ensure that all practices within each standard are at the meeting level before moving into an analysis of high-quality practice. 


When beginning to unpack what Exceeding NQS may look like, services may wish to review the overarching exceeding guidance from page 93 of the Guide to the National Quality Framework (NQF). This includes detailed information on the three exceeding themes: 


  • Practice is embedded in service operations
  • Practice is informed by critical reflection
  • Practice is shaped by meaningful engagement.


Included within this section is a series of questions for authorised officers to consider when reviewing evidence gathered. These questions are considered by authorised officers in their analysis of the Exceeding themes within each service and for each standard. 


These questions and further information are also available in ACECQA’s information sheet ‘Demonstrating and Assessing Exceeding National Quality Standard’.


Once the service has an understanding of each theme, the next step would be to consider practices in relation to the whole standard. At the beginning of each standard is the descriptor which details the overall intent of the standard which high quality practices must support.


Further guidance in a series of reflective questions at the end of each standard may also support service leaders, educators and staff in the critical reflection of their own practices.

A review of these resources and a deep self-assessment of service practice will support services in determining if identified practices are above and beyond Meeting the NQS. Services should then aim to demonstrate and share with the authorised officer how their practices are high-quality and support the three Exceeding themes. 


There are a number of additional resources available to support teams in navigating through Exceeding. These resources include: 


  • ACECQA’s webpage on Exceeding the NQS which includes a series of case studies that offer practical and illustrative examples of what high quality practice may look like for each standard in a variety of settings including outside school hours care, prior to school centre-based and family day care services.


To access the original version of this article, which appeared in ACECQA’s monthly newsletter, please see here

Download The Sector's new App!

ECEC news, jobs, events and more anytime, anywhere.

Download App on Apple App Store Button Download App on Google Play Store Button