Funding and data

Resources and information about operational funding and data collection.

Funding changes

Budget 2021 announced three potential funding changes for early learning. Find information about the changes:

Funding changes 

Discretionary hours increased to 80 hours for Education and Care Services

An increase to discretionary hours from 40 hours to 80 hours will be available for education and care services, casual education and care services and hospital-based services and kindergartens from 1 February 2022 until 31 May 2022.

This change acknowledges the present challenges of the ECE education and care sector concerning self-isolation requirements for teachers under red in the Covid Protection Framework (CPF).

Education and care services, casual education and care services and hospital-based services and kindergartens can use up to 80 discretionary hours per funding period from 1 February 2022 until 31 May 2022. A discretionary hour is an hour that a service can count an unqualified teacher (other teacher) as a qualified teacher (certificated and qualified) for ECE funding purposes on the Staff Hour Count.

Discretionary Hours Reporting

Every service that uses discretionary hours during the current funding period, must submit a record of the total number of discretionary hours used. This must be submitted alongside the RS7 before:

  • 7 June 2022 for the 1 July 2022 payment

The reporting form is available to download on the funding and data page of our website. If no hours have been used, then no submission is required.

Completed forms should be returned:

Funding handbooks

All information related to operational funding (also known as subsidy funding or bulk funding) is covered in the funding handbook.

There are two versions of the handbook available.

Funding handbook for:

  • national bodies and advocates of licensed early learning services
  • managers, administrators, educators, kaiako, parents and whānau working in licensed services
  • staff and administrators of centrally-administrated services
  • Ministry of Education staff.

ECE Funding Handbook

Playgroup funding handbook for:

  • certificated playgroups funded by the Ministry of Education, especially management committees.

Playgroup Funding Handbook

Also see the handbook updates:

 

Key funding dates 2024

Day and Date ID Description
Monday 1 January SH New Year’s Day 
Tuesday 2 January SH Day after New Year’s Day
Wednesday 3 January - Ministry of Education National Office reopens
Thursday 1 February RS7 March 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
Tuesday 6 February SH Waitangi Day Holiday
Friday 9 February RS7 Last submission day of March 2024 RS7s for 1 March payment
Mid-February EQI New services to be advised of Equity Index assessment results and services that requested reviews
Friday 1 March PMT 01 March 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Friday 8 March RS7 Last submission day of March 2024 RS7s for 21 March payment
Wednesday 20 March PMT 20 March 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Friday 29 March SH Good Friday
Monday 1 April SH Easter Monday
Tuesday 25 April SH ANZAC Day Holiday
Sunday 1 June RS7 July 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
Monday 3 June SH King’s Birthday
Monday 10 June RS7 Last submission day of July 2024 RS7s for 1 July payment
Mid-June EQI New services to be advised of Equity Index assessments
Monday 17 - Sunday 23 June - Annual ECE Return dates
Friday 28 June SH Matariki
Sunday 30 June FD Financial declarations due for 2023 financial year
Monday 1 July PMT 01 July 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Tuesday 9 July RS7 Last submission day of July 2024 RS7s for 20 July payment
Monday 22 July SH 20 July 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Tuesday 1 October PMT November 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
Wednesday 9 October RS7 Last submission day of November 2024 RS7s for 1 November payment
Monday 28 October SH Labour Day
Friday 1 November PMT 01 November 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Friday 8 November RS7 Last submission day of November 2024 RS7s for 20 November payment
Wednesday 20 November PMT 20 November 2024 ECE operational funding payment
Wednesday 25 December SH Christmas Day
Tuesday 26 December SH Boxing Day
Indicator Description
RS7 RS7 Return funding
SH Statutory holiday
NB: services cannot claim SH in advance
EQI Equity Index for funding(external link)
PMT Early Childhood operational funding payment
FD Financial Declaration Collection

Download the key funding dates for Early Childhood Education for 2024 and 2023: 

Key funding dates for Early Childhood Education 2024 [PDF, 533 KB]

Key funding dates for Early Childhood Education 2023 [PDF, 532 KB]

Further reminders on dates and important information will be advertised on this website and in the Early Learning Bulletin.

He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin 

ECE Census dates 2023 and 2024

The ECE Census is an annual data collection from early learning services. The Ministry advises early learning services of the dates for ECE Census week in advance in He Pānui Kōhungahunga - The Early Learning Bulletin

Day and Date Description
Monday 19 June 2023 - Sunday 25 June 2023 ECE Census week 2023
Thursday 13 July 2023 Submission due date
Monday 17 June 2024 - Sunday 23 June 2024 ECE Census week 2024
Thursday 11 July 2024 Submission due date

Financial declaration for early learning services

Before 30 June each year, services are required to submit an annual financial declaration relating to the previous financial year. This is a condition of Ministry funding and assures the Ministry that the funding is being spent appropriately. To find out more about the requirements of financial declarations, follow the link below.

Financial declaration for early learning services

Early learning service audits

The Ministry's resourcing auditors audit all early learning services to ensure that the service is receiving the correct amount of funding and to verify that the service is meeting their record-keeping requirements. 

Early learning service audits

The Targeted Funding for Disadvantage scheme

The fund aims to improve the affordability and quality of early learning for tamariki/children from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure that they start school ready to learn.

Targeted Funding for Disadvantage

Equity funding for early learning services

Equity funding provides additional targeted funding to make early learning opportunities equally available to everyone. It also helps services to raise educational achievement regardless of people's cultural background, socio-economic status or location.

Equity funding

The 20 Hours ECE for ECE Services funding scheme

The 20 Hours ECE for ECE Services funding scheme reduces cost barriers so that more children can benefit from participation in ECE. For every eligible child, an early learning service will receive the 20 Hours ECE funding rate instead of the usual ECE funding subsidy rate.

20 Hours ECE for ECE Services

Early Learning Information (ELI)

The Early Learning Information system (ELI) collects and stores information on enrolment, attendance and staffing.

We will use the information collected in ELI for the purposes of:

  • monitoring and ensuring student enrolment and attendance
  • encouraging attendance at early childhood services
  • ensuring education providers and students receive appropriate resourcing
  • statistical purposes
  • research purposes
  • ensuring student’s educational records are accurately maintained.

Find more information about ELI and National Student Numbers:

Early Learning Information

Early learning statistics

The Education Counts website displays statistics on topics including:

  • the annual census of early learning services
  • participation
  • services
  • finances
  • staffing
  • Māori in early learning
  • Pacific Islanders in early learning.

Education Counts(external link)

Learn more

Review of equity and targeted funding in early learning

Targeted Funding for Disadvantage

Equity Funding

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