A well-being Budget? Not for the more than 200,000 babies and young children and their teachers and carers in over 4,000 early childhood services.
ChildForum chief executive and senior researcher Dr Sarah Alexander said that it would appear that the government does not register that the early years of education matter and that it is important that children are safe and well cared for.
“It doesn’t want to improve funding so conditions can be improved for children and for teachers. It has announced only a 1.8 percent increase in subsidy rates for child hours to cover for inflation over the past year.
“If it doesn’t want to improve funding then at least it could have looked at re-prioritising some of its current spend on early childhood education. For example, it is continuing to fund the opening of new services yet there is already an oversupply of services in many areas of NZ,” said Dr Alexander
“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
The Early Childhood Sector Confidence Survey shows that many early childhood centres and home-based services are struggling to fill places and get enough enrolments. Many services are also struggling to keep staff and provide good wages and work conditions.
“There have been too many cases of serious child harm in early childhood education and the sector is losing its best teachers.
“Why continue to let quality and safety in the early childhood sector slide?
“Minister Hipkins is keeping the early childhood sector waiting until later in the year to hear what the government’s plans will be, and then we will be looking at election year again,” said Dr Alexander.
The Budget 2019 document shows that the early childhood sector can expect little or no actual support from the government, at least not in ways that matter for child wellbeing and ensuring every child gets a quality start to education.
The Early Childhood Sector Confidence Survey report is here.
Budget 2019 will be discussed at the National Summit for ECE Managers and Owners to be held this Friday (31st May) in Auckland.