Early Learning Regional News - 17 November 2020

Regional News / General News / Other News updates from the Directors of Education for Ministry of Education regions.

Tai Tokerau Regional News

Kia ora koutou katoa,

Opening of Tikipunga High School’s new whare wananga “Tauira”

Whangārei Mayor Sheryl Mai and Alec Soloman

The opening of “Tauira” represents a celebration of cultural identity. We have the duty, honour and privilege to be kaitiaki of our language, culture and world view. This whare is a commitment to this kaupapa.

The new whare wananga “Tauira” was officially opened by Kaumatua and attended by past/present staff and board members, students, whanau and dignitaries on Friday, 25 September 2020 at 4.30am.

The Principal of Tikipunga High School, Alec Soloman has shared his gratitude to all attendees for making the morning so special and acknowledges the Kahui Taumata, whanau from Pehiāweri and Ngāraratunua, and the kaumatua and kuia who guided them on the journey of opening the new whare. Tauira “Ko Tauira tōku whare e tu nei”

Education and Training Act 2020

The Education and Training Act 2020 came into effect on 1 August 2020. It incorporates and replaces the Education Acts 1964 and 1989 and implements changes from the Education Work Programme.

Further information about the Education and Training Act 2020 can be found on our website.

The Education and Training Act 2020: Information for principals and teachers

Key licencing dates

As a reminder, please see below for the deadlines for submitting applications for new services to the Tai Tokerau office.

To licence or amend a serviceDeadline for completed applications to the Ministry
To licence a new service by the end of January 2021 Friday 11 December 2020
To amend a licence prior to 11 January 2020 Monday 14 December 2020

Ngā mihi nui

Hira Gage
Director of Education Tai Tokerau
Phone: 09 436 8914
Email: hira.gage@education.govt.nz

Auckland Regional News

Tēnā koutou

New Cook Island Early Learning Centre

The new Cook Island Development Agency of New Zealand Early Learning Centre is located on the Mangere Kirkbride Reserve site and will be open for 60 children and the community gardens on site will be an integral part of the curriculum.

The blessing of site was completed in February of this year and is scheduled to open in term one 2021.

Architects impression:

Isabel Evans
Director of Education Auckland
Phone: 09 632 9333
Email: isabel.evans@education.govt.nz

Waikato Regional News

Tenā koutou e te whānau

After two months in the role, I have gained a strong insight into how effective we can all be as a regional office in supporting our sector. That insight has helped me fully appreciate the depth of skill and knowledge we must share efficiently with each other and awhi the mahi that goes on daily in our ECE’s, Kōhanga Reo and Playcentres. He waka eke noa, we are all in this together, is the whakatauki that captures the kaupapa of what our sense of belonging to the education system is grounded in.

Within our regional office we are re-setting our Waikato Business Plan and capturing the voice of all our kaimahi to inform our shared vision to always support everyone. Learners with their whānau are at the centre of our vision and our focus is clear in navigating through the change processes that are coming to us all. Your support is valued and acknowledged daily through the positive, open and high trust you place in our people to support you all.

I look forward to the upcoming announcements from our Minister of Education, where he will outline the education work programme and ensure that together, our navigation will align with and support our shared goals.

Mauri Ora

Shane Ngātai
Director of Education (Waikato) and proud of it

Reminder dates

With the end of the year fast approaching we advise the following timelines:

To license or certificate a new service  The deadline for completed applications
By the end of January 2021    Monday 9 December 2020
To amend a licence                                 The deadline for completed applications
Prior to 10 January 2021     Monday 9 December 2020

The Ministry of Education must take all reasonably practicable steps to decide on a licensing application for a new service within 30 working days of receiving a complete application. A ‘complete application’ means that all documents to support the application, as listed on the application form, have been submitted. Applications need to be submitted at least 30 working days prior to the date you wish it to take effect from. The closure period for the Ministry of Education is not counted towards ‘working days’.

