ECE rules need to drive quality education, not create hardship.


“Everyone agrees that there need to be rules and regulations to ensure the Early Childhood Education sector is safe, provides the best quality education possible, and that the rules are practical and can be implemented,” says Kathy Wolfe CE Te Rito Maioha.

“In a sector where we have record centre closures and a worrying shortage of kaiako|ece teachers, those responsible for creating the rules and guidelines need to work with the sector to ensure there are not unintended consequences,” says Mrs Wolfe.”

The MoE intend to implement in August 2024 a new regulation that requires a ‘person responsible’ at each centre must at all times hold a category one or two practising certificate. 

“While this surprise new clause was discussed at the sector’s regular ECAC meeting,” says Cathy Wilson  CE Montessori Aotearoa, we now know the data being relied upon by the Ministry is incorrect.”

“The Ministry has assumed that around 99% of current ECE trained teachers hold a category one or two practising certificate, when in fact it’s only around 80%. That would put significant stress on some providers and potentially cause further closures,” says Mrs Wilson.

“As a sector we want our tamariki to thrive, and that means finding a balance between the wild west with no regulations, and where we find ourselves now,” says Jill Bond CE NZ Kindergarten Network.

“The Ministry need to understand the sector is not healthy, and while we need rules that ensure quality and sustainability, regulations must have flexibility built in so that centres can be managed appropriately. It’s the difference between the real world and a theoretical world”, says Mrs Bond.

The new regulation also changes what a ‘person responsible’ must do. The Ministry states this person must be actively involved with children and staff at all times, meaning they cannot fulfil their duties when they are on a break or in another part of the centre, such as an office or kitchen.

“While this clause sounds sensible, implementation during a teacher shortage could be problematic. The sector remains willing to work with the Ministry and the next government (whoever that is) to find the right regulatory balance. This is something we must do for the sake of our tamariki, and to make sure that qualified professionals want to work in the sector,” says Mrs Bond. “The alternative is more closures.”


  • The sector was informed of the new regulation in The Early Learning Bulletin | He Pānui Kohungahunga, Issue 89, on 31 August.
  • Teaching Council data indicates that around 80% of current ECE trained teachers hold a category One or Two practising certificate.
  • The new regulation was developed by the MoE assuming 99% of teachers held a category One or Two practising certificate.
  • There is a shortage of qualified ECE teachers.

Media contact:
Rob McCann - Lead Communications Advisor | Kaitohutohu Whakapā Matu  
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