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 6: Recording Enrolment, Attendance and Absence

A symbol.  Compass.



For funding to be delivered accurately and fairly, the following three records must be maintained:

  • enrolment records
  • attendance records
  • absence records.

There are additional recordkeeping requirements for services offering 20 Hours ECE. These can be found in Chapter 4.

The requirements in this chapter do not apply to hospital-based services. Requirements for hospital-based services can be found in Chapter 3.

Early Learning Information System (ELI)

The Ministry of Education’s Early Learning Information (ELI) system(external link) collects and stores information on enrolment and attendance in licensed ECE services.

Licensed ECE services, unless specifically exempt, must return complete and accurate information through ELI. This includes:

  • children’s National Student Numbers (NSNs)
  • up-to-date child enrolment and attendance information
  • the ECE Return
  • the electronic RS7 Return.

ECE services must confirm the completeness and accuracy of their ELI information at least once a month; the previous month’s information is required to be confirmed by the end of the following month.

Providing data through to ELI does not replace the enrolment, attendance and absence records required for funding which is defined in this Chapter.

Visit the Early Learning Information (ELI) system(external link)

Incorrect records

Services must not state that a child:

  • is enrolled when they are not enrolled or
  • attended when they did not attend.

In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed incorrectly will be recovered by the Ministry.

In this chapter

This chapter contains the following topics: