Gaps in ECE funding growing wider

02 June 2020

The widening funding gap between Early Childhood Education providers proves the need for open and transparent discussion across the sector, says the Early Childhood Council.

While recent government investment in ECE has been welcomed, it’s highlighting disparity between providers.

A system of ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ won’t deliver the quality of education New Zealand needs, says the ECC.

A per-service breakdown of increases in the last Budget clearly shows the funding disparity:

420 Playcentres received a $3.1m increase, which equals around $1,685 each

433 Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust received a $196m increase, which equals around $442,889.39 for each Kōhanga

2,722 community-or privately-owned centres received a $151m increase (to address teacher pay only), which equals around $55,511 each

656 free Kindergartens received a 1.6% funding increase to keep pace with inflation

This graph shows one example of the illogical funding model. Kindergartens receive significantly higher funding for children under two years, despite only 27 of the 656 kindergartens, or 4%, taking under-two enrolments. So why the higher funding rate?

This graph of funding for children over two shows ECE centres, who enrol the majority of over-two’s, are in a distant third place behind Te Kōhanga Reo and kindergartens.

“We’re delighted to see any provider get deserved funding increases – but the logic is missing. Examples like these show the ECE funding system is broken and unbalanced. Instead of taking a piecemeal approach to parts of the sector, the whole model needs fixing,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.

“For some time, we’ve called for the completion of the ECE Funding Review that started in 2012 and was never finished. The funding model for our sector should be transparent and simple for parents to understand, instead of the chaos we have now.”

“We believe more needs to be done to address inequalities. The wide range of funding is hurting the quality of education and viability of providers,” said Mr Reynolds.

The ECC is calling for transparency on where resources are allocated, so the sector can work out the gaps and start addressing them together.

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