Funding and data
Resources and information about operational funding and data collection.
- Funding changes
- Funding handbooks
- Key funding dates 2024
- ECE Census dates 2023 and 2024
- Financial declaration for early learning services
- Service audits
- The Targeted Funding for Disadvantage scheme
- Equity funding
- The 20 Hours ECE funding scheme
- Early Learning Information (ELI)
- Early learning statistics
- Further information
- Learn More
Budget 2021 announced three potential funding changes for early learning. Find information about the 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:
- By post: ECE Operational Funding, PO Box 1666, Wellington
- By email: ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz
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.
Playgroup funding handbook for:
- certificated playgroups funded by the Ministry of Education, especially management committees.
Also see the handbook updates:
|Day and Date
|Monday 1 January
|New Year’s Day
|Tuesday 2 January
|Day after New Year’s Day
|Wednesday 3 January
|Ministry of Education National Office reopens
|Thursday 1 February
|March 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
|Tuesday 6 February
|Waitangi Day Holiday
|Friday 9 February
|Last submission day of March 2024 RS7s for 1 March payment
|New services to be advised of Equity Index assessment results and services that requested reviews
|Friday 1 March
|01 March 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Friday 8 March
|Last submission day of March 2024 RS7s for 21 March payment
|Wednesday 20 March
|20 March 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Friday 29 March
|Monday 1 April
|Tuesday 25 April
|ANZAC Day Holiday
|Sunday 1 June
|July 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
|Monday 3 June
|Monday 10 June
|Last submission day of July 2024 RS7s for 1 July payment
|New services to be advised of Equity Index assessments
|Monday 17 - Sunday 23 June
|Annual ECE Return dates
|Friday 28 June
|Sunday 30 June
|Financial declarations due for 2023 financial year
|Monday 1 July
|01 July 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Tuesday 9 July
|Last submission day of July 2024 RS7s for 20 July payment
|Monday 22 July
|20 July 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Tuesday 1 October
|November 2024 electronic RS7 submission period opens
|Wednesday 9 October
|Last submission day of November 2024 RS7s for 1 November payment
|Monday 28 October
|Friday 1 November
|01 November 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Friday 8 November
|Last submission day of November 2024 RS7s for 20 November payment
|Wednesday 20 November
|20 November 2024 ECE operational funding payment
|Wednesday 25 December
|Tuesday 26 December
|RS7 Return funding
NB: services cannot claim SH in advance
|Equity Index for funding(external link)
|Early Childhood operational funding payment
|Financial Declaration Collection
Download the key funding dates for Early Childhood Education for 2024 and 2023:
Further reminders on dates and important information will be advertised on this website and in the Early Learning Bulletin.
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
|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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The Education Counts website displays statistics on topics including:
- the annual census of early learning services
- Māori in early learning
- Pacific Islanders in early learning.
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