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Early childhood association encouraged by union stance

Early childhood association encouraged by union stance

7 November 2016

New Zealand’s education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa are on point when it comes to the issues the early childhood sector is facing says Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ).

‘Much of what the education union are saying in their latest campaign, supports what we’ve been voicing for a long-time,’ said Kathy Wolfe, Chief Executive of ECNZ.

Effectively there have been funding cuts for the early childhood education (ECE) sector since 2010, of just over 5% when CPI is taken into account.

Ms Wolfe said, ‘While government will say there has been more money spent overall, we know that this is largely due to more children attending ECE, as participation has been the focus. That’s great, but what about quality? We want to see this addressed in the 2017 budget and look forward to working with government to make this a reality.’

Following the May 2010 budget, government funding was reduced for services with 100% qualified staff to 80% funding. This was a major blow to the quality of early childhood education, and the sector and children are suffering the negative effects. The organisation wants to see funding for 100% qualified staff restored.

‘Children deserve to have qualified teachers in order to get the best start in their education. There is a direct and proven relationship between qualified teachers and better outcomes for young children,’ said Ms Wolfe.

The organisation has also previously asked that teacher child ratios improve for under 2s from the current 1:5 to 1:3 – one better than what NZEI are calling for. The organisation agree that ratios for 2-5 year olds should be reduced from 1:10 to 1:8.

Ms Wolfe said it was heartening to see the union’s proactive stance as employers in ECE are faced with real challenges in keeping services affordable for families.

‘It’s great to see the union out there reinforcing much of what we’ve been saying in recent years, and what we intend to keep saying as we head towards budget 2017 and next year’s election.’


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