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

3-B-1 The link between teacher certification and funding

E symbol.  K symbol.  Books

  • Introduction
    • There are teacher certification requirements for education and care services, hospital-based services and kindergartens.

  • Certificated teachers
    • For funding purposes, ‘certificated teachers’ must have

      • A NZ ECE or primary teaching qualification and a current practising certificate, or
      • An overseas qualification assessed by NZQA as comparable to a NZ ECE or primary teaching qualification and a current practising certificate, or
      • A letter from the Teaching Council with a clear ECE or primary “endorsement” (where registration has been gained through the Council's discretionary pathway), and a current practising certificate.

      Read more about discretionary pathway registration(external link) on our website.

  • Funding and teacher certification lapses
    • Where a teacher’s certification lapses, they may continue to be counted as certificated on the Staff Hour Count from the date the Teaching Council has confirmed their application for certification renewal has been received. This period must not exceed three months. Services accessing this Staff Hour Count provision, must keep evidence that the completed application has been submitted for renewal.

      If, after three months, certification renewal has not been approved, the teacher must be counted as ‘other’ on the Staff Hour Count. Should certification renewal be declined, the Ministry will recover any associated funding.

      The regulations require all services to have a person responsible available to support educators for all hours children are attending. Teachers accessing this provision cannot be used to avoid this obligation, therefore they cannot fulfil the role of person responsible while waiting for recertification.

  • Overseas qualifications
    • The New Zealand Qualifications Authority must assess any overseas qualifications as comparable to a NZ ECE or primary teaching qualification, before it can be recognised for funding purposes. The teacher must also be registered and certificated with the Teaching Council.

      Contact the NZQA Qualification Evaluation Service on (04) 802 3000 or refer to the NZQA website(external link) for further details.