ECAC Minutes, March 2022

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 2 March 2022, 10:00am to 2:30pm online through Teams.

Attendees

 ECAC members

  • Michelle Pratt, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Heather Taylor, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Fiona Hughes, BestStart
  • Jenny Te Punga-Jurgens, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Simon Laube, Early Childhood Council
  • Calmar Ulberg, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand (MANZ)
  • Allanah Clark, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Zane McCarthy, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Stephanie Mills, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Erin Maloney, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Susan Bailey, NZ Playcentre Federation
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Annie Malir, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School
  • Cherie Marks, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Emily Dakin, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ

Ministry of Education

  • Nancy Bell, Hautū, Te Mahau, Te Tai Runga (South) (Chair)
  • Karen Walfisch, Associate Deputy Secretary, Resourcing and Early Learning Delivery
  • Elspeth Maxwell, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations
  • John Brooker, Group Manager, Education System Policy
  • Sarah Strong, Manager, ECE Funding
  • Catherine Wright, Administrator, ECE (Secretariat)

Apologies

  • Kelly Seaburg, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy welcomed the group and opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Minutes have been circulated. No feedback to note.
  • Apologies were noted.

Te Mahau Update

Nancy Bell

Guests: Isabel Evans, Hautū Te Tai Raro, Jocelyn Mikaere, Hautū Te Tai Whenua, Anna Welanyk, Hautū Te Puna Ohumai Mātauranga & Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Hautū Te Poutāhū.

Hautū Intro

  • Nancy gave a brief introduction on the establishment of Te Mahau and then welcomed Hautū Jocelyn, Anna, Isabel and Ellen who introduced themselves and talked about their roles and groups they led.
  • Each ECAC member introduced themselves.
  • Nancy congratulated Stephanie Mills on her appointment as National Secretary NZEI Te Rui Roa

How we (Te Mahau and Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga) work together

  • Nancy gave an overarching explanation of how Te Mahau and Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga are working together to create a connected view of the Early Learning sector, the needs and aspirations of sector leaders, as well as looking into creating solutions at a local level. This will be discussed further at future ECACs.

Discussion about local engagement and feedback loops

  • This topic wasn’t covered in this session due to time constraints.

Pay Parity Funding Review

John Brooker

John provided an overview of the Pay Parity funding review;

  • The Minster agreed to the purpose of the review: to identify and implement a preferred approach to match funding for education and care services to their certificated teacher salary costs.
  • The scope of review covers multiple areas, including possible changes to the system to better match funding with salary costs and associated impacts, costs of moving teachers to kindergarten the pay scale, consideration of existing funding, sustainability, and implementation.
  • Note that the scope also includes pay parity for co-ordinators in home-based services.
  • An expert advisory group has been formed which meets monthly, to provide insights and critiques of the proposals and analysis. We will continue to keep ECAC informed on how this work is progressing on a regular basis.
  • Public consultation is likely to happen in mid-2022.
  • An overview of the timeline of the Review between now and December was provided.
  • The Financial Survey was distributed on 2 March 2022 and will collect specific revenue and expense data, with certificated teacher salary costs being a particular focus. Data collected will help to re-shape the funding system to deliver pay parity in early learning.
  • The Ministry acknowledges that some of the data is commercially sensitive and is committed to safeguarding the information received and using it only to inform the review. This includes anonymising the data.
  • The survey will be sent directly from MOE and ECAC members are encouraged to engage their services with regular reminders, to ensure best possible response rate.
  • John also gave overview of the different Early Learning resourcing streams across Government and the work across this.

