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Early Childhood Alert No 17, 2019

Editor's note

Next week is the start of Term 4 and sun protection for children and adults becomes important again. We are delighted to share with you a toolbox of information and activity ideas to meet this health and safety requirement and have fun and great learning at the same time.

For those who have been taking a bit of a holiday we recommend this enjoyable article - "7 tips to ease back into the swing of things"



1. Non ECE qualified staff to be responsible for early childhood centres
2. Sun protection - what you need to know, policy, and learning resources
3. Halloween Thurs 31 October
4. Headlines of an immediate 11% pay ‘jolt’ for all ECE teachers misleading
5. How much funding is too much to go on management salaries and profit instead of on children and teacher salaries?
6. The Pay Parity Campaign: What’s happened in our first week? - An update from the Pay Parity Campaign Steering Group


1. Non ECE Qualified Staff to be Responsible for Early Childhood Centres

At the behest of some ‘peak bodies”, and before the government releases its 10-Year-Strategic Plan, the Ministry of Education has indicated it is prepared to change regulations on who can be the person responsible for an early childhood centre.  

Designed to reduce staffing costs and give services more choice on staffing it intends to either:

  • Allow primary qualified teachers to be a person responsible for the first and last 1½ hours of the day, or
  • Allow primary qualified teachers to be a person responsible at all times.

> Learn more and add your comment on this


2. Sun protection - what you need to know, policy, and learning resources

Providing sunhats

> find out what other services do and add your comment

Learning resources 

>  conversation ideas, suitably themed songs and rhymes, group games, science activities, art and craft, and drama/ pretend play 


> includes a sun protection policy template along with information on legal and professional accountability, guidelines for policy development and the recommended frequency of and reasons for review

Management and service provider responsibilities 

> responsibilities

Outdoor planning and shade

> tips and recommendations 

Sun protection recommendations for infants and young children 

best practices recommended by World Health Organisation, the NZ and Australian Cancer Societies, and health experts for best clothing, sunscreen, sunhats, shade protection for children at centres, when travelling in cars and going for walks, etc 


3. Halloween Thurs 31 October 

Halloween is one of the oldest celebrations dating back almost 2000 years. It has caught on in NZ and Australia and many countries outside of the USA.

Children will talk about it and ask questions and as educators we can't pretend Halloween isn't happening. So be thinking now about what you might say, and whether or not you will support Halloween activities.

Ways to mark Halloween and some alternative ECE ideas


4. Headlines of an immediate 11% pay ‘jolt’ for all ECE teachers misleading 

NZEI is counting on the 102 services currently party to the ECECA agreeing to 11% and not bargaining them down or walking away from the ECECA. It will also need teachers in these services who are members to be satisfied not to have pay parity with kindergarten and primary peers for at least another couple of years and potentially much longer.

What will the 16 – 17,000 non-kindergarten ECE teachers who are not in the ECECA gain? An 11% pay increase would not be passed on to the vast majority of teachers, only those within the centres that remain signed up to the the ECECA. 

However, the Labour-led coalition Government and Education Minister Chris Hipkins will be relieved. 

> Go to the full article 


5. How much funding is too much to go on management salaries and profit instead of on children and teacher salaries?

Is it acceptable for an ECE company to cry for more public funds to enable it to pay teachers adequate salaries when its CEO receives $550,000?  

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden earns $471,049 for running our entire country – still that might not be a fair comparison because no one becomes a prime minister to make money.

Another comparison then is Ministry of Education chief executive Ms Iona Holsted who earns $590,000. She is responsible for a huge staff within the ministry, managing ECE, primary, secondary and further education monitoring 3 crown agencies and providing advice to the Minister of Education.

This article discusses CEO salaries and other payments in ECE and raises the issues of transparency and accountability for service providers lobbying for increased funding for teachers. 

> Keep reading and find out more 


6. The Pay Parity Campaign: What’s Happened in our First Week? - An update from the Pay Parity Campaign Steering Group

We launched the campaign last Tuesday, 1st October 2019 (for your personal copy of the teacher pay campaign book click here)

The seeds of this campaign were planted amongst ECE teachers years ago as their pay slipped further and further behind their teaching peers in kindergarten, primary and secondary, even though they needed to meet qualification and identical professional requirements for teacher certification.

