ECAC Minutes, September 2020

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 2 September 2020, 10am to 12.15pm via video conference (Zoom).


Special guests

  • Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education
  • Kari Scrimshaw, Tertiary Education Commission

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
  • Sean McKinley, Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Angus Hartley, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc
  • Susan Phua, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Jo Lambert, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation (HELO)
  • Virginia Simmonds, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa of NZ (MANZ)
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association (AKA)
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office (ERO)
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ
  • Calmar Ulberg, Early Childhood Leadership Group

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)
  • Helen Hurst, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • Keith Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)
  • John Brooker, Group Manager Funding, ECE and Budget teams, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Kirsty MacDonald, Senior Policy Analyst, ECE Policy, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy, Education System Policy (ESP)
  • Toni Janes, Senior Manager, Education Workforce, Early Learning and Student Achievement (ELSA)
  • Hannah Alderton (interim secretariat), Assistant Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning, Sector Enablement and Support (SE&S)


  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa NZ (EIAANZ)
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa of NZ (MANZ)
  • Martine Udahemuka, Senior Policy Analyst, Vocational and Skills Policy, Graduate Achievement, Vocations and Careers (GAVC)
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office (ERO)

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education; Keith Newton, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Keith opened the meeting.
  • Welcome to Hannah Alderton; Assistant Adviser ECE Regulations and Planning (Secretariat).
  • Apologies and subgroup reporting were circulated by email.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Early Learning Regulatory Review

Siobhan Murray and Kirsty MacDonald, Ministry of Education

Siobhan provided a recap of the purpose of the Regulatory Review. The review will be undertaken in three tranches to ensure high priority issues are prioritised:

  • Tranche one – targets regulatory gaps (e.g. aspects that pose a degree of risk to the H&S and wellbeing of children).
  • Tranche two – progresses regulations required by the Early Learning Action Plan and the Review of Home-based ECE.
  • Tranche three – to focus on broader policy work and engagement with the sector.

Cabinet has approved the scope of Tranche One. An eight week consultation will commence late October/early November. The consultation will include public engagement on a number of proposals outlined in the presentation.

Tranche Two is scheduled for completion by mid-2022. Tranche 3 is scheduled for completion late 2023. The Review will be publicly announced in the coming weeks. The Ministry agreed to circulate the Bulletin article to ECAC members before it is published.

A Sector Advisory Group has been convened, which includes ECAC members who expressed an interest in being involved.

ECAC members queried the timing of bringing in network planning provisions, suggesting that these should be brought forward. Katrina clarified that timing of these provisions would be something the Minister of Education in the new government post-election would likely want to consider.

ECAC members also commented that changes such as adult: child ratios would require additional funding from government to be successful.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Feedback on the Regulatory review to be submitted to  ECAC members ASAP

2019 ECE Complaints and Incidents Report (C&I)

Keith Newton and Elspeth Maxwell, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina confirmed that all information presented would need to remain confidential.
  • Keith presented a high level summary of the 2019 ECE C&I report. An embargoed copy of the full report will be circulated to ECAC members ahead of the Bulletin release on 08 September.
  • Keith reiterated that all services were encouraged to contact MoE if they needed assistance responding to an incident.
  • Jo Lambert queried whether guidance on obligations in relation to the Privacy Act would be provided particularly as smaller providers might not be aware of their mandates.
  • Katrina commented that it was positive that overall the situation had stabilised on previous years and that there was still a relatively small number of complaints given the size of the sector. It was also important to remember that a transparent complaints and incidents system is a measure of a healthy system.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Early version of Complaints and Incidents bulletin to be shared with all ECAC members in advance of bulletin publication Keith Newton Before the bulletin circulation on 08 September 2020
Bulletin and information to be published on the website Keith Newton 08 September 2020
Publish service provider Privacy Act guidance Keith Newton December 2020
Provide feedback on the 2019 ECE Complaints and Incidents Report to ECAC members 21 September 2020

