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Children must be ECE focus, not red tape - Early Childhood Council

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The Early Childhood Council is warning increased monitoring requirements laid out in the Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Action Plan could mean teachers spend more time ticking boxes than teaching children.

"Increased monitoring has knock-on effects like obliging centres to employ more staff to meet ratio requirements, artificially increasing labour costs and creating extra pressure to recruit during a severe teacher shortage."

"We need less monitoring, not more, so centres can focus on children, not red tape," says ECC CEO Peter Reynolds. "We’re not convinced the increased compliance being forced on our members leads to any meaningful improvement in the quality of early childhood education."

ECC members are concerned most of the monitoring requirements are aimed at teacher-led, centre based services, while ignoring other ECE service types.

"We desperately hope the Minster isn’t trying to create a two-tier system where there’s one rule for non-teacher-led services and another for ECE centres."

"Ultimately, it’s parents who want choice and children’s education that will suffer," said Mr Reynolds.

The ECC, who are calling for a minimum increase of 10% for ECE funding in the 2020 budget, says any teacher ratio review needs to come hand in hand with increased funding. One without the other is counter-productive and puts more pressure on centres.

"Our members have to perform a delicate balancing act of teacher ratios and monitoring while balancing the books, and with no real increase in subsidies since 2011, it’s only getting harder."

"We need a pragmatic and realistic review of compliance and monitoring requirements, alongside a complete review of the ECE funding system," said Mr Reynolds.

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