Working groups need to deliver strong message on quality ECE

Press Release – NZEI

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa hopes two new working groups on early childhood education will deliver a strong message to the government to restore funding levels and commit to a fully qualified teaching workforce.10th February 2012

Working groups need to deliver strong message on quality ECE

The education sector union NZEI Te Riu Roa hopes two new working groups on early childhood education will deliver a strong message to the government to restore funding levels and commit to a fully qualified teaching workforce.

Following on from last year’s ECE Taskforce report the government has announced the establishment of two working groups which will focus on improving the quality of early childhood education for young children.

NZEI says the evidence is clear about what factors contribute to quality in early childhood education but a lot has happened over the past three years to undermine that.

Millions of dollars of funding has been cut to more than 2,000 ECE services, the target for having 100% qualified teachers has been abandoned, professional development for early childhood teachers has been cut, and licensing requirements were changed pushing up the maximum centre size from 50 to 150 child places.

NZEI National Executive member Hayley Whitaker says “those are all things which have worked to reduce quality early childhood education and should be at the top of the list for the advisory groups to address”.

“Quality early childhood education means environments where there are 100% qualified teachers including for under-2s, good teacher-child ratios and small group sizes. The ECE Taskforce recognised and identified this very clearly,” she says.

Hayley Whitaker says “we also don’t want to see services which already have 100% qualified staff continue to be punished by cuts to their funding. Those cuts only serve to push up the cost of early childhood education to families, and put up barriers to children’s participation.”

NZEI says there is a lot of experience and expertise on the advisory groups and it’s good to see a cross sector approach being taken. It looks forward to seeing recommendations from the groups when they report back to the government in April.

ENDS

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