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What's going to happen to ECE: The Ministry's Briefings to the Minister

Ministry of EducationChanges in the funding system for ECE and new expectations for performance are signalled in the Ministry of Education's briefing papers to the incoming Minister, Hon Hekia Parata.

The Briefings are designed to inform the incoming Education Minister and set out the challenges for the Education system over the next three years. Three briefings were presented. 

According to one briefing paper, the education providers for Early Childhood Education are:

  • kindergartens
  • kōhanga reo
  • playcentres
  • education and care services
  • partnership schools
  • home-based care

The inclusion of partnership schools for the first time in a Briefing Paper shows a change in the provision of ECE from being community and needs based to being politically driven. 

Below are key points of interest taken directly from the briefing papers and reported below for people working in, working with, or providing ECE services.

Our [the Ministry of Education's] Achievement Story highlights increases in early childhood education participation, and that we have put the foundations in place for world-class early education. Part 2 explains how we will support the sector to improve the quality of early childhood education provision and increase participation. We will do this by:

  • building a stronger knowledge base to enable education providers and the Ministry to lift participation and quality
  • working with the sector to ensure early childhood education benefits the children who need it most
  • concentrating our efforts on raising the quality and effectiveness of early education
  • ensuring children experience consistent teaching and learning across early childhood education and schools, and build dispositions for success in learning and life.

ELI [The Ministry's new ECE data management system] will allow us to know more about how and where children are attending ECE, which can later be linked to how those children do in school.

We are looking to move from a paper-based funding system to an efficient approach that reduces compliance costs and is more transparent to all involved.

More accurate and timely information about attendance would be a cornerstone of a new, improved funding system. A new funding system would also offer the opportunity to focus resources where they are needed most – for example, to provide more resources for the children who would benefit most from ECE, and to support higher quality ECE and the effective implementation of Te Whāriki.

More children are benefiting from quality early childhood education.

Many providers are highly effective.

However, many services struggle to apply the early childhood curriculum framework, Te Whāriki, effectively in their programmes, or to fully reflect the particular needs and priorities of their children. The sector’s effectiveness in preparing children for future learning success will rely on:

  • „the engagement of children and the amount of time they spend in ECE
  • the ability of services to implement the goals and aspirations of Te Whāriki
  • the quality of teaching and relationships with children and their parents, family and whānau.

Participation in early childhood education has increased from 93% in 2004 to 95.9% in 2014, and is expected to reach 98% in 2016. With increased participation, we are seeing more hard-to-reach families and whānau in early childhood education, who are more likely to require support from the Early Intervention Service. Over the last few years, delivery of early intervention services has grown to 13,700 children, and our waiting lists are still growing.

Related article

See this blog: "Part-day early childhood education will soon be akin to the moa and unicorn"


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