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Three Ministers for ECE – a welcomed focus for children’s outcomes – ECNZ

Three Ministers for ECE – a welcomed focus for children’s outcomes.

The addition of a third Minister to the Early Childhood Education (ECE) portfolios with specific responsibility and focus on funding, regulations, and systems design within is a welcome move for a sector plagued by unnecessary red tape and a funding system that is not fit for purpose.

“Minister Seymour brings a no-nonsense approach to regulation, and we hope he is able to support early childhood education services to focus on providing quality education to our tamariki,” says Kathy Wolfe CE Te Rito Maioha, rather than on endless administration.”

“Over time the application of rules and regulations have moved well past the purpose of ensuring the wellbeing of our tamariki and created a very difficult environment for providers and teachers. What the sector needs is some rebalancing that ensures that children are safe and thriving, but not the kind of red tape that is crippling centres, preventing teachers from spending time with children on the floor, and generally increasing the stress levels of our teachers to the point where they leave the profession.”

“Only a year ago the government was having to back down after introducing new regulations in the Budget that would have bankrupted many providers of ECE. We are hopeful that Minister Seymour will ensure the Ministry has learned from that event and is willing to work alongside the sector before introducing legislation that can have such massive unintended consequences.”

“Te Rito Maioha is also hopeful Minister Seymour will tackle the broken funding system. It’s simply unworkable as it stands with no certainty for providers. We urgently need a fit for purpose investment system that supports education as a right for our infants, toddlers, and young children, and thereby supports the teaching profession and creates certainty for ECE services.

Currently the government provides some funding to pay for the teachers who look after our tamariki, but that funding is tagged to an unsafe ratio, which is why we have been asking for a 1 to 4 ratio for under twos. We call on Minister Seymour to look at the expert advice and research that demonstrates better outcomes for our children occurs when qualified teachers spend quality time with children.”

“The driving motivation underpinning any sector overhaul,” says Mrs Wolfe, “is that change improves the quality of education for children. That is the fundamental bottom line.”

“This includes the Minister focusing his attention on attracting and retaining a qualified ECE teaching workforce that is the envy of the world.”

“We have three Ministers now who have a focus on ECE, Minister Nicola Willis for Family Boost, Minister Erica Stanford for curriculum and Minister Seymour investment, regulations, workforce and sector engagement; is the tide finally changing for purposeful investment and regulation where children, families, teachers and providers are valued in our education system,” says Mrs Wolfe.

“The sector is ready to engage, and we can certainly work with the Ministers on a case for change.”


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