Minister of Education

Hon. Chris Hipkins - Minister of Education

Guest: Iona Holsted, Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga | Secretary for Education

  • Minister Hipkins began by acknowledging the global pandemic and the ongoing and changing response to Covid-19, including the effect on schools, early learning services, communities, and whānau. He thanked the members of ECAC for all of their resilience and leadership during this difficult time.
  • The Minister advised that, upon receiving public health advice, a decision has been made not to require masks in an early learning setting. This is because it is harder to engage effectively with young children while wearing a mask. This age group is still learning to read social cues, and it helps them to feel safe and secure with adults.
  • He noted the close contact exemption scheme should only be used as a last resort where all teachers and staff are required to isolate and there isn’t a suitable person who can supervise children who need to be onsite.
  • In terms of the broader Covid-19 response, there is uncertainty about how long the peak will last but our vaccination rates put us in an advantageous position.
  • The Minister confirmed the vaccine mandates will only remain in place for as long as they are justified on public health grounds.
  • He noted that work continues on the ELAP., though some areas have been delayed or re-prioritised, due to Covid-19.
  • The Minister then answered a range of questions from members on aspects of the Covid-19 response and the ELAP.

Future ECAC Meetings

  • Kathy and Jill initiated a conversation on behalf of ECAC members, on how ECAC might look in the future.
  • A sub-group of ECAC recently came together to discuss three questions that the Secretary of Education invited them to answer. These were:
    • The future role, function and membership of ECAC
    • Critical success factors of a well-performing sector and Te Mahau
    • The priorities we want to work on together.
  • Part of this discussion was Iona’s expectation for establishing a starting point for working together, establishing connections and trust in our relationships across ECAC, the Sector and Te Mahau, both regionally and nationally.
  • It was suggested that a workshop could be a collaborative space to allow for deeper strategic discussions between ECAC and the Ministry, around the ELAP, its initiatives and any issues.
  • Te Mahau has a focus on local and regional voice, and we are building on what is happening in local areas to engage with early learning providers. We see ECAC as a national body where members can provide national perspectives on behalf of your various memberships. This results in engagement with the wider Hautū.
  • Members were invited to give their feedback on the questions posed prior to the meeting, which will be synthesised into a paper for ECAC members on what ECAC might look like in the future.

Early Childhood Regulatory Review

John Brooker

Guest: Andy Jackson, Hautū Te Puna Kaupapahere

  • Andy gave an introduction and an overview of his role within Te Tāhuhu. Andy recognised the significance of early childhood education and the foundation that is provided for children’s future learning and development. Andy discussed the importance of working relationships between Policy and the education sector and looks forward to engaging with ECAC.
  • The Regulatory Review has been split into three tranches. John began with an update on the Tranche 2 work since consultation in late 2021 on the 80% qualified teachers and person responsible requirements, and also home-based qualifications.
  • The main findings were that the limited teacher supply is a significant barrier to people meeting the 80% requirements and this has been heightened by Covid.
  • Person responsible (PR) proposals were generally well supported. Some clarification was requested on the language used to describe the PR role.
  • We will be going back to the Minister shortly with the consultation feedback.
  • We also consulted on the home-based care qualifications and this report was recently published on the Kōrero Mātauranga website. Key feedback was that the Covid-19 lockdowns have affected educators’ ability to complete an approved qualification in time for the 1 January 2022 commencement date. In response to this, Cabinet have agreed to delay the commencement date to 1 June 2022.
  • The other feedback was that the weekly headcount approach to calculating the percentage of qualified teachers was that it is inflexible and does not allow for absences, so Cabinet have agreed to shift this to a monthly approach.

Network Management Update

  • We consulted on this last year which resulted in changes to the Act and legislative provisions were introduced to the House as a Supplementary Order Paper (SOP) in late 2021. The submissions for this Paper closed on 18 February 2022, and these are now being considered. The next step is for the Ministry to prepare a departmental report for the Education and Workforce Select Committee by March.
  • We will have more answers once the Committee reports the Bill back to the House, which will likely be early May. We acknowledge the need for clarity in this area and we will be able to comment more in due course.
  • There was a question around data collection with regards to community needs, and whether there is a plan for this. We will include this feedback into the process design and implementation plan and can update once we reach this stage of the project.
  • There was a question on whether discretionary hours can be pooled, as opposed to being specific to each licence. John will take this back to the team for consideration.
  • There was discussion on if there is a need for a subsequent conversation on funding, to identify supports and challenges around funding in the context of Covid. This could be incorporated into a weekly ECAC hui.
  • Members are welcome to reach out to John directly with questions or queries.

