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Qualified, Registered Teachers Needed to Improve Quality f

Qualified, Registered Teachers Needed to Improve Quality for Children.

Recent publicity about unsafe early childhood services reinforces the need for qualfied and registered teachers, says Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens chief executive Amanda Coulston.

Recent news reports have said that some services have fewer than the legal minimum number of teachers, and falsify records to fraudulently claim to meet regulations. Early childhood services need have only 50 per cent of the required number of teachers to be qualified teachers.

Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens operates 85 kindergartens in the lower North Island and has 100 per cent qualified teachers in all regulated positions.

Qualified registered teachers are bound by a code of ethics which reduces the risk of unsafe practices for children, says Ms Coulston. “Registered teachers are obliged to speak out about unsafe and unethical practices.”

Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens employs additional staff - teacher aides, administrators, language assistants, kindergarten-based students, and van drivers and drivers’ assistants, but these adults are in addition to the regulated required ratios.

Kindergarten teachers are covered by a collective agreement which ensures they are paid roughly similar salaries to primary school teachers, and which ensure professional conditions.

Kindergartens generally find it easier to attract and retain teachers, in large part because of the national collective agreement, says Ms Coulston.

“But all early childhood services are under stress because of the funding cuts in 2010, followed by essentially a funding freeze for the next seven years.”

Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens is looking forward to working with the government to develop a long term plan for the sector, which is expected to lift quality and improve qualifications across all services.

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