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PQ 6. Better Public Services Targets—Participation in Early

6. Better Public Services Targets—Participation in Early Childhood Education
[Sitting date: 24 July 2014. Volume:700;Page:5. Text is subject to correction.]
6. CATHERINE DELAHUNTY (Green) to the Minister of Education : What was the split, if any, by percentage, of enrolment into private, public and home-based ECE in the Better Public Service targets “Result 2: Increase Participation in ECE”, and what was the relative increases/decreases, for each, from the previous year?
Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education):
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We do not use enrolments in specific early childhood education centres to measure the Better Public Services goal. Instead, we use the prior participation rate, which measures whether or not a child participated in early childhood education before starting school. The Government is strongly committed to getting more kids into early childhood education in whatever kind of provider those parents choose, so that they are much better placed when they get to school.
Catherine Delahunty : Given her public service figures show an increase in the number of children in home-based early childhood education, does the Minister accept that the only way she was able to meet her Better Public Services targets was by forcing children to enrol into low-quality home-based early childhood education?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : No. Enrolments in home-based services made up 9.37 percent of total enrolments in both 2012 and 2013, while community-based services in 2012 were 53.1 percent and in private services it was 46.9 percent. In 2013 it was 50.8 percent for community-based services and 49.2 percent for private services.
Catherine Delahunty : Is she confident that all children who account for the increase in enrolment figures are enrolled in quality early childhood education services; if so, why?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : I am confident that children are enrolled in the early childhood education provision that is the choice of their parents. These can be parent-based and home-based. They can be teacher-led and centre-based. They can be in Te Reo Māori,
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It is up to the parents as to where they enrol them and to make those determinations.
Catherine Delahunty : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I appreciate the Minister’s answer but my question was about—
Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! I heard the question and I heard the answer. The question was addressed. If the member wants to take the matter further, use further supplementary questions. In fact, I will allow the member an additional supplementary question.
Catherine Delahunty : Thank you, Mr Speaker . Given that the Minister canned the review of home-based early childhood education and refuses to set a requirement for 100-percent qualified teachers, how can she guarantee that children in the early childhood education services are getting quality education?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : 95.1 percent of teacher-led centres are funded at a rate of 80-plus percent for the qualified teachers. We have now 6,500 more qualified early childhood education teachers than there were in 2008. In terms of the home-based education , we continue, through a working group, to work with the home-based providers to determine how quality can be assured in that area. So the member is quite wrong in both her assertions.
Catherine Delahunty : Given that in 2011 the Minister of Education promised a specific review into home-based early childhood education because of the concerns about the sector, why is she saying that that is not going to happen?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : I have not said that that is not going to happen. What I have said—and just a few minutes ago—is that there is a working group on home-based provision in train now. Secondly, I have indicated that with the significant investment into ELI, the Early Learning Information System, which will give us more accurate data on both child places and hour placements—that will give us a better basis for making a determination. Thirdly, we are engaged in a funding review. By the confluence of all of this work, we will be in a better position to determine the contribution that the home-based services make to the early childhood education sector.
Te Ururoa Flavell : Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. E te Minita, tēnā koe.
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Has the Minister seen any reports on progress in increasing Māori participation in the early childhood education area in regions where participation is low, which addresses one of the milestones set out in the relationship accord with the Māori Party?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Tēnā koe, te Pāti Māori. Thank you for that question. Yes. I am happy to tell you that in the past 2 years we have seen a 3 percent increase in Māori participation in early childhood education, which brings the overall total to 93 percent, and our target is 98 percent. So it has risen significantly. We have more work to do. Region by region it is also rising. Happily, our Public Achievement Information framework will provide us with the story, by 16 regional councils and by territorial local authority, and therefore in terms of
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Catherine Delahunty : Does the Minister agree with the National Health Committee when it said that poor quality early childhood education can do more harm than not participating in early childhood education at all?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : Well, I have not seen that particular report, but the reports that I have seen have told us that the opportunity—
Chris Hipkins : She doesn’t read many.
Hon HEKIA PARATA : I read a lot of reports, not always the Sunday Star-Times, though, and what I do know is that quality is made up of a range of things. It includes the qualifications of the teachers. It includes the involvement of parents. It includes the ratio of participation. It includes the affiliation to
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All of those together make up quality. Of course, the other members of the House are not interested in quality.
Catherine Delahunty : I seek leave to table the National Health Committee findings on the quality of early childhood education being dangerous if children do not receive—
Mr SPEAKER : Order! Can I just clarify. Is this not a document—[Interruption] Order! Is this not a document that was distributed to all members of Parliament?
Catherine Delahunty : Well, the Minister has not seen it and—
Mr SPEAKER : Order! I am not prepared to—[Interruption] Order! That document has been distributed to everybody. It will not be tabled.
Catherine Delahunty : Why has the Minister been so intent on driving the numbers of enrolments up without focusing on quality, as the Green Party is proposing to do by committing to having 100-percent qualified teachers in teacher-led early childhood services?
Hon HEKIA PARATA : Yet another question that is an assertion and has no fact. I am interested in how we get more kids involved in early childhood education, how we raise the diversity of choice for parents to decide for themselves where they want to send their children, and how we invest in quality. I have just told the House that 95 percent of teacher-led centres are funded at 80 percent and above. This Government has also nearly doubled the spending into early childhood education from $800 million to $1.5 billion. It is now 32 percent more affordable than it was in 2008. For every dollar a parent spends, this Government spends $3.45. Next year, for the first time, this Government has already funded a postgraduate qualification for teachers. We do what we say, rather than—
Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order!
Kevin Hague : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. By sitting down the Minister has answered my point of order.
Mr SPEAKER : It probably was not an appropriate point of order then.

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