Parents unclear where their early learning fees go

30 June 2020

The Early Childhood Council says parents should be able to understand how their chosen early education provider is funded, what their fees will be used for and how it affects their child’s education.

The fact many parents are in the dark about these basic questions means the funding model is broken, and should be fixed urgently.

While wages, rent and teaching resources are all major costs, it’s the cost of compliance that rankles with many.

“You can’t keep adding compliance and associated costs on to ECE services and expect parents’ fees to go down,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

“There are 300 things every centre must comply with every hour, many of which have nothing to do with children or their education.”

“If centres and teachers can’t understand how these compliance tasks contribute to a child’s education, then how can parents? And why should they pay for it?” said Mr Reynolds.

While New Zealand’s professional early learning teaching workforce is recognised the world over, the funding model that supports it is long overdue for review.

“When we hear of centres paying above fair wage rates to recruit in a teacher shortage, or hiring extra staff just to move up a funding band or so someone can work on compliance, that’s nonsense.”

“A full funding review, with fairness for centres and transparency for parents is needed yesterday,” said Mr Reynolds.

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