Early learning centre closures continue to mount up
70 early learning centres shut their doors in the year-ended June 2022, showing how tough it is for community-based leaders and business owners to run financially sustainable ECE operations within the current Pay Parity initiatives and rising costs.
91 centres have already closed in the ten-month period to May 2023, greatly exceeding the 2022 full-year figure already.
“The average centre enrolled about 41 children, meaning that over 3,700 children and families lost their chosen early learning option with these 91 centre closures in the year to date. New Zealand is rapidly losing its diversity of choice, starting with centres that don’t or can’t rely on significant income from parent fees,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Simon Laube.
“These closures are deeply worrying and show a worsening trend – we do not have a thriving early learning sector.”
“2.16 centres are closing per week, this should be a clear wakeup call at the Ministry of Education. If this doesn’t prompt urgent action, what will?” said Simon Laube.
- Of the 70 centres that closed, 31% (22) had opted into Pay Parity
- Prior to 2021, the average number of centres closing annually was about 33 per year (between 2017 and 2020)
- ECC has been outspoken about major issues with the Pay Parity initiative and is separately suing the government to seek accountability