Early learning regulatory work

Learn about the Ministry of Education’s early learning regulatory work programme and how this fits in with the Ministry for Regulation’s early childhood education (ECE) regulatory sector review.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


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

About the Ministry for Regulation's ECE regulatory sector review

The Ministry for Regulation sector review team will lead a review into early childhood education, working closely with the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office.

Scope of review

The scope of the review will be broad, and will examine the regulatory systems for education, health, safety, child protection, food safety, buildings, and workplaces as they apply to the early childhood sector. The review won’t be looking at funding settings for the early childhood education sector.

Download a copy of the early childhood education regulatory review’s terms of reference.

Terms of reference for the regulatory sector review of early childhood education [PDF, 170 KB]


A range of engagement methods will be used to gather information for the review, focusing on where rules and regulations result in bad outcomes.

Current Ministry of Education work to provide regulatory relief to the ECE sector

A key priority for Minister Seymour as Associate Minister for Education with responsibilities related to the early childhood sector is to reduce the regulatory burden on the sector.

The Government has announced a number of proposed regulatory changes to Early Childhood Education.

Read more about this announcement on Removing red tape to help early learners thrive | Beehive.govt.nz(external link).

Amending person(s) responsible requirements

The Government has revoked a scheduled change to the Person(s) Responsible Requirements outlined in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 that would have seen the person responsible required to hold a full (category one or two) practising certificate from the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand from 26 August 2024.

The revocation means that the existing person responsible requirement will be retained, so they can hold any practising certificate from the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Proposed changes to network approval

The Government is proposing to repeal network approval provisions to make it easier for services to set up. There will be an opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed change during the select committee process.

Read more about the regulatory impact statement for the proposed repeal of network approval legislation on Regulatory Impact Statement: Repeal of network approval legislation [PDF, 1 MB].

National statement revoked

In the interim, the Government has decided to revoke the National Statement on the Network of Licensed Early Childhood Services.

Public consultation

You can find out more about the public consultation on revoking the National Statement at Revoking the National Statement on the Network of Licensed Early Childhood Services - Ministry of Education Consultation Hub(external link).

Information on how to apply for network approval

Now that the National Statement has been revoked, you can find more information about applying for network approval on Network management for licensed early childhood services.

Processes for changes in the identity of the service provider

Implementation of the requirements for changing the identity of the service provider on the service licence are on hold following concerns raised by the sector. This will be considered further following the ECE regulatory sector review being led by the Ministry for Regulation  

Other work underway

Developing guidance on centre design, environmental factors and group size

The Ministry of Education is working with an advisory panel of experts to develop comprehensive, integrated and culturally responsive guidance for early learning services about centre design, environmental factors and group size and organisation and how to improve quality in these areas.

Find out more about this work, including the Terms of Reference and the advisory panel on Developing guidance on centre design, environmental factors and group size.

Early learning regulatory advisory group

We have established an advisory group to provide expert advice and help inform the Ministry's ECE regulatory work. The group includes representatives from early childhood education services and peak sector bodies.

Early learning regulatory advisory group

Update on the Ministry of Education’s early learning regulatory review

In 2020 the Ministry of Education began work to review the early learning regulatory system, in three planned tranches.

Tranche 1 was completed in 2021. Its main aim was to address some of the immediate gaps in our current system including those that pose a risk to children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

Tranche 2 was largely completed in 2022 and 2023 and covered more complex areas that required detailed policy work. This included addressing several commitments in the Early Learning Action Plan 2019–2029 and the Review of Home-based Early Childhood Education.

Tranche 3 was intended to include a wider review of the early learning regulatory system and a rewrite of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. This work has now been superseded by the ECE regulatory sector review being undertaken by the Ministry for Regulation.

The other planned work in Tranche 3, to improve adult-to-child ratios, is on hold pending further Government decisions. 

More information

More information about what was done in the review, including the pro-actively released documents, are available on Early Learning Regulatory Review.


If you have any questions or suggestions about the Ministry ECE regulatory work programme email earlylearning.regulatoryreview@education.govt.nz.

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