Sensationalising ECE issues not helping children

Like any data on our sector, the self-selecting ECE survey that was covered in the media today delivered some insights. We're disappointed that in many cases the stats were used to paint a misleading picture of centres and their owners.

I’ve reviewed the survey and its stats and thought some extra insights would help round out the picture and provide some next steps.

  • 74% of teachers surveyed endorsed the quality of ECE in their centre - statistically, that's a vast majority and we’d be interested to see similar questions compared to other industries to see how ECE measures up
  • 29% of teaching staff don't have time to develop individual relationships with the children in their care. Our view is this reflects the ECE teacher shortage and the increased use of relievers to maintain adult-child ratios required by government
  • While 89% of teachers worked in centres that met the adult:child ratios, 11% did not. We'd encourage any teacher concerned about ratios or any other aspect to raise this with their employer, or if they don't feel comfortable doing so, the Ministry of Education
  • The survey reports 21% of teachers had no or little non-contact time. This time is not funded by the Ministry of Education and not encouraged, while kindergarten and primary teachers are funded and encouraged to undertake non-contact time. We've consistently called for non-contact time to be recognised by the Ministry for teacher-led centres as it is in Kindergartens.

    I’m pleased that only 21% of our sector continues to struggle with this, but we remain critical that 79% of the sector has to find other ways to fund this, increasing what parents have to pay in an uneven ECE sector.

I firmly believe anyone wanting better outcomes for children and those who care for them can find more things to agree on than not. To paint centres as purely profit-driven is not constructive and insulting to the community and privately-owned centres caring for children and employing and working alongside their teaching teams every day.

Resources are restricted in any sector you care to look at in a COVID-19 / recession economy and yet again, the survey highlights yet again that the ECE funding system is broken and is not serving those that work within it.

We’re all in this together –the majority of centre owners and managers the ECC survey supported both the Pay Parity and Pay Equity initiatives, and we've been pushing hard for the former over a number of years.

We note that researcher supports one of the teacher the Pay Equity claims that arrived with centre owners recently. It’s not clear how the timing of this claim will avoid putting further financial pressure and stress on centres while it remains unclear what involvement the government will help, or how it will help address the issues raised in the survey results, but we are prepared to be surprised.

While we can draw some useful insights from this survey, we note it dates from the start of the 2020 school year. It's an understatement to say a lot has changed since, and we gently suggest a new survey would be more valuable to our sector than pushing along an old one. À chacun son goût.