INDEPENDENT NEWS

ECE budget brutal blow to children and families

Published: Thu 20 May 2010 04:44 PM
ECE budget brutal blow to children and families
The removal of the top two early childhood education funding bands for services with 80 -100% qualified teachers in today’s budget is a brutal blow to children and families says NZ Childcare Association Chief Executive Nancy Bell.
“The announcement in today’s budget of 5-13% decreases in early childhood funding affects more than 2 000 teacher-led ECE services enrolling around 93,000 children. This affects two-thirds of all teacher-led services.”
“Funding will drop by up to $42 per week per child, making many services unviable without massive fees hikes. Services with 50 children will see funding shortfalls of up to $109 000 per year. Most parents will simply not be able to afford these changes and this will lead to children being taken out of ECE. Services will be forced to shed teachers leading to higher teacher-child ratios and lower quality.”
“Studies show that the cornerstone of quality in early childhood is the presence of qualified teachers, removing the top bands will destroy the ability of services to employ qualified teachers. The government is penalising centres who have committed to delivering high quality ECE.”
“We don’t buy the arguments about reallocation of funding nor the claims made by government about the impact of these funding cuts. They are massive.”
“It makes no sense to create greater barriers to enrolment or to reduce quality. There is robust evidence that investment in quality early childhood education brings a high return, in economic as well as educational terms, yet NZ only invests 0.6% of its GDP in ECE, significantly less than the OECD average of 0.9%.”
“This government said it would not erode existing subsidies and fees controls, they have broken their promise. In the short term these decisions will further erode family income and result in children being withdrawn from ECE, in the medium term it will erode quality and compromise outcomes for children. This government wants to lift literacy and numeracy, quality ECE is the vital foundation and cannot be under-resourced.”
ENDS

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