ECAC minutes and presentations March 2018

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 7 March 2018 at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Karen Shields, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Helen McConnell, Te Kura – the Correspondence School
  • Ruth Jones, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Esther Tinirau, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (chair)
  • Suze Stowager, Associate Deputy Secretary, Operational Delivery
  • Nancy Bell, Director, Early Learning, Early Learning and Student Acheivement
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • Kathryn Burch, Senior Adviser, ECE Implementation Planning (secretariat)


  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Hikitia Ropata, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Susan Foster-Cohen opened the meeting with a karakia.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Apologies, minutes and actions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated by email and confirmed.
  • All actions completed except sharing Disputes Resolution Process, to be complete end of March.
  • No nominations received for membership on the NZSL and PB4L advisory groups.
  • Katrina explained that the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, is keen to come and meet with ECAC members again.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Advise Minister of Education's office of 2018 ECAC dates. Secretariat ASAP

Early Learning Data

Craig Jones, Ministry of Education

  • The Ministry is releasing 2016 and 2017 census data to Education Counts (external link) this week. The A3 is the first product to be released, with further products expected over time.
  • ECAC members expressed a preference for the more comprehensive data summary report. Specific data requests can be emailed to
  • There was some discussion on workforce data. Craig explained that the Ministry holds limited workforce data for both the school and early learning sectors, but wants to address this to better forecast supply and demand – this is a complex piece of work. It was noted that various agencies have data (for example the Tertiary Education Commission and the Education Council), but it is problematic having data housed across multiple sites.
  • There was some discussion about portability of data, ie between early learning and school, and the possibility of focussing analysis on a particular geographical area in the first instance.
  • The Early Learning Information (ELI) (external link) system allows the Ministry to collect much more data now. Data needs will also be part of strategic planning discussions currently underway. There may also be opportunities for data collection within the replacement funding system.
  • Areas of interest identified by ECAC members included:
    • Regional analysis
    • Leadership
    • Kāhui Ako | Communities of Learning
    • Equity, including funding
  • The Ministry previously convened an ECE Statistics Monitoring Committee to develop data collection content and processes, and to review reports and analysis. Craig is keen to have a further discussion about data needs with sector representatives, and bringing together a separate group for this purpose was discussed.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate link to census data when released on Friday. Craig's team, secretariat 8 March 2018
Prepare a brief/ToR for a data sector advisory group, and call for nominations through ECAC. Craig's team, secretariat TBC

Tuia: Mātauranga

Stuart McNaughton, Chief Education Scientific Adviser

  • In 2019, New Zealand will mark 250 years since the first meetings between Māori and Europeans during James Cook and the Endeavour’s 1769 voyage to Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • A national commemoration, Tuia – Encounters 250, will acknowledge this pivotal moment in our nation’s history as well as the feats of Pacific voyagers who reached and settled in Aotearoa many years earlier.  It is an opportunity to reset our understandings of our dual heritage, national identity and story of belonging.
  • The commemoration will focus on four key landing sites, following the route of the Endeavour.  Waka hourua and waka ama will be travelling around a further 18 sites. 
  • The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is leading the commemoration preparations, but 14 different government organisations are involved in the work.  The Ministry of Education is leading the education programme element, and will provide resources, ideas and guidance to support early learning services and communities to organise their own events.
  • Supporting children and young people to understand their past for the future is important for their sense of belonging, and this is closely aligned with the Te Whāriki strand of belonging.
  • There are four key themes to the celebrations:
    • The meeting of two great voyaging traditions (Pacific and European)
    • 1,000 years of Polynesian voyaging and celestial navigation
    • Creating legacies for all New Zealanders
    • Science, technology, innovation and mātauranga Māori
  • Resources will be published on digital platforms so that they can be used beyond 2019.
  • Nicola said her team would be keen to discuss literature that might be available.  ECAC members can email Nicola on
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Iona Holstead, Secretary of Education

  • Iona explained that she was keen to discuss matters of interest with ECAC members. 
  • There was some discussion about the key elements of the education work programme, the Education Summit events being held during May and the ministerial advisory and reference groups.
  • The importance of ensuring early learning is well-integrated into work programmes and strategies early on was noted.
  • It was noted that there will be many opportunities for engagement.  It may be desirable to change scheduled ECAC meeting dates to allow these to be used as opportunities for consultation, if appropriate.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Collate and circulate a list of open consultations. Secretariat Monthly

Minister’s work programme and education summit

Dr Andrea Schöllmann and Emily Fabling, Ministry of Education

Refer to Cabinet paper on education portfolio work programme and A3 on education work plan (external link) .

  • The Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, wants to work with the education system and its participants in a more collaborative way to set the direction of travel and agree shared priorities for education. 
  • A summit will be held in May in Auckland and Christchurch to start a broad conversation about the value of education and future challenges and opportunities.  The summit will be the keystone of a national strategic conversation.  Broader engagement will occur in mid-2018 through a variety of channels. 
  • The vision, values and principles arising from the summit conversations will guide the education work programme.  A touchstone group will be formed to ensure the conversations from the summit events are used to guide future advice and reforms.
  • The summit events will be limited to approximately 500-800 people. 
  • A survey will be circulated prior to the summit.  The questions have not yet been finalised and approved, but these will be circulated in due course.
  • The three strategic questions on the A3 circulated can help get people thinking:
    • What kind of future do you want for yourself or your children?
    • What is the experience children, young people and adult learners should have when they’re learning inside the education system, and when they progress to destinations beyond it?
  • What needs to change in the education system to deliver the experience you want?
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Keep ECAC informed of activities and timeframes. Emily, secretariat As work progresses

Learning Support

Paul Scholey, Ministry of Education

  • Those on the oral language and literacy sector advisory group provided some feedback about the work of the group.  They considered that there wasn’t an opportunity to provide advice, but were asked to agree to proposals presented.  Paul acknowledged this feedback, and said any further questions or feedback can be sent to him at
  • Paul provided an update on the three Budget 2017 initiatives:

Oral Language and Literacy Initiative (OLLi)

  • This is being delivered by Ministry staff in eight regions.  Eleven speech language therapists (SLTs) have now been recruited and received the ABC and Beyond training from the Hanen Centre (external link) .  Participating early learning services have been identified and SLTs will begin delivering the initiative, including training two kaiako from each service.  This will start in March 2018.
  • There was some discussion about the initiative’s language of delivery (English only) and evaluation.

