Transporting children to and from early learning services

Some early learning services provide transport to and from their service. This is not part of the regulated service and is not funded by the Ministry of Education. It is therefore a private arrangement between service and the child’s family. Here, we provide guidance on your responsibilities, sign in and out processes, impacts on funding and more.

Level of compliance Main audience Other

Required

  • All Early Learning Services 
  • Service Managers 
  • Parents, Caregivers and Whānau

Services that provide transport to and from their centres should be aware of rules that they must follow. The ECE Funding Handbook and The Education (Early Childhood) Regulations 2008 have statutory requirements relating to sign-out and attendance checking that still apply.

Service responsibilities 

The ECE service or kōhanga reo is responsible for developing practices for transportation that meet the health and safety needs of children, such as:

  • ensuring appropriate adult-to-child ratios are maintained inside the vehicle
  • making supervision arrangements for children in the vehicle while other children are being walked to their home/door
  • making alternative arrangements if parents are not at home when children are dropped home
  • providing parent contact details to the accompanying adult(s)
  • practicing appropriate sign-in and sign-out procedures
  • having a process to notify the adult(s) collecting children if a child will not attend
  • having a process to ensure all children to be transported home are taken home at the correct time.

In addition, the driver must hold a current full New Zealand driver’s licence and the vehicle must meet NZ Transport Agency regulations.

Details of these health and safety practices should be provided to parents either at the time of enrolment, or prior to transportation commencing. Parents should also be informed of:

  • who the adult(s) accompanying the children will be, including any qualifications they hold (teaching, first aid)
  • whether adult(s) accompanying the children have been safety checked or police vetted.

Licensed hours and funding 

As transport is not part of the regulated service, funding from the Ministry cannot be claimed for the time a child is being transported.  This means that enrolment forms should not cover the period of time in which children are being transported for attendance.

Accurate attendance records

Any service that has someone other than a parent/guardian regularly dropping off and collecting a child will need to put a process in place to ensure that parents/guardians are regularly examining and confirming the attendance record. This process is a requirement of the ECE Funding Handbook.(external link)

  • Attendance records should accurately record when a child is attending the service.
  • This is especially important in emergencies so a service knows who is on the premises.
  • If your service provides transportation, you must adapt your record keeping process.

Signing a child in and out 

No regulations or criteria govern who can sign a child in, it can be done by whomever is dropping them off.

Signing a child out from a service must be done by the child’s parent/guardian or, a person who has gained the written consent of the parent/guardian to collect their child. Regulation 58(external link) of The Education (Early Childhood) Regulations 2008 requires a service to obtain this written consent.

Safety checking and police vetting

As transport is not part of the regulated service, the Children’s Act 2014 requirement to safety check the adult(s) accompanying the children does not apply. However, it would be best practice to safety check those adults or obtain a police vet for them if this has not already been done.

Providing transport during licensed hours 

Providing transport during licensed hours (for excursions) is covered by the following ECE licensing criteria: 

  • HS18 for centre-based services
  • HS18 for kōhanga reo, and
  • HS15 for home-based services  

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