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.
6-1 Enrolment records
Early childhood education services must keep enrolment records for all children who attend the service including children who attend the service on a casual basis or conditional basis.
The enrolment records must distinguish and identify children who are permanently enrolled and those who may attend on a casual or conditional basis.
See the Glossary for definitions of casual, conditional and permanent enrolment.
The age of each child enrolled in a service is important in determining at which funding rate each funded child hour (FCH) will be paid. The number of hours for which each child is enrolled is important in determining the number of hours for which funding can be claimed.
Enrolment records provide evidence that services and parents/guardians agree on the age of each child, and the number of hours for which each child is enrolled.
Storage of records
Enrolment records must be kept for seven years.
Funding for absences
The Ministry will fund the enrolled hours of permanently enrolled children who are absent up to certain limits. The limits are defined by two absence rules the Three Week Rule for Continuous Absence (Section 6-5) and the Frequent Absence Rule (Sections 6-7 and 6-8) to be read along with Chapter 6-3.
In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed for absent children who do not have an enrolment agreement will be recovered by the Ministry.
Please refer to the Glossary for more information about permanent enrolments.
Funding for casual and conditional children
Funding for casual and conditional children is based on attendance only.
Absences cannot be claimed for casual or conditional children who do not attend.
In the event of a funding claim audit, funding claimed for casual or conditional children who did not attend will be recovered by the Ministry.
All records must include
For funding purposes the enrolment record for each child must include:
- the child’s full name, date of birth, and home address
- the date the child commenced attendance at the service and
- their finish date
- the days and times each child is expected to attend, and details of any later changes to the agreement signed and dated by at least one parent/guardian
- attestation by the child’s parent/guardian of the hours the child is enrolled at another service (including none if appropriate) and
- a dated signature of at least one parent/guardian to attest to the accuracy of the enrolment record.
If the child is enrolled to receive education and care at a home-based ECE service the enrolment form must include a signed declaration to indicate whether the educator who will be providing education and care for the child is a member of that child’s family.
This declaration is part of the Enrolment Agreement Form sample and can be found on the Ministry’s website.
Services are required to keep other information on enrolment records for health and safety purposes. Please see the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link) or contact your Ministry regional office for further details.
For Ministry record keeping purposes, sections marked with this symbol ♦ in the Enrolment Agreement Form sample must be included by services in every Enrolment Agreement form. (20 Hours ECE sections are not applicable if the service does not offer 20 Hours ECE.)
Wording cannot be changed, except to add relevant details for your service.
The Enrolment Agreement Form with the required wording can be found in Appendix 2 of this Handbook.
Records for children receiving 20 Hours ECE
Enrolment records for children receiving 20 Hours ECE must also include:
- the 20 Hours ECE Attestation section of the Enrolment Agreement Form completed by the parent/guardian if the child is to receive 20 Hours ECE at this service, and
- the Optional Charges Agreement section of the Enrolment Agreement Form to be completed by the parent/guardian.
Additional requirements for casual children's records
Enrolment records for casual children must also include:
- the days and times of each child’s intended attendance, and details of any later changes signed and dated by at least one parent/guardian
- attestation by the child’s parent/guardian that the child is not enrolled at another service for the time the child will be attending the service casually and
- an indication that the child will be attending on a casual basis signed and dated by at least one of the child’s parents/guardians.
Additional requirements for conditional children’s records
Enrolment records for conditional children must also include:
- an indication that the child will be attending on a conditional basis signed and dated by at least one of the child’s parents/guardians.
- which part of the enrolment is conditional. It can be the entire enrolment or specific days and/or hours and
- attestation by the child’s parent/guardian that the child is not enrolled at another service for the time the child will be attending the service conditionally.
Any change must be signed and dated by the parent/guardian. Funding for the attendance of a conditionally enrolled child must not be claimed until the parent/guardian has signed this record.
If a conditionally enrolled child’s enrolment form does not indicate which part of the enrolment is conditional, no funding can be claimed for attendance.
Individual enrolment agreements
Services must keep a separate enrolment agreement for each child.
Each sibling or other relative must have their own enrolment record, signed by their parent/guardian.
Changes to records
All changes to enrolment records must be dated and signed by a parent/guardian of the child.
Changes that have not been signed by a parent/guardian will not be considered changed for funding purposes.
Services must keep a paper copy of any changes to enrolment records which are held electronically. This will enable changes to be signed by parents/guardians.