ECAC Minutes, October 2020

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 15 October 2020, 11:15am to 12.15pm via video conference (Zoom).


ECAC members

  • Jenny TePunga-Jurgens, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Shelley Hughes, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Thomas Tawhiri, Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Angus Hartley, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Erin Maloney, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Virginia Simmonds, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa of NZ (MANZ)
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office (ERO)
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Calmar Ulberg, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Prisca MacDonald, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (attending on behalf of Jayne Franklin)
  • Penelope Janes, Barnardos New Zealand (attending on behalf of Jo Lambert)
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa NZ (EIAANZ)

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)
  • Keith Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • David Wales, National Director Learning Support Delivery, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Andrew Webber, Chief Economist, Evidence, Data and Knowledge
  • Mark Takayesu, Principal Analyst, Evidence, Synthesis and Reporting, Evidence, Data and Knowledge
  • Debra Taylor, Manager, Evidence, Synthesis and Reporting’ Evidence, Data and Knowledge
  • Tracey Morton, Manager, Application Delivery – Student Systems, Business Enablement and Support
  • Hannah Alderton (interim secretariat), Assistant Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)


  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ
  • Jo Lambert, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Mary Romanos, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa NZ (EIAANZ)
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc
  • John Brooker, Group Manager Funding, ECE and Budget teams, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Helen Hurst, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education; Siobhan Murray, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Siobhan opened the meeting.
  • Welcome to Erin Maloney, who replaces Susan Phua, President of NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association.
  • Welcome to Thomas Tawhiri, acting General Manager for Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand. Sean McKinley has stepped down from the role due to health reasons.
  • Welcome to Prisca MacDonald, attending on behalf of Jayne Franklin (Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand).
  • Welcome to Penelope Janes, attending on behalf of Jo Lambert (Barnardos New Zealand).
  • Apologies and subgroup reporting were circulated by email.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

EDK Attendance data: update

Andrew Webber, Ministry of Education.

Andrew provided an update on EDK participation data (for Auckland only) available on the Early Learning Information System, as of early October 2020:

  • Andrew commented that participation returned to 2019 levels in Level 1 following the national lockdown.
  • It is noted that trends between 2019 and 2020 diverged again when Auckland went back into Alert Level 3 in August, causing a sharp decline in participation.
  • Over Level 2 (with additional restrictions) following the Auckland lockdown, participation of Auckland children was down somewhat compared to 2019 levels, although this was much higher than the previous Level 2 following the national lockdown.
  • It is noted that the participation amongst 3- and 4-year olds in the most disadvantaged locations has been the most affected by the impact of Alert level changes.
  • Katrina commented that the establishment of ‘Caring for Communities’ had been instrumental in providing support to the most disproportionately affected groups.
  • Katrina commented that it was not possible to monitor the impact of every specific initiative, but agencies were working with individual priority families to provide the support they needed.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Further information to be provided on the work of agencies and the impact of attendance initiatives as more information becomes available. Katrina Casey Ongoing
Present further update on EDK participation data Andrew Webber December - TBC

ECE New Metric

Mark Takayesu and Debra Taylor, Ministry of Education.

Mark reported on the modification of the ECE Attendance Metric:

  • ELI data for the prior week’s attendance has been reported weekly since May.
  • Current ECE Attendance Data reports on the proportion of enrolled students attending each day based on the June 2019 ECE Census.
  • The New Metric is based on the number of children expected to attend ECE services, using data from ELI. This takes into consideration the fact that not all children enrolled in an ECE service will attend every day.
  • The impact of the New Metric is that attendance figures have increased.
  • Reports reflecting the New Metric will be available from 22nd October.
  • ECAC Members supported the new approach.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

The Urgent Response Fund: Update

David Wales, Ministry of Education.

David presented an update on the Urgent Response Fund. This is a $50million Fund, designed to help support attendance, to re-engage children in learning, and to improve children’s wellbeing.

