Budget 2015 is a missed opportunity to improve quality in ECE
New Zealand Kindergartens acknowledges the $75 million increase over four years to meet increased growth in early childhood education (ECE) participation rates. However, we are disappointed that government missed the opportunity to boost quality and to help services meet rising costs.
“Additional funding has been allocated to early childhood education to keep pace with growing participation in ECE, but the government failed to make a commitment to lift quality across the sector,” said New Zealand Kindergartens Chief Executive, Clare Wells. “This is surprising given the current focus on educational achievement and the government’s emphasis on streamlining the pathway from early childhood to school.”
The budget increases funding to support children with special education needs, increases the operational grant to meet rising costs, and provides additional funding to meet increased insurance premiums. “Early childhood services meet the same costs yet the budget increases are only to schools.”
“New Zealand is a leader in the provision of early childhood education, but there is room to build on our success and ensure every child and their family and whānau, in every community, can access high quality early childhood education that supports a positive transition to school and a foundation for future learning and engagement,” said Clare Wells.
“Research shows the quality of teaching is a key factor in educational success. The government needs to invest in ECE teaching and leadership in the same way it invests in the schooling sectors,” said Clare Wells.
“The government is focused on raising educational achievement across the sector and ensuring a seamless learning pathway,” said Clare Wells. “ECE regulations currently require only 50% of staff in a centre-based ECE service to be registered teachers, and there is inadequate funding and support for professional development," Clare Wells said. “Although kindergarten is committed to every teacher being qualified, this is not the case across the ECE sector. This is not good enough if we are serious about lifting the quality of teaching and learning for every child.”
For further comment: Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) Incorporated, Te Pūtahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa, is the umbrella organisation representing twenty-six regional kindergarten associations covering over 430 kindergartens and early childhood education services. Nationwide kindergartens provide services for over 35,000 enrolled children as well as support for their families and whānau. We are committed to working with parents, communities and the government to offer high quality services, with 100% qualified teachers, which meet the unique needs of children and whānau.
NZK provides services to all families. Almost two-thirds of kindergartens are in low and middle income areas. After nga kōhanga reo and correspondence school, kindergarten has the highest percentage of Māori children attending (22%), and among Pasifika children, kindergarten has the highest percentage attending alongside education and care services (8%). Almost twenty per cent of early childhood education enrolments in communities with a Ministry of Health deprivation index rating of 10 (the most socio-economically deprived communities) are in kindergartens.