Early Childhood Council welcomes inclusion on Reference Group

Friday 6 April 2018

The Early Childhood Council is pleased to be included on a Reference Group providing advice and guidance as part of the development of an Early Learning Strategic Plan.

The terms of reference for developing the 10-year Early Learning Strategic Plan were released on 5 April, along with the names of the Ministerial Advisory Group and the Reference Group that will guide the Plan's development. The terms of reference for a review of home-based early childhood services were also made public.

The Early Childhood Council Chief Executive Officer, Peter Reynolds, says it is useful to see the terms of reference and the ECC is pleased to be included on the Reference Group.

"The ECC has been saying that there are points of strain in the sector for some time, such as underfunding, teacher shortages and unevenly applied rules and regulations.

"We will be seeking clarification from the Minister of Education on some of the wording in the terms of reference for the development of a Strategic Plan, around there seeming to be a focus on favouring public early childhood education over private providers," Mr Reynolds says.

The ECC is concerned to see this same focus in the terms of reference for a review of Tomorrow's Schools.

"We want to see the focus of the terms of reference for the development of an Early Learning Strategic Plan focused on the needs of children, not on the ownership structure of the services. New Zealand has also enjoyed a model of choice for parents over the type of education that works for them and their child.

"We had thought the reforms of the education sector were designed to bring the sector together, with the child at the centre. It is concerning the terms of reference suggest there may be a focus on supporting some parts of the early childhood sector over others," Mr Reynolds says.

The ECC will seek clarification on the wording in the terms of reference to gain a deeper understanding of what may be being signalled for the sector.

The Early Childhood Council is a not-for-profit membership body that represents the interests of almost 1,200 community-owned and privately-owned early childhood centres.

As well as ensuring the childcare centre voice is heard by education policy decision makers, the ECC provides our members with professional development opportunities, tools and support.