Department of Education

Early Childhood Branch

Early Childhood Branch

Early Childhood BranchInitiatives ‹ National Quality Standard

National Quality Standard

The National Quality Standard (NQS), developed in partnership with State, Territory and Commonwealth Governments, is intended to deliver higher standards for young children in the areas of education, care and health across Australia.

Early childhood education and care services within scope of the NQS include long day care, family day care, outside school hours care and preschool services across Australia. Western Australia’s kindergarten year is what is referred to nationally as ‘preschool’.

Western Australia's approach to implementing the NQS in schools has been jointly developed by the Departments of Education and Education Services, in consultation with the Catholic and Indepedent school sectors.

Since 2015, all schools with early childhood programs to Year 2 in Western Australia are required to implement the NQS.  Schools are required to submit an annual NQS Audit by the end of October each year.

Please note when viewing the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) website, the assessment and rating process and national laws and regulations do not apply to the Western Australian schooling sector.  The Western Australian education sector has used the national laws and regulations to inform our implementation of the NQS.

Guide to the National Quality Standard

The Guide to the National Quality Standard for Western Australian public Schools assists early years teams to complete self asessment and quality improvement planning processes by evaluating current practices against the seven quality areas. The Guide has been revised to reflect the changes to the National Quality Standard.  When the National Quality Standard was introduced in 2012, it comprised a total of 58 elements.  A national review identified the need to clarify Quality Area 1 and remove duplication in other quality areas so, effective from February 2018, the seven quality areas are streamlined and now comprise 40 elements organised into 15 standards. 

Support Materials

Summary of NQS changes

National Quality Standard Reflection Tool

National Quality Standard Internal Audit Tool

NQS Changes: School Power Point


National Quality Standard On Line Recording Tool

Principals with Kindergarten to Year 2 classes are required to record on an annual basis National Quality Standard audit findings against all seven quality areas on the National Quality Standard System (NQSS).  The information is required by the end of October each year.  The NQSS application which includes a User Guide can be accessed in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome.  Username and password conforms to Department's single logon process.  To access the NQSS logon at NQSS

Information about the Audit and how to complete the on line Audit can be located in the NQSS User Information Guide.  If a school is seeking external Verification of their Audit findings a request can be made via the NQSS.  More information related to the Verification process can be found in the Guide.

National Quality Standard (NQS) Verification

Schools may request an external verification of their National Quality Standard School Audit via the National Quality Standard System (NQSS) at

Verifications are optional, however it is recommended that schools are verified every three years. 

Verification visits are organised and conducted through Statewide Services Early Childhood Education.  The visit may take a full day or less, dependent on the size of the school.  Following confirmation of a visit, an email is forwarded to the school. This provides a guide to preparation and a suggested outline for the day.

During the Verification, verifiers meet with administration and/or NQS team leader/s to discuss determinations made against the NQS and spend time visiting K-2 classrooms to observe practice and provide confidential, context specific feedback in relation to quality areas. This feedback typically involves significant affirmation for principals and their staff, and assists to identify areas for improvement. It is recommended that schools are verified every three years. 

Schools may have a variety of evidence to support their NQS determinations.  This may be gathered through observation, discussion, photos or other documentation.  The collection of evidence should not be an additional impost for staff but be a part of school/classroom planning and reflective practice.

Following the verification visit, the principal of the school is notified by email when the Verification Report is available on NQSS. 

Additional information can be found in the NQSS User Information Guide.

National Quality Standard Verification Partner Program

The National Quality Standard Verification Partner (NQSVP) Program is a partnership between Statewide Services Early Childhood Education and schools.  The program aims to:

  • ensure continuation of the high quality NQS verification service and increase the capacity to provide    this service to schools;
  • further develop and maintain consistency in understandings of each Quality Area;
  • provide verification training to school based staff; and
  • ensure an increased number of verifiers with specialised knowledge and understanding of the NQS and early childhood best practice.

Thirty two school leaders completed training in 2016 and an additional 40 in 2017.  Verification partners are available to assist Statewide Services Early Childhood Education consultants with NQS Verifications.



National Quality Standard

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