Early Learning General News – December 2019

General news for the Early Learning sector for December 2019 including the changes to declarations and new record keeping requirements for discretionary hours.

Changes to declaration wording on funding forms

We have amended the declaration wording on the funding forms, to further support early learning service providers in their compliance with the ECE Funding Handbook. There are no actual changes to the requirements for submitting funding claims or the consequences outlined in the revised declaration. Our intent is simply to provide greater transparency, and help ensure that the submitter better understands their obligations and certifies to the best of their knowledge that the information provided is true and accurate.

The new declarations will apply in time for the March 2020 payment. The following shows the current and new declaration wording.

If you have any questions please contact us at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz.

Reminder about cohort entry changes from 1 January 2020

From 1 January 2020, changes made under the Education Amendment Act 2019 will take effect so that:

  • children will still be able start school in cohorts but only after they have turned five
  • there will be two entry points per term, one on the first day of term and one at a mid-point during a term.

From 1 January 2020 children under five will no longer be able to attend school. 

If a school adopts a cohort entry policy, children over five will be able to start school on the first day of term, or at a mid-point during a term. 

Existing cohort entry policies will be automatically updated on 1 January 2020 to reflect the new legal requirements. Schools that currently have a cohort entry policy are not required to redevelop their policies. However, if a school wishes to return to a continuous entry policy, consultation with school communities is required.

Schools that do not currently have a cohort entry policy are required to consult with their wider community, including local early learning services, before they adopt a policy of cohort entry. 

Further information about cohort entry as well as the 2020 mid-term dates for cohort entry, are available on the Education website.

Cohort entry in schools

Record keeping requirements for discretionary hours extension 

A reminder of the temporary increase to the number of discretionary hours available to teacher-led centre-based services. This increase extended discretionary hours from 40 to 60 hours per funding period and became effective from 1 October 2019 until 31 May 2020. Discretionary hours are used to help maintain funding rates, where an appropriately qualified reliever cannot be found to cover certificated teacher absences.

From February 2020, services are required to submit a record of the total number of discretionary hours they have used in a funding period to the Ministry. If no hours have been used, then no submission is required. A copy of the discretionary hours report can be found in the Funding and Data page on the Education website.

Funding and data

This record must be submitted with the service’s RS7 at the end of each of the following two funding periods:

  • October 2019 to January 2020 for submission with RS7 by 10 February 2020
  • February 2020 to May 2020 for submission with RS7 by 8 June 2020.

Completed forms should be returned to ECE Operational Funding by post to PO Box 1666, Wellington or by email to ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz.

For more details on the requirements around using discretionary hours please see chapter 3-B-2 of the ECE Funding Handbook

If you have any questions please contact the ECE Operational Funding team on 0800 ECE ECE or at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz. 

2020 TeachNZ Scholarships

The second application round for the 2020 TeachNZ scholarship programme opened on the 6th December.  

Applications will close on 24th January 2020, before reopening for the third and final time on 3rd April. 

This year, TeachNZ are aiming to support 465 students on their journey into our education workforce. 

The 2020 programme is open to more people. If a candidate is planning on enrolling, or is already enrolled, in any approved early learning Initial Teacher Education programme, they are eligible for a scholarship.  

There are two ‘general’ scholarships available to all early learning courses and subjects. Two scholarships dedicated to those wishing to teach in kōhanga reo and immersion settings and the Kupe scholarship for Māori and Pacific high achievers. There are options available for school leavers through to those changing careers. 

The scholarships support a recipient by covering the cost of their fees and paying out an allowance of up to $30,000 a year. 

The first application round saw record numbers. Please help us build on these by sharing this information with any staff or other contacts who you feel could benefit from a scholarship. 

To find out more information about the scholarships available, please visit the TeachNZ website.  

TeachNZ Scholarships - TeachNZ website(external link)

If you have any questions regarding these changes, or any additional queries please email TeachNZ.Admin@education.govt.nz or call 0800 165 225.

Please see the video below about scholarship recipient stories.

Scholarship Recipient Stories - Vimeo(external link)

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