Assessment and ratings


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The department is responsible for assessing and rating the quality of Queensland early childhood education and care services against the National Quality Standard (NQS)​. The NQS is a key aspect of the National Quality Framework and sets a national benchmark for early childhood education and care services. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is the National Authority overseeing the NQF, including the NQS, in Australia.

A revised NQS was introduced in February 2018.

Assessment and rating against the NQS quality areas

Services are assessed and rated by the department on their performance against the NQS. The NQS includes 7 quality areas and services are given a rating against each quality area and an overall rating.

The following links will take you to the ACECQA website for more information on each of the 7 quality areas:

  1. Educational program and practice
  2. Children's health and safety
  3. Physical environment
  4. Staffing arrangements
  5. Relationships with children
  6. Collaborative partnerships with families and communities
  7. Governance and leadership

Overall rating

Services will receive a rating for each of the standards, 7 quality areas and 1 of the following overall ratings:Image shows ratings in order: Significant improvement required, Working towards National Quality Standard, Meeting National Quality Standard, Exceeding National Quality Standard, Excellent.

Significant Improvement Required

  • Service does not meet 1 of the 7 quality areas or a section of the legislation and there is a significant risk to the safety, health and wellbeing of children.
  • The department will take immediate action to address issues.

Working Towards National Quality Standard

  • Service provides a safe education and care program.
  • Service has one or more areas identified for improvement.

Meeting National Quality Standard

  • Service meets the NQS.
  • Service provides quality education and care in all 7 quality areas.

Exceeding National Quality Standard

Service goes beyond the requirements of the NQS in at least 4 of the 7 quality areas.


First tier reviews

The right to have decisions reviewed is an important part of promoting fairness and accuracy in the quality assessment and rating (A&R) process under the National Quality Framework (NQF).

Where an approved provider disagrees with their service’s quality rating, they have the opportunity to seek a review of the decision. Following A&R, approved providers may apply for review by the regulatory authority, also referred to as a first tier review. If approved providers remain unsatisfied after a first tier review, they can apply for review by a ratings review panel, also referred to as second tier review.

The information located on the ACECQA website regarding Second tier review - putting your best case forward​ is also applicable to preparing a first tier review application, so please read this prior to submitting your application.

Other important points to consider when preparing a first tier review application include:​

  • Any information or evidence provided as feedback to the draft assessment and rating report does not need to be resubmitted to support the first tier review application.  The reviewer will already have access to all information and evidence provided during the course of the assessment and rating.
  • ​Any new evidence provided should clearly relate to the timeframe up until the date of the final report and Notice of Rating.  Evidence that relates to after the date that the final assessment and rating report was sent cannot be considered in the first tier review application.​

Important informatio​n about National Regulation R62(2) and the Exceeding rating​

National Regulation r62(2) states that an Exceeding NQS rating may only be given for Quality Area 1: Educational program and practice for a service that educates and cares for children who are in the year that is 2 years before grade 1 of school if the service either:

  1. provides a preschool program; or
  2. has a documented arrangement with an approved provider of another education and care service to provide a preschool program and informs parents of this arrangement.

A preschool program is defined as an early childhood educational program delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher to children in the year that is 2 years before grade 1 of school.

Services with a current waiver for the early childhood teacher are taken to comply with the early childhood teacher requirements and can therefore be eligible to be considered for the Exceeding rating under Quality Area 1, under r62(2) if relevant.
​If the service does not provide a preschool program, but has a documented arrangement to provide a preschool program, it is an expectation of the Regulatory Authority that such an arrangement includes, at a minimum, the following information:

  • the name of the approved provider and service the documented arrangement relates to
  • the name of the approved provider and service (if relevant) that is providing the preschool program
  • the date the provision of the preschool program began (or is expected to begin) at the service
  • the name/s and evidence of the qualifications of the early childhood teacher/s (ECTs) providing the preschool program at the service
  • the dates and times the children are receiving the preschool program, as part of the arrangement
  • signed and dated by both approved providers involved in the arrangement; and​
  • information provided to parents communicating the arrangement.

Read more about the types of services that provide kindergarten (pre-school) programs in Queensland on the types of kindergartens page​.

Publication of ratings

Ratings of assessed services are published on the ACECQA and MyC​hild websites. Services must display their ratings where visitors to the service can easily see it from the main entrance to the service.

Services must display rating certificates issued by or on behalf of the Regulatory Authority including ACECQA. Documents created by the service do not meet the prescribed display requirements within the National Law.​

The availability of this information will help parents to understand a service's quality and to find one that best meets their needs.

Services not yet rated

The department, as the Regulatory Authority, monitors all services to ensure they meet their legal requirements, regardless of whether they have been assessed and rated.

Until a service is assessed and rated, it is considered Provisional-Not Yet Assessed under the National Quality Framework (section 133(2) of the Education and Care Services National Law). Services who have not been assessed must display Provisional-Not Yet Assessed certificates with the Queensland Government crest.

​Learn more about: ​Not yet assessed notice template.

More information


Stay up to date

Services regulated under the NQF can subscribe to the National Quality Framework e-bulletin—​keep updated on the latest changes and updates to the National Quality Framework.


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Last updated 28 August 2023