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Lifting educational achievement

Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education

9 April 2013 Media Statement
Lifting educational achievement through increased early childhood education participation

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed new provisional figures which show an increase in the number of children participating in early childhood education, particularly Māori and Pacific Island children.

Provisional data for the first quarter of 2013 shows around 95.5 per cent of children that started school this year had participated in early childhood education. That’s up from 94.7 per cent at the same time last year.

The provisional data also shows increases in participation rates for Māori and Pasifika children.

Around 91.7 per cent of Māori children and around 88.1 per cent of Pasifika children starting school had participated in early childhood education.

That’s an increase of about 1.4 percentage points for Māori and nearly 2 percentage points for Pasifika children compared to the same period last year.

Ms Parata says the upward trend continues to support the Government’s focus on making sure that as many children as possible are participating in some form of early learning as part of our wider investment in Kiwi kids.

“Making sure each and every child gets a good education is the most important thing our Government can do to raise living standards and create a more productive and competitive economy.

“We know from New Zealand and international research that the early childhood years are vital to a child’s development and their future ability to learn.

“New Zealand’s annual expenditure per child in early childhood education is the second highest in the OECD and this Government is committed to continuing that investment in our future.

“We know that too many of our children who start behind stay behind. This Government will not tolerate that.

“We want all our children to get the best start to their education, and early childhood education will help them be confident, ready to engage, and eager to learn. That is why the Government has set a target of 98 per cent of children starting school will have participated in quality early childhood education in 2016,” Ms Parata says.

“We are investing $1.4 billion in ECE, which includes 20 hours ECE funding for all families. In the last Budget we invested an additional $48 million in equity funding which supports priority learners and communities who would otherwise find it more difficult to access early childhood education.’’

Ms Parata says the Government is determined to transform the education system to ensure all children leave school with the skills they need to reach their potential in a modern world.

“That means making sure everyone who has a role in a child’s education – early childhood education services, schools, teachers, parents and caregivers, whānau, aiga and communities – are supported to lift educational achievement for those who are being left behind, and encourage those who are doing well to do even better. It also means our children are engaged in their learning and have the best environment and tools they need for this.”

The Government has also invested in the development of an Early Learning Information (ELI) system that will better capture information about participation and engagement and assist in making more targeted investments in this important pre-school education sector. It is expected that ELI will come on stream in 2015 and begin replacing the paper-based systems that over 4,000 early learning providers currently use.

Note to editors:

Percentage of children who have participated in ECE

Māori Pasifika Total
Dec 2010 89.6% 86.6% 94.6%
Mar 2011 90.1% 86.5% 94.7%
Jun 2011 90.0% 86.1% 94.6%
Sep 2011 90.0% 86.1% 94.7%
Dec 2011 90.2% 85.9% 94.7%
Mar 2012 90.3% 86.2% 94.7%
June 2012 90.9% 86.7% 95.0%
Sep 2012 91.2% 87.2% 95.1%
Dec 2012 91.3% 87.4% 95.2%
Mar 2013 91.7% 88.1% 95.5%

Please note the March 2013 data is provisional data only. As of today 98 per cent of schools had submitted their March ENROL data which shows how many children starting school had participated in early childhood education. The figures are expected to be finalised later this month.

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