ITE/Teacher Supply

Toni Janes, Ministry of Education

  • Toni presented an initial high level verbal report on the review of the ITE/Teacher Supply System as a review is currently being undertaken around the reallocation of grants to support teacher supply.
  • Toni explained that they were particularly interested in engaging with ECAC members about where the budget could be reprioritised to be of most benefit.
  • Initial comments from ECAC members were provided on budget considerations. A further workshop to discuss funding priorities will be held on 17 September 2020.
  • ECAC members agreed they were particularly worried about the Reliever pool as an increasing number of Relievers were applying for permanent positions because of concerns about their long term financial security.
  • ECAC members commented that there were particular issues arising around stress and teacher retention, including for those in training and sourcing teachers would continue to be a challenge.
  • Jo Lambert suggested a review of the discretionary funding eligibility window which will drop for 60 to 40 hours in October 2020.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Provide feedback or further commentary to ECAC members ASAP
Review of discretionary funding eligibility window Keith Newton ASAP
Toni to follow up with an additional meeting on funding priorities with ECAC members who agreed to participate during the meeting: Jo Lambert, Kathy Wolfe and Pauline Winter Toni Janes 17 September 2020
Share existing experience of self-care workshops Nicola Woollaston ASAP

Workforce Development (Reform of Vocational Education/Workforce Development Council and what this means for ECE)

Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand and Sean McKinley, Playcentre Aotearoa New Zealand

Kathy presented a summary of the impact of the Reform Bill to date.

  • The Reform Bill was introduced in Parliament in August 2019. The Education Amendment Act facilitated the establishment of WDCs on 1st April 2020.
  • All six of the WDCs are to be established by December 2020. This includes the Health, Community and Social Services WDC which includes ECE coverage.
  • The WDCs should provide skills and workforce leadership, qualification development and vocational investment. A number of impacts on ECE have been identified including the development of qualification and education products and there is a potential impact on how this fits into the Education Workforce Strategy.
  • Two ECAC members are involved in the WDC working groups: Kathy Wolfe is on the Reference Group and Sean McKinley has appointed onto the initial establishment board.
  • The draft OIC content is under development and further discussions with ECAC members are encouraged.
  • TEC will undertake statutory consultation on behalf of the Minister of Education in October.
  • The ANZIC classification has been used to define classified industries, but further consultation will be used to identify specific job titles that fall beneath this umbrella.
  • The WDC is currently establishing council for an initial 2 year appointment: between 5 and 7 of the members will be appointed by the Minister of Education and additional members can be nominated, shortlisted and appointed to the Council.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate link to WDC survey Sean McKinley ASAP
Feedback on the draft OIC ECAC members ASAP
Send invitation to subscribe to RoVE newsletter for regular information on the process Sean McKinley ASAP

Caring for Communities

Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

Iona provided a verbal presentation on the ‘Caring for Communities’ (C for C) initiative.

  • Iona commented that during the first lockdown there was an increased awareness of the needs and vulnerabilities within communities. In declaring a national state of emergency, funding was made available to support some of these welfare needs.
  • AoG (All of Government) Covid-19 response had a work stream led by Lil Anderson which established ‘Caring for Communities’. This was to ensure welfare support was available to work through established channels.
  • The initiative helped establish strong relationships with iwi and others which has helped identify that a more holistic welfare response might be required in future.
  • Iona encouraged all ECAC members to talk with regional directors about their C for C work to ensure it is clear what channels to direct queries through, should the need arise.
  • Iona reiterated that there had been a shift in attitude and that this should be an opportunity to do things better and that ‘going back to normal’ would no longer be considered acceptable for those that had not been favoured by the ‘normal’ system in the preceding decades.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate Caring for Communities contact list Helen Hurst ASAP 
Collect regional contact information on Caring for Community Groups including opportunities for one-off funding Helen Hurst ASAP

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • ECAC members agreed that monthly Zoom meetings remained useful. The next zoom meeting will be held in October.
  • Further data on attendance and enrolment in East Auckland would be of interest to members.
  • Katrina commented that MoE planning is centred on a resurgence strategy where we need to anticipate community outbreaks of Covid-19 for the next two years.
  • Katrina commented that new creative strategies needed to be implemented to address fear and to communicate the benefits of sending children to ECE services.
  • Jo commented that there was a significant welfare impact in terms of disruption and disassociation experienced through cycles of further lock downs and that people were experiencing increased challenges during this lock down cycle in Auckland.
  • Katrina commented that there was still a delay in translation services for the bulletin owing to the high pressure on the service so whilst letters were being translated, there was still a three day delay. Translation is also contingent on having the final bulletin copy.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Review dates for upcoming Zoom meeting Secretariat ASAP 
Ideas for additional bulletin entries to be submitted All ECAC members Ongoing
Submit agenda items for next meeting in October All ECAC members Ongoing

Meeting closed 12.15pm

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