Please remember that a completed application is required (i.e. containing all required documents) before we can confirm a visit date.

If your early learning service, Kōhanga Reo or playgroup has a story of success or celebration that you would like to share with the wider Waikato region please email it through to linda.baxendine@education.govt.nz. We are always happy to receive contributions.

Shane Ngātai
Director of Education Waikato
Phone: 07 858 0124
Email: Shane.Ngātai@education.govt.nz

Bay of Plenty - Waiariki Regional News

Kia Ora and Talofa lava

Our thoughts have been with our colleagues in the Hawke’s Bay, particularly Napier where the severe weather event caused considerable flooding last week. These weather events and other emergency type situations certainly demonstrate the need for everyone to have good disaster and emergency planning in place. A good place to start a review of your emergency planning is our website.

Preparing for emergencies, traumatic incidents, evacuations and lockdowns

There is a quick check list you can use to review your current plans and the emergency planning guidance which has been updated this year provides greater detail to support your planning. The website also links to Civil Defence materials and resources such as What’s the Plan Stan.

Emergency planning checklist
Planning and preparing for emergencies [PDF, 1.31MB]

Tai o Fenua Kindergarten Opening

We recently licensed a new service in Tauranga at Gate Pa, Tai o Fenua (formerly Gate Pa Kindergarten). The governing body, Inspired Kindergartens said that “Tai o Fenua is a unique kindergarten where Pacific languages, culture and identity are nurtured and celebrated and where everyone is welcome. The kindergarten has been established in partnership between Inspired Kindergartens and the Pacific Island Community Trust after listening to the needs of the local community. The Kindergarten was honoured by the local Tuvalu community with the name Tai o Fenua which translated means Sea of Islands and for our kindergarten community means we find strength through being united by the greatness of the Pacific Ocean”.


"Our Pacific community is growing in Tauranga. We're a diverse community, and so we have differing needs and aspirations. Tai o Fenua is proud to offer a place not only for children, but a place for the whole family, where together, we can support each other, and find a sense of connection to each other and the wider community” says Head Teacher Roxy Burt. “We are really looking forward to finding ways to weave traditional cultural values and practices into our everyday learning curriculum so that our children feel proud of who they are and where they come from. Not to mention we are really pleased to be re-opening a kindergarten that has been in our local Gate Pa community for over 40 years.”

Kia orana, Mālō e lelei, Talofa lava, Bula Vinaka, Mauri, Mālō nī, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Nau mai and welcome to Tai o Fenua Kindergarten.

Urgent Response Fund (URF)

The Urgent Response Fund is about responding to the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on children and young people. Early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo can apply for funds to help address attendance issues, re-engagement in learning and wellbeing for children and young people following the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Regional Advisory Panel (RAP) is working with the Director of Education, to identify priority needs in each region.

Bay of Plenty - Waiariki priorities for the Regional Advisory Panel:

  • Longstanding areas of high non-attendance
  • Lower decile areas
  • Maori and Pacific student attendance
  • Engagement with Iwi and or community providers
  • Collaboration with others across the community

The RAP decides with the Director of Education how the local allocation of the $4.4 million fund is best distributed, to make a difference to attendance and re-engagement in learning for children and young people.

The fund can be used for responses to attendance, re-engagement and related wellbeing needs for:

  • individual learners
  • a group or groups of learners
  • an entire early learning service, or kōhanga reo
  • a cluster of early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo.

URF application dates

  • 2020 applications close on Monday 30th November 2020
  • 2021 applications accepted as of 11th January 2021, (however the Regional Advisory Panel will not be processing applications until February 2021).

If you have any further queries regarding Urgent Response Fund or need support for an application please contact our Manager Education (Early Learning): Nancy Macfarlane nancy.macfarlane@education.govt.nz or see our website for more information about the fund.

