Early Learning Regulatory Review

Learn about the Ministry of Education’s comprehensive review of the early learning regulatory system (the Review).

Level of complianceMain audienceOther

Inform

  • All Early Learning Services
  • Service Managers
  • Educators, Teachers and Kaiako

The Early Learning Regulatory Review may result in changes being made to how the early learning sector operates.

About the review

The Ministry of Education has begun a comprehensive review of the early learning regulatory system (the Review).

The Review will be completed in three tranches. The Ministry is consulting on tranche one until 12 February 2021.

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 in this tranche 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:

Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029(external link)

Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education(external link)

Why are we doing the review?

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.

It is timely to review the regulations for early learning. The early learning sector has changed significantly since the regulations came into force in 2008. The number of children participating in early learning has increased, and children are participating at younger ages and for longer hours. This has led to a rapid expansion of early learning services, with different levels of growth between service types.

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 – New Zealand Legislation(external link)

The Review will also address several commitments that require regulatory change in the Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029 and Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education:

Early Learning Action Plan 2019-2029(external link) 

Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education(external link)

For more information about the Review, refer to the proactively released documents:

Information releases – Early Learning Regulatory Review

Phasing of the review

The Review will be completed in three tranches to ensure high priority issues are prioritised first. Areas that require more work will be in later tranches.

Early Learning Regulatory Review Advisory Group

The Ministry has established an Early Learning Regulatory Review Advisory Group to contribute their perspectives and advice throughout the Review.

The Group includes representatives from early childhood education (ECE) services and peak sector bodies.

Read more about the Early Learning Regulatory Review Advisory Group and its terms of reference

Consultation on tranche one

The Ministry of Education is currently consulting on tranche one proposals until 12 February 2021.

You can read more about tranche one proposals in the consultation document and the exposure draft of the regulations:

Consultation document – tranche one

Draft regulations

If you want to have your say, you can complete a survey in English or in te reo Māori:

Tranche One Consultation – English(external link)

Tranche One Consultation – Te Reo Māori(external link)

You can also send a submission to either Earlylearning.Regulatoryreview@education.govt.nz or this postal address:

Early Learning Regulatory Review
Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

The information provided in the survey and submissions will be incorporated into the Ministry’s policy development process and will inform advice to the Minister of Education.

The submissions will become public information. This means that a member of the public may ask for a copy of your submission under the Official Information Act 1982. Any submission summary created as a result of consultation may also mention your submission. Please tell us if you do not want your name included.

If you have any objection to the release of any information from your submission, please outline what you would like withheld and the reasons for withholding the information. The Ministry will take this into account and will consult with submitters when responding to requests under the Official Information Act and if a summary of submissions is published.

Aim of tranche one

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. Most of the proposals are about clarifying aspects of the licensing system for early learning service providers.

Tranche one proposals

Tranche one proposals would amend the regulations and licensing criteria in eleven ways:

  1. Creating a cancellation pathway based on a service’s provisional licence history
  2. Issuing a provisional licence to carry out an investigation in the event of an incident involving a child.
  3. Creating written directions for health and safety matters that require immediate attention.
  4. Clarifying the provisions for licence amendments when the service provider changes.
  5. Removing the 21-day minimum notice period for suspensions for change of control.
  6. Removing the 21-day minimum notice period for suspensions for not returning a full licence when invalid.
  7. Clarifying the information used to assess an application for a probationary licence.
  8. Increasing the minimum room temperature from 16 degrees to 18 degrees Celsius.
  9. Clarifying that the fee for a new licence is payable upon application and is non-refundable.
  10. Consolidating existing person responsible requirements.
  11. Amending the Licensing Criteria for philosophy statements, self-review and annual planning, requiring services to demonstrate regard for the National Education and Learning Priorities(external link).

The proposals would most impact:

  • new early learning services
  • service providers that have a change in circumstance
  • services that have compliance issues.

The Ministry aims to implement these proposals in 2021.

Tranche two overview

Tranche two will likely include:

The Ministry of Education intends for tranche two to be implemented by mid-2022. There will be two rounds of public consultation.

Tranche three overview

Tranche three are the remaining matters that require significant further work to develop such as:

  • ensuring that children are at the centre of our system
  • improving adult-to-child ratios
  • reviewing remaining aspects of the licensing system
  • evaluating the role of the Ministry of Education and other actors in the system to ensure high quality provision of education and care.

Tranche three will likely involve a complete rewrite of the regulations to ensure that they are accessible and fit for purpose.

The Ministry of Education intends for this tranche to be implemented in late 2023. There will be two rounds of public consultation.

Contact

If you have any questions or suggestions about the Review you are welcome to email Earlylearning.Regulatoryreview@education.govt.nz.

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