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Rates for free early childhood education

21 December 2006

Rates for free early childhood education

Funding rates for Labour's policy of 20 hours free early childhood education for all three and four-year-olds, were announced today by Education Minister Steve Maharey.

The new funding rates – available to all teacher-led early childhood services from 1 July next year – will see the cost of early childhood education lowered for thousands of New Zealand families, benefiting up to 92,000 children in the first year.

The rates will range from $4.09 per hour to $10.60 per hour, depending on the type of service and the number of qualified teachers employed.

Steve Maharey says the subsidy has been set at a level that recognises all of the costs involved in providing quality early childhood education.

"Labour is committed to lowering the cost of early childhood education for all
New Zealand families," Steve Maharey said.

"The rates will enable early childhood centres to meet the cost of offering free early childhood education for up to 20 hours a week. In addition, centres will continue to receive subsidies for up to 30 hours per child per week."

The rates for free ECE follow a major increase in funding subsidies from 1 July this year, which has seen funding rates for all-day services increase by up to 13 per cent, and rates for session-based services increase by up to 11 per cent.

Steve Maharey says quality and participation in early childhood education have increased significantly in the last five years as a result of investments by Labour-led governments.

"Around 94 per cent of all New Zealand children now take part in early childhood education before starting school. Overall funding for early childhood education has more than doubled since 1999, and the number of qualified teachers has increased by 50 per cent."

ENDS

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