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Early learning services get first funding rate increase

Early learning services get first across-the-board funding rate increase in a decade

More children will get access to early childhood education (ECE) and the Coalition Government is taking financial pressure off providers, says Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Budget 2018 delivers the first universal cost adjustment for early learning services since 2008 when we were last in Government, plus an additional 62.5 million early learning hours over the next four years.

“For too long, early learning providers have been forced to do more with less, putting pressure on service quality and prices. We believe the young kids and parents they serve deserve better.

“The investment of $590.2 million in new operating funding over the next four years is 53 per cent higher than last year’s four-year commitment.

“This includes $483.1 million to meet increased demand, which is around $130 million more than was funded by the previous Government.

“Centre-based ECE services and ngā kōhanga reo will receive a $104.8 million increase in funding. The 1.6 per cent funding increase is a fiscally responsible adjustment and is the first step in our plan to lift ECE quality.

“The increases will benefit 4,100 providers and around 200,000 children and apply from 1 January 2019,” says Chris Hipkins.

In addition, home-based ECE is being reviewed to make sure the right policy settings are in place to support higher quality. The outcomes of this review will inform future rates for home-based services. Operating funding of $2.3 million over four years has been set aside for this purpose.

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