The latest and only pre-Budget survey of the early childhood sector has found that the government has a lot of work to do if it is to convince the sector that it cares about children’s early education and care.
This finding from the “ChildForum Early Childhood Confidence Survey 2019” of 900 members of the sector comes just ahead of the Government’s release of its annual budget.
ChildForum chief executive and senior researcher Dr Sarah Alexander said that the government’s attention is on tertiary education, primary, and secondary education. Meanwhile things in the early childhood sector are expected to worsen.
The survey shows that there are problems of funding, staffing, pay and conditions, and supporting children with their care and learning needs.
“It’s not ideal for the care and learning of vulnerable and young children to be in situations where staff, managers and owners are reporting that their service is just trying to survive,” said Dr Alexander
Dr Alexander said that following the 2017 election of a new Labour-led coalition Government there was fresh optimism and an expectation of change.
“But hope is fading and disappointment in the Government is setting in.”
The survey shows that people in the sector still generally feel that the government is not moving in the right direction for early childhood education.
“The release of a draft Strategic Plan for the sector doesn’t seem to have made a difference to people’s confidence in the Government’s efforts toward early childhood education – probably because it’s a 10-year plan with no action being taken right now.
“There’s also a feeling that the Government has not really got a good understanding of early childhood education.,” said Dr Alexander
Compared with the same time last year, fewer people in the sector expect to see improvement and more expect things to worsen.
In 2018, 23% of respondents believed they would start to see improvement in the sector compared with 12% now. Forty-six percent now expect things to worsen compared with 36% a year ago.
The survey report is available, here.
The survey results and any announcements for ECE contained in Budget 2019 will be discussed at the National Summit for ECE Managers and Owners to be held this Friday (31st May) in Auckland. Event information