Budget - a big disappointment
The government had the ideal opportunity to invest education dollars where it matters most, in early childhood education (ECE) but failed with its 2016 budget.
“While there is more money to meet increased growth in demand for services over time, there is no increase to the actual funding rate received for each child attending an ECE service” said Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Chief Executive. “For kindergarten, the rate of funding per child per hour remains less that it was in July 2008 despite having to meet significant cost increases over that time.”
It’s positive to see an extra $40 million going into supporting children with additional learning needs. However the focus is on those children in their years at school and ignores the needs of children, and their families and whānau who need that extra support in ECE so they too can have positive learning outcomes like other young children. “It is false economy to only increase funding to schools when the research says early intervention is critical for children to experience success during their school years” says Clare Wells.“At a time when the government is focusing its attention on raising education achievement and lifting the quality of teaching and learning, we expected additional support to ECE services to meet those aims” Clare Wells said. “Not only has that opportunity been lost, it also means quality is likely to take a backward step as services are forced to cut budgets.”