ECAC Minutes, March 2020

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 4 March 2020, 9am to 2:10pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


Special guests

  • Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

ECAC members

  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, 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
  • Catherine Bell, 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.

Ministry of Education

  • Nancy Bell (Chair), Director, Early Learning, Early Learning and Student Achievement
  • Helen Hurst, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Keith Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations
  • Craig Jones, Deputy Secretary, Evidence, Data and Knowledge
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy, Education System Policy
  • Susan Howan, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Pamela Cohen, Group Manager, Innovation & Strategic Design, Learning Support
  • Amy Hunter (Secretariat), Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning.

Other agency presenters

  • Tracey Scott CORE Education Ltd
  • Rachel Clements CORE Education Ltd
  • Kirsten D’Silva Ministry of Health

Ministry observers

  • Dr Kirsti Rawstron, Senior Analyst, Evidence, Synthesis and Reporting
  • Chris Jamieson, Policy Analyst, ECE Policy
  • Kirsty Macdonald, Senior Policy Analyst, ECE Policy.


  • Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education
  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Donovan Clarke , Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Angus Hartley, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office.

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Nancy welcomed the group and Lee Jones opened the meeting with a karakia.

Welcome to Lee Jones (new rep for Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand) and Jenny TePunga-Jurgens (new rep for Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa).

ECAC members congratulated Hellen Puhipuhi on receiving The Queen’s Service Medal for services to the Pacific community and education.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Apologies, minutes, and actions

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated by email and confirmed.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

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

Craig Jones, Ministry of Education

ECE affordability

  • The Ministry listened to concerns raised by ECAC last year. As part of co-designing the data collection pilot, the Ministry is seeking more in-depth advice and support from the sector. Advice on the approach is sought from the Early Learning Data and Evidence Advisory Group (ELDEAG), services and member organisations, as well as engaging with student management system (SMS) vendors.
  • Information privacy is extremely important to the Ministry. We have been working closely with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (OPC). The updated Privacy Impact Assessment for the ECE fees pilot data collection is currently with OPC for final review and will be circulated once finalised.
  • To minimise the effort required by services, we estimate the time required to send the additional data to the Ministry is approximately 15 minutes per year. Testing is required to confirm the amount of effort required by services.
  • The timing of the data collection pilot is yet to be determined, but will be informed by feedback from the sector.
  • ECAC members asked for a list of variables that the data collection pilot will capture, as well as for Craig to think about how to collect data on donations consistently across the sector.

Changes for 2020 ECE Census

  • There are three main changes in the 2020 ECE Census:
    1. Staff age band – data will be collected on the approximate age of staff members to inform on the age structure of the ECE workforce.
    2. Hours worked – capturing hours worked during the census week by each staff member to inform how many of the ECE workforce work full-time (25 hours per week or more) vs. part-time.
    3. The three new Playcentre qualifications offered by Playcentre Aotearoa.
  • ECAC members suggested also capturing how many full-time/part-time staff members are relievers and how many staff members are proficient in other languages. Both of which add to the full ECE workforce picture. Craig agreed to consider these suggestions for the 2021 ECE Census.
  • The changes to 2020 ECE Census was communicated to the sector in the December 2019 edition of the Early Learning Bulletin. There are further communications scheduled for Bulletins from April to October 2020. Craig is open to receiving feedback on the ECE Census and new suggestions.

Teacher remuneration survey

  • To understand the teacher pay disparity, we will collect data on key rates of pay for particular roles (both teaching and non-teaching). The initial commission is for a one-off survey for only education and care centres and home-based services, and for service providers who operate more than 4 services.
  • Key data questions will include, but not limited to, differences in pay amongst: part-time/full-time staff, qualified/unqualified staff, certificated/non-certificated teachers, levels of experience, contract type, service types and size, impact and prevalence of collective agreements, age, gender, residency status, region etc.
  • Survey to run during April 2020 with results submitted to the Ministry in May 2020, and public release of results in June 2020.
  • ECAC members asked if playcentres and kindergartens can be added to the survey. Craig agreed to further consider these suggestions.

Update on workforce research

  • Preliminary analysis confirmed the suitability of using business databases to understand performance and changes within the ECE sector. From the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) data we were able to produce high level statistics and descriptors of the ECE workforce.
  • The Ministry’s next project will focus on the career path of ECE staff. The project timing is approximately March - May 2020.
  • ECAC asked if IDI data was able to identify relievers, as relievers can make up a significant percentage of some workforces. IDI is unable to currently identify relievers from the rest of the workforce.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Send presentation out to ECAC members Secretariat ASAP
Circulate the Privacy Impact Assessment once approved Secretariat March 2020
Consider suggestions raised during March ECAC Craig Jones As work progress
Invite Craig to present back for June ECAC Secretariat June ECAC

Early Learning Action Plan implementation

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Nancy discussed the phasing of implementation for the Early Learning Action Plan, page 38-39 of He taonga te tamaiti Every child a taonga, and invited ECAC members to discuss.

He taonga te tamaiti Every child a taonga - Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation website [PDF, 3.2MB](external link)

Discussion points included:

  • The actions that are linked to the Tomorrow’s Schools Review i.e. establishment of the Education Service Agency (ESA).
  • The review of equity and targeted funding, this will involve setting up a sector reference group.
  • Teacher supply and incentivising for 100% qualified teachers.
  • The Ministry and the Education Review Office (ERO) working together to better support services.
  • The proposed managed network approach is in the Education and Training Bill(external link) that’s currently with the Select Committee.