Urgent Response Fund

Early Learning Regulatory Review

The Ministry of Education has begun a comprehensive review of the early learning regulatory system. The Review’s purpose is to ensure that the regulatory system is clear and fit for purpose to support high quality educational outcomes for our youngest learners. The Review will be completed in three tranches. The Ministry of Education will be consulting on the first tranche of the Review from November 2020. The main aim of tranche one is to address some of the gaps in our current system including those that pose a risk to children’s health, safety and wellbeing. The proposals would most impact new early learning services, service providers that have a change in circumstance and services that have compliance issues. Areas that require more work will be in later tranches. This will include addressing several commitments in the Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 and Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education.

I would encourage leaders, teachers and support staff of services, centres and kohanga to engage in the Early Learning Regulatory Review. If you would like assistance on how to go about this, please do not hesitate to contact an Education Advisor or see our website for more information.

Early Learning Regulatory Review

Christmas and New Year Office Dates

Our regional offices in Rotorua, Tauranga, Whakatane and Taupo will close on Thursday 24 December. The regional offices will re-open on Tuesday 5th January. Some ECE Education Advisors will be back on board from this date to continue to support the needs of the sector. Please be mindful of the key dates for licensing and applications as mentioned below.

Key dates for licensing over Christmas and New Year

Christmas is fast approaching. If you require any new service to be licensed or any amendments to licences over this time, please follow the guidelines below:

To license a new serviceDeadline for completed applications
By the end of January 2021 Friday 11 December
To amend a licence        Deadline for completed applications
Prior to 10 January 2021 Monday 7 December

Please note that our Education Advisors will endeavour to be responsive to the needs and requirements of the sector however, they are booked well in advance for licensing visits. At this time of year there is limited room in calendars to attend to non-urgent or unscheduled requests, except for incidents or complaints. Please plan your requests in advance with Advisors and ensure that you have all documentation completed.

If you have any further queries about any licensing requirements, please contact our Education Advisors:

If there is anything you’d like to discuss with me feel free to contact me on 07 349 8309 or email me at ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz. Otherwise you can contact Nancy Macfarlane her contact details are nancy.macfarlane@education.govt.nz and her mobile phone number is 027 207 4121.

Ia manuia

Ezra Schuster
Director of Education Bay of Plenty – Waiariki
Phone: 07 349 8309
Mobile: 027 296 8196
Email: ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz

Hawke's Bay - Tairāwhiti Regional News

Tēnā koutou katoa

On Monday 9 / Tuesday 10 November, schools and early learning services in Napier had to deal with a significant weather event, which saw a majority of them close for at least two days. I want to acknowledge the leadership across our sector for their ability to respond in a crisis. The communication across schools, early learning and with the Ministry of Education was excellent, which provides our community with certainty and a sense of calm amongst the chaos.

For some schools and early learning services there was a lot of work to do to get back up and running for our children, young people and whānau. Thank you for pulling together and getting on with the māhi. Please do not hesitate to continue contacting us for support.

If you know of any whānau/families who need support, please contact Civil Defence on 0800 422 923.

Emergency Closure and Emergency Funding Applications

After last week’s Civil Defence Emergency situation in Napier we would like to take the opportunity to remind you to inform the Ministry of Education (The Ministry) as soon as possible if you are not operating due to an emergency or unforeseen circumstance.

There are numerous reasons why you may need to close; for example:

  • Civil emergency such as flooding, earthquake damage
  • Police emergency when closure has been required
  • When closure is required by The Medical Officer of Health e.g. communicable disease outbreak
  • Situation/incident at the service e.g. power outage, water issues
  • Traumatic incident e.g. serious accident or incident involving injury or loss of someone closely connected to the service

The above situations are likely to be eligible for emergency funding. Please contact your education adviser for further information. If you are unsure of who your adviser is phone (06) 833 6730 or email, enquiries.napier@education.govt.nz with your question.

In the case of a civil or Police emergency, communication with the sector may be managed through the Mataara App. This is a text message sent to the emergency contact person listed for your service. It is important that you respond to any Mataara notification as soon as possible. This ensures that we can respond, if necessary, to your situation. If you are unsure who is listed as your emergency contact or you wish to change the person, contact your adviser or email, enquiries.napier@education.govt.nz.

