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Report Masks Success of Education and Care Centres

Media Release – Early Childhood Council

Flawed Report Masks Success of Education and Care Centres

“The Early Childhood Council is appalled by the flawed report released by Linda Mitchell today on staff qualifications in the education and care sector,” said Sue Thorne, CEO of the Early Childhood Council (ECC). “She proposes to close down the private education and care sector, even though she has not shown that private centres fail to comply with current regulations.

“I was speechless when I read about this report in the Dominion Post, as it appears to be simply a hatchet job on our sector. After reviewing a mishmash of research reports with quite different results, Linda Mitchell has proposed that private education and care centres be regulated out of existence. Unfortunately, her findings are not even backed up by her own report.”

“We find it even more surprising that we were not given an advance copy or invited to review a draft of this paper, which could be quite detrimental to our sector.”

“Education and care centres are the only sector in early childhood education to show significant growth in the 1990s. Our private and community centres are the main choice of working parents throughout the country to educate and care for their children during the day. We find such an unwarranted attack on centre managers and staff to be appalling.”

“We believe that the NZCER has a useful role to play in our education sector, and we welcome its work. This latest report goes well beyond the research findings, however, and seems to instead promote a range of personal views.”

The ECC will be making a formal complaint to the New Zealand Council for Education Research (NZCER) because of the apparent bias and selective quotation of research in the report. Prior to that, the ECC will commission an expert to review the report in line with general academic standards. We also hope that in future, NZCER reports on the education and care sector will have broadly-based advisory groups and review processes to ensure quality research outputs.

“Finally, we would like to reassure over 75,000 parents who choose our members’ centres that centres are meeting tough quality standards set by the Government while providing a service that meets parents’ and children’s needs. The report raises no concerns about non-compliance with regulations.”

Contact Sue Thorne at 09 449 1327

- The Early Childhood Council is the largest representative body for education and care centres, representing 800 centres enrolling about 40,000 children and employing about 5,000 teachers.

- The report is by Linda Mitchell, a Senior Researcher at the NZ Council for Educational Research. It is titled Differences between Community Owned and Privately Owned Early Childhood Education and Care Centres: A Review of Evidence. It is available at www.nzcer.org.nz/whatsnew/index.htm.

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