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Ministry may revoke Cotton Tails licence

Education Minister Trevor Mallard today confirmed that the Ministry of Education would consider closing a Feilding Early Childhood centre that was subject to a scathing Education Review Office Report.

Trevor Mallard said the Ministry had issued a provisional licence for the centre that would expire at the end of the month.

"Ministry of Education staff are visiting the centre frequently and closely observing the centre's practices. The Ministry office in Wanganui, will consider their findings in conjunction with a recent Education Review office discretionary report when making future licensing decisions.

"The centre has no future if practices detailed in the ERO report are repeated," Trevor Mallard said.

He said support from 75% of the centre's parents in the centre's favour had stopped him encouraging the Ministry to revoke the centre's licence immediately.

The ERO report highlighted the following concerns about Cotton Tails.

 There is evidence that children have been ill-treated and that the licensee has not taken all reasonable steps to prevent such ill-treatment.

 Parents and other adults working in the centre report that they have observed occasions when the licensee and supervisor have subjected children to practices which include intimidation and threatening behaviour, force feeding, and the use of derogatory and demeaning language;

 The licensee is not ensuring that untrained staff in the centre are given sufficient supervision and guidance in their care and education of children;

 Children’s wellbeing is placed at risk through inadequate recording and communication of daily routines, illnesses and accidents. Parents are therefore not kept well informed of their child’s daily routines and incidents that occur during the day;

 The quality of the educational programme is poor, there is a lack of effective planning, assessment and evaluation, and curriculum provision is inadequate.

Trevor Mallard said he believed the case illustrated why the Government wanted to change the law to in regard to registration of early childhood education centre staff.

"Later this year, I will introduce legislation that will extend teacher registration provisions to ensure all people who work in the early childhood sector are subject to character and police checks prior to employment," Trevor Mallard said.


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