There may be other circumstances where you choose to close, such as teacher only days or a community event. These occasions are not eligible for emergency funding, so you are not required to inform The Ministry.

ERO’s Approach to Review and Evaluation in centre-based early learning services

The new framework is called Ngā Ara Whai Hua : Quality Framework for Evaluation and Improvement in Early Childhood Services. You can read more about their approach to reviewing centre-based services this on the ERO website.

High quality early childhood education matters - ERO website(external link)

New ERO Documents

ERO has asked that we let services in our region know that if they haven’t received all of the documents listed below that you can email the following address to request copies be sent info@ero.govt.nz. We have heard that some services have not received any of the documents and some services have not received all of them.

  • Te Ara Poutama – indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most
  • Akarangi – Quality Evaluation Judgement rubic
  • Ngā Rāpupuku Indicators Poster

You can look at all resources connected to the above documents on the ERO website.

Te Ara Poutama - indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most - ERO website(external link)

Urgent Response Fund

The Panel and the Ministry of Education have decided on the following final dates for applications to be considered for:

  • applications closed for the remainder of Term 4 on Friday, November 13th.
  • applications for support to begin at the beginning of Term 1, 2021 closes on Monday, November 30th.
  • applications for support after the start of February will be considered on a monthly basis from mid-February.

Some important logistical reminders about the application process:

Due to a problem in the online survey, some applications appear to go missing in the system. This is due to mechanical issues, such as not pressing submit on the second page (and other minor issues). We also do not get notice if your application has not been received. If you have not heard from someone in the Regional Ministry office please make contact with your Education Advisor, and we will ensure your application is considered as soon as possible.

The following are reminders of what the URF can NOT be used for:

  • Reimbursement of costs already committed
  • Capital items (this includes one off resources of $1000 or more that have a depreciation value, or a set of attractive items that add up to $1000 or more e.g., IT equipment, furniture, set-up of a new classroom, text books, software). If in doubt, please ask by ringing your Education Advisor
  • Fees
  • Welfare resources e.g., food, clothing
  • Staff professional development
  • Trips
  • Cleaning
  • Devices
  • Business as usual costs.

Examples supporting student engagement and attendance through building powerful connections with whānau and families.

Kahui Ako

To connect Maori students & Whānau with an indigenised approach to managing wellbeing through a series of Wananga. We aim to raise mental wellbeing and increase knowledge of Te Ao Māori across our community of schools. We are partnering with Māori independent agencies to create new opportunities for whānau, staff and students to enhance their own mana and wellbeing through engaging in wānanga around traditional knowledge in a movement context & Atua Māori context. A series of school based wananga, after school workshops and weekend workshops are targeted at students whose attendance had been negatively affected during the COVID-19 crisis.

Early Learning Service

Resourcing a playgroup for parents to attend alongside their babies, as a way to improve attendance and rebuild trust, and connection between teachers, children and whānau. These playgroups have a strong focus on hauora and relationships - attachment, bonding, gentle touch through baby massage (using kawakawa balm and weleda products), rongoa - herbal foot baths, and parenting workshops, etc. The playgroup sessions are designed for the most at-risk and vulnerable families, whilst being an open invitation to the local community.


Funding to implement a Māori action plan due to issues exacerbated by COVID-19. Actions include; bringing in inspirational Māori role models to share stories of their journey to success, whānau connectivity and establishing a Dad's club at kura. By having our own Dad's club, we can tap into the resourcing that Dads have e.g., how to prepare a hangi, how to change a tyre, how to tie a tie – whilst ensuring students are at school with them and engaging with learning.

Secondary School

Due to COVID-19, consistent attendance is a challenge for our Pasifika students due to the distance they live from school, cost of public buses and parents work or need for them to be at home. We are utilising URF to liaise with whānau and align in a culturally responsive manner to ensure the students; are at school for examinations, reassessments, whānau and akōnga anxieties and needs are met, connect whānau with the school, liaise with employers, drive the school vans to pick up students and return them home during the day.