Evidence from a number of surveys conducted by ChildForum indicated  concerns in the sector were growing about the quality of ECE and safety for both children and teachers. Teacher feedback was disputed by some employer sector groups and the ministry. So today, we have skilled teachers turning their back on working in ECE, a loosening of requirements for staffing, and employer demand for migrant labour

Then, at almost the same time two things happened; kindergartens retained parity with primary teachers (resulting in a significant pay rise) and ChildForum convened the first mass meeting on ECE teachers’ pay. The seeds germinated and we began working in a focused fashion.

A lot of time went into planning a campaign and into producing material to explain and support the campaign. That took longer than we had hoped, but by the end of September we were ready enough to launch.

Attempts to have a constructive dialogue with NZEI were made but rejected and ridiculed. We would still love NZEI to jump on board and argue with us that there is no reason why today the government cannot fund pay parity and the Ministry of Education cannot ensure that teachers working in a non-kindergarten are properly remunerated, but so far that has not been possible. 

NZEI’s 11%

Until the day after we launched the pay parity campaign NZEI had been adamant that they would only pursue a pay equity campaign.  Nothing else would do.  Despite their undertakings in the ECECA, they would not contemplate the pursuit of pay parity. They said that everyone had to support their pay equity campaign.  (Read more here about the  difference between parity and equity)  Then on Wednesday 2nd October they suddenly changed their position. What everyone now had to do was support an immediate 11% pay rise linked to the ECECA.  ECE teachers were asked to provide their contact details when saying that they would like an 11% pay rise – but note that the NZEI cannot deliver a pay rise as it is neither an employer nor the government.

We have to remember that many centres have gone away from the existing ECECA because they found it to be unaffordable. Centres are in very different financial positions.  Some have large rent bills to pay, others do not. Some have a parent base that can pay large fees, others do not. Some have a very high percentage of qualified teachers, others less so.  How any pay increase gets funded will be key to its success.

The NZEI's announcement is very thin on facts. Their website has little content and asks people to vote for this statement: "I support an immediate pay jolt of 11% to start closing the gap and a stepped-out pay plan from government to fix the pay gap FOR GOOD."

That is a statement that the vast majority of ECE teachers are likely to support. Who wouldn't want 11% now and a plan to achieve the same pay as kindergarten teachers?  However, there is no detail about how the 11% will be measured, distributed or applied. There is no discussion about how the pay gap might be fixed "for good".  If you have voted for the NZEI’s 11% statement, and provided your contact details, then hopefully you will be happy to receive the requests to join NZEI that you will receive.

If NZEI got the government to agree a real 11% pay rise, how would that get funded? The government does not know what people are paid at the moment, so how could it agree to an 11% raise to an unknown number? Just increasing the funding rates in the ECE Funding Handbook by 11% would be potentially messy and not be a complete solution.  Centres charge fees and rely on these to meet some of their wage bill. Will NZEI suggest, or the government tell, centres that they have to increase their fees by 11%?  That's way above CPI, so parents would protest.  It’s also called price fixing and probably not legal.

The whole thing is very messy, and NZEI do not yet have a clear explanation of how they will deliver 11% to all those who respond and provide their contact details. 

We have prepared two articles that will fill you in with more of the details, such as that it is the ministry’s choice on how it sets the attestation rate:

      An initial analysis of the 11% fix the gap approach      Why it's too good to be true – and what teachers and service providers will / will not get out of it

We would love to have the evidence to allow support for their initiative, but so far there is little evidence that their 11% initiative will “fix the pay gap FOR GOOD” by delivering, or even being a step towards, pay parity.

We will update you as the situation clarifies. 

 Supporting Pay Parity  

The ECE Pay Parity Book is available for everyone.  It includes pay scales, funding rates, explanations on what the government will get out of funding pay parity, can we count on the Government Strategic Plan or not to deliver pay parity, the difference to teacher pay other government policies might have, and much more.  You can also find it on the Pay Parity Campaign Page.

The first thing is to sign the petition that will go to Parliament.  Many of you have already done this. Thank you. Please also share this with colleagues and families and ask for their support of the petition.  Go to:

Then there are postcards for you to send to the Minister of Education and to other parties’ ECE spokespeople.  These and other resources are available at the Pay Parity Campaign page here

We will keep you posted as things develop.

Best regards from your pay parity steering group,
Sarah, Karen and David


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