ECAC minutes September 2022

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met from 9am to 3:30pm on 14 September 2022 at Te Wāhanga Atawhai Mercy Conference Centre, Wellington. 


ECAC Members

  • Kelly Seaburg, Advocates for Early Learning Excellence
  • Pauline Winter, Auckland Kindergarten Association
  • 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 Ulburg, Early Childhood Leadership Group
  • Lee Jones, Early Intervention Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa New Zealand 
  • Allanah Clark, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Geena Fagan, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Tere Gilbert, Ngā Puna Reo o Aotearoa
  • Bethany Fox, NZ Home-based Early Childhood Education Association
  • Jill Bond, NZ Kindergartens Inc.
  • Susan Bailey, NZ Playcentre Federation
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Karen Affleck, Steiner Education, Aotearoa
  • Simon Cottle, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Annie Malir, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu, NZ Correspondence School
  • Cherie Marks, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Kathy Wolfe,Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ.

Ministry of Education

  • 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
  • Simon Mandal-Johnson, Senior Manager, Education Workforce, Te Puna Ohumahi Matauranga
  • Jane Ewens, Interim Manager, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū Ministry of Education Presenters
  • Emma MacDonald, Manager, Teacher Supply
  • Laura Holton, Senior Advisor, Teacher Supply
  • Graham Bussell, Chief Policy Analyst, ECE Policy
  • Paul Scholey, Senior Policy Manager, ECE Policy
  • Felix Mussell, Manager, ECE Network Management Project
  • Sarah Strong, Manager, ECE Operational Funding
  • Ann Pairman, Principal Advisor, Early Learning
  • Michelle Unuia, Lead Advisor, Early Learning Secretariat
  • Jessica Shaw, Senior Advisor – Office of the Deputy Secretary, Te Tai Runga
  • Catherine Wright, Senior Governance Advisor – Operations, Engagement, and Improvement, Te Pae Aronui.


  • Hon. Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education
  • Iona Holsted, Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Mātauranga | Secretary for Education
  • Jayne Franklin, Teaching Council of Aotearoa
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group.

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Nancy Bell

  • Nancy welcomed the group and Jill opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Apologies were noted. Attendees introduced themselves.

Pay parity funding review

John Brooker provided an overview of the pay parity funding review.

  • Analysis has been completed of the recent education and care staffing and financial surveys from last October, and the depth and robustness of the data is not as strong as anticipated. We received responses from only around 30% of education and care services, and therefore conclusions cannot be made of the impact on all services.
  • John gave a re-cap of the proposed funding model for pay parity and also discussed the re-allocation principles as important guides for re-working existing funding.
  • Review process going forward – EAG indicated desire for an opportunity to provide input on alternative options to the Ministry’s approach. Will discuss this more with the EAG later in the month.
  • Consultation still likely before the end of the year, but later than previously signalled.

Curriculum update

Jane Ewens provided this update with guests Ann Pairman (Principal Advisor, Early Learning, Te Poutāhū) and Michelle Unuia (Lead Advisor, Early Learning).

Kōwhiti Whakapae – Ann Pairman

  • Kōwhiti Whakapae refers to tools and associated resources (teaching and learning guides and whānau guides) that are being developed to help teachers to notice, recognise and respond to children’s progress through effective teaching practices.
  • The tools and associated resources are being developed in three foundational areas: social-emotional learning (SEL), oral language and literacy (OLLit), and mathematics.
  • A trial of the draft framing and tool for SEL is complete. Draft content for OLLit tool is also complete and a whānau guide (oral language) is near completion.
  • Next steps are to work with sector to discuss conceptual issues and test ideas for iteration of content and development of IT architecture between now and June 2023.
  • Looking to re-establish a Sector Reference Group. Communications will go out through the Bulletin and curriculum newsletter to advertise further engagement opportunities.

The Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) – Michelle Unuia

  • Licensing criteria was amended in early 2022 to include the NELP in self-review and internal evaluation and subsequently, Te Mahau has begun developing resources to support the sector to have regard for the NELP.
  • Key message for the sector is that the NELP aligns with Te Whāriki. Implementing Te Whāriki will guide you to have regard for the NELP.
  • Dedicated page for Te Whāriki online is now live.
  • Intend to develop webinar to support understanding of the objectives of the NELP, including how to implement it in your early learning setting.

Te Whāriki Online – Tāhūrangi(external link)

Regulations review and network management

Paul Scholey spoke on the regulations review with guest Felix Mussell (Project Manager, Resourcing and EL Delivery).

