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Extra funding for quality early childhood ed.

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Education

Extra funding for quality early childhood education

An extra $55 million will be invested in early childhood education over the next four years to ensure more children can access quality education before they get to school, Education Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

“A first rate educational start is what we want for all our young people. We know that quality early childhood education makes a significant and critical difference to the way children develop and go on to learn throughout their lives,” Trevor Mallard said.

“This additional funding from Budget 2003 is specifically targeted to increase participation and raise the quality of early childhood education,” Trevor Mallard said.

“We continue to build on the important foundations set by the government and the early childhood education sector in Ngä Huarahi Arataki: Pathways to the Future – a 10 year strategic plan for early childhood education, launched last year.

“At the core of this action plan are three goals: increasing participation in quality early childhood education services, improving the quality of early childhood education services and promoting collaborative relationships.

“This budget gives us all the opportunity to continue working together so we can achieve these goals.”

The additional funding brings total early childhood education spending to $421 million in 2003-04. The extra funding includes:

- An additional $1.6 million in capital grants to provide property for licensed early childhood education services in areas where there aren’t enough services to meet demand;
- Over the next four years $936,000 is being provided to the Developing Centres Fund so more children are able to attend playgroups in areas where they cannot access appropriate licensed and chartered early childhood education services (known as the Promoting Participation Project);
- An additional $1.4 million over the next four years for the Mäori/Pasifika early childhood education teacher scholarship programmes, aimed at increasing the number of qualified Mäori and Pasifika early childhood education teachers;
- $39 million over the next four years to ensure early childhood education services are compensated for cost increases in both staffing and operational areas;
- $4.5 million in capital funding over the next two years to implement a new funding framework for the sector. A review of funding to the sector is currently underway;
- Extending the number of early childhood education incentive grants by 70 a year (a total of 280 additional grants over the next four years) to continue the government’s commitment to assisting early childhood education services to get their staff to upgrade qualifications;
- $150,000 over the next two years to undertake research in köhanga reo, playcentres and licence-exempt playgroups, to support quality in parent-led services.

This budget initiative also complements the enhancements to childcare assistance provided in the social development budget package.

ENDS

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