Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education
25 May 2012
Raising quality in early childhood education
Education Minister Hon Hekia Parata has today released a series of recommendations on how to improve the quality of
early childhood education (ECE).
The recommendations are the findings of two advisory groups which were established in January of this year to focus on
improving the quality of ECE services, particularly for those children under the age of two.
“I welcome the recommendations and thank the advisory groups for identifying many practical solutions that can be
“All of our children deserve high quality ECE. The pre-school years are too critical in terms of learning and
development to allow anything else. Parents need to be assured that their children are attending a quality service,’’
says Ms Parata.
“I have asked the Ministry of Education to provide me with advice on the recommendations.
“This will include considering which of the recommendations can be implemented in a shorter timeframe and which will
require further work.
“I plan to make a further announcement in August to outline the next steps for these recommendations.”
Media Contact: Julie Ash 04 817 9825/021 3940 327
Recommendations of the Sector Advisory Group on improving quality for under two year olds in ECE
Government supports the provision of specialised professional development for all staff working in services licensed for
Include an infant and toddler component in ECE degrees and diplomas through initial teacher education as well as
A focus on infant and toddler specialisation through study awards that support post graduate study
Introduce a requirement for under two spaces to be staffed by at least 50% qualified staff
Review aspects of regulations and licensing criteria against best practice (key teacher requirements) and international
criteria (such as World Health Organisation requirements for space and room temperature), with a view to improving under
Introduce regulated group size. In the context of improved ratios such as 1:3 or 1:4, regulate for group size of three
times the adult: child ratio. If current adult: child ratios remain in place, regulate for a maximum group size of 12
Consider introducing a review/renewal of licence process every three years
Ministry to monitor infant and toddler settings more proactively, through annual service spot-checks
Ministry of Education to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Health to support the health of under twos in ECE (ie
noise levels, physical environment, spread of infectious diseases)
Ministry of Education and ERO to work collaboratively to ensure quicker responses for under twos in poor quality
Ensuring that ERO reports are in accessible formats for parents
Ensuring information is provided to parents about how ECE can support the needs of under twos
Ministry processes to be more proactive in supporting the planning stage for new services to ensure high quality
outcomes for infants and toddlers
A review of the home-based service type be carried out as a matter of urgency
Through the ECE funding review, consideration be given to more flexible funding for infants and toddlers in ECE and how
to better support infants and toddlers with special needs and their families.
Recommendations of the Sector Advisory Group on improving sector wide quality
Develop a protocol between the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office (ERO) to ensure a faster response
when poor quality services are identified by ERO.
The Ministry develops further information about quality risk factors for services to enable more active monitoring of
More active use of existing licensing sanctions.
Teacher-led, centre-based services should be required by regulations to have 80% registered teachers from 1 July 2013,
and this should apply explicitly to teachers counted in ratios for children aged less than two.
Further work be undertaken to establish appropriate maximum group sizes for children in centre-based services.
Development of the new funding system should include incentives for services to meet higher levels of quality in
addition to teacher registration.
Services should be required to provide information to their families on the results of ERO reviews, and any changes to
their licence status.
Research to improve our understanding of quality in ECE, with a particular focus on the following specific services and
groups of learners: home-based; infants and toddlers; Māori and Pasifika learners, and learners with special needs.
Development of a medium-term plan to bring more sustainable change to the quality of ECE services by increasing the
stock of high-quality professional ECE leaders.