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Government the problem, not parents

Early Childhood Education Spokesperson

13 September 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT

Government the problem, not parents

Government policy is more of a barrier to children participating in early childhood education (ECE) than the beneficiaries the Government is targeting says Sue Moroney.

Increased Early Childhood Education fees combined with high unemployment and a lack of transport are the main reasons children don’t participate in ECE, according to an Auckland ECE Summit held today.

"The cost of ECE has increased four times faster than wages under this Government, and now they want to punish the children of beneficiaries because they can't afford to attend," says Sue Moroney.

More than 200 frontline staff working in early education in Auckland met to address the huge pressures they face, which see participation rates as low as 84% in South Auckland.

"No one at this summit proposed cutting benefits as a solution to increasing participation. There was huge support for the impact of Labour's 20 hours free ECE and other positive ways of lifting participation.

Ministry of Education figures presented at the Summit showed that three years of intensive work had resulted in just 1500 more children accessing ECE in Auckland. The Government has to get 12,000 more kids involved in ECE in Auckland by 2016 to meet its 98% target.

“Six new centre built on school sites in South Auckland are already full with waiting lists. Parents want to see their kids get into ECE, it is the lack of available places that is holding the sector back – not beneficiaries.

“National's plan to compel the three and four year old children of beneficiaries to attend an ECE centre for at least 15 hours a week will also cut-out sessional kindergartens for three year-olds and Playcentres as an option, as they mainly offer up to 10 hours a week.

"Why does John Key want to cut the benefit supporting a child attending Kindy or Playcentre?” says Sue Moroney.

© Scoop Media

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