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

Chapter 14: Collection of Information

Introduction

It is a condition of funding that licensed early childhood services provide information to the Ministry. The Ministry of Education collects and stores a range of information through the ELI system and via paper-based forms. This includes information on enrolled children, teaching and non-teaching staff, as well as some general information on licensed early childhood services.

  • Attendance and Enrolment Data
    • Collection of attendance and enrolment information as a condition of funding

      It 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 responsibilities under the Act, and as permitted by Privacy Principles 10 and 11.

      Services who do not provide this information to the Ministry through the ELI system or an approved alternative method may have their funding withheld in part or in full.

      Funding payments will continue once:

      • complete enrolments and attendance records are submitted to the Ministry, and
      • the monthly confirmation of records is completed on time.

      Child Information Collected

      The following child information must be collected and sent to the Ministry:

      • National Student Number (NSN)
      • Official surname and given names (including middle name/s)
      • Date of Birth
      • Gender
      • Ethnicity
      • Iwi affiliation (if applicable)
      • Residential address/es
      • Language/s spoken at home

      Enrolment Information Collected

      The following enrolment information must be collected and sent to the Ministry:

      • Start and end date of enrolment
      • Days and time booked (enrolled to attend)
      • Hours of 20 hours ECE per week
      • Date of Parents Attestation for 20 Hours ECE

      Attendance Information collected

      The following attendance information must be sent to the Ministry:

      • Actual daily attendance dates and times
      • Actual daily absence dates and times
      • Home-based attendance address

      Service Information Collected

      The following service information must be submitted to the Ministry:

      • Start and end date of service temporary closure
      • Service closure temporary reason

      Minimum Submission Frequency

      Monthly data is required to be inputted and confirmed as correct by end of the following month.

      Licensed early childhood services must begin sending information to the Ministry within 8 weeks of their licence being issued. Enrolment and attendance data should be entered from the date the service’s licence was issued.

      When changing SMS or to ELI Web, services must begin sending information to the Ministry within 8 weeks from the cutover date. The cutover date is your first day using the new SMS or ELI Web.

      Information about changing systems during a funding period can be found at education.govt.nz(external link).

      Funding may be withheld in part or in full if the Ministry does not receive information from your service within 8 weeks.

      Monthly Confirmation

      Licensed early childhood services must confirm the accuracy and completeness of their ELI records by the end of the following month.

      For example, all records for the month of February (including temporary closures) must be confirmed as accurate and complete by 31 March.

  • ECE Census
    • ECE Census (also known as the ECE Return)

      The ECE Census collects information about the operations of an early childhood service during a particular week. This information contributes to a comprehensive information base on early childhood education (ECE) in New Zealand and is used by the Ministry to monitor and forecast ECE expenditure and design new policies.

      All licensed early childhood services connected to the ELI system need to complete and submit the ECE Census. Funding may be withheld in part or in full if a service does not submit a complete and accurate ECE Census by the due date.

      If your service is not able to connect to ELI, you must complete the RS61 form.

      Collection of ECE Census information as a condition of funding

      It 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 responsibilities under the Act, and as permitted by Privacy Principles 10 and 11.

      Services who do not provide this information to the Ministry through the ELI system or an approved alternative method may have their funding withheld in part or in full.

      Funding payments will continue once:

      • complete and accurate ECE Census data is submitted

      Minimum frequency of collection

      Licensed early childhood services must submit ECE Census information once per year. The collection date is notified by the Ministry.

      ECE Census Service Information Collected

      The following ECE Census Service Information must be submitted to the Ministry:

      • Waiting time for under one year olds
      • Waiting time for one year olds
      • Waiting time for two year olds
      • Waiting time for three year olds
      • Waiting time for four year olds
      • Teaching language/s at service
      • Teaching language percentages at service

      ECE Census Staff Information collected

      The following ECE Census Staff Information must be submitted to the Ministry:

      • Role
      • Gender
      • Ethnicity
      • Highest ECE or organization qualification held
      • Teaching Council certification details
      • Staff start and end dates working at service
      • Staff start and end dates in role at service
      • Staff member age band
      • Total Hours worked during the ECE Census week
      • Is Full Time flag
      • Is Permanent flag
      • Is Paid flag
      • Previously Worked As Teacher flag
      • Arrived From Another Service flag
      • Leaving Teacher Destination
      • Actual contact hours for teachers/staff (start and end dates and actual contact start and finish times spent teaching children)
  • Early Learning Information (ELI) System
    • Introduction

      The 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

      Providing data through the ELI system does not replace the enrolment, attendance and absence records required for funding which are defined in Chapter 6(external link).

      There are additional record keeping requirements for services offering 20 Hours ECE. These can be found in Chapter 4(external link).

      Further information about ELI can be found on education.govt.nz(external link)

      Use of information collected

      Enrolment, attendance, and absence records collected by the Ministry may be used to enable the Secretary for Education or the Minister of Education to exercise their powers or carry out their responsibilities under the Education and Training Act 2020, and as permitted by Privacy Principles 10 and 11.

      ELI exempt services

      The following service types are exempt from providing regular information on enrolments and attendance to the Ministry through ELI:

      • Casual Education and Care Service
      • Hospital Based Services

      ELI exemptions will be given to services where the nature of their operations does not suit the regular collection of enrolment or attendance data.

      Services operated by the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust are temporarily exempt from providing regular information on enrolments and attendance to the Ministry through ELI.

      Sending information to the ELI System 

      Licensed early childhood services must send information to the ELI system through ELI Web, or a Ministry-approved commercial student management system (SMS).

      Typically, a SMS provides more functionality than ELI Web. ELI Web is a free-of-charge Ministry application designed to collect the required data from licensed early childhood services that do not use a SMS.