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 – New Zealand 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 more 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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Showing 101 - 126 of 126 results for relief teacher

Example: Certificated and Other Teacher Hours

Hine, Jocelyn, and Alex work at Rimu Road Crèche from 7am to 3pm each day. Hine is a certificated teacher. Jocelyn and Alex are not certificated teachers.

From 9am - 11am there are 12 children present. Two people are required to meet the regulated (ratio) staff requirements. From 9am-11am Hine’s hours are counted as Certificated Teacher Hours. Jocelyn’s hours are counted as Other Teacher Hours.

Alex’s hours are not counted because only two people are required to meet the regulated (ratio) sta…

Keeping track of teacher hours

Education and care services are required to keep a Staff Hour Count that will keep track of the number of Certificated Teacher Hours and Other Teacher Hours that make up the regulated (ratio) staff hours for their service.

Services must use the Staff Record to manage the Staff Hour Count. 

Staff Record requirements

Education and care services must keep a Staff Record to manage their Staff Hour Count. The Staff Record shows the actual hours worked by regulated (ratio) staff on a daily basis.

For the purposes of the Staff Hour Count the Staff Record must contain all of the following:

the names of staff used for regulated (ratio) staff requirements at any time during the day
a note against each staff member’s name that identifies whether or not the person is a certificated teacher
the actual number of regul…

How to complete the Staff Record

You can complete your Staff Record either:

at the end of the day, recording actual hours worked by regulated (ratio) staff (make sure you keep a copy of the roster or schedule to support this) or
planning your roster or schedule before the start of the week, and making changes each day only if there was a change to the regulated (ratio) staff requirements for any of the hours in that day. By the end of the week, the planned staff record will have become a record of actual hours worked.
The tabl…

Recording breaks/ absences

Breaks/absences of 15 minutes or more must be recorded on the Staff Record to maintain transparency, and may be counted as one discretionary hour.

Breaks/absences under 15 minutes do not need to be recorded on the Staff Record.

Services must record the hours covered by Other Teachers as Other Teacher Hours on the Staff Record and Staff Hour Count for breaks/absences over 15 minutes.

Refer to the Glossary in this Handbook for definition of discretionary hours.

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…

How to use discretionary hours

List the number of discretionary hours (or parts thereof) that have been used to cover the absence of each certificated teacher for the day.
Add together the allowable discretionary hours that have been used to cover the absences of all certificated teachers for the day.
Round the total to the nearest whole number. Numbers ending in 0.5 or above should be rounded up to the next whole number. Numbers ending in 0.4 or below should be rounded down to the previous whole number.

Discretionary hours: record keeping

Service providers must keep evidence of attempts to contact a certificated teacher to cover the absence.

These records should be kept at the service for examination by the Ministry’s Resourcing Auditors during an audit. They do not need to be sent to the Ministry each funding period. 

Link between Staff Hour Count and funding rate

Follow the diagram below to see an example of how a service’s Staff Hour Count is used to determine their funding rate.

Kowhai St. Childcare Centre records the daily number of Certificated Teacher Hours and Other Teacher Hours on their Staff Record.



Kowhai St. transfers the daily Certificated Teacher Hours and Other Teacher Hours for the funding period from their Staff Record to the Staff Hour Count section of their RS7 Return.



Kowhai St. provides its RS7 Return to the Ministry of Educa…

Education and care services

A teacher-led centre-based service that is not controlled by a kindergarten association. Education and care services are required to operate with high proportions of certificated teachers.

Individual centres can be known by many names, including creches, aoga amata and childcare centres.

Base Salary Scale Example: November funding period

Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their November RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for June, July, August and September.
Kowhai Street attests that all of their employed certificated teachers are being paid at least the amount specified at Step 1.
The Ministry calculates that the percentage of Certificated Teacher Hours for June - September for Kowhai Street Childcare Centre was 67%.
Kowhai Street is placed on the 50-79% base funding rate.…

Parity Salary Scale Example: March funding period

Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their March RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for October, November, December and January.
Kowhai Street attests that all of their employed certificated teachers are being paid at least the amount specified at Step 1 to 6.
The Ministry calculates that the proportion of Certificated Teacher Hours for October – January was 82%.
Kowhai Street’s wash-up funding for October, November, December and January is pai…

Extended Parity Salary Scale Example: July funding period

Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their July RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for February, March, April, and May.
Kowhai Street attests that all of their employed certificated teachers are being paid at least the amount specified at Step 1 to 11 + Management
The Ministry calculates that the proportion of Certificated Teacher Hours for February – May was 92%.
Kowhai Street’s wash-up funding for February, March, April, and May is paid at th…

Full Parity Salary Scale Example: July funding period

Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their July RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for February, March, April, and May.
Kowhai Street attests that all of their employed certificated teachers are being paid at least the amount specified in Full Parity Salary Scale (Full Step 1 to 11 + Full Management Steps).
The Ministry calculates that the proportion of Certificated Teacher Hours for February – May was 86%.
Kowhai Street’s wash-up funding for F…

Record keeping

Services must keep the following documentation:

a copy of the current practising certificate of each certificated teacher
copies of ECE, Primary or overseas qualifications along with NZQA assessments of the overseas qualification for all certificated teachers
copies of the letter of registration with an ECE or primary endorsement from the New Zealand Teaching Council
a Staff Record (that has recorded the actual hours worked by all regulated (ratio) staff) for every day the service is operating…

Kindergarten

A teacher-led centre-based service controlled by a kindergarten association.

Mixed Provision Service

An early childhood education service that offers a mixture of both teacher-led and parent-led education and care sessions.

Other Teacher

A teacher at a teacher-led centre-based service who does not hold a practising certificate issued by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa, New Zealand (Teaching Council) or does not hold a Teaching Council-approved ECE qualification or New Zealand qualified primary teacher qualification.

See section: 3-B-2 Education and care services

Parent/ whānau-led services

A category of early childhood services that:

requires of parent and/or whānau involvement in providing education and care for children
does not have to meet the teacher certification criteria
includes licensed playcentres and licensed kōhanga reo
excludes teacher-led services.

Registered teacher

A holder of a Teaching Council approved teaching qualification who has been registered by the Teaching Council. Note: A teacher must hold a current practising certificate to be able to teach.

A certificated teacher must hold an early childhood education teaching or New Zealand qualified primary teacher qualification.

See section: 3-B-2 Education and care services