ECAC minutes December 2022

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met from 9am to 3pm on 14 December 2022 at Te Wāhanga Atawhai Mercy Conference Centre, Wellington. 


ECAC Members

  • Michelle Pratt, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Tony De Lorenzo, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Fiona Hughes, BestStart
  • Jenny Te Punga-Jurgens, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Simon Laube, Early Childhood Council
  • Christine Hall, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand (MANZ)
  • Allanah Clark, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Geena Fagan, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Tere Gilbert, Ngā Puna Reo o Aotearoa
  • Bethany Fox, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Susan Bailey, NZ Playcentre Federation
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Simon Cottle, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Cherie Marks, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ ECAC Guests
  • Josie Glasson, Creative HQ.

Ministry of Education

  • Hon. Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education
  • Nancy Bell, Hautū, Te Mahau, Te Tai Runga (Chair)
  • Karen Walfisch, Associate Deputy Secretary Early Learning, Claims and Engagement, Te Pae Aronui
  • John Brooker, Group Manager, Education System Policy, Te Puna Kaupapahere
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy, Te Puna Kaupapahere
  • Elspeth Maxwell, Manager ECE Operational Policy Design, Te Pae Aronui
  • Jane Ewens, Interim Manager, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū
  • Jessica Shaw, Senior Advisor, Office of the Deputy Secretary, Te Tai Runga
  • Catherine Wright, Senior Governance Advisor - Operations, Engagement, and Improvement, Te Pae Aronui.

Ministry of Education Presenters

  • Isabel Evans, Hautū, Te Mahau, Te Tai Raro
  • Jocelyn Mikaere, Hautū, Te Mahau, Te Tai Whenua
  • Sean Teddy, Hautū, Te Pae Aronui, Deputy Secretary, Operations & Integration
  • Felix Mussell, Manager, ECE Network Management Project, Te Pae Aronui
  • Paul Scholey, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy
  • Hayley Robertson, Operational Policy Consultant, ECE Network Management, Te Pae Aronui
  • Tom Dibley, National Director, Evidence Data & Knowledge, Te Pae Aronui
  • Rory Sudfelt, Senior Analyst, Evidence Data & Knowledge, Te Pae Aronui
  • Ann Pairman, Principal Advisor, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū
  • Giles Panting, Senior Manager, Curriculum, Pathways & Progress, Te Poutāhū Secretariat.


  • Iona Holsted, Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga, Secretary for Education
  • Heather Taylor, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Karen Reynolds, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Calmar Ulberg, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Annie Malir, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School.

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy welcomed the group and Cathy opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Minutes have been circulated; no feedback. Apologies were noted.

Update on Te Mahau and the Ministry’s Organisational Change

Nancy Bell, Jocelyn Mikaere, Isabel Evans, Sean Teddy

  • Nancy introduced the structure of Te Mahau. Jocelyn, Isabel and Sean introduced themselves, their roles and the groups they oversee.
  • ECAC Members introduced themselves and the services they represent.
  • The priorities of Te Mahau were discussed and how these align to create a system that better supports the sector.
  • Organisational re-design has begun for Te Pae Aronui, and across the regions the new structure will be implemented 31 March 2023. Discussed the new integrated system that includes learning support and curriculum advice at a local level, to ensure a more responsive layout for supporting quality in ECE.
  • Sean gave an overview of Te Pae Aronui and how its Operations and Integration services support the three Te Mahau frontline groups to design and deliver better services for the sector.
  • Discussion followed with questions from members.

ELAP update

Nancy Bell 

  • Updated dashboard for the last quarter September – December was provided to members.
  • Discussion around current workstreams underway with members seeking clarification on the progression of some work areas. This was discussed further in the afternoon workshop session.

Network Management

Felix Mussell

  • Final preparations are underway for Network Management to launch on 1 February 2023.
  • The team shared a short video which outlines how Network Approval works.
  • The sector engagement in recent months has been useful in the Ministry’s preparations for Network Management.

