ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link). The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Downloading the ECE Funding Handbook

If you want a printed copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

11-1 Record keeping requirements

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  • Introduction
    • This section explains what records ECE services must keep to support their funding claims.

  • Keeping records
    • Records can be kept in a form to suit your service as long as the requirements set out in this Handbook are met.

      Paper-based enrolment, attendance and staffing schedules must be maintained in pen. If these documents are electronically generated alterations and verification must be in pen.

      Do not use ‘white out’ on these records. If you need to make changes do so by crossing out the error and making the corrections in pen.

  • Maintaining records
    • Records can be stored in a form to suit your service but must be available on request to Ministry of Education staff, reviewers from the Education Review Office (ERO), and other authorised personnel.

      Whether records are stored in paper-based or electronic format they must meet the following conditions:

      i. Integrity – the record is complete, unaltered, and protected against any unauthorised changes.
      ii. Usability – the record can be located, retrieved, preserved, and interpreted.

      All records required to support funding claims must be retained for a minimum of 7 years.

      Services risk losing funding if their records cannot be audited because they are unclear or ambiguous, or are not available for audit.

  • Records for all services
    • All services must keep the records listed in the table on the next page of this chapter.

      This information allows the Ministry to ensure that the correct number of funded child hours have been claimed by the service.

      See Chapter 6 of this Handbook and the relevant section for your service type (in Chapter 3) for further information on record keeping requirements.

  • Teacher-led services
    • Teacher-led services must also keep other records listed in the table on the next page.

      See Section 3-B for further information on record keeping for teacher-led services.

  • All Services
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      RequirementPurposeRelevant sectionTemplate example
      Enrolment records Enrolment agreements are used by the Ministry to verify the days/sessions that each child is enrolled for and expected to attend. 6-1  Yes
      Attendance records

      Attendance records are used by the Ministry of Education to verify that the children have attended the service as claimed and to identify when a child is absent, and to verify that the absence rules have been applied correctly.

      Hospital-based services have slightly different requirements; this is covered in Section 3-B-3.

      6-3  Yes
  • Additional Requirements for Teacher-Led Services
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      RequirementDescriptionRelevant sectionTemplate example
      Staffing record The staffing record is used by the Ministry to verify that the correct number of Certificated Teacher Hours has been claimed. 3-B-2 Yes
      Copies of practising certificates Copies of practising certificates are used by the Ministry to:
      • verify the certification status of teachers employed by the service
      3-B-2 Yes
      Copies of ECE qualifications Services will need to provide certified copies of their staff’s qualifications to verify they are ECE qualified. 3-B-2 No
      Copies of primary qualifications Services will need to provide certified copies of their staff’s qualifications to verify they are New Zealand qualified primary teachers. 3-B-2 No
      Attestation of certificated teachers’ salaries Higher funding rates are only available to education and care services that attest to paying certificated teachers at least at the level identified on the website.



      Enrolment records for children claiming 20 Hours ECE Services will need to indicate whether a child is receiving 20 Hours ECE, any agreements by parents/caregivers to pay optional charges, and that the attestation section of the enrolment form has been completed by the parents/caregivers.


      Payment records for 20 Hours ECE Services must keep records of fees, donations and optional charges received from parents.



  • Requirements for Home-Based Services
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      If your home-based ECE must...
      is funded at the standard funding rate
      • have enrolment records for each child and
      • keep attendance records to show the hours each child attended and
      • keep records for Christmas coverage when services have been reconstituted over the holiday period.
      is funded at the quality funding rate
      • have records as for services funded at standard funding rate


      • keep a record of coordinators’:
        • names
        • qualifications
        • hours during which they were on duty or on-call
        • breaks when the coordinator was not on duty
      • keep records to show that coverage was maintained at all the required times (e.g. coverage by a relief coordinator)
      • keep a record of educators’ names and training.