13th December 2010
For Immediate Release
Police Checks Retained But Other Safeguards Removed
The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the retention of police checks for people wanting to work in some early education centres is a victory for commonsense, but other important safeguards are being removed.
In parliament the government finally agreed to a Labour amendment to the Education Amendment Bill (No2). It means police checks will be retained for staff wanting to work in limited attendance early childhood centres such as gym and shopping mall crèches.
NZEI says it is pleased to see police vetting put back into the legislation but says many other safeguards are being removed which will affect the care and education of young children and babies.
“These limited attendance centres will no longer have to adhere to the same licensing regulations as other early childhood centres, meaning they don’t have to employ qualified staff, meet the same health and safety regulations or provide quality education and learning programmes,” says NZEI Vice President Judith Nowotarski.
“What we’re seeing is the removal of minimum standards around important things like safe child ratios, first aid training, and health and safety processes including hygienic nappy changing or food handling practices.”
“Essentially the government is asking people to leave their children in an unregulated environment with untrained staff and no standardised rules,” she says.
NZEI recognises the value of these types of centres in terms of their flexibility and convenience but believes parents deserve to know that their children are with qualified staff in a regulated environment.