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Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

Children the winners in major ECE funding announcement

18 May 2020

Early childhood teachers are celebrating the reintroduction of extra funding for services with 100% qualified teachers.

NZEI Te Riu Roa has been campaigning for a restoration of the 100 per cent funding band since it was scrapped by the National Government in 2010.

Kindergarten teacher and NZEI Te Riu Roa ECE representative, Virginia Oakly, says members involved in various campaigns to restore the funding over the last ten years, including the most recent ‘Every Child is Worth It’ campaign, will be ecstatic with the win, worth $278.2 million.

“The real winners will be our tamariki – qualified teachers make a huge difference in the quality of early childhood education and this has a lifelong positive impact for young learners.”

“This is going to make a massive difference for kindergartens and all services which employ more than 80 percent qualified staff.”

“In 2010, the reduction in funding for services in which all staff were qualified teachers was a crippling blow, especially coupled with a per-child funding freeze for most of the past decade. Since then services have been only funded for up 80% of staff being qualified, which was a huge strain for centres with fully qualified staff,” she says.

“The Minister signed a pledge before the election to restore this funding, so we are really pleased to see him follow through and make early childhood education a top priority after the decade of neglect that’s gone before.”

Ms Oakly says restoring this funding is the first step on a journey towards a fully qualified early childhood teaching workforce.

“We look forward to working with the government on implementing the rest of the Early Learning Action Plan, and accelerating the requirement for 100% qualified teachers in all early learning centres.”