ECAC Minutes, June 2020

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 3 June 2020, 9am to 1pm via video conference (Zoom).


Special guests

  • Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education
  • Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

ECAC members

  • Angus Hartley, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Shelley Hughes, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Jo Lambert, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Virginia Simmonds, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu
  • Sean McKinley, Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa - Playcentre Aotearoa
  • Jenny TePunga-Jurgens, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Jill Bond, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Calmar Ulberg, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey (chair), Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • Nancy Bell , Director, Early Learning, Early Learning and Student Achievement (ELSA)
  • Helen Hurst, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • Keith Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • Damian Edwards, Deputy Secretary, Evidence, Data and Knowledge (EDK)
  • John Brooker, Group Manager Funding, ECE and Budget teams, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Cathryn Ashley-Jones, Group Manager Evidence, Synthesis & Dissemination, Evidence, Data and Knowledge (EDK)
  • Alice Qiao, Manager, Data, Evidence, Data and Knowledge (EDK)
  • Deborah Kent, Associate Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement (ELSA)
  • Toni Janes, Senior Manager, Education Workforce, Early Learning and Student Achievement (ELSA)
  • Amy Hunter (secretariat), Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)


  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Keith Newton opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Welcome to John Brooker; Group Manager Education System Policy. John replaces Damian Edwards’ attendance at the quarterly ECAC meetings. Damian Edwards is the new Deputy Secretary for Evidence, Data and Knowledge.
  • Apologies and subgroup reporting were circulated by email.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Budget 2020 overview

John Brooker, Ministry of Education

Budget 2020 provides approximately $795 million for the early learning sector. John provided an overview of the Budget and invited ECAC members for questions.

$122.7 million over four years to adjust funding rates by 1.6% from 1 January 2021.

  • The cost adjustment applies to ECE Subsidy, 20 Hours ECE, Equity Funding (all components) and Targeted Funding for Disadvantage. The cost adjustment does not apply to the home-based services standard rates.

$151.1 million over four years boost to improve the minimum pay of qualified teachers working in education and care services.

  • This is a 2.3% increase in subsidy rate from July 2020. The minimum salary for qualified teachers will be lifted from $45,491 or $46,832 to $49,862 from July 2020. A first step towards closing the gap between education and care services and kindergartens.

$278.2 million over four years to restore the 100% funding band for teacher-led centres.

  • The 100% funding band will apply from 1 January 2021 with eligible centres receiving increased payments in the November 2020 advance funding to cover January and February 2021.

$36.2 million over four years to support home-based services transition to a more qualified educator workforce.

  • This includes a 3.8% increase in quality rate for home-based services from January 2021.
  • Services on the standard rate with educators completing the Level 4 qualifications gain five hours of visiting teacher support per week.
  • Fees assistance for up to 2,646 students who are ineligible for fees free.

$3.1 million over four years from July 2020 to support Playcentre Aotearoa. This represents a 6% increase in playcentre rates.

Over $196.2 million over four years to support Kōhanga Reo.

  • $93.4 million over four years to confirm existing levels of funding was put in place to meet pressing funding needs, particularly improving pay for kaiako and kaimahi from 1 July 2020.
  • $65.076 million over four years to increase funding rates from 1 July 2020.
  • $13.760 million over four years to support the kōhanga reo network.
  • $2.8 million to work with the Trust to provide support for kōhanga whānau to support tamariki with learning support needs.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Send presentation out to ECAC members Secretariat ASAP

Distance learning and Early Learning action plan

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Distance learning under COVID-19

  • We moved a lot of resources to support children learning from home. This includes the learning from home website(external link) for kaiako and whānau, as well as home learning TV programmes(external link) which will continue to end of the school term 2.
  • In addition we distributed resources packs to children enrolled in those services which receive Targeted Funding for Disadvantage. The logistics during Alert level 4 made finding resources, confirming children’s addresses and distributing resources a challenge. We are completing the rest of the distribution now and also sending resource packs to priority playgroups.
  • We received positive feedback from families and the resource packs will continue to support families over winter, where children are home due to illnesses. All services that receive Targeted Funding for Disadvantage services were eligible for the resource packs, however not all of these services ordered packs.
  • We are now focused on how best to manage potential future escalations where distance learning is required.

Early Learning Action Plan update

  • Over the past few months, we have had to shift our focus to address the immediate needs of COVID-19. Some actions included in the Early Learning Action Plan were dependent on Budget 2020. We expect to resume the Progress and Practice Tools work programme once internal funding is confirmed.
  • ECAC members asked for regular engagement on the implementation of the plan. Katrina agreed to monthly one hour zoom meetings with ECAC members, where there are work programme updates to share.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Regular dashboard reporting to ECAC on ELAP progress Nancy Bell As work progress
Schedule monthly ECAC zoom meetings Secretariat As work progress

Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education

Minister Hipkins acknowledged the incredible work by the early learning sector to support families over COVID-19 and the positive feedback he has received from families. The Minister also acknowledged that attendance levels are building, however participation patterns may change in response to parents’ employment situations.

Minister Hipkins advised Budget 2020 is a step towards pay parity for teachers in education and care centres, commitment towards home-based services and te kōhanga reo. Budget 2020 also means progress for Playcentre Aotearoa, with ongoing engagement between Minister Martin and Playcentre Aotearoa.

The Minister then invited questions from ECAC members on Budget 2020.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Not applicable    

Post COVID-19 conversation

Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

Iona welcomed feedback and thoughts on learnings from COVID-19 from ECAC members for future pandemic planning.