Ngā manaakitanga

Daniel Murfitt
Director of Education Hawke’s Bay / Tairāwhiti
Phone: 06 833 8475
Email: daniel.murfitt@education.govt.nz

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast Regional News

It is hard to believe that we will soon enter the last few weeks of the year; and that Christmas is less than six weeks away. 2020 has been a significant year for all of us and I want to acknowledge how hard you have all worked to ensure that the wellbeing and learning of our tamariki is at the centre of everything you do. We know that this has been a difficult year for many whanau and families and the role you play in maintaining normalcy for your early learners has been critical.

Thank you also to you and your teachers, who have worked to support, prepare and transition children into the schooling system all while navigating through the challenges COVID-19. We know how important getting these transitions right is and I want to acknowledge the role you have played.

Cut off date for playgroup Operational Funding applications

Operational Funding for playgroups for the July to December 2020 period is closing soon. Playgroups who have not applied for their funding yet have until end of day December 4 2020, to get their applications into the Education Resourcing System (ERS). Playgroups will then be able to track the progress of their funding request through ERS.

Funding applications cannot be processed without playgroups having submitted their PG5, so please make sure that these are into your Education Advisor for the last financial year.

If you have not yet been set up for ERS, please contact your Education Advisor. This is a timely reminder to keep the most-up-to-date email contact details. You can update details via ERS and by contacting your key contact Education Adviser.

Stacey Lean: Stacey.Lean@education.govt.nz
Louise Hamilton: Louise.Hamilton@education.govt.nz
Megan Edwards: Megan.Edwards@education.govt.nz
Jane Chesworth: Jane.Chesworth@education.govt.nz

Mataara – Emergency Contact Tool

On 3 November we conducted a test with Schools and early learning services via our Emergency Contact Tool, Mataara. (This is our system to contact all schools and services when there is an emergency)

There was a great response to the test and we would like to thank you for taking the time to respond to this message. It gave us all the opportunity to use this system prior to the need to use it in an emergency situation. We plan on running these tests every six months.

If you have any questions please contact Julie Manderson, Business Support Manager, on (03) 546 3486 or email Julie.manderson@education.govt.nz.

Andrea Williams
Director of Education Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast
Phone: 03 539 1511
Email: Andrea.williams@education.govt.nz

Canterbury | Chatham Islands Regional News

Kia ora

It has been an extraordinary year for us all, but during much uncertainty we have been fortunate that our early leaning services have led with confidence during these uncertain times. The confidence your communities have in you as leaders is testament to the priority you placed in responding to their needs.

While I have continued to keep you updated throughout the year it is great to have regional updates back in our national bulletins. Hopefully this is a sign of settling into our new normal, although business as usual will no doubt continue to be full of complexity for us all.

As the end of 2020 approaches there a couple of key things I would like to remind your about.

Ministry of Education Christmas close down and licensing application cut off dates

As the end of the year is rapidly approaching, I thought it would be useful to advise you of the cut off dates for submitting applications into the Christchurch office for licensing new services during January 2021. Our office will be closed from 5pm Thursday 24th December 2020 and will re-open on Tuesday 5th of January 2021.

Licensing applications for January 2021

The Ministry of Education has a statutory responsibility to make a decision on a licensing application within 30 working days of receiving a complete application. A ‘complete application’ means that all documents to support the application, as listed on the EC/8, EC/1C or EC/1HB form, has been submitted. Any application for licensing needs to be submitted at least 30 working days prior to the date which you wish it to be effective from.

Please remember that the application needs to be complete (i.e. contains all required documents) before a visit date can be confirmed.

To license a new service in January, a complete application needs to be received in our office up to 30 working days prior to when you wish the new licence or amendment to take effect. The closure period for the Ministry of Education is not counted towards ‘working days.