  • The fund has been allocated proportionally across the regions according to the Equity Index.
  • To date, approximately one third of the total fund has been allocated. Approximately $1.7million has been distributed across 257 early learning services.
  • David explained that to date, applications have been distributed across the following categories: 19% to support attendance, 26% to support re-engagement in learning, and 55% to contribute to children’s wellbeing.
  • As of the presentation date, 1,479 URF applications have been processed.
  • Applications have been declined because: they did not meet the application criteria, duplicate applications have been submitted, or insufficient information has been provided by the early learning service.
  • Katrina commented that where the early learning service does not meet the application criteria, but still requires further support, they should contact their local education office for assistance.
  • David confirmed that the URF is a one-off funding initiative. However, regions are being encouraged to hold back money for the first term of 2021 to fund applications before the close date.
 Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline 
 Provide further breakdown on the types of services accessing the fund.  David Wales  ASAP
 Bulletin to be issued reminding services that the fund is still operational, and they should contact their local service if they need further financial assistance.  David Wales ASAP 

Early Learning Sustainability Fund: Update

Keith Newton, Ministry of Education.

Keith presented an update on the Early Learning Sustainability Fund:

  • To date there has been a very low number of applications (5 applications). These are currently being reviewed by the panel before the service is notified about the outcome.
  • There have been 220 views of the information webpage.
  • Early Learning Services are encouraged to apply, or contact the dedicated mailbox ( with any queries about the application process or their eligibility to apply.

Keith reminded the group that the deadline for ECE operational funding is this week.

  • To date approximately 97% of early learning services have submitted their audited accounts; however, a number of services are yet to submit this information, despite attempts by the Ministry to contact them.
  • The audited financial statements are required to receive advance funding from the Ministry of Education.
 Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline 
Bulletin to be issued reminding services of the fund and the dedicated mailbox for enquiries Keith Newton 20/10/2020
MoE will continue to attempt to make contact to support those services that have not submitted their audited financial statements. Keith Newton ASAP

Early Intervention Evaluation: Update

David Wales, Ministry of Education.

David provided a brief update on the Early Intervention Evaluation:

  • The Ministry has commissioned Litmus to evaluate the Early Intervention Initiative from 2019.
  • The evaluation from this will be used to inform an outcome evaluation for next year to determine whether current resourcing has been adequate.
  • Four EIS Evaluation regions have been selected for the review to represent urban and rural locations. Two centres will be evaluated in each region.
  • The regions are: Tai tokerau, Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland), Tairawhiti/ Hawkes Bay and Otago/ Southland
  • Litmus is currently engaging with the regions. The report will be published in 2023.
  • Katrina confirmed that the services being evaluated were not just Kāhui Ako.
  • ECAC members commented that the reporting time was quite long for children already in the system.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

New Education Sector Login

Tracey Morton, Ministry for Education.

Tracey provided a brief overview of the New Education Sector login:

  • The Education Sector Login (ESL) service went live in 2018. This is an electronic system accessed by a Delegated Authoriser who controls which users have access to which applications on their organisations’ behalf.
  • The proposal is to now extend this to the Early Childhood Sector.
  • This coincides with several other applications aimed at the Early Learning Sector which will be coming online and will require users to have an ESL account.
  • The main benefit is that it will reduce the administrative burden, and better streamlines the access process.
  • ECAC members endorsed the proposals commenting that they would support a system that would improve Early Learning Service efficiency.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide a brief summary of proposals to ECAC members. Tracey Morton  ASAP

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education.

  • Cathy Wilson commented on the Teacher Supply challenges that are currently being experienced, which have been exacerbated by border closures.
  • Agreed that the next ECAC meeting will be the scheduled face to face meeting, on 02 December.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Issue information on Teacher Supply Initiatives. 

 Katrina Casey

Ideas for additional bulletin entries to be submitted. All ECAC members Ongoing
Submit agenda items for next meeting in December. All ECAC members Ongoing

Meeting closed 12.15pm

Learn more

If you’re an ECE service and want to know more about the Early Childhood Advisory Committee, contact the organisation that represents you or email

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