Key discussions include:

  • The Ministry’s ability to be agile and responsive to the needs of families and the sector
  • Advice provided by the Ministry during COVID-19
  • Learning from home and connectivity capabilities
  • Request for a debrief on the Essential Worker’s childcare scheme & learnings
  • Future escalating and de-escalating process for pandemic responses.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Debrief on the Essential Worker’s childcare scheme & learnings Keith Newton August 2020

ECE affordability, ECE Census, Teachers’ remuneration & Workforce research

Cathryn Ashley-Jones and Alice Qiao, Ministry of Education

ECE Census 2020

  • The yearly ECE Census is scheduled for 22 June – 28 June. Communication to the sector on this year’s ECE Census was released in the 21 May 2020 Early Learning Bulletin(external link).
  • Data quality improvement and processing of te kōhanga reo ECE Census data and data quality improvement from July – October 2020. Before reporting back to the Minister’s office in November/December 2020 and publication of results.
  • Three new changes to the ECE Census data collection are: staff age band, total hour worked by each staff and the three new Playcentre qualification codes.

Early learning teacher remuneration survey

  • The ECE remuneration survey consists of an online survey and a follow-up phone call. The survey will include all large service providers and a representative survey of smaller service providers.
  • Research questions will include the differences in pay between service type, job title, years of experience, qualification status, and between permanent / contractors / casual staff.
  • We are working with Strategic Pay to outline the survey process. The survey will take approximately 12 weeks to run, with contact to participants in weeks 4 and 5 and survey to run in weeks 5 to 9. We are looking to run this survey in early August.

ECE affordability (fees project)

  • We co-designed the data collection with sector representatives, selected early learning services and Student Management System (SMS) vendors to understand variations between different fee structures.
  • We plan to collect:
    • National student number
    • Total hours enrolled
    • Total house attended
    • Parental contribution to fees (mandatory fees, optional charges and donations)
    • Ministry of Education subsidies
    • Other government agency subsidies (i.e. Childcare Subsidy)
  • Due to COVID-19 disruptions and other data collections, the ECE fees data collection is deferred to at least September 2020. The development is 70% complete and continuation of the fees project is dependent on securing internal funding from July 2020.
  • The Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) has been reviewed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, Ministry of Education’s legal and privacy teams. The PIA is going through internal review with the Ministry’s project governance group.

Early learning workforce project (IDI analysis – Part 2)

  • This project is also on hold due to COVID-19 and timelines will be reviewed by Motu(external link) after they return to their offices. We expect analysis from Motu around mid-August.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide a calendar of survey dates for ECAC Damian Edwards ASAP 

Education Workforce updates

Deborah Kent and Toni Janes, Ministry of Education

Education workforce strategy

  • We engaged with the early learning sector on the draft Education workforce strategy A3 and feedback has been positive. We are currently finalising bespoke engagement with Māori medium, Pacific and the disability sector.
  • Further work is needed to assess if anything has shifted as a result of COVID-19.
  • We are also building an analytical framework that helps to identify initiatives that contribute the most to achieve the outcomes of the strategy. There is a meeting with Accord on 9 June 2020 and a decision will be made following the meeting.

Teacher supply background

  • Minister Hipkins announced a $4 million package to support teacher supply initiatives for early learning at the September ECAC meeting last year. The package included targeted marketing campaign to attract people into ECE, recruitment campaign targeted at overseas trained ECE teachers interested in moving to New Zealand to teach in ECE, and relocation support grants for overseas trained teachers who secure employment in a New Zealand ECE service.
  • $2.175 million was allocated to place up to 300 overseas trained ECE teachers, including returning New Zealand trained ECE teachers. So far 29 ECE teachers have been recruited to date with the majority of roles located in Auckland (55%) and Wellington (31%). The remaining 14% are dispersed through mid-central North Island and the Canterbury region. The closure of borders due to COVID-19 has impacted this initiative. As at 27 April 2020 there were 180 overseas trained ECE teachers available for services to interview.
  • $900,000 was allocated for relocation support grants with a target of 300 grants. To date, a total of 50 applications were received and 31 applications were approved and paid. 16 applications were declined due to the applicants being employed before the grant was established. The majority of the grants are located in Auckland (65%) and Wellington (19%), with remaining 9% located in mid central North Island. Since 13 May 2020, we received 3 new applications which are still being processed.
  • $643,000 was allocated for marketing campaigns to encourage enrolment in ECE ITE. A media campaign on Stuff media was launched between 1 November 2019 – 15 January 2020, specifically targeting parents and people in the 18-34 age demographic. The marketing campaign led to an increase in traffic to the TeachNZ website(external link). We received positive feedback and will work with the early learning sector to design the next campaign.

Immigration changes for 2021

  • Immigration New Zealand are implementing the employer accreditation process in 2021. This new process will apply to all employers bringing people in on essential skills visas. In a schooling context this means every school that brings in an overseas trained teacher must become an accredited employer.
  • The overview of this planned change was presented in November 2019, you can watch the video here(external link).
  • If you would like to sign up to receive Immigration New Zealand updates please subscribe here(external link).
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide an update on the work in the ITE space on teacher supply Siobhan Murray, Jayne Franklin July
Provide an update on Teaching Council’s appraisals process Jayne Franklin July
Provide a calendar of important workforce dates for ECAC Deborah Kent ASAP

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

Keith Newton closed the meeting with a karakia.

The next quarterly ECAC meeting is scheduled for 2 September 2020.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Not applicable    

Meeting closed 1pm

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