Equity Funding For Early Childhood Sector
About 40% of community-based early childhood services will be eligible for equity funding in a new policy to be introduced at the start of next year.
The Budget allowed nearly $30 million over the next four years for early childhood equity funding. Education Minister Trevor Mallard said it will target funding to licensed and chartered, community-based, early childhood education services:
- in low socio-economic communities;
- in isolated areas;
- that are based on a language and culture other than English; and
- that may have significant numbers of children with special education needs or from non-English speaking backgrounds.
"This system operates in addition to the existing funding regime, and will assist eligible services in providing quality education and care for children in their communities," Trevor Mallard said.
Trevor Mallard said equity funding will be implemented from 1 January 2002 and eligible services will get their first payments with the March 2002 funding drop. From then on, eligible services will receive regular equity funding payments with their usual funding drops in July, November and March.
"However, for the first two payments the Ministry will need to run an interim funding model for the low socio-economic index as the census 2001 data won’t be available in time. There will be a wash-up in the November 2002 payment to make sure that no service that should have been receiving equity funding misses out."
Trevor Mallard said an equity funding system for early childhood education was long overdue.
"Having access to quality early childhood education is a major factor in how well a child achieves at school and later on in life. There are some communities that are significantly under-represented in early childhood statistics. Equity funding will help both the access and the quality of service provided to those communities."