19 November 2018
The Early Childhood
Council (ECC) says the draft Strategic Plan for early learning sets ambitious
goals to achieve in a decade, given the fact we have a significant teacher
shortage in New Zealand currently.
The ECC welcomes the
release for consultation of the draft 10-year Strategic Plan for Early Learning
entitled ‘every child a toanga’ and looks forward to meaningful discussions to
finalise the plan next year.
The ECC Chief Executive
Officer, Peter Reynolds, says we support many elements of the plan, but will be
questioning the rationale for some others.
“It is good to see
continued focus on quality for the sector, and the fact early childhood
education (ECE) is being recognised for the significant contribution it makes
to education as a whole, and our society.
“We are pleased to see
the intention of the strategic plan is to better enable our world-leading ECE curriculum,
Te Whāriki,to be fully implemented, but Gazetting
it will add to bureaucracy,” Mr Reynolds says.
“It is also pleasing to
see ECE will be able to be equally included in aspects of the wider education
system such as Communities of Learning, which shows an intention to better
align ECE with schools and improve transitions for children.
moves to improve access to ECE for disadvantaged communities, those with
additional learning needs, and to better target equity funding.
“It is also
important to ensure ECE operates on a level playing field across the sector,
and for all parts of the sector to be supported equally,” Mr Reynolds says.
plan does not show an intention to review the funding model for ECE which is
outdated and overly complex, discuss the cost implications of the proposals, or
the fact we have a significant teacher shortage. We think these are important elements to
The draft plan proposes
specific additional supports for community-owned early childhood education, and
we would like to see access to management support available to all services. The
plan also includes ideas for operating state-owned early childhood education, which
would establish a two-tiered ECE system and we would not support this approach.
“We wonder how attainable
in ten-years it will be to increase staff numbers that will be needed to
support the proposed new three age group adult-to-child ratios. We wonder where the increased teaching staff
will come from given there is currently a significant shortage of teachers,” Mr
membership survey data suggests the teacher shortages in ECE are getting worse
in parts of the country, and it is now taking centres carrying vacancies up to
100 days to fill roles, an increase of 30 days from a year ago,” Mr Reynolds
The proposals in
the draft strategic plan are also likely to carry additional financial impacts
on services, but it is unclear what those are at this stage, or what the
proposed changes to funding and subsidy might be to support all of the proposed
The ECC looks
forward to participating in meaningful, inclusive discussions as part of the
consultation on the draft strategic plan.