Early Learning Regulatory Update – April 2019

Regulatory reminders for the Early Learning sector for April 2019 including moratorium on disposal of records and cohort entry.

Moratorium on disposal of records relevant to Royal Commission on abuse in care

Background

On 28 March 2019, the Chief Archivist revoked the authority to dispose of all records held by public offices that may be relevant to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions.

The Inquiry covers children in the care of the state or faith-based institutions. This includes all schools, including boarding or residential schools and health camp schools, as well as early learning facilities. View the terms of reference below.

Terms of reference for the Inquiry - New Zealand Legislation website(external link)

The Chief Archivist has issued this notice to ensure that relevant records are protected and available for the purposes of the Inquiry. The notice will remain in force until the Chief Archivist revokes it.

The Ministry has informed schools that, as they are subject to the Public Records Act 2005, the notice prevents the disposal of documents held by state and state-integrated schools. It is important for schools to ensure no records that could be required by the Royal Commission are inadvertently disposed of as a result of what would otherwise be prudent business practices.

Application of moratorium to early learning facilities

Early learning services are not subject to the same record-keeping requirements as schools. However, the Royal Commission has indicated that “the same expectation” of preservation of records applies to faith-based institutions and “all other bodies involved in providing care”. This description would cover early learning facilities.

The Ministry strongly advises early learning facilities to ensure that relevant records are not disposed of for the duration of the Royal Commission’s Inquiry.

Timeframe

Although the main period of inquiry is 1950 to 1999, the Royal Commission may also consider abuse and neglect that happened before 1950, or after 1999, including people who are in care now.

Scope of records

Judgement will need to be exercised as to which records the Chief Archivist’s notice applies to. However, the types of records would include specific child records, staff records, board minutes, investigations and complaints handling procedures, and policy records.

Existing processes for authorising the discharge or destruction of records under a retention/disposal schedule should now take into account the notice from the Chief Archivist on 28 March 2019.

More information

Archives has provided information on the Disposal Moratorium on Records Relevant to the Royal Commission on their website below.

Disposal Moratorium on Records Relevant to the Royal Commission - Archives New Zealand website(external link) 

Cohort entry to apply only to children aged 5 and over

The Education Amendment Bill (No 2) was reported back to Parliament by the Education and Workforce Select Committee on 5 April. It was introduced in September 2018.

The Bill proposes changing the requirements for cohort (group) entry for primary school children, so that they can still start in groups, but only after age 5.

It is proposed that from 1 January 2020, schools can adopt and enforce a cohort entry policy, after consultation with their communities. Children will be able to start in 2 groups per term, either on the first day of term or at a mid-point during a term. The policy can only apply to children over 5 years of age. Children can start in groups up until they turn 6 years of age, after which school enrolment is compulsory.

If a school has a current cohort entry policy on 1 January 2020, the new law will automatically apply to that policy. Schools will need to inform their communities of these changes.

More details on these and other proposals in the Bill are available on our website.

Education Amendment Act 2019

 

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