ECAC minutes March 2023

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met from 9am to 3:30pm on 8 March 2023 at the Generator Bowen Campus, Wellington. 


ECAC members

  • Kelly Seaburg, 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
  • 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
  • Imogen Held, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Tere Gilbert, Ngā Puna Reo o Aotearoa
  • Bethany Fox, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Julie Craig, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Susan Bailey, NZ Playcentre Aotearoa
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Lesley Hoskin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Ann Stewart, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School
  • Cherie Marks, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ ECAC Guests.

Ministry of Education

  • Hon. Jan Tinetti, Minister of Education
  • Jo Luxton MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Education
  • Iona Holsted, Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga, Secretary for Education
  • Anna Welanyk, Hautū - Ohumahi Mātauranga, Education Workforce
  • Elena Moretti, Education Review Office
  • 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
  • Emma MacDonald, Manager, Teacher Supply, Te Puna Ohumahi Matauranga
  • Jane Ewens, Manager, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū
  • Catherine Wright, Senior Governance Advisor, Operations, Engagement, and Improvement, Te Pae Aronui (minutes).

Ministry of Education Presenters

  • Tom Dibley, National Director, Evidence Data & Knowledge, Te Pae Aronui
  • Rory Sudfelt, Senior Analyst, Evidence, Synthesis & Reporting, Te Pae Aronui
  • Oindrila Bhattacharya, Senior Analyst, Workforce and Strategic Analysis, Te Pae Aronui
  • Felix Mussell, Manager, ECE Network Management Project, Te Pae Aronui
  • Hayley Robertson, Operational Policy Consultant, ECE Network Management, Te Pae Aronui
  • Paul Scholey, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy.


  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (EIAANZ)
  • Geena Fagan, NZEI Te Riu Roa.

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy welcomed the group and Kathy Wolfe opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Minutes have been circulated; confirming an addition to December’s minutes that the Ministry invites members of ECAC to contact us for any examples of licencing inconsistencies.
  • Apologies were noted.

Annual ECE Census and ELAP Evaluation update

Tom Dibley and Rory Sudfelt

  • An update on the 2022 ECE Census was provided. There was discussion on how aspects such as birth rates, socio-economic factors and geographical developments affect the levels of participation in ECE. It was also noted that the Census was conducted during winter of 2022 and children’s attendance was likely impacted by winter illnesses and Covid-19.

Update on 2022 measurements for monitoring and evaluating the ELAP

  • Building a new measurement for adult:child ratios for 2023. This is due to feedback that the old approach only captured services who were exclusively catering to under-2-year-olds, or 2-year-olds and over.
  • Questions were taken away for the team, including age cohorts of teachers, breakdowns in the data on where unqualified teachers are up to in their training, the data of children who do not attend ECE and access and equity for ECE attendance.

Update on 2023 measurements for monitoring and evaluating the ELAP

  • There are a range of new measurements being developed by ERO and the Ministry. Feedback was given by members to not conduct surveys over winter and to ensure that these measures reflect a new post-Covid world.

Minister of Education

Hon. Jan Tinetti and Under-Secretary Jo Luxton MP

  • Members introduced themselves to the Minister and the services they represent.
  • Members discussed key concerns and gave feedback from the sector on the issues being faced, including qualified teachers’ retention and attraction, pay parity and greater funding for services, recovery from recent weather events and lifting regional response, increasing attendance in ECE and better supporting the unique functioning of Playcentre and Home-based services.

Early Learning Action Plan Update

Jane Ewens

Network Management - Felix Mussell

  • Network Approval went live on 1 February 2023; applications are already being received and are progressing in expected timeframes.
  • The Ministry has appointed a new national Early Learning Network manager, Jo George-Scott. Members are welcome to contact Jo directly with any questions around Network Management.
  • Confirmed that Network Approval does not apply to an amendment of a service’s existing licence.
    Equity Index – Siobhan Murray
  • The Review of Equity and Targeted Funding has restarted, and the Sector Reference Group met on 7 March. This work is looking at replacing equity and targeted funding with a single funding stream that will be allocated based on an equity index created from data in the integrated data infrastructure.
  • ECAC members raised that this work needs to be broader, including learning support funding, initial teacher education. Ministry commented that there are other workstreams looking at learning support.

Regulations Review – Paul Scholey

  • Two public consultations recently closed. These were related to Network Management and the definition of Home-Based services. The Ministry will be analysing feedback over coming weeks.
  • Update on the 80% Qualified and Certificated Teachers and Strengthening Person Responsible – still planning consultation on draft regulations, likely starting mid-April.

Curriculum - Jane Ewens

  • Kōwhiti Whakapae is progressing well; have begun user testing of the online site but we are needing more individual kaiako to take part in this. Have also begun creation of the maths tool; the Oral Language and Literacy (OLLit) tool is well underway; and the Teaching and Learning Guide for Literacy is being developed as well.
  • Intending to launch Social and Emotional Learning tool and Framework in September 2023 and the OLLit and Maths in June 2024. Action items Responsibility Deadline.

Workshop session: Challenges of Teacher Supply

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy introduced Anna Welanyk, Hautū - Education Workforce.
  • Anna discussed the need to understand teacher supply in a holistic way, ensuring there are appropriate feedback loops from the sector as well as ongoing work to increase teacher supply through initiatives such as the ITE Scholarships and the Overseas Relocation Grant.
  • Anna discussed questions and feedback with members and provided insight into the ongoing focus for increasing teacher supply.
  • The workshop was then run which focused on three parts:
    • agreeing the drivers and the current state of demand for qualified teachers.
    • understanding what is currently in play to increase supply of qualified teachers and what else could be considered
    • agreeing 1-3 actions to increase pool of teachers (with report back at next ECAC in June).
  • Notes from the workshop will be circulated to members.

Workshop session: Supporting Resilience

Nicola Woollaston

  • The workshop focused on supporting resilience in times of overwhelm and discussed a range of ways to build resilience in children and in the ECE sector, particularly with response to natural disasters and trauma.
  • It provided strategies and tools for supporting self-resilience and resilience in others.

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.

Meeting close

Kathy Wolfe

  • Kathy closed the meeting with a karakia.

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