Gazetting Te Whāriki

Jane Ewens, Acting Manager Early Learning Curriculum and Paul Whiting, Lead Adviser Curriculum

  • The purpose is to gazette the full curriculum framework, making the principles, strands, goals, and learning outcomes part of the prescribed curriculum framework through the New Zealand gazette; the current legal framework has only the principles and strands.
  • We are proposing a draft gazette notice and we also plan to include a te ao Māori interpretation of the goals and learning outcomes of Te Whāriki. The current legal framework has some translations of the te ao Māori statements of the principles and strands, so we are looking to provide an improved reinterpretation of a te ao Māori worldview of what those principles and strands are.
  • Gazetting the full framework will mean there will become a requirement to use the full framework within services’ programmes to meet regulated standards. As this is already the case for most services, there will be little to no change for many.
  • Over time, this will formally become part of ERO assurance reviews.
  • Consultation is planned for the second quarter of 2022, and it will involve about 6 - 7 weeks of public consultation.
  • We will have a draft curriculum framework for people to review and provide feedback on, as well as a consultation document. We’ll have an online survey in both English and Te Reo Māori and we are looking to hold some online hui with ECE services.
  • We will also be updating the guidance associated with the relevant licencing criteria so that services have support in making the adjustments needed to meet the new requirements.
  • Jane is happy to meet with individual members to talk through any concerns or questions they may have. Jane can be contacted at jane.ewens@education.govt.nz.

ELAP Dashboard Update

Nancy Bell

Guest: Simon Mandal-Johnson, Senior Manager Ohumahi Mātauranga

  • The ELAP dashboard was circulated before the meeting.
  • There was a discussion on the progresses made over the first quarter of 2022 which have been mentioned as part of agenda items earlier in the meeting.
  • There was an opportunity for questions; none raised.

Simon Mandal-Johnson on Teacher Supply

  • Simon acknowledged that every centre is dealing with Omicron which is providing many challenges.
  • The Boarder Exemption Scheme is underway. We currently have around 100 applications approved for ECE centres and there are 29 people in NZ under the scheme.
  • In total, we’ve used around 200 out of the 300 places in the scheme across both sectors. A reminder that any centre is eligible to utilise the scheme, providing they can prove they are unable to meet recruitment needs from any local source.
  • We are currently having conversations with MBIE and Ministers about what we will do once the borders are back to ‘normal.’ We are actively working on how we can recruit from overseas and are currently developing proposals for these processes.
  • A reminder that there are a range of initiatives in place to encourage people back into the profession, including scholarships for training, etc. We are happy to consult with individual centres on this; please get in touch with Simon to discuss this more.
  • A Teacher Supply Reference Group has been formed and met in late 2021 to discuss various topics, including practical ideas about registering overseas teachers. This will regain momentum soon and Simon will be in touch about this. An invite will be available to anyone who wishes to join – please get in touch with Simon at Simon.MandalJohnson@education.govt.nz.
  • Feedback was that the work is appreciated.

Other items and wrap up

Nancy Bell

  • Pauline described case numbers and the international reports of developmental impacts on tamariki in light of the pandemic. Pauline requested a future agenda item on where this issue fits into our wider response. We will consider how this can fit into a future ECAC meeting when more information and material is available.
  • Nancy closed the meeting with a karakia.
Action items Responsibility Deadline
Provide summary of MOE’s privacy approach for handling data received. John Brooker 25 March 2022
Circulate Review of Childcare Assistance Map and presentation slides. Catherine Wright With minutes
MOE to provide a paper setting out what ECAC might look like going forward. Kayne Good 25 March 2022

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