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Significant funding boost for early childhood ed.

7 July 2005

Media Statement

Significant funding boost for early childhood education

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that more than 3000 early childhood education services would this week start to benefit from a $33 million funding boost for the sector, provided for in this year’s budget.

A sum of $185 million in total is being paid out in the July instalment, covering an eight month period. This compares with $152 million in the corresponding instalment period last year.

Helen Clark said the payments early childhood education services are receiving this week underline the government’s commitment to making early childhood education more accessible and more affordable for all New Zealand families.

"We have increased our investment into this critical area of education, because we want every young child to have the best start possible to their education.

“Between now and October the average funding increase to early childhood education services will be 15.8 per cent," Helen Clark said.

Half of the instalment period is a “wash-up” exercise for the previous four months, and the rest is an advance payment on the next four months.

"The government is continuing to make big investments in education, especially in early childhood education as it is the foundation for later learning. That is why this year’s budget provided for another $152 million over four years for early childhood services.”

Helen Clark made the announcement during a visit to First Years Richmond, a community-based early childhood service In Nelson. It received $77,200 in this instalment, an increase of 16.6 per cent on what it would have received under the old system.

In the Nelson region 25 out of 48 centres are getting extra money because of the new funding arrangements which have been put in place.

Education Minister Trevor Mallard said the new funding system supported the provision of better quality early education to children at no extra cost to parents.

"It means services can afford to employ higher proportions of qualified and registered teachers, and means funding is more responsive to the costs of operating different types of services.

"New investment of $152 million over four years from this year’s Budget, will bring the total expenditure on early childhood education to $694 million by 2008-09, a massive increase of 140 per cent since 1999," Trevor Mallard said.

Trevor Mallard marked the announcement with a visit to the Mataliki Tokelau Akoga Kamata centre in Mangere which received about $119,000 in this instalment - about double the funding it got last July, due to both the new funding system and a bigger roll.

Attached is a key fact sheet about early childhood education.

ENDS


Key Fact Sheet: Early Childhood Education (ECE) 2005/06

The government will spend approximately $523 million funding early childhood education in the 2005/2006 financial year, an increase of $234 million or 81 per cent since 1999/00.

Early childhood education services include playcentres, home-based care providers, kohanga reo, education and care services, kindergartens, licence-exempt playgroups and The Correspondence School.

In Budget 2005 government has committed an additional $152 million over four years to make quality early childhood education more accessible and affordable:

There will be significant increases in ECE funding rates from 1 July 2005, as much as 18 per cent for some services. Since the new funding rates were announced in November last year the costs ECE services face, particularly the salary cost of qualified staff, have risen. Increasing funding rates to meet these higher costs ensures services are compensated for cost changes and don’t pass them onto parents.

Over the next four years $28.4 million will further expand the early childhood Discretionary Grants Scheme, funding the building of 55-65 more community-based centres over the next four years. As well, it will increase the supply of new community-based services in preparation for free ECE for three and four year olds, which comes into effect from 1 July 2007. The additional funding takes the annual spend on Discretionary Grants to $20.8 million in 2005/06

Foundations for Discovery, the new ICT resource for ECE launched in April, has been allocated $16 million. This new ICT framework is aimed at promoting the use of ICT as a way to strengthen the education young children receive, and to help ECE services operate.

The quality of ECE provision has been raised by increasing the number of qualified and registered teachers. Funding of $4 million, including 3.4 million in new funding, over four years to fund an additional 200 ECE TeachNZ scholarships, which are available for people on low incomes and people who enrol in M?ori or Pasifika focused early childhood education teacher education.

Other initiatives from previous budgets.

From 1 July 2007, there will be 20 hours free education per week for 3 and 4 year-olds in teacher-led community-based centres

$12 million over four years will be spent on the implementation of Exemplars that set out best practice examples for assessing children’s learning. This funding includes professional development for teachers

Ten centres of Innovation receive support to undertake research and develop innovative practice in early childhood education. These centres aim to support research into teaching and learning and strengthen effective teaching practice in early childhood education.

Teacher registration targets

By 2012, all regulated staff in teacher-led services must be registered, although an exemption to the requirement allows services to meet the target of registration by having up to 30 per cent of their teachers enrolled in approved teacher education programmes. The latest figures show that from a total of over 1700 teacher-led services only two per cent are having difficulty meeting these new requirements and these individual services are being helped by the Ministry of Education.


Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister of Education

ENDS

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