Expansion of Behaviour Services

  • The Ministry’s behaviour services are being expanded to reach an additional 1,000 children aged 0-8 per year by June 2019.
  • There have been some delays in getting this underway.  However, recruitment of additional Ministry regional staff has now commenced and the additional services are expected to start in May 2018.

Incredible Years Autism

  • Preferred providers have been confirmed and contracts finalised for the delivery of this programme for parents and teachers of children aged 2-5 with autism.  Group leader training for Ministry and delivery partners was completed in February. 
  • The programme will start being offered to parents and teachers from April 2018.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Update oral language sector advisory group. Paul Scholey ASAP
Report back to ECAC on all three initiatives Paul Scholey June 2018
Meet with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust. Paul Scholey TBC

Te Whāriki

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

  • The Ministry has contracts with CORE Education and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust to support the initial uptake of the updated curriculum through a variety of channels (eg workshops, webinars and curriculum champions/kairaranga working with approximately 70 networks).
  • There has been positive feedback received about the webinars and the opportunity to collaborate.  Curriculum champions have found a range of capability across the networks.
  • The Ministry is now talking with a cross-section of kaiako to gather feedback on what’s been useful or not, and what might be needed next to support Te Whāriki implementation looking ahead. 
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide an update on Te Whāriki at next ECAC. Nancy Bell June 2018

Targeted funding for disadvantage

Colin Meehan, Ministry of Education

  • The first payment of targeted funding was made to eligible services on 1 March via the usual March operational funding payment.  Future payments will be made three times per year. 
  • The Funding Handbook has been updated and guidelines published.  Services receiving targeted funding will be required to report by 1 February 2019 on how the funding was used.  The reporting template is paper-based at this stage.  The handbook, guidelines and reporting template are all available on the Ministry’s website.
  • There was some discussion about privacy and the calculation used to determine the funding.  Information about how the funding is calculated and a privacy impact assessment [PDF, 529 KB] is available on the website. 
  • The calculation will be done annually.  Services eligible this year may not be eligible next year, and vice versa.  The Ministry will work through the process of calculating and alerting services to upcoming changes.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Circulate link to privacy impact assessment.

Secretariat ASAP


Amanda Kent, Ministry of Education

  • A comprehensive and future-focussed workforce strategy is being developed, and the Ministry’s workforce team is currently working through a development approach with the Minister of Education.
  • The Ministry wants to engage with the sector throughout the development of the strategy, a draft of which will be available by the end of this year.  Timeframes for engagement points are to be confirmed.
  • An action from the last ECAC meeting was to convene an early learning workforce data group, and tentative dates for the first meeting have been circulated to those who have expressed an interest in participating in the group.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

No action items.


ERO update on methodology and indicator work

Deena Mayor and Lee Rowe, Education Review Office


  • An academic panel of five has been appointed, and a 'think tank' has taken place focussing on:
    • "What are the most important considerations in the framing, defining, identifying and selecting of the indicators and their potential use in internal and external evaluation in early learning services."
  • The 'think tank' was interrupted by the recent cyclone and will progress this month.


  • There are four phases to this project though they will not necessarily be sequential. 
  • The current focus is phase one – develop and trial a methodology for ERO evaluations where a governing organisation has oversight of more than 30 individual services.
  • In term two this year, there will be a trial within larger organisations, using a revised draft self-reporting document.  The evaluation findings about governance, management or organisational leadership will be included in individual service reports.
  • In phase two, ERO’s methodology will be revised for all services.  In phase three, the revised methodology (and indicators) will be trialled.  Phases two and three will take place in terms three and four 2018.
  • There was some discussion about how useful it would be if services could provide their documentation in electronic form; services can provide feedback on this through their own review process. 
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide update at next ECAC. ERO, secretariat June 2018
Disseminate the publication ‘Insights’ to ECAC members. ERO, secretariat Quarterly

Advisory group reports

Advisory group representatives

  • Kathy Wolfe provided a verbal report on last week’s Investing in Education Success (IES) advisory group meeting.  Three Kāhui Ako lead principals attended the meeting and shared their challenges engaging with early learning, which ranged from no engagement to working with up to 90 services.
  • Some aspects of the model previously proposed by the Kāhui Ako sector advisory group had been used, and there was some discussion regarding whether this information could be shared with Kāhui Ako, perhaps via regional advisers.
  • The Ministry is preparing a story from Alexandra, where all services have been part of the Kāhui Ako since day one.
  • The Ministry wants to investigate how available resource could be redistributed to allow early learning services to connect to Kāhui Ako – input was invited from IES advisory group members, and there was some discussion about this.
  • The IES group is on now hold until after the summit events.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Clarify whether targeted funding for disadvantage could be pooled and used for a Kāhui Ako.

Siobhan Murray ASAP

Other items and wrap-up

  • Esther and Clare recently attended a meeting with Department of Corrections staff.  There is an opportunity for the Ministry of Education and Department of Corrections to work together on matters of common interest, at both a national and regional level.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Facilitate the sharing of contact information between the Ministry of Education and Department of Corrections. Secretariat ASAP

Meeting closed 2:15pm

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback