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

 

Māori Language Week: He Karanga Kia Kaha Ake Te Tīhau Ki Te Reo Māori

The Māori Language Commission wishes to see social media swamped with Māori language tweets and messages for Te Wiki o te Reo Māori using the hashtag #tekupu. More>>

ALSO:

Book Vote: Kiwis Prefer Young Adult & Classics

To compile their Top 100 List for 2014, Whitcoulls again asked New Zealanders to vote for their favourite books and authors. And while classic novels continue to appeal to Kiwi readers, 2014 marks a significant new trend – the increasing popularity of novels for young adults. More>>

ALSO:

Five NZ Cities: Bill Bailey Back To The Southern Hemisphere

The gap between how we imagine our lives to be and how they really are is the subject of Bill’s new show Limboland. With his trademark intelligence and sharp wit, he tells tales of finding himself in this halfway place. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Book Television Is Coming

Carole Beu of The Women’s Bookshop in Auckland, Graham Beattie of The Book Blog and producer Deb Faith of FaceTV have raised enough money via crowd funding at Boosted – just under $7,000 so far – for 12 episodes, which begin production in September, and will be on screen later that month. More>>

Electric Sheep: Light Nelson Exceeds All Expectations

Light Nelson exceeded all expectations drawing over 40,000 people over two nights to the Queens Gardens and surrounds. The event, with over 40 installations from local and national artists, is in its second year, and organisers were hoping they’d top last year’s crowd of 16,000. More>>

MacGyver: Richard Dean Anderson To Attend Armageddon This October

New Zealand’s biggest pulp-culture event, the Armageddon Expo is proud to announce the world’s most recognised DIY action hero will be attending the Auckland event at the ASB Showgrounds from October 24th to 27th. More>>

ALSO:

Barbershop Gold: Māori Party Singing Praises Of The Musical Island Boys

The Maori Party has congratulated four young men on a mission, who in 2002 took up barbershop singing at Tawa College, and tonight took out the Gold Medal in the 2014 International Barbershop Harmony Society competitions in Las Vegas. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news