Parents Will Lose Out Of Tipped Changes to Early Childhood Funding
Parents will be the losers if the government moves to change funding for thousands of early childhood services, according to the union for early childhood teachers – NZEI Te Riu Roa.
Early childhood services receive funding based on the number of qualified and registered teachers they employ. Those which employ 100% fully registered and qualified teachers receive the highest funding rate.
There are reports that the government will outline plans in this week’s Budget to take money away from services which employ more than 80% qualified and registered teachers. That would affect thousands of early childhood centres, particularly kindergartens, and parents would be left to make up the shortfall.
NZEI Vice President Judith Nowotarski says it’s yet another attack on efforts to improve quality in the sector. One of the strongest indicators of quality early childhood education is having fully qualified and registered staff.
The sector was supposed to meet a target of 80% fully qualified this year, but the government pushed that out by another two years until 2012. It has also completely abandoned the target of 100%.
“Now it looks set to penalise those services which want to provide the best for our youngest children and their families. It betrays all the hard work of the past ten years and undermines what we want for the future,” says Judith Nowotarski.
“If funding rates are cut, services will have to make some tough decisions around passing on the extra costs to parents.”