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Childcare Crisis Grabs the PM's Attention

Media Release: Early Childhood Education:

Childcare Crisis Grabs the PM's Attention

The Prime Minister correctly identifies quality childcare as an important ingredient in her recipe for economic growth.

She has a right to be concerned about the ongoing availability of affordable, quality childcare and to be stepping in to find solutions to the crisis in the early childhood sector.

Her Minister responsible for early childhood is making it as difficult as possible for early childhood centres to continue to provide the quality care and education that parents of under fives need to be able to participate in the workforce.

"Trevor Mallard's determination to force out experienced and competent staff who trained under the previous qualification system and replace them with inexperienced beginning teacher graduates with the new qualification has created a staffing crisis of epidemic proportions " said Mrs Thorne, Chief Executive Officer, Early Childhood Council.

The Government has pledged significant amounts of extra money to early childhood education, but has made it impossible for around 400 centres to access it because the supply of staff with the new qualification falls well short of demand.

The 40,000 children attending centres in regions worst hit by the shortage such as Auckland, Bay of Plenty and Northland stand to miss out on their fair share of the new funding.

Trevor Mallard's wants all staff working with children in centres to have a three year early childhood teaching qualification. The Prime Minister's suggestion today that a solution to affordable childcare for working parents is unqualified caregivers in homebased settings appears to be at odds with her own Minister's narrow view of quality staff.

The Early Childhood Council considers that all staff working with children should have training at a level appropriate to the role they are employed to carry out.

"It's encouraging that the Prime Minister has shown she is interested in seeking solutions to the crisis created by her Minister. We now urge Ms Clark to talk with early childhood education providers and their representatives to find the best way to ensure affordable, accessible, quality childcare options are available to all families" said Mrs Thorne.

The Early Childhood Council represents the managers and owners of over 800 community owned and privately owned services throughout New Zealand.


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