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ECE Teacher Shortage: Centres Face Losing Licences

Paula Bennett MP
National Party Associate Education Spokeswoman
(Early Childhood)

ECE teacher shortage critical: centres face losing licences

The deadline for early childhood education centres to have 50% of their staff qualified is just days away, but a critical teacher shortage means many will fail to meet the new standards, says National's Associate Education spokeswoman, Paula Bennett.

The Ministry of Education has decreed that early childhood education centres must meet the new requirement in order to have their licences renewed.

"Managers of early childhood education centres are at their wits end trying to find qualified teachers. There is such a severe shortage that one centre has spent more than $6,500 on advertising over 12 months and still cannot find qualified staff.

"Alison Clark, who runs two 'Tickles' ECE centres in the Bay of Plenty, needs to find seven qualified teachers by Monday. Even if by some miracle they did find teachers, there would be no possibility of meeting the Ministry's requirements.

"Labour is suggesting some centres may be given 'provisional' licences to give them more time, but even if a centre qualifies for a provisional licence, the chances of finding a teacher in three months are almost non-existent.

"This is an untenable situation and the Ministry needs to exercise some compassion and flexibility.

"Having qualified teachers in our early childhood education centres is certainly ideal, but to rigidly enforce an impossible goal will be to the detriment of the whole sector and will inevitably lead to closures.

"Good centres should not be punished for a situation that is not of their making.

"It is children who will pay the cost."


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