Early Learning General News – February 2020

General news for the Early Learning sector for February 2020 including good news stories and opportunities.

Summer temperatures – plan to keep children comfortable

As temperatures rise it is important to ensure children and staff at your service are comfortable. Early learning services should have an action plan for dealing with increased temperatures.

When rooms are well ventilated and at a comfortable temperature, it creates a healthy learning environment for children to learn and flourish. The licensing criteria requires that rooms used by children have effective ventilation that allows fresh air to circulate. This is especially critical when young children are sleeping. Services should recognise that different ventilation and temperature control may be necessary depending on the layout and design of the service.

Along with ensuring that children in your service are comfortable, it is important that staff are able to recognise the signs and symptoms of heat related illnesses, such as heat rash, and what actions need to be taken if a child becomes ill.

Check the licencing criteria for further guidance on our website.

Licencing criteria for ECE services

If you have any concerns or questions please get in touch with your local Ministry office.

Contact details for local Ministry offices

Responding to recent Government decisions on the future of education

In November 2019, the Government announced a number of significant education changes following the release of the final report on Tomorrow’s Schools.

One of these changes involves setting up an Education Service Agency (ESA) within a redesigned Ministry of Education. The ESA will provide more front-line, responsive, and accessible local supports for principals, school boards, kōhanga reo and early learning services. It will also support learners and their whānau, and connect with local tertiary providers and wider communities.

This work will be considered and implemented in two phases.

The first phase focuses on an initial redesign of the Ministry to support the development of the ESA. This will involve identifying how to build up our internal Ministry culture and capabilities, to support the wider programme of change. That wider programme includes the other changes announced in response to the Taskforce’s review of Tomorrow’s Schools, such as the creation of independent disputes panels and developing advice on strengthening the Māori medium pathway.

The second, more substantive phase of work relating to the ESA, is outward facing and will be subject to engagement with you in the education sector. This phase covers the detailed design of the services and supports the new ESA will provide and how best to manage the transition. Here, we will be seeking your views about what services you think the ESA should provide, what you think the ESA should look like and how you think it should work. This work is in its earliest stages, so we don’t have a timeframe yet for working with you on this. We will let you know as soon as we do.

We want to get this redesign right. We also need to ensure these changes do not disrupt teaching and learning or the existing and new supports in play, such as the learning support model, Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori, and the new PLD priorities. Nor do we want the redesign to delay other important changes in the Government’s Education Work Programme, such as the NCEA changes, the strengthening of vocational education and Te Hurihanganui.

The Government has said that the system changes arising from its response to Tomorrow’s Schools, will be introduced over the next five to ten years. They are contingent on funding over three or four budgets. For all these reasons, the move to a redesigned Ministry will be gradual, as will any transfer of services or development of new functions for the ESA.

During 2020, we will regularly update you on how you can participate in shaping the Government’s Education Work Programme, including the design of the ESA and the other changes announced in November. In the meantime, the relevant Cabinet papers and other information about the November announcements can be found on the Kōrero Mātauranga website.

Tomorrow’s Schools review – Kōrero Mātauranga website(external link)

Funding and teacher certification lapses

We have recently received a number of queries regarding teacher certification lapses and whether we will continue to fund during the lapsed period.

Where a teacher’s certification lapses, they may continue to be counted as certificated on the Staff Hour Count from the date they submitted their application for certification renewal to the Teaching Council. This period must not exceed three months.

Teachers applying for the certification renewal must provide their employer/service with a copy of the completed application. Services accessing this provision must keep a copy of the completed application, which must be signed and dated by the centre supervisor or manager.

If, after three months, certification renewal has not been approved, the teacher must be counted as ‘other’ on the Staff Hour Count. Should certification renewal be declined, we will recover any associated funding.

Section 3-B-1 The link between teacher certification and funding

2018 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey results

The results of the Ministry of Education’s 2018 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey are now available on Education Counts. This annual voluntary survey for parents and educators helps the Ministry of Education improve its learning support service delivery and track progress as it makes changes to delivery.

2018 Learning Support Satisfaction Survey – Education Counts website(external link)

Key findings from the 2018 survey show respondents were most happy with the level of respect they received. Areas identified as needing the most work were around progress they were seeing in their children, and the support they received to help them prepare for the future.

From 2020, the survey will change from yearly, to four times a year.

We will be running the next Learning Support Satisfaction Survey at the start of March 2020. The survey will be emailed to caregivers and educators whose child or student either received a Ministry provided learning support service for the past 12 months, or had a learning support service end during Term 4 2019.

Any questions regarding the 2018 survey report or for assistance completing the survey please email clientsatisfaction.survey@education.govt.nz.

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