In any sector there are always changes. One of the things we are seeing in the early childhood sector is announcements of redundancies pre government funding cuts.
Wanganui Kindergarten Association are to make 14 teacher aides across its kindergartens redundant at Christmas due to government funding cutbacks (see NZEI press release and Labour Party press release). The teacher aides were employed in addition to the government required/funded teacher-child ratios to assist the qualified teachers with administrative and set-up tasks.
With many of its kindergartens operating on a full-day license the Wanganui Kindergarten Assn will receive less government funding from February 2011 when the higher funding rate incentive to employ more than 80% of qualified/registered staff is dropped. This will not affect sessional kindergartens which are protected by law and will continue to be funded for 100% registered/qualified teachers.
When reading of redundancies in the newspapers it can be hard to know what the real cause is in every situation. Undoubtedly there will be redundancies because of government policy. But it is also likely that some redundancies will be because of the economy.
The economy is still weak and businesses (early childhood services included) look to ways to improve cash flows and keep some capital in reserve. This can mean such things as renegotiating rents with landlords, or experimenting running with lower inputs than in the past including staff.
"Are Qualified Teachers Really Necessary?" published in Education Today - The Education Magazine of the Future, Issue 6, 2010, Term 4. click here for a PDF