Nancy asked ECAC members for suggestions on how to report back on the progress of the plan. ECAC members suggested a dashboard reporting approach and were eager to provide support.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Nancy to present on the progress of actions underway Nancy Bell June ECAC
Invite Deborah Kent, Associate Deputy Secretary ELSA Workforce, to present on Teacher Supply and progress of the initiatives announced in 2019. Secretariat June ECAC

Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

Iona advised that Minister Hipkins, Minister of Education, sends his apologies.

ECAC members thanked Iona for the regular updates that the Ministry is providing the education sector.

Iona advised the lead agency is the Ministry of Health. Our advice is readily available on our webpage COVID-19. Protocols are being designed in each region, led by Regional Public Health.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Learning Support Action Plan

Susan Howan and Pamela Cohen, Ministry of Education

Susan advised the Ministry are implementing the six key priorities from the Learning Support Action Plan. Specialists in the Ministry work across both schooling and early learning.

Susan also gave an update for Priority 3 Strengthening Early Intervention and invited discussions about:

  • A reduction in waitlist times for specialist support referrals.
  • Ministry’s proactive approach by creating opportunities for families to meet specialists, group opportunities with specialists and running sessions in centres for families.
  • Oral Language and Literacy initiative (OLLi).
  • Incredible Years.
  • Three forums across New Zealand in February to induct the first tranche of Learning Support Coordinators.
  • Minister Martin, Associate Minister of Education, launched a new kete of resources to support students with dyslexia on 20 February.

ECAC members asked if the Ministry collected data on how many specialists work within existing early learning services. Some kindergartens have employed specialists to work in centres, which they have found to be useful. Employing specialist teachers in-house is a good way to increase capability within early learning services and is sometimes a direct response to difficulties accessing learning support help.

ECAC members also asked for more regular updates on strengthening early intervention in early learning services.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Regular updates on early intervention numbers and initiatives  Susan Howan As work progress

Progress and Practice Tools

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

During the consultation of the Early Learning Action Plan, the Ministry received feedback for action 4.2 that tools should:

  • support all children’s learning and development, and
  • take into account the different rates and ways that children progress, and
  • view children’s learning and development holistically (including social-emotional), and
  • be culturally responsive, and
  • be consistent and supportive of Te Whāriki, and
  • complement existing assessment practices i.e. learning stories.

Initial work will include a closed tender process using the Curriculum Support Services (CSS) panel of suppliers to form a team of experts. This team will have expertise in curriculum, formative assessment, including kaupapa Māori and Pacific contexts, as well as social-emotional learning and development.

A sector Reference Group (RG) will be established following the appointment of an expert team. The RG will provide guidance and views and expertise of kaiako, early learning services, providers and other stakeholders.

ECAC members asked if these progress and practice tools will be mandatory. Nancy advised they will be a voluntary resource and be designed with teachers to support their practice.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Healthy Active Learning initiative

Tracey Scott and Rachel Clements, CORE Education Ltd, and Kristen D’Silva, Ministry of Health

Healthy Active Learning is a Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports New Zealand joint initiative to improve food environments in early learning services, schools and kura. CORE Education is contracted by the Ministry of Health to develop toolkits to enable this initiative and to support the launch of the toolkits early July 2020.

CORE Education is currently in their explore-and-define stage of the toolkit design. CORE Education have visited early learning services and conducted interviews with a range of service types. Resources will be available in both the English medium as well as the Māori medium.
Preliminary early learning service themes:

  • Empower whānau
  • Empower kaiako
  • Empower tamariki.

The toolkit will be supporting the development of Ministry of Health’s Food and Drink Guidance for Early Learning Services.

ECAC members asked CORE Education how this will be communicated with the early learning sector and families and whether this will be reinforced by Ministry of Education in the licensing criteria. Please note, the toolkit and Ministry of Health’s Food and Drink Guidance are developed alongside the Ministry of Education’s criteria review on minimising or eliminating the risk of children choking on food in early learning services.

Ministry of Health’s guidance and tools will be used to strengthen existing Ministry of Education guidance.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate link to ECAC members on Ministry of Health’s published Food and Drink Guidance  Secretariat Late-March

Regulatory Review

Siobhan Murray and Kirsty Macdonald, Ministry of Education

The purpose of the regulatory review is to ensure the regulatory system is clear and fit-for-purpose to support high quality educational outcomes. The review will include recommendations from the Review of Home-based ECE, the Early Learning Action Plan (the Plan) and the Ministry’s review of its regulatory stewardship role.

The review will encompass legislation, regulations, licensing criteria, ECE Funding handbook, guidance and implementation. Work will be phased in three tranches over three years:

  • Tranche one targets regulatory gaps that need attention. This will include a 5 week consultation in May/June 2020. The discussion document will include draft regulations. The proposed changes are technical in nature.
  • Tranche two progresses changes signalled in both the Plan and Review of Home-based ECE. Examples of work included in tranche two are:
    • proposals for regulating for 80% qualified teachers, including aligning regulatory and funding criteria, and
    • lifting the criteria for the standard rate for home-based services, and
    • detailed policy relating to planned provision.
  • Tranche three requires more policy work and engagement with sector. Examples of work included in tranche three are:
    • Improving adult : child ratios.
    • How the regulatory system supports Treaty partnership, active support of taonga and enabling Māori authority and agency.
    • How the regulatory system should give effect to learners at the centre.
    • Evaluating the role of the Ministry and other agencies in the system to ensure high quality provision and curriculum delivery.

Engagement for tranches two and three will be two stage processes: a policy consultation document followed by consultation on the draft regulations.

ECAC members expressed they want to engage early in tranches two and three. ECAC members also requested a follow-up meeting on tranche one before consultation starts.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Organise a follow-up meeting to discuss tranche one Siobhan Murray As work progress


Other items and wrap up

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Jayne Franklin provided brief updates on work programmes from the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Lee Jones closed the meeting with a karakia.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Meeting closed 2:10pm

Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

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