Funding for children’s futures
New Zealand Kindergartens Te Pūtahi Kura Puhou o Aotearoa (NZK) welcomes the second phase of the education system funding review.
"We are encouraged the minister will continue to work with sector experts on this next stage" said chief executive Clare Wells. "Involvement of experienced people from across the education system is crucial to ensure any future change will lead to better learning outcomes for children and young people" she said.
NZK cautiously supports exploring a move to a per-child based funding for early childhood education (ECE) services. “What we must ensure is that the mechanism provides universal access to services and the funding levels support high quality education for young children" said Clare Wells.
"There are increasing cost pressures on kindergartens which employ 100% qualified and certificated teachers since the government reduced the funding to meet 80% qualified staff in 2010" Clare Wells said. "Funding rates need to be reinstated and the 100% funding band restored so ECE services can continue to deliver quality teaching and learning for children without passing costs on to parents."
Identifying how additional funding will be allocated is also part of this next phase. "Children and young people need additional learning support for a range of reasons to make sure they have the best possible education experience and achieve their learning aspirations" said Clare Wells. "If additional funding is to really make a difference, details on targeted funding and funding for learning support need to be well-considered" she said.
NZK wants to see as part of this review, and in advance of any change, that the funding mechanism ensures all funding from government goes to improving teaching and learning. "The whole idea of a new system is to support children's learning success regardless of where they are across the system. To realise this, we need to be confident the investment in ECE makes its way to children so they benefit from every tax dollar spent" said Clare Wells."We hope sufficient time will be allocated for meaningful consultation on any detailed proposals to ensure changes are workable and beneficial" Clare Wells said.