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Child and teacher numbers to drop under ECE funding cuts

Phil Goff
Leader of the Labour Party
Sue Moroney
Early Childhood Education Spokesperson

1 December 2010 Media Statement
Child and teacher numbers to drop under ECE funding cuts

A survey of more than 400 Early Childhood Centres nationwide has shown that fees will be driven up, child participation rates will fall and qualified teacher numbers will drop as a direct result of funding cuts, Labour Leader Phil Goff and Early Childhood Education spokesperson Sue Moroney say.

“Nearly 60 percent of centres believe child participation rates will drop as a direct result of National Government cuts is appalling and John Key should be ashamed,” Phil Goff said.

“The survey shows that the $400 million cuts will damage early childhood education, which as Sir Peter Gluckman has acknowledged is the most important learning period in a child’s life.

“And the children who will be most damaged are those whose parents will not be able to afford the fee increases. These are the child who for quality early childhood education the most important for their life chances, because of other disadvantages they face.

The survey carried out by Labour is the largest undertaken to assess the impact of the cuts which will take effect in February , receiving responses covering 435 early childhood centres nationwide, Sue Moroney said.

“The responses show that early childhood education is being devastated by the National Government’s short-sighted cuts.

"The finding that almost 40% of centres will both increase fees and reduce qualified staff means that families will pay more for a lesser quality service. The Government's budget cuts are delivering the worst of both worlds to New Zealand families," said Sue Moroney.

Key findings

• 48.8% of services will lose or have reduced qualified staff
• 59% of all services expect participation to reduce as a flow-on effect of the budget cuts.
• 81% of services describing their average family as low or low-to-average income expect participation to decrease, affecting 6,979 children
• 51% of services with over 50% Māori or Pasifika children expect participation to decrease as a result of fee increases, affecting 1,133 children
• 89% of the services which will lose funding will have to increase fees or charges. Only 11% do not intend to increase fees or charges.
• On the information available, nationwide fee increases range from $2 to $80 per week


“The reality is that cutting hundreds of millions of dollars out of the early childhood education budget was only ever going to end in disaster. National cannot continue to ignore the evidence,” said Sue Moroney

“National has broken its election promises on ECE and John Key must step in to reverse these short-sighted budget cuts.”

ENDS

Attached: Early_Childhood_Education_Survey_summary__29_Nov_2010.doc

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