Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector leaders met with Minister Luxton, in Minister Tinetti’s absence, to discuss their concerns following the budget announcement of 20 hours free ECE for 2-year-olds. The sector’s strong advice is that if implemented with the proposed criteria, many services, including Homebased, would be forced to close, lay off teachers, and operate with unsafe teacher child ratios where services operate in this environment.
“We are grateful to the Minister for meeting sector leaders and for the positive, robust and constructive discussion,” says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive Kathy Wolfe. “We look forward to discussing next steps with the Minister soon.”
“On behalf of the Early Childhood Education sector, we sought agreement for an independent review, with cross-party agreement and commitment, of the ECE system funding model. We also sought agreement to implementing the expansion of 20 free hours of ECE for 2-year-olds under the same terms and conditions that currently exist for 3-plus-year olds.”
The nine sector leaders representing over 90% of ECE services welcomed the Minister’s commitment to discussing the issues raised with officials and Education Minister Hon Jan Tinetti. They also appreciated the commitment from the Minister that she would respond to us with next steps within the next ten working days.
“It was helpful to gain clarification from the Minister about the rationale for changing the conditions for 20 hours ECE for 2-year-olds,” says Simon Laube Chief Executive Officer Early Childhood Council. “The Minister was clear that Government wants parents to be able to access 20 hours of free ECE. We assured the Minister that we are committed to implementing that policy, and we look forward to working with her and the Ministry to ensure the conditions allow the sector to do just that in a sustainable way that delivers quality because every child matters”.
The Minister provided assurances that she would consider the issues raised as well as the suggested approaches to progress the implementation of the policy.
“On behalf of the sector we’d like to thank the Associate Minister for engaging with us, and we look forward to reconvening in a couple of weeks, says Mrs Seaburg.”