Ministerial support welcome but funding frustration continues
The Early Childhood Council welcomes the new support for parents bringing children back to early learning – but cautions some centres are still financially struggling.
With post-lockdown Early Childhood Education attendance as low as 50% by some reports, the Minister’s Urgent Response Fund announced today will help.
Increased teacher wage requirements and the lack of parent fees due to low attendance is putting community and privately owned centres under financial pressure as the sector recovers from lockdown.
While centres were required to start paying increased pay rates from Wednesday, they won’t receive the funding to support it until November, putting them under increased financial pressure in the meantime.
“Anything the Minister can do to bring parents back is encouraging, and we look forward to welcoming children back in early learning,” said ECC CEO Peter Reynolds.
“Our frustration with the funding system continues however – with centres only receiving payment from the Ministry three times a year, many are dipping into their own pockets to pay the increased wages.”
“We support pay parity, but this disconnect is putting centres under financial pressure and is yet another example of our broken funding model,” said Mr Reynolds.