Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Problems with quality control in the early childhood sector

Complaints suggest problems with quality control in the early childhood sector

ChildForum Early Childhood Network

Thursday 10th October

A child at an early childhood centre was left in a swing to go to sleep and ended up with rope burn and bruising to the forehead.

This was just one complaint among more than 200, many of them serious, made against early childhood education (ECE) services last year, according to records received by national early childhood network ChildForum.

Among other serious complaints were:

•          A parent complained that “her child had been bitten and had her hands and arms twisted by the teacher at the service and that she has been verbally abused”.

•          A student on teaching practice observed two staff at a centre smacking children and the person in charge dragging children by the arm.

•          A parent was concerned about a sexual act happening at her son’s service with her son being involved.

A record of the complaints requested by ChildForum under the Official Information Act showed that some of the complaints were referred to outside agencies such as Child, Youth and Family.

However, in many cases it appears the Ministry of Education simply contacted the service provider and asked them about the matter or referred the complainant directly back to the service.  In some of the more serious cases, the service in question had its licence temporarily restricted or an action plan was put in place until the Ministry was confident the service was no longer breaching regulations.  Services continued to care for children in most cases and licences were not suspended.   

With children attending ECE from as young as six weeks and for as many as 6 to 10 hours a day, children’s vulnerability to being affected by poor care is especially high.  

“It can be difficult for any parent to make a complaint and especially hard for working parents because they are dependent on that care and they can be frightened of losing their place if they complain. If the Ministry refers complainants back to their ECE service they may not continue with the complaint which will not result in any improvement”, says ChildForum national director Dr Sarah Farquhar. 

“There needs to be a change to unscheduled onsite inspections and not relying primarily on a service’s written records or on the word of the service provider especially when complaints involve child abuse, health, safety, and standard of education.”

The Ministry refers parents to the Education Review Office website which carries reports on early childhood education services. However, many of the services complained about last year have satisfactory ERO reports and are on a three or four yearly review schedule.

Dr Farquhar says that currently complaints are not public record, making it difficult for parents to know whether the service their child is attending has ever had any issues.

In response to this problem a new My ECE website (www.myece.org.nz) was launched last month for parents to rate and give feedback on their child’s ECE service.  It gives parents information on children’s rights in ECE services, regulations, and an ECE industry code of conduct.  Resources have also been developed to support parents who feel they need to make a complaint against their child’s ECE service, including a Complaints Form and a Feedback Form they can use with their child.

“Choosing an early childhood service and deciding to stay with it is like planning a holiday, buying a car, or choosing what restaurant to go to”, says Dr Farquhar, founder of the My ECE website. “Your decisions are better if you have heard what other people’s experiences have been, you know something of the history of the place and what risks you might have to plan for.”

Dr Farquhar says it is important for parents to have accurate and detailed information about early childhood education services, including when they do and do not meet required standards. The Ministry of Education should routinely make publicly available full reports into ECE services where complaints had been received of a serious nature.

Further information

A more detailed report article, including further examples of complaints made last year, is available at this link: http://www.myece.org.nz/inside-news/169-nz-ece-complaints

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Eddie Izzard: UK Comedy Legend Returns

Hailed as one of the foremost stand up comedians of his generation. Star of stage and screen. Tireless supporter of charity. Runner. Political campaigner. Fashion Icon... February 2015, Eddie Izzard will bring his massive FORCE MAJEURE world tour to New Zealand with tickets going on sale at 10am on Tuesday 28th October. More>>

Festival Starts 28 Oct: Improv Fest Makes Up New Show

For any other festival, finding out less than two weeks from showtime that half the cast of a programmed show can’t make it to New Zealand would be a nightmare. Instead, the New Zealand Improv Festival Director Jennifer O’Sullivan saw an opportunity ... More>>

NZ Music Awards Finalists: Lorde, Sol3 Mio Top 2014 Tuis Charge

Lorde has taken the music world by storm during the past year and she co-leads the 2014 Tui charge with five finalist spots. Joining her is newcomer family opera trio, Sol3 Mio. They are followed closely by Ladi6 and David Dallas, both up for four awards each. More>>

From 'Luther' Creator: Major New Zealand Crime Series For BBC

Libertine Pictures and writer Neil Cross have teamed up with leading international TV producer Carnival Films to develop a major new crime series set in Rotorua. Libertine will develop the contemporary drama series with Carnival, producer of internationally-acclaimed British period drama Downton Abbey, for the BBC. More>>

ALSO:

Family Statement: Death Of Ewen Gilmour

“Ewen was a much loved and cherished member of our family, he was a larger than life character and by his very nature was kind, generous and always giving of his time to those who asked for his help." More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: St. Jerome's Laneway Festival - Line-Up Announced

Traversing seven cities and three countries, the festival has well and truly settled into its home in each state. From the grassy knolls and towering silos at home in Auckland, to the sparkling backdrop of the Maribyrnong... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: No Longer An Island

Simon Nathan reviews 'Zealandia: Our Continent Revealed': The idea that New Zealand is part of a large submerged continent is not new... There was renewed interest in the extent of offshore New Zealand from the 1970s onwards with the start of offshore drilling for oil and gas, and this was given impetus by a UN agreement which allowed countries to claim an Extended Continental Shelf (ECS). More>>

Art: Simon Denny Recreates Kim Dotcom’s Personal Effects

Who owns what? How has the internet changed our relation to the world? These are two of the many questions Simon Denny raises in the latest exhibition at the Adam Art Gallery, opening on Saturday 4 October. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news