Rules for services

Your early learning service must comply with certain rules in order to operate. We provide guidance on how to meet or exceed these rules.

Find out more about these requirements by following the links below. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Along with the education rules and other legal requirements below, early learning services need to comply with business, tax and other legal requirements.

The specific rules for early learning 

This webpage outlines the three tiers of the regulatory framework. It explains how the legislation, regulations and guidance fit within the three tiers.

Regulatory framework

Safety checking

Safety checking is required for all staff and other adults associated with early learning services. This guidance and additional tools support you to undertake these safety checks.

Safety checking - general guidance

Adult:child ratios in mixed-age services

For more information about Regulation 44A – under 2s and over 2s adult to child ratios, please follow the link below. 

Adult:child ratios in mixed-age services(external link)

Police vetting

The police vetting page provides information about vetting for early learning services. We encourage services to meet more than the minimum requirements and the information on the relevant page will help you to do this.

Police vetting

Health and safety

For more information on health and safety at an early learning service, please click the link below. 

Health and safety system

Food safety

All early learning services must make sure that the food they serve children is safe and suitable to eat. Some services will have additional obligations under the Food Act 2014 and Food Regulations 2015. For more information about food safety at your early learning service, please follow the link below. 

Food safety

Children's Act 2014

The Children’s Act 2014 requires ECE services to have a child protection policy and safety check workers. This is a legal requirement as well as a requirement for licensing and certification of an early learning service. For an overview of the Children’s Act 2014, and the legal requirements you need to abide by, click the below link. 

Child protection

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