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More ECE for South Auckland - about time

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

22 October 2008

More ECE for South Auckland - about time

National’s Associate Education spokeswoman, Paula Bennett, is welcoming a first step towards boosting early childhood education (ECE) participation in South Auckland, but asks why it’s taken so long for Labour to act.

She is commenting on a proposal to build facilities for ECE services at nine schools in South Auckland.

“Research proves that some form of participation in ECE leads to more positive outcomes for children at school.

“National has long held concerns about low ECE participation rates in some areas, particularly among low-income families. Too many children continue to be locked out of ECE.

“Labour has failed to address this problem over the past nine years. The 20 Hours policy addresses some issues but it has not resulted in big increases in the number of children going to ECE services.

“Today’s half-baked solution, 17 days before an election, looks like little more than a last-gasp effort.

“National’s policy is to boost participation in ECE by working with community groups, private centres, home-based providers, and local government to develop local solutions that best meet the early childhood needs of our communities.

“We support plans to invest government funds to provide facilities for ECE services at selected schools, but we are sceptical about Labour’s commitment to this proposal.

“I note that the nominated schools have yet to agree to the Ministry’s ideas, no one knows who is going to run the facilities, and there is no mention of involving community groups that are in touch with local families.

“National will work closely with these schools, local ECE providers, and community groups to ensure boosting South Auckland children’s participation in ECE becomes a reality –not just an election-year ploy.”


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