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Open Letter- Homebased Funding Parity
9 months 4 weeks ago #936
OPEN LETTER TO THE NEW ZEALAND MINISTER OF EDUCATION
During Alert Level Four it was Home Based Providers who were entrusted to offer safe care for children of essential workers, and we are proud to have been one of the three who were chosen by your Ministry.
This decision to choose our Home-Based service clearly showed the value and safety of small family focused child numbers.
As with other industries facing hardships, ECE is having to face restrictions and financial suffering post lockdown. Centre based ECE services are likely to have less numbers as parents contemplate not only this current virus, but what else may emerge throughout the world. Playcentres are coming to terms with the option of closing some facilities down.
We see the prospect of Home-Based ECE becoming the most viable and safe care option now available, not only for Parents who are concerned of health risks to their children, but also an opportunity for Teachers whose jobs under their current employer may be at risk. Teachers becoming Educators in their own homes keeps them from the unemployment lines, it also ensures that they continue teaching and supporting young New Zealanders.
This requires appreciation of their positive contribution to New Zealand society. And also to the Providers who facilitate the dynamics and administration, and offer professional guidance, curriculum and governance adherence, and daily ongoing support, they require recognition. In brief Minister, we the Provider need additional financial support for our teaching staff and for our sector to remain viable. We must be viewed and recognised as equals alongside our centre based counterparts, and therefore be fairly compensated for the effort, hard work and dedication that we put into our industry.
I implore the government to support Home-Based ECE as the logical alternative to provide education and care for both city and rural communities, including areas not covered by centres. Funding parity is requested to reflect the service we as Providers offer our communities. The New Zealand government owes it to our children, families and whanau, to recognise Home Based ECE equally. Home-Based care is less of a health risk and, as studies have concluded, provides for good outcomes for children, aligning well with the Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy 2019 where we have real opportunities to make effective change and set some of our most vulnerable learners up with a skillset that promotes the ability to learn. Small group settings with passionate teachers who have the understanding and the empathy to provide stable, kind and educational environments.
Our Educators deserve better recognition and support from the government. And Providers need assistance financially to stand alongside ECE centres. Better knowledge and understanding of Home-Based ECE will clearly show the monetary deficiencies we are restrained by. ie: Homebase providers receive 33% less funding for a 100% qualified license in comparison to a 80% qualified teacher rate in a centre.
We do not operate with the added financial assistance of parent fees like centre based ECE providers do, rather, we return funding by way of resources to Educators. This undermines our ability to function economically. We do not understand why the government recognise bricks and mortar with centres, yet undervalues Home-Base ECE, especially considering safer group numbers, quality licenses, and better child outcomes.
We understand, and appreciate that government align quality to qualification but it is equally important to consider the operational undertaking of Providers within the sector as a factor in underperforming services.
I request you research our sector and understand the structure, as there truly seems to be a knowledge deficit of Home-Based funding and regulatory understanding within the Ministry of Education. Our team works over and above to meet MOE licensing criteria, more so than centre administration does, and honestly, we operate on a shoestring. We ask you for consideration that our sector provides as much, if not more, to our small New Zealanders, and all we wish is to be funded the same as every other ECE services.
I look forward to receiving your response.
57a Spring Street