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Time to change the name “Working Towards”

On page 105 of the Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement (CRIS), the Review of the NQF is suggesting the modification of the quality rating terminology.


The Australian Childcare Alliance (ACA) NSW supports the collective States and Federal Government’s objective to raise quality and drive continuous improvement and national consistency in children’s education and care services and the role of the NQF and the Quality Ratings in achieving this goal.


However, we are always concerned that in the context of the Quality Ratings, the terminology “Working Towards National Quality Standards”, which technically indicates that a service "provides a safe education and care program and has 1 or more areas identified for improvement", would be and in fact IS widely interpreted as a failure of the service, by the media as well as by families.


The constant media attention surrounding the Quality Ratings scores does not inspire confidence among families. This problematic issue was reflected recently by ACECQA's decision to talk to the media with comments from Gabrielle Sinclair, CEO of ACECQA, to assure the general public that the "working towards" rating still provides a safe choice (ie a safe environment and program) for families (see https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/victoria/more-than-500-victorian-childcare-centres-failing-national-standards-of-care/news-story/359f4e50bec840a66ca6683da353e97e).  


We therefore recommend revising the term “Working Towards National Quality Standards” to more accurately reflect the technical meaning behind each category, with a view to instilling greater confidence among families and the media around the ongoing operations of Australia’s individual early learning services as well as the early learning sector at large.


ACA NSW has published the following documents that will help Approved Providers and services understand all the issues and assist them with their responses via the NQF Review’s via survey and written submission:



By copying-and-pasting some or all of the Template Response’s content, or developing your own responses, it is nonetheless ACA NSW’s most fervent recommendation that Approved Providers and services submit responses to BOTH channels (ie via the survey as well as the written submission).


Please note that all responses are due by 30 April 2021.


The last live and interactive session where the Review of the NQF can still be discussed is:



And if you require any further information/clarification, please contact ACA NSW via 1300 556 330 or nsw@childcarealliance.org.au.


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PUBLISHED: 28 APRIL 2021