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20 ECE Funding Questions we asked and Answers supplied by the Ministry of Education

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Participants at the 2019 national early chilhdood management forum put forward the following questions on funding for the Ministry of Education, Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy.  Thank you Damian for providing answers and clairfications. 

  1. Has the MoE considered using the school payroll model to pay teachers? If the government paid the teachers to ratio and gave each centre an ops grant, in a similar fashion to schools, this would level the playing field for teachers in general, would it not?
  2. Are kindergartens a publicly owned service? And, could you please explain why the ministry is involved in negotiations of kindergarten teacher salaries and conditions
  3. What actions is the ministry taking in respect of funding rules to ensure all service providers pay their qualified and certificated teachers at rates that recognise their qualification, experience, and leadership responsibilities?
  4. We are a non-profit community-based centre and we've managed to keep our centre afloat with quality ratios even when funding was cut, but this is not sustainable in the long term. We can't wait for the 10 year plan! How much longer before ECE funding is addressed?
  5. How does the ministry define fair pay for ECE teachers?
  6. Why does funding not reflect wage inflation in Auckland?
  7. When will we see funding for ECE 'non-contact' time as provided for primary teachers?
  8. Will there be funding targeted to improve ratios for babies and 2 to 3-year olds?
  9. What was the underspend by Government in ECE last year? Why was this money not directed into areas that support teachers poor pay?
  10. Why has the Free ECE funding not increased since first introduced?
  11. Can MoE please provide an easy to follow reporting template for equity funding?
  12. How many hours is a centre able to claim for under twos per week?
  13. How is the Ministry going to support centres when the minimum wage keeps rising and leave entitlements are increasing?
  14. Can we use equity funding to pay our teacher wages to meet attestation requirements?
  15. Why are home-based services not receiving an increase in funding?
  16. What plans are there to make professional development more affordable and available in small towns?
  17. With discussions around higher minimum rates for ECE teachers, and the minimum wage increasing too, will we also see the required funding increases to match this?
  18. Why is the funding attached to each child different according to the type of service they attend when their needs are the same?
  19. How specifically does the ministry support centre managers and their mental and physical wellbeing?
  20. Is the ministry aware that WINZ will not offer the child subsidy for 5 year olds and what is the ministry doing about this?

 

kindergarten.11. Has the MoE considered using the school payroll model to pay teachers? If the government paid the teachers to ratio and gave each centre an ops grant, in a similar fashion to schools, this would level the playing field for teachers in general, would it not?

Early childhood education is not compulsory and the Government only partially funds ECE through Ministry of Education subsidies. Children aged 2 and under are partially subsidised for up to 6 hours per day, for a maximum of 30 hours per week.  Children aged 3-5 years old are fully subsidised for up to 20 hours a week (capped at 6 hours per day), and partially subsidised for a further 10 hours of participation (also capped at 6 hours per day). 

The current funding system is not intended to cover the full cost of early childhood education. 

Directly paying the salaries of all teachers needed for ratios and providing an ops grant would be a significant shift in policy, as it would entail a system where government covers a higher proportion of the cost of ECE and for more than 30 hours per week per child.

In addition, ECE is provided by a mix of community-owned and private organisations which operate independently of government.

2. Are kindergartens a publicly owned service and could you please explain why the ministry is involved in negotiations of kindergarten teacher salaries and conditions?

Kindergartens are not a publicly owned service. They are run by kindergarten associations, which are not publicly owned entities.

Kindergarten teachers are considered state sector employees under the State Sector Act 1988. As such, the State Services Commissioner has the statutory power to negotiate the Kindergarten Teachers, Head Teachers and Senior Teachers’ Collective Agreement (KTCA). In accordance with general practice across a range of portfolios, the State Services Commissioner has delegated this authority to the Secretary for Education, which is why the Ministry of Education is involved in negotiating kindergarten teacher salaries and conditions. 

3. What actions is the ministry taking in respect of funding rules to ensure all service providers pay their qualified and certificated teachers at rates that recognise their qualification, experience, and leadership responsibilities?

Funding rules are monitored and enforced through the Ministry’s Resourcing Audit programme. This involves verifying that teachers are paid at the correct minimum rates and requiring back pay where the Ministry finds they are not.

4. We are a non-profit community-based centre and we've managed to keep our centre afloat with quality ratios even when funding was cut, but this is not sustainable in the long term. We can't wait for the 10 year plan! How much longer before ECE funding is addressed?

The Government has taken steps to address ECE funding in the two most recent budgets, which provided increases to the two main early childhood subsidies. Budget 2018 provided a cost adjustment of 1.6%, excluding subsidies for home-based ECE services on the standard rate.

Budget 2019 invests a further $131 million over four years by providing a 1.8% increase to the main subsidies (other than the standard rate for home-based), and to the Equity Funding and Targeted Funding for Disadvantage funding streams.

The draft Early Learning Strategic Plan has a number of recommendations regarding ECE funding. The government is working to finalise the Plan and aims to release it by the end of the 2019 year.

5. How does the ministry define fair pay for ECE teachers?

The Government partially funds early childhood services, with the services themselves deciding how they spend and allocate resources. This means that early childhood services are responsible for setting and funding conditions of employment. However, if services wish to access higher funding rates, they are required to pay their qualified and certificated teachers at or above specified minimum rates.

6. Why does funding not reflect wage inflation in Auckland?


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