18th January 2012
For Immediate Release
Government urged to take note of damning Australian childcare study
The education sector union says the government should take note of an Australian study which proves qualified teachers play a critical role in providing quality early childhood education.
The E4Kids study which is the Australia’s first long-term investigation into the quality of pre-schools and childcare, has found that the standard of teaching in Australian preschools is very poor and many children are attending little more than a glorified playgroup.
In almost all Australian states there is no legislative or regulatory requirement to employ a qualified teacher in an early childhood centre, although a range of new minimum qualification requirements has just been introduced.
NZEI National Executive member Hayley Whitaker says the study proves the correlation between poor standards and low numbers of qualified early childhood teachers.
“We know that fully qualified teachers are what drive high standards and establish effective learning environments. New Zealand is well ahead of where Australia is but the danger is that recent government policy is undermining that and taking us backwards,” she says.
During the National-led government’s first term in office it axed the 100% fully qualified teacher target, slashed funding to services which have more than 80% qualified staff, cut grants supporting newly qualified teachers to get full registration and withdrawn professional development funding.
It also scrapped planned improvements to teacher ratios for two year olds and changed licensing rules which means services can now have up to 150 children in a centre.
“Much of the progress we have made is being eroded and we don’t want to be back in the position where Australia now finds itself. Quality is not something which should be compromised at the most important learning stage of children’s lives,” Ms Whitaker says.