Structures and systems influencing quality improvement in Australian early childhood education and care centres

Linda J. Harrison*, Manjula Waniganayake, Jude Brown, Rebecca Andrews, Hui Li, Fay Hadley, Susan Irvine, Lennie Barblett, Belinda Davis, Maria Hatzigianni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study assessed the impact of structural characteristics on quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) outcomes in an Australian national study. Data from the Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) repository of National Quality Standard (NQS) ratings were used to identify long day care services that had improved from Working Towards NQS to Meeting or Exceeding NQS or had no change over two assessments. QRIS outcomes were examined for state/territory jurisdiction, urban–rural location, community socio-economic status, type and size of provider organisation, centre size and stability of centre owner/provider using multinomial logistic regression analyses. Controlling for jurisdiction, results showed that improvement to Meeting NQS was more likely for not-for-profit versus for-profit providers and for large multi-site provider organisations versus small, stand-alone providers. Improvement to Exceeding NQS was also associated with not-for-profit and larger provider organisations, as well as larger versus smaller centres, and centres that had stable ownership.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-319
Number of pages23
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Issue number1
Early online date4 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • early childhood education and care (ECEC)
  • quality improvement and rating systems (QRIS)
  • structural quality
  • long day care


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