Paul Scholey

  • Subject to government decisions, we intend to consult on draft regulations for moving to 80% qualified teachers and strengthening person responsible requirements starting late March/early April. This follows the consultation on proposals that took place late 2021/early 2022 and the feedback we got. We will also be testing proposed timing for the introduction of changes.
  • We’ll also be consulting on a definition of ‘locally based’ for the person responsible requirement for home-based services, as sector feedback from the previous consultation was that this needed more work.
  • As part of ongoing work to improve clarity and accessibility of the regulations, we’ll also be consulting on some other proposed smaller changes to the regulations early in the new year.
  • We also expect to consult on proposals to enable licenced early childhood services who are on land compulsory acquired by the Crown under the Public Works Act to relocate without having to go through network approval – this follows on from comments Minister Hipkins made earlier the year about this issue when the Education and Training Amendment Bill (no 2) was passing through the House.

Hayley Robertson

  • Hayley clarified that when two applications are received at the same time for services in similar locations, the Ministry will use the National Statement to provide advice on the seven requirements and the Statement describes how these will be weighted.
  • Hayley discussed a range of questions with members to further inform members of the Network Management process.

Minister of Education

Hon. Chris Hipkins

  • Minister Hipkins began by reflecting on the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes we’ve experienced over the past year.
  • The Minister covered questions from members around extended pay parity, funding, participation and engagement in ECE, as well as the ongoing challenges attributed to COVID-19.

Annual ECE Census + ELAP Evaluation update

Tom Dibley and Rory Sudfelt

  • ECE Census was mid-2022; this included new data being collected to understand teacher retention rates.
  • ECE Census 2023 will be collecting additional data on precise adult:child ratios and teacher qualifications.
  • ELAP High level Indicators and Measures were discussed. These were established to help the Ministry measure the level of improvements around quality, equity and choice.
  • More discussion is planned for an ECAC hui in early 2023.

Curriculum update - Literacy & Communications and Maths Strategy

Ann Pairman and Giles Panting

  • The strategy was developed to lift education and wellbeing outcomes through literacy & communication and maths. The strategy includes a Common Practice Model (CPM) which is being designed to guide practice for early learning and schooling.
  • A CPM Contributors Group has been formed, including people from early learning. The Contributors Group is developing draft principles and high-level pedagogical approaches to underpin teaching and learning for literacy, communication and maths within Te Whāriki and the NZC. These will be tested with sector representatives before being released for feedback during the first quarter of 2023.
  • Kōwhiti Whakapae (KW), and associated curriculum support resources (including teaching and learning guides (T&LG) and whānau guides) will contribute to the CPM.
  • Since the last ECAC meeting, the Ministry has engaged with a range of stakeholders to support the revision of KW in response to feedback from the initial trial. The framework is being revised to clearly illustrate alignment with Te Whāriki, and changes are planned to the overall structure and content of the tools. Work is also underway to develop KW in the next two areas: oral language & literacy, and maths, and to develop associated T&LG and whānau guides where needed.

Workshop session – Modern Regulation

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy introduced Josie Glasson, facilitator, and the Modern Regulator team and gave an overview of how the Ministry to working toward becoming a modern regulator, to improve quality and standards in the early learning space.

Overview of work undertaken to date on modern regulation

Josie Glasson and Modern Regulation team

  • The team has been working over several weeks to establish what it looks like to be a modern regulator and how to incorporate the 4 organisational shifts of Te Mahau within that.
  • The term ‘modern regulator’ requires incorporating tangible ways to improve practice and to lift capability and capacity.
  • Recommended some key changes to achieve this, including to modernise tools and supports, clarify roles and responsibilities and to grow our modern regulation culture.
  • An example of the team’s testing was to digitalise part of an existing form that services use regularly, making it available as an online form. This is a simple example of modernising a current practice and making it more accessible and easier to use as an online function.
  • Digitalisation is an example of how additional learning can be made available; when a form already needs to be completed, a digital version can provide prompts or links to information elsewhere that otherwise may not be as accessed.

Group discussions and plenary

  • Members spent time discussing the Ministry’s current regulatory approach and came back together to share their thoughts and suggestions for improvements and changes.
  • Feedback from the workshop will be compiled and sent to the modern regulator team.

Wrap up

Nancy Bell

  • Proposed ECAC dates for 2023 are:
    • 8 March
    • 7 June
    • 6 September
    • 6 December.
  • There was general consensus on these dates.
  • There was a discussion around the plan for the fortnightly operational ECAC meetings in 2023. Consensus was that these hui are useful and members are keen for them to continue. Consideration will be given to how these meetings could be timed differently when appropriate.

Meeting close

Kathy Wolfe

  • Kathy closed the meeting with a karakia.

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