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Early childhood education advocates demand equity

Media statement

Early childhood education advocates demand equity for all early childhood teachers

2 June 2017

For immediate release.

Kathy Wolfe, Chief Executive of Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ), said that all early childhood education teachers deserved better funding, not only kindergarten teachers.

Yesterday Government and the education union NZEI agreed the new terms of the Kindergarten Collective Employment Agreement. This saw a 2% pay increase and the agreement to pay for practising certificate costs.

‘I’m really pleased kindergarten teachers are getting a pay increase from government, and their practising certificate costs covered. Their teachers deserve this and it’s great there has been acknowledgement from the Government,’ said Ms Wolfe. ‘However, we want to see the value of all ECE teachers recognised with adequate funding. A teacher is a teacher is a teacher!’

The largest service type within the ECE sector is Education and Care numbering around 2,500 services. This group do not receive the same benefits as kindergartens (which number around 650). The education and care sub-sector is reliant on increases in per child funding at budget time. This then is able to flow through to increases in salary which provides recognition for our qualified teachers.

Last week’s budget saw no increases to per child funding rates across the board. ‘Really, this was just another kick in the teeth for a sector crushed by years of government underfunding,’ said Ms Wolfe. There has been very little change to the per-child hourly funding rate since 2008, and funding for qualified teachers was slashed in 2010. It’s not a pretty picture and one wonders why the government does not value early childhood education.’

Ms Wolfe said ECNZ is astonished that the Government chooses to ignore the large body of evidence that makes it clear that high quality early childhood education makes social and economic sense over the long-term.

‘This Government’s attitude in ignoring the research evidence that proves the importance and value of high quality ECE is shocking. ECE must be high quality to deliver the benefits children deserve, and appropriate funding is required to achieve this. It’s time the government stood up for our tamariki, the future of this country.’

ENDS

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