ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the ECE Funding Handbook. This handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020.

Funding of certain services and certified playgroups – NZ Legislation(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' of everything you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the ECE Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours ECE funding
  • equity funding
  • the annual top-up for isolated services

This information does not apply to certificated playgroups

The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups.

These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Local Ministry offices

Download the ECE Funding Handbook

If you would like to print a 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

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Completing the RS7 Return


OverviewIntroductionThe RS7 Early Childhood Funding Return (the RS7 Return) is the main funding return for early childhood education (ECE) services.

All ECE services (or the administrators of a service provider) must complete the RS7 Return in order to receive funding.

In this chapterThis chapter contains the following topics:

Service profile information (removed April 2015): 9-1
Calculating the ECE Funding Subsidy: 9-2
Calculating the 20 Hours ECE Funding: 9-3
Calculating the Staff Hour C…

Attendance and Enrolment Data

Collection of attendance and enrolment information as a condition of fundingIt is a condition of funding that every service provider of a licensed early childhood service must provide the information listed in this chapter to the Ministry of Education, at the frequency specified, through the ELI system or any alternative method the service provider is authorised by the Ministry to use, to enable the Secretary for Education or the Minister of Education to exercise their powers or carry out their…

Early Learning Information (ELI) System

IntroductionThe Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Information (ELI) system collects and stores information on enrolment, attendance and staffing from licensed early childhood services.

Licensed early childhood services, unless specifically exempt, must send complete and accurate information to the ELI system. This includes:

Children’s National Student Numbers (NSN)
Up-to-date child enrolment and attendance information
The ECE Census (also known as the ECE Return)
The electronic RS7 Return…

Early Learning Information (ELI)

The Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Information (ELI) system collects and stores information on enrolment and attendance in early childhood education. Licensed early childhood services send information to the Ministry of Education through their Student Management System (SMS) or Ministry’s secure ELI Web application. Funding may be withheld in part or in full if a service does not submit a completed and accurate ECE Return by the due date.

Certificated teacher absences and discretionary hours

Services should maintain a list of certificated relievers who are available when certificated teachers are absent.

The Ministry will accept up to 80 discretionary hours per funding period (to maintain current rates of funding) when certificated relievers are not available, provided that the record keeping requirements described in this section are met.

Education and Care services may record the hours worked by relievers who are Other Teachers as Certificated Teacher Hours for the purposes of t…