Regulations review

Recap of Tranche 2

  • Currently pending final decisions around regulating for 80% qualified teachers and strengthening person responsible requirements.
  • Have released consultation feedback around Government priorities for network management and policy for new regulations and this is available on the MOE website.
  • New network approval regulations are in draft and subject to Government approval.

Tranche 3

  • Early scoping and planning work have begun.
  • The tranche includes several ELAP actions, including improving adult-child ratios, and developing advice on group size, centre design and environmental factors.
  • Have been looking at the early learning regulatory approach to inform our work on Tranche 3, and at wider regulatory system as a whole.

Network management

  • 3 stage engagement with Sector Advisory Group is underway and detailed processes for those applying for Network Management is intended to be available to applicants by November.
  • Application process will involve an online application form with required supporting documentation.

Kaiako advisory forum

  • Karen Walfisch said the kaiako advisory forum will be open to all kaiako and kaimahi with no maximum number.
  • Objective is to gain kaiako perspectives on strategic and operational work that impacts the sector and to build the Ministry’s understanding of kaiako experiences.
  • Expressions of interests will go out through multiple channels to gain sector involvement.
  • Plan is to launch end of September.
  • Feedback was positive with members supportive of initiative; please just ensure purpose is clearly communicated.

Early Learning Action Plan update

  • Nancy Bell advised the Ministry recently engaged with Ministers on key aspects of the ELAP as well as had discussion around network management and growing the provision of Māori-medium, kaupapa Māori and Pacific services in communities where they are needed most.
  • Regulatory approach was also discussed, and how our agencies, ERO and the Ministry were working together to ensure clear sector expectations and our ability to meet them.
  • Discussed key aspects of the Dashboard and the changes since the June update, with a strong focus on ensuring key initiatives progress as planned.

Early learning workforce: Strengths, challenges and strategic direction

  • Nancy Bell started the workshop with information on a teacher supply announcement that had just been made by Ministers.
  • Nancy provided an overview of the data held by the Ministry relating to workforce, alongside the strategic direction set by government in the ELAP.
  • Some key aspects noted were that there are more teachers in the sector than previously; around 70% of workforce are qualified; and, that population-based trends of enrolment anticipate that enrolments would maintain an upward trajectory.
  • Discussed ways to grow and develop the workforce and the importance of valuing and supporting workforce leaders as a lever for change.

Thinking about workforce

  • Anne Pattillo led this workshop, which was focussed on looking at 3 key elements of the education workforce: kaiako, leaders and supporting roles.
  • Participants were given the opportunity to discuss their key ideas for how to attract and grow teachers/kaiako in early learning settings. The key thoughts were summarised as:
    • Raising the level of percentage of qualified teachers and moving teachers-in-training more easily toward qualification.
    • Recognise distinct needs within early learning to underpin the thinking around pay and conditions and the flexibility that is available to kaiako in early learning.
    • Better balance between supply and demand.
  • Participants then discussed key thoughts and ideas for how to sustain and retain a network of leaders in ECE. The key thoughts were summarised as:
    • Sustained visibility on the distinct value and contribution of sector leaders, with funding and pay reflecting workload and responsibility.
    • Clear pathways into sustained leadership, including wrap-around support of leaders and ongoing professional development opportunities.
    • Making visible the position of leaders in the early learning sector and ensuring there is a community of learning in place across the primary and secondary sectors, as well.
  • Lastly, participants discussed key ideas for nurturing and growing the support roles in early learning. The key thoughts were summarised as:
    • Re-designing systems of recruitment to drive supply and develop networks for sharing support staff between early learning services.
    • Access to education for support workers and non-teaching expertise, such as those with cultural and language-based skills.
  • Anne gave participants the challenge to consider which three critical themes discussed today would gain the most momentum toward achieving the goals of the early learning workforce:
    • Elevating professional recognition and the value of early learning as a profession.
    • A funding model that is fit for the purpose of early learning.
    • Clear and systematic professional learning pathways, to become qualified and to support ongoing development.

Wrap up and close

  • Nancy thanked participants for their valuable contribution.
  • The meeting finished with a discussion around our ongoing operational hui and the frequency of these – do we move to monthly or remain on a fortnightly schedule? Consensus was that we keep the meetings on a fortnightly schedule but if there are no updates on a given week, the meeting will be cancelled.
  • Cathy Wilson closed the meeting with a karakia.

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