10 years of the Excellent rating
The Sector > Quality > 10 years of excellence – reflections on a decade of recognising outstanding ECEC

10 years of excellence – reflections on a decade of recognising outstanding ECEC

by Freya Lucas

November 03, 2023

2023 marks 10 years of the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) recognising outstanding education and care practices across Australia. 


Swallowcliffe Preschool in South Australia was the first early childhood education and care (ECEC) service in Australia to receive an ‘Excellent’ rating in August 2013, recognised for its commitment to collaborative partnerships and supporting an integrated approach to children’s learning and development. 


As of October 2023, nearly 350 services have applied for the Excellent rating, and 146 have achieved it. 


One service, Bribie Island Community Kindergarten (BICK), was awarded their fourth Excellent rating in April 2023, holding this consecutively since February 2014. BICK has shown exceptional practice that has evolved over time, demonstrating unique, inspiring and innovative programs, partnerships and practices that are directly relevant to the context of their service. 


How do services achieve an Excellent rating? 


For services to be named as Excellent, they must have achieved and maintained an Exceeding NQS rating in all seven quality areas. 


ACECQA has developed and published a range of tools to support services in the process of applying for Excellent, including:


  • A suite of resources to support services in understanding the eligibility and criteria and writing their applications. This includes the Excellent rating application and reapplication guidelines, a participant’s handbook and coming soon is a series of micro eLearning modules to assist you in each stage of the application process. 
  • A new information sheet to support services in understanding what information is required and how each program, practice or partnership is translated into a clear evidence statement. An exceptional practice framework is included in the information sheet to assist you in telling your story. 


What do services have to include to prove Excellence?


ACECQA says that services who are developing excellence applications are encouraged to ensure each evidence statement includes:


  • Identifying the why behind your new or evolved practice, program, or partnership (p/p/p)
  • Specific details of what p/p/p has been implemented, including times and dates
  • who has been involved and for what reason
  • clearly identifying how it has improved outcomes for children, families, educators and/or local and wider communities.


For more information about applying for the Excellent rating, please contact ACECQA’s Quality Programs and Practice Team via email to [email protected].

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