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Playcentre hobbled by underfunding and red tape

New Zealand Playcentre Federation

1 October 2008

Playcentre hobbled by underfunding and red tape

The New Zealand Playcentre Federation today released a report highlighting how the government has undermined parents wanting to educate their own children.

The report, prepared by Woodhams Research Associates, found that government funding was substantially lower than required for Playcentre to be sustainable due to a systematic discounting on Playcentre costs. It also found that parents are frustrated by the need to waste their time on Ministry of Education red tape rather than providing the programme for their children.

"We have been trying for years to get the government to recognise the stress they have been putting Playcentre under. Now we have documented evidence of their systematic underfunding" said Playcentre Federation President, Marion Pilkington.

Key findings in the report include:

*

The Ministry of Education appears to have ignored 31% of Playcentre costs when calculating funding rates;

*

There is no adequate argument for excluding Playcentre from the 20 hours free ECE policy;

*

Playcentre members, at centre and association level, have to volunteer for over 2000 hours per year for each centre on activities other than running the educational programme.

*

Government policies have discriminated against parent provision of ECE.

"We have always known that Playcentre provides high quality education for our children" said Mrs Pilkington. "The report shows how the Playcentre model of education matches the best international research on high quality outcomes for children and their families as well."

Playcentre parents develop a wide range of skills during their time at Playcentre and contribute these to their communities as their children graduate into school and beyond. As this natural turnover occurs, there is a need to provide structural support for the families taking their place in the centres. Regional associations provide a crucial role in this structural support, and the report recommends professionalising this role.

Playcentres are the main provider of group ECE in many rural areas, such as the Far North, West Coast and Otago. Rural Playcentres often form community hubs and meeting points, especially after the closure of small schools and services such as post offices. It is in the interest of all communities to see that the Playcentre model remains healthy and viable.

"Playcentre calls on all political parties to support our drive for fair funding, effective structural support and reduced bureaucratic red tape" said Marion Pilkington.

For more information, and to see a full copy of the report, go to

www.playcentre.org.nz ENDS


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