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TOPIC: The ‘Kindergarten’ Funding Table Shouldn’t be in the ECE Funding Handbook
The ‘Kindergarten’ Funding Table Shouldn’t be in the ECE Funding Handbook
2 months 4 weeks ago #939
In its preamble the
Ministry of Education's Funding Handbook
states, in part; “The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008” (the Regulations).
Separately the Ministry of Education has stated that; “free kindergarten associations are not currently contemplated within the early childhood education legal framework for licensing.” and that “the terms kindergarten and free kindergarten association (used in the definition of free kindergarten) are not defined in either the State Sector Act 1988 or the Education Act 1989 . . .”. It is therefore not surprising that the word ‘kindergarten’ is not used in the Regulations at all. Consequently one would therefore not expect to find it used in the Handbook either.
The Handbook describes funding for ECE and spells out the factors which determine how much a service will be paid. It includes the following:
Chapter 2-5 states: “the variable component recognises that:
all-day services face higher costs than sessional services because they must meet different ratio requirements
services that are required to meet teacher certification requirements will have higher labour costs, and
centre-based services face higher facility costs than services that do not have to maintain a centre.”
Chapter 2-6 states: “Funding rates for teacher-led ECE services depend on four variables:
whether the service is all-day or sessional.
the number of ‘Certificated Teacher Hours’ as a proportion of ‘regulated (ratio) staff hours’.
the age of children attending the service.
whether the service is offering 20 Hours ECE to eligible children.”
Chapter 3 states: “For the purposes of the ECE Funding Subsidy, licensed ECE services are grouped into two types:
Teacher-led services (including home-based, education and care, and hospital-based services).
Within each group there are separate rates for children aged under two, and children aged two and over.”[/li]
Chapter 3-B states: “Funding for each education and care service depends on:
the service type (centre-based, hospital-based or home-based)
whether a service is all-day or sessional
the proportion of regulated (ratio) staff hours that are covered by certificated teachers (see Section 3-B-2 for further information)
the age of children attending the service
whether the service is offering 20 Hours ECE.”
3-B-2 states: “Funding rates for teacher-led education and care services depend on four variables:
whether a service is all day or sessional
the number of ‘Certificated Teacher Hours’ a service has as a proportion of the total number of regulated (ratio) staff hours (discussed later in this section)
the age of children attending the service
whether the service is offering 20 Hours ECE”
The Handbook makes no mention of the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers’ Collective Employment Agreement (KTCA). The coverage of a particular service’s staff by the KTCA is not a factor used in setting funding rates. At no point does the Handbook state that funding varies depending upon the name of an education and care service, the name of its owner, its legal status, if its staff are covered by a specific collective employment agreement or whether it is charitable or not. According to the Handbook all teacher-led, centre-based education and care services should be funded on the same basis.
The Handbook’s Chapter 9-6 states that: “The RS7 Return is used to determine the rate at which each teacher-led centre-based service is paid. . . This box requires the signatory to attest that their service pays all certificated teachers employed by their service at least at the levels stated on the Education.govt.nz website.”
In the Handbook there is no requirement that any teacher-led, centre-based education and care services pay any teachers at more than the attestation rate.
The Handbook does make specific provision for preferential treatment for ‘kindergartens’, which (despite the term being undefined in the law) it defines as “a teacher-led centre-based service controlled by a kindergarten association“. This preferential treatment is detailed in Chapter 2-4 which says: “The Ministry multiplies the average FCHs for the coming four months by the service’s funding rate. . . Seventy-five per cent of this total is paid as the advance payment (or 100 per cent for kindergartens).” Given this specific provision one would expect that any other unfair, partial and potentially illegal special preferential treatment for ‘kindergartens’ would be equally clearly stated. However, with this single exception, the main body of the Handbook is silent on ‘kindergartens’.
Other than the special provision for the advance payment to be 100%, the Handbook treats all teacher-led, centre-based education and care services the same. Except, that is, for an unexplained addition to Appendix 1.
Appendix 1 contains a funding table for ‘all day teacher-led centre-based services’. Based on the other provisions of the Handbook, especially the explicitly stated factors to be considered in the funding decision, one would not then expect a different funding table for a subset of all day teacher-led centre-based services to exist, but one does.
In addition to the funding table for ‘all day teacher-led centre-based services’, there is a separate table for ‘all day and sessional kindergartens’ and this table contains much higher funding rates than the earlier one.
There is no explanation in the Handbook for the existence of this additional table and no guidance as to when those higher rates might be applied to a service. Its existence flies in the face of the Ministry’s stated criteria for setting funding rates. It flies in the face of ‘equity for all’ underpinning the ELAP. In my opinion it also flies in the face of the law.
Very clearly, the Handbook contains no reason for the funding table for ‘all day and sessional kindergartens’ to be included in its Appendix 1. That funding table is anomalous, inconsistent with the Handbook’s provisions, inconsistent with the ELAP and should be deleted.
To comply with the Handbook’s provisions, there should only be one funding table for ‘all day teacher-led centre-based services’.
It is highly desirable that the single table contain the higher rates of funding so that all centres can qualify for those higher rates, thus enabling ‘equity for all’.
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