ECE equality not just about pay
Government-funded conditions for some Early Childhood Education providers but not others is creating an uneven playing field across the sector.
The Ministry of Education effectively funds crucial non-contact time between teachers and children for Kindergartens along with a raft of other benefits such as teacher practicing certificate costs, but not for community and privately-owned centres.
Non-contact time is vital for teachers and managers to plan, assess and complete administration tasks, so that children receive the best possible education and care.
Not recognising this time means many providers must fund non-contact time themselves, by increasing teacher staffing despite receiving no additional funding to do so. And could still end up missing out on the higher-funded 100% qualified teacher band because the Ministry actively discourages non-contact time by refusing to fund it.
“Non-contact time shouldn’t be a luxury. We can’t understand why there’s a two-tier system with gold plated conditions for some and not for all,” said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.
“Let’s put children first - centres shouldn’t have to spend time juggling staff instead of planning quality programmes. Ultimately, we’d like to see all providers treated the same.”
The ECC has welcomed the recent investment in the sector but says creating a fair and transparent ECE model requires a review of all aspects of funding and conditions.
“Let’s give the government’s investment the quality education outcome it deserves, and equal choice for parents,” said Mr Reynolds.