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Playcentres Concerned about ECE Taskforce Recommendations

New Zealand Playcentre Federation
1 August 2011

Playcentres Concerned about ECE Taskforce Recommendations

Playcentre families around the country are deeply concerned that a recommendation by the government's ECE Taskforce could see their early childhood centre funding slashed.

The ECE Taskforce was established by Education Minister Anne Tolley in October 2010 to review all aspects of ECE provision. This independent taskforce released its recommendations in June. Most concerning is the recommendation to divide services into “teacher-led, centre based” and “other” services. The example funding model on the Taskforce website proposes subsidy rates that would reduce the funding for Playcentres by up to 70%.

“The Taskforce report seems to assume that quality early childhood education can only be delivered by teachers based in centres,” said Federation Co-president Maureen Woodhams. “Their model shifts funding away from parent-led services such as Playcentre to longer hours in teacher-led, centre-based services.”

Playcentres provide early childhood education to children aged from birth to six, and are run co-operatively by trained parents who participate in an NZQA-approved adult education programme. Playcentres are a unique New Zealand institution which have been operating for 70 years, and their high quality outcomes for children and parents have been repeatedly demonstrated by research and the Education Review Office.

If this proposed funding model is adopted it could jeopardise a New Zealand institution, with the 489 Playcentres currently operating nationwide becoming non-viable.

“This would be a huge loss to the over 16,000 children and their families who currently participate in Playcentre communities.” said Federation Co-president Marion Pilkington. “Playcentre is a really important part of these families lives, and in some rural areas is the focal point of the community. A particular strength is the training and mentoring parents receive which helps them be the best parents they can be.”

“We understand that no decisions have yet been made by the government on the Taskforce recommendations,” said Maureen Woodhams. “The Playcentre Federation wants to work with the Minister and the Ministry of Education to ensure the long term viability of Playcentre”.

Playcentre members and supporters around the country are also encouraged to participate in the consultation process around the recommendations, which concludes on 8 August. The Taskforce report can be found on: http://www.taskforce.ece.govt.nz/. Information on the consultation process and a link to the survey can be obtained on the Ministry of Education website: http://www.lead.ece.govt.nz/ManagementInformation/RecentAnnouncements/ConsultationECETaskforce.aspx

ENDS

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