ECAC minutes June 2024

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met from 9am to 3pm on Wednesday 5 June 2024 at Pūtahi Room, Generator Complex, 40 Bowen Street, Wellington

Attendees

ECAC members

  • Kelly Seaburg, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Heather Taylor, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Cindy Young, BestStart Educare (alternate of Fiona Hughes)
  • Liza Iliffe, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Simon Laube, Early Childhood Council
  • Christine Hall, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Beccy Creswick, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand (MANZ)
  • Nadia Abu Shanab, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Allanah Clark, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Tere Gilbert, Ngā Puna Reo o Aotearoa
  • Janelle Gardiner, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • David Moger, NZ Playcentre Federation
  • Sharon Coulton, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Helen Gatward, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School
  • Emily Dakin, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ

Invitee

Erin Maloney, National Home-based ECE Provider Group

ECAC Guest

Hon. David Seymour, Associate Minister of Education

Ministry of Education

  • Nancy Bell, Hautū|Deputy Secretary, Te Tai Runga|South (Chair)
  • Paul Scholey, Senior Policy Manager, ECE and System Policy, Te Pou Kaupapahere|Policy
  • Megan Hutchison, Chief Advisor, Early Learning, Te Tai Runga|South
  • Rory Sudfelt, Principal Analyst, Data and Insights, Te Pae Aronui|Operations
  • Debra Taylor, Manager, Data and Insights, Te Pae Aronui|Operations
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Policy Manager, ECE System Investment Policy, Te Pou Kaupapahere|Policy

Inland Revenue

  • Elizabeth Lee , Policy Advisor, Policy and Regulatory Stewardship, IRD
  • Damien Mancer, Policy Advisor, IRD
  • Teena Simm , Architect, IRD
  • Maraina Hak , Team Lead, Families and Individuals, IRD
  • Tracey Turner, Group Lead, External Relationships, IRD

Ministry for Regulation

  • David Wansbrough, Head of Sector Reviews, MfR
  • Kerry Lamont, Principal Advisor Engagement, MfR

Secretariat

Kristen Sharma, Senior Advisor, Te Tai Runga|South (minutes)

Apologies

  • Patricia Davey, Education Review Office
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika representative
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Murray Shadbolt , Principal Policy Advisor, Policy and Regulatory Stewardship, IRD
  • Hannah McGlue, Sector Reviews Team, MfR

Welcome, karakia and introductions

  • Nancy Bell welcomed the group and Liza Iliffe opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • New members and alternates were introduced, and apologies noted.
  • March minutes were confirmed.
  • Tere Gilbert was congratulated for her appointment to Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the King’s Birthday Honours, for services to early childhood and Māori language education.

Unpacking recent announcements: Budget

Siobhan Murray

  • Siobhan outlined the recent announcements in Budget 24 that relate to ECE:
    • Early Childhood Education Services – Cost adjustment
    • Playcentre Aotearoa – Sustainable funding
    • Ka Ora, Ka Ako Healthy School Lunches Programme
    • Kaupapa Māori Early Learning
    • Savings Initiatives
  • Members asked about the eligibility for low equity community-based early learning services to access Ka Ora, Ka Ako. This is still to be determined.

FamilyBoost: updates and next steps

Damien Mancer, Maraina Hak & Tracey Turner, Inland Revenue

  • The team from Inland Revenue summarised the FamilyBoost initiative.
  • Legislation has been enacted, with effect from 1 July 2024. Parents can register on MyIR from mid-September and make a claim from 1 October 2024.
  • Children will need an IRD number for the claim.
  • Inland Revenue has launched its FamilyBoost website FamilyBoost (ird.govt.nz)(external link)
  • IR is meeting with SMS (Student Management System) vendors regarding invoices.
  • The team thanked members for their assistance in providing different scenarios of parents/whānau, and for providing examples of invoices.
  • Tracey Turner, External Relationship Manager, is the central point of contact for members at IR and is keen to support members as they work with parents to prepare for FamilyBoost. ECAC members may email Tracey familyboost@ird.govt.nz . Please refer parents to the website.
  • Members asked questions about: parents’ changing income throughout the year, the income of parents who are self-employed, how fee information will be collected and used, home-based educators’ invoices, and to feed back to ECAC in December.

Ministry of Education Savings Programme

  • Nancy Bell presented the context, with government agencies asked to provide savings.
  • The Ministry of Education target is 7.5% of baseline controllable budget.
  • It is proposed to achieve this by reducing spend on contractors/consultants/professional services/travel, a reduction in Ministry FTE through operational efficiencies, changes in organisational structure, and stopping some programmes.
  • The process is still being worked through and members will be updated at the September quarterly ECAC meeting.

