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Early Learning Strategic Plan terms of reference announced

Early Learning Strategic Plan terms of reference announced

Education Minister Chris Hipkins today released the terms of reference for the Early Learning Strategic Plan, which aims to give all children genuine opportunities for high quality early learning.

“Quality early learning provides children with a strong foundation for their future learning that can influence the rest of their lives. It’s also hugely important to working parents, Chris Hipkins says.

“There is a strong case for having a strategic plan to set out a systematic and stepped approach to continuing to develop and strengthen the early learning sector, to meet the needs of children and their families and whānau.

“To inform the development of the 10 Year Strategic Plan, I have established an independent Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG), with five members from diverse backgrounds and with relevant expertise, and a Reference Group made up of sector representatives and academic experts.

“The two groups will develop the strategic plan alongside the Ministry of Education and public consultation on the draft strategy is expected to begin in September 2018. Key themes will be raising quality, improving equity and the role of choice.

“The development process will take into account the Government’s stated objectives for early learning, including revisiting decisions by the previous Government that have undermined the shift towards a more qualified workforce. Over time, this Government’s aim is to achieve 100% qualified teachers in all centre-based teacher-led early learning services and to improve group size and teacher: child ratios for infants and toddlers.

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“I’m also releasing the terms of reference for the Government’s review of home-based ECE. This review will take place alongside the development of the Early Learning Strategic Plan, with both being closely aligned.

“Home-based ECE is the most rapidly growing ECE service type. The number of home-based providers has grown by 158% since the early 2000s. We know benefits of early childhood education are conditional on quality. That’s why the review will make sure the right policy settings are in place to support high-quality ECE for all children at home-based services,” Chris Hipkins says.

The Ministry of Education will develop a discussion document on home-based ECE, with public consultation expected to start in July 2018.

The Early Learning Strategic Plan Terms of Reference can be found here and Review of Home-based Care Terms of Reference can be found here.

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