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Lifting the quality of early childhood education

30 July 2004
Media Statement

Lifting the quality of early childhood education

Education Minister Trevor Mallard says initiatives to help early childhood education providers meet the 2005 teacher qualification target are well underway as the government seeks to lift the quality of early childhood education.

"By next year all teacher-led early childhood education centres must have at least one registered and qualified teacher designated as a 'person responsible'.

"I am advised that the vast majority of centres - about 85 per cent of 2515 teacher-led centres - meet the standards in advance of the deadline, while others are being given dedicated assistance to help them meet the target by next year. Parent-led centres are exempt from the requirement.

"Centres were first advised of the new requirement nearly five years ago, so I'm pleased that most centres have used that time to plan well so they can meet the deadline. This is great news for parents as we continue to make further progress in our goals of lifting the quality of early childhood education for our youngest children, of making it more affordable and more accessible.

"The 2005 qualifications requirement is another step in implementing the 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education. Research shows that teacher qualifications are a key factor in delivering quality early childhood education and research also tells us that regular and high quality early childhood education makes a noticeable and positive impact on a student's educational success later on.

"The Labour-led government is firmly committed to giving all young New Zealanders the opportunity to have the best possible start in education so as they grow older they have the confidence and ability to aim high and succeed in education and in work.

"Dedicated staff from the Ministry of Education will work closely with a small
number of centres, mainly Pasifika centres in Auckland, to help them meet the requirement in time. The ministry will also work on a one-on-one basis with centres that still have problems as we get nearer to the 2005 deadline."

There has been a raft of initiatives in place to ensure the target is met, including help for teachers in training. (see attached list)

"Numbers of students in early childhood education training have increased substantially over the last three years. This year, like last year, there are an estimated 4000 in training, up from 3140 in 2001," Trevor Mallard said.


Increasing the number of qualified early childhood education teachers

More pay for registered teachers. As part of Budget 2004 centres will receive extra funding from April 2005 to cover the costs of paying higher salaries to registered teachers.

The Auckland Initiative. A recruitment broker has been contracted to work with individuals in Auckland services and with secondary school students to encourage and support enrolment in early childhood teacher education.

A contractor is also researching and mapping all Pasifika early childhood education recruitment activities in Auckland. Another 42 Incentive Grants, on top of the 500 offered annually, have been made available to services and staff in Auckland.

Incentive Grants. 500 incentive grants were provided to licensed and chartered services in 2004 to help staff undertake teacher education programmes to ensure they have qualifications that lead to teacher registration.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) This initiative seeks to accelerate the process of converting the qualifications and prior learning of existing ‘unqualified’ staff to those qualifications now recognised in the sector. Approximately 1200 assessments have been undertaken to date.

Distance Learning for students and early childhood services in more remotely located areas and those in which there is a lack of qualified teachers to access teacher education. 139 extra placements are being provided under this scheme.

Te Reo Learning Provision to support the development of kaupapa Maori /Maori immersion learning options for student teachers.

Primary qualified teachers retraining for early childhood education can access grants of $3000 each. Last year 14 teachers received grants and a further 23 grants are available this year.

Promotional Campaign to promote teaching opportunities within the early childhood education sector. This will be managed by TeachNZ.

A new Pasifika ECE qualification. Since 2000 the Ministry of Education has, in conjunction with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs, been developing a National Diploma in Teaching (Early Childhood Education, Pasifika) (Level 7). This is in response to Pasifika communities’ desire for a qualification that allows graduates to apply to the New Zealand Teachers Council for registration as teachers.

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