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Govt putting targets ahead of children

Papers reveal Govt putting targets ahead of children’s education and safety

The National Government ignored official warnings about the safety of kids in some home-based early childhood services, because it needed more kids in those services to meet its enrolment targets, the Green Party revealed today.

Official documents show the Education Minister shelved a review of the home-based early childhood sector midway through last year following advice from officials that her 98 percent enrolment target would not be achieved unless more “vulnerable” children were encouraged into home based services.

“The Government is deliberately putting the education and safety of vulnerable children at risk, in order to make itself look good,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“The review of the sector was initiated after serious concerns were raised about the quality of education in some home-based services, including in some cases children being physically unsafe.

"The cancellation of the review left potentially thousands of kids in substandard care. The decision to use the sector to increase enrolments exposed potentially thousands more.

“It is wrong that these serious education issues are being ignored just so Hekia Parata can look like she’s achieving her enrolment target.

“It is negligent for the Minister to be aware of serious concerns about the quality of education in home-based services and to turn a blind eye.

"In the papers, officials say the Ministry’s "participation work" was not enough on its own to meet the Minister’s 98 percent target without a "step change". They go on to say that change was a push to get more Maori, Pacific and low income kids into home-based services.

“Hekia Parata has put her target before quality and safety. The major concerns about the home-based sector should have been completely resolved before the Government looked to rely on these services to fill the gap for quality early childhood opportunities for vulnerable kids.

“The Minister needs to reinstate the review of home-based early childhood education services and resolve the problems in the sector before any more children are put at risk.

“Our kids’ education needs to come first, not the Minister’s targets,” said Mrs Turei.

The advice to the Minister about the need for home-based sector to meet her targets can be found here: http://www.lead.ece.govt.nz/~/media/Educate/Files/Reference%20Downloads/Lead/Files/RecentAnnouncements/EdRptSupportingHomeBasedECE.pdf


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