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What happens to home-based will affect us all

On 21 August 2018 the Ministry released its proposals for radically changing home-based ECE. It has allowed only one month for consultation.  A survey on the proposals closes on 24th September.  The survey link to questions expected to take 10 minutes to complete is here.  It is currently available in English only. Or if you have more time go to a larger survey form here.

Little time has been allowed by the Ministry for personal and professional discussions of what might be the effects of each proposal and the consequences in the short and long term for the home-based sector and for ECE as a whole.

The Ministry of Education is under no obligation to accept the majority view expressed in its survey results on any proposal.

To remain competitive with home-based, other groups within the sector will need to consider the impact on them of the proposed home-based changes.  

Moreover, if it becomes a requirement that health and safety training be given to staff, that a service reports its income and expenditure for each licence and not combine accounts across the service, and the amount of government funding a home-based service gets for a child is shown on each the family’s invoice - then it would only be fair for the Ministry to require these things of licensed centres too.

Should the proposals go ahead, all home-based ECE could come to more closely mirror the high quality of the very best centres, whilst retaining the main selling points of flexible hours for families and small group size within a homely setting for children.

There are 3 main risks to the proposals not going ahead:

  1. The Ministry and Minster of Education could give in to any business group lobbying as has happened previously,
  2. The government could change before changes are implemented or a new government could reverse any changes (National has not stated where it stands on these proposals),
  3. By the time these proposals are implemented government may decide it too costly.

The proposed changes in a nutshell are:

  • Within 2 years all educators will be required to hold at least a Level 4 ECE qualification certificate to work in home-based. Au pairs will be excluded and funded differently to mainstream home-based ECE.
  • Providers must either employ the educators and meet requirements under employment law or show that some of the government subsidy they receive is passed on to the educator
  • Providers must show on parent invoices what subsidy funding the child attracts so parents know exactly what the provider has got in funding for their child
  • Providers must report to the Ministry on income and expenditure per licence (not as a group), with additional prescribed categories such as how much is spent on educator wages and professional development.
  • Visiting teachers will need to have experience in parent education
  • Visiting teachers will need to do more than 1 visit to each home per month, with one visit involving a health and safety check
  • No visiting teacher will be allowed to be responsible for more than one licence and must provide support to the same educators.
  • The educator’s own school aged children will be counted (currently educators can combine home-based work with school-aged care for up to 6 children excluding the educator’s own children if enrolled at school)
  • The Education Act 1989 will be clarified to ensure all adults who may live and/or be present in the home whether or not normally present when children are attending are police vetted
  • Educators and visiting teachers must receive health and safety training
  • The Ministry will list each of the homes on the licence of the provider and providers will inform the Ministry when a home is to be removed or added
  • There will be a maximum ratio of one visiting teacher to 15 educators, and a licence maximum of 60 children. Or instead a maximum ratio of one visiting teacher to 50 children, and a licence maximum of 50 children.
  • ERO will be given the power to enter any home listed on a licence. An ERO evaluation will be performed after a service has obtained their probationary licence and has been operating between six months and a year.  The Ministry’s decision to grant a full licence will be based in part on ERO’s recommendation (giving ERO some regulatory power)


Media coverage

Newstalk ZB - listen here


Earlier news articles

Looking at failed attempt of home-based review 2012/2013

Must read article: "Working as a contractor in home-based ece can be crap" – an educator’s request for any advice

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