Early Learning Programme updates

Megan Hutchison, Paul Scholey & Rory Sudfelt

ECE regulatory work update

  • In the context of Minister Seymour’s short-term, medium-term and long-term priorities, Paul provided a summary of the current ECE regulatory work for 2024.
  • Paul gave an overview of the consultation feedback on revoking the National Statement. The final consultation feedback report will be published shortly.
  • Minister Seymour has decided to revoke the National Statement and more information will be in the Early Learning Bulletin on 6 June. 

ELAP Monitoring & Evaluation Framework report 2023

  • Rory referred members to the report in their packs, which was released on the website today. Monitoring and Evaluating the Early Learning Action Plan Publications | Education Counts(external link)
  • Rory has presented on the previous years’ reports; today the focus is on the new measurements for 2023, which Rory summarised.
  • Rory and Debra Taylor are available to unpack these more at an operational ECAC hui. Members to send questions beforehand.
  • A member questioned the definition of ‘income’, compared to the FamilyBoost definition. Is it ‘two parents’ or ‘household’? Rory to confirm. 

Early Learning Action Plan update

  • Megan provided a handout updating the data points from the ELAP dashboard and some other key ECE work programme items.
  • The dashboard is on hold while ELAP actions and timings are confirmed.

Action items

Deadline: Before 4 Sept ECAC hui

  • Invite Rory and Debra to present on the 2023 ELAP report at operational ECAC hui, with members’ questions collated beforehand (Kristen)
  • Confirm definition of ‘income’ (Rory) 

Deep dive into participation and non-participationwith regional focus

Rory Sudfelt

  • Rory referred members to a handout in their pack.
  • Trends between 2018 and 2023 were covered, focusing on:
    • The population of children aged 0-4
    • Teaching staff
    • Services
    • Participation
  • A member requested more information about unqualified teaching staff: what percentage are teachers in training? Rory to confirm.There was a break during the session to view the media announcement by Minister Seymour that the ECE sector would be the first to undergo a Sector Regulatory Review.
  • There was some discussion of children aged 5+ staying in ECE: children with complex needs who stay longer as transition to school is harder? Wait times to get into kura kaupapa? Reasons for staying at ECE are not tracked in data, but we can look at the trend in the numbers.
  • A request was made for a separate deep dive into home-based service data sets.
  • Rory went over West Coast and Wellington data in depth.
  • Discussion at tables on nationwide and regional trends in participation. Each table fed back a key insight to the room.

Actions

Deadline: Before 4 Sept ECAC hui

  • Provide more information breaking down unqualified teaching staff (Rory)

No deadline

  • Consider what specific home-based service data may be useful to look at in more detail with ECAC (Rory) 

Associate Minister of Education David Seymour

  • Minister Seymour spoke about the ECE Sector Regulatory Review, which he announced earlier in the day.
  • The Ministry for Regulation will be leading this, with support from other agencies, including Ministry of Education and Education Review Office. The Minister asked members to be candid in their feedback during the Regulatory Review.
  • There will also be a funding review, which is separate from the Regulatory Review.
  • While waiting for medium-term solutions from the Regulatory Review, members can let the Minister know about quick wins they have identified.
  • Topics that members brought up with the Minister included: 80 discretionary hours, parental involvement in funding review, retaining funding bands while illness is rampant, data around the decline in home-based provision, child and sector voice in Regulatory Review, the timeframe for consultation with the sector, the five overarching objectives from the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities, early childhood education as a public good, and different regulatory regimes affecting ECE.
  • A question was asked about ELAP’s alignment with government priorities. The Minister is currently in discussions with Ministry officials.

Workshop: ECE sector review

David Wansbrough, Ministry for Regulation

  • David introduced himself and his colleague, Kerry Lamont, Principal Advisor Engagement, to members.
  • Members discussed the review process with David, and what may be in scope of the ECE sector Regulatory Review.
  • To contact David and Kerry, email reviews@regulation.govt.nz . The Review team are happy to set up meetings and hear members’ views and answer questions. The MfR website will be up soon, and shortly after that a site for feedback and submissions on the ECE Sector Regulatory Review will be available.
  • David asked members to encourage parents to go to the website, when it’s ready, and to submit. Parents’ views can also be funneled through ECAC.
  • In groups, members wrote initial ideas regarding items they would like considered in the Regulatory Review and provided these to the Ministry for Regulation.

Wrap up

Nancy Bell

  • The discussions from the day will be compiled and used to further inform the Ministry’s work.
  • Nancy thanked members for their engagement and participation throughout the day.
  • Liza Iliffe closed with a karakia.

Actions

Deadline: Before 4 Sept ECAC hui

  • Invite Rory and Debra to present on the 2023 ELAP report at operational ECAC hui, with members’ questions collated beforehand (Kristen)
  • Invite Rory and Debra to present on the 2023 ELAP report at operational ECAC hui, with members’ questions collated beforehand (Kristen)
  • Confirm definition of ‘income’. Rory Before 4 Sept ECAC huiProvide more information breaking down unqualified teaching staff (Rory) 

No deadline

  • Consider what specific home-based service data may be useful to look at in more detail with ECAC (Rory)

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