If you think that you might require a licensing visit for any purpose (including temporary relocation, alterations or amendments) in January or early February, please let us know by emailing ece.canterbury@education.govt.nz.

If an application is received outside these timeframes, we cannot guarantee a licensing decision will be made by your ideal opening date. Please contact one of our Education Advisors should you have any questions about this.

HS 27

Recently a number of Canterbury early learning services came together to discuss practice regarding responding to serious injury, illness and incidents in relation to licensing criteria HS27.

Further opportunities to discuss practice in relation to licensing criteria will be run over 2021.

A reminder, all practicable steps are to be taken to get immediate medical assistance for a child who is seriously injured or becomes seriously ill.


We welcome the following early learning services who have joined the network of provision in Canterbury between March and the beginning of November this year:

  • Haywood Cottage Montessori (Nido)
  • Grow Active Essex St
  • Parkside Playcentre
  • Te Kōhanga Reo o te Hohepa
  • Seven Oaks Preschool
  • Halswell Quarry
  • Woolston Playcentre
  • Kiddz Homebase (3)

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any ideas or issues. You can always call me on 03 378 7345, 0274 200 251 or email me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Enjoy this month’s bulletin.

Mā te wā,

Coralanne Child
Director of Education for Canterbury | Chatham Islands
Phone: 03 378 7345
Mobile: 0274 200 251
Email: coralanne.child@education.govt.nz

Otago, Southland Regional News

Kia ora koutou and warm Pasifika greetings

A current focus for the Ministry has been seeking more active advice, guidance and support from the sector when key pieces of work are implemented. This is a more deliberate partnering approach, which was envisaged through the Tomorrow’s Schools Review and as part of the Education Work Programme. The Urgent Response Fund is a starting point for this way of working, and we want to build on the crucial insights that early learning leaders and Principals bring to the joint decision making. Next year there will be further opportunities to support the implementation of other key work across early learning and schooling, and I would encourage you to consider becoming involved.

Urgent Response Fund update

Just a reminder if you are wanting to submit an application for the Urgent Response Fund this year - key submission dates for applications that go to the Advisory Group are below. I will continue to process applications under $5,000 through to 20 December, but please note that payment for most December applications will not be made until 2021. We’ll make sure this is clear when we advise you about your application.

Advisory Group meeting dates Submission date for applications
Monday 30 November 5pm Thursday 26 November
Monday 7 December 5pm Wednesday 2 December

As of 12 November, we have allocated over $1.3M of funding across 217 applications. Our next full Advisory Group meeting is on 23 November and we’ll share summary information with schools and early learning services following that meeting.

Early learning updates – zoom hui

In August we ran a series of zoom hui for early learning services to share information about the Education Work Programme, discuss the Urgent Response Fund and answer any questions you had. We would like to run one more of these before the end of the year and have set up a zoom hui for anyone that would be interested in joining. We would share updates about the National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP), the Urgent Response Fund and the new ERO early learning methodology. We would also welcome any questions and have set up a brief Survey Monkey link if you would like to submit questions in advance. Details about the zoom hui are below.

Date: 30 November 2020
Time: 4.30 – 5.30pm
Link:https://moenz.zoom.us/j/82020364070?pwd=UlIrUVArSXZzMjRNZXNqa1N6V0NzQT09(external link)

Survey monkey link for questions - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYNTSYK(external link)

Key dates for licensing over the Christmas period

As a reminder with Christmas rapidly approaching, we advise the following timelines for licensing over the Christmas period.

To license a new serviceDeadline for completed applications to the Ministry
By 18 December 2020 Friday 20 November 2020
By the end of January 2021 Monday 30 November 2020
To amend a licence        Deadline for completed applications to the Ministry
Prior to 11 January 2021 Friday 11 December 2020

Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas. 

Ngā mihi mahana

Julie Anderson
Director of Education Otago-Southland
Direct dial: 03 471 5217
Mobile: 027 836 484
Email: julie.anderson@education.govt.nz

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