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Funding changes and re-shaping of the ECE Sector

policy thinking puzzlingLast week we asked the Ministry of Education and the Minister some questions on the minds of many in our sector, following the public release of the terms of reference for the development of a 10 year strategic plan and a separate review of Home-based ECE.

The Ministry of Education has put our requests for documents that should be freely available through as a request for information under the Official Information Act which means it may be several weeks before the Ministry responds.

A promised telephone interview with Minister Chis Hipkins this afternoon was cancelled last night by his office.

As we get answers to the bigger questions that the reviews pose – we will share this with you. 

In the meantime below is a little update about the Home-based ECE Review and the Strategic Plan

 

10 Year Strategic Plan Process

Prof Carmen Dalli has agreed to chair a small group to put together possible content for a 10 Year Strategic Plan that reflects at least what the Minister has decided should be in it with permission to include other things that do not clash with government policy and the Minister’s expectations.

The proposed content will then be tested by Prof Dalli and her group members on a large number of mainly business and childcare lobbyists (whose opinions will be known to the Ministry of Education in any case) and Waikato University academics, with Anne Meade and Helen May also tucked in there for balance.  There could be some rigorous debate but lobbyists who had a voice in working groups under the National Government are likely to be kept in line and some finger-wagging by Prof Dalli or other members would not be unexpected.

Following the ‘testing’ out on these people the Ministry will do the usual – “we are consulting with the public and sector” and this will be a chance for the large number of ECE service providers  and other stakeholders who are notably absent from the Minister’s list of who he wants the ideas to be tested out on first – to have their say.  The Ministry of Education will prepare its own report on its consultation.

Following completion of the consultation, the Ministry of Education has the responsibility of drafting the final copy of the 10 Year Strategic Plan. This should be completed by December 2018.

It will need to be approved by the Minister before it is released.

 

Review of Home-based   

Ministry of Education staff are to review and report their recommendations to the Minister of Education on:

  • Qualification requirements for home-based educators
  • Pedagogical leadership and the role of the coordinator in home-based ECE
  • Employment conditions for home-based educators
  • Curriculum implementation and monitoring in home-based ECE
  • Adult-to-child ratios for home-based ECE and out of school care in one home
  • Quality criteria for funding in home-based ECE and transparency for parents ofany government subsidies

It is likely to be a rush job by the Ministry, unless work has already got secretly underway before the terms of reference were announced, since the Ministry will need to have  this completed for public consultation in July 2018.

The policy options are to be considered in Parliament, by Cabinet in November 2018.  Yet the final Strategic Plan for ECE will not be approved and released by then. So, the Education Minister must already have a good idea of the policy options the Ministry of Education is likely to put to him and perhaps he wants these to be on the table prior to instead of as part of the 10 Year Strategic Plan.

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