Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services
Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines an early childhood education and care centre as a premises that is used regularly for the education or care of 3 or more children (not being children of the persons providing the education or care or children enrolled at a school who are being provided with education or care before or after school) under the age of 6 years by day (or part of a day) but not for any continuous period of more than 7 days.
Centre-based ECE services have a variety of different operating structures, philosophies and affiliations, and are known by many different names – for example, Playcentres, early learning centres, Montessori, childcare centres, Kindergartens, crèches, preschools, a’oga amata, Rudolf Steiner etc.
These centres are licensed in accordance with the Education and Training Act 2020 under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link), which prescribe minimum standards that each licensed service must meet. Licensing criteria are used to assess how the centres meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.
For each criterion there is guidance to help centres meet the required standards.
The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 2.1 MB] and printed.
The licensing criteria were last updated in April 2021.
GMA8 Annual plan
Governance Management and Administration criterion 8
An annual plan guides the service's operation.
An annual plan identifying 'who', 'what', and 'when' in relation to key tasks the service intends to undertake each year, and how key tasks will have regard to the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP).
An annual plan is part of good business practice and will show the Ministry of Education how the service intends to ensure ongoing compliance with all regulatory requirements and criteria.
The following is a starting point to show how services can meet the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.
An Annual Plan guides the service’s operation
The annual plan describes and guides what the service will do in its operation in the next 12 months. It is detailed enough to cover day-to-day events, for example, excursions, staff appraisals or professional development, but is also a schedule of planned strategic opportunities, including for self-review and internal evaluation (GMA6). An annual plan aligns with other aspects of governance, management and administration (GMA) and therefore should be developed at the same time as the annual budget.
Key Tasks the service intends to undertake
An annual plan can be divided up into each month in the annual cycle, with key tasks grouped by area. The Ministry would expect each task to identify who is responsible for the task, what the task is, and when in the annual cycle the task is scheduled to be undertaken.
The annual plan should be created in consultation with the Person Responsible so that the teaching and learning needs of children can be met. The aspirations of whānau, community, hapū and iwi should be sought and embedded in the plan, and the plan should at least demonstrate when the service plans to involve these groups in planning.
The Example Annual Management Plan [DOC, 47 KB] is a starting point for how services can arrange key tasks in an annual plan.
In developing the annual plan services can ask:
- What purchases need to be made this year?
- Is any major maintenance work required?
- Will our staffing needs change?
- Is any fundraising required?
- How will the service better engage with their whānau, community, hapū and iwi?
- Is there regular opportunity for self-review, internal evaluation, and to set priorities for the year ahead?
Services have regard for the The National Education and Learning Priorities (the NELP)
Having regard for the NELP(external link) means being able to demonstrate in the documented annual plan how relevant key tasks e.g. curriculum review or policy review align with priorities 1-6 of the NELP. Services will need to ensure those involved in the creation of the annual plan are familiar with priorities 1-6 of the NELP.
- Things to consider
Things to consider
In addition to the required annual plan, services may also have a strategic plan.
- Strategic plans are not a licensing requirement. However, having a plan that looks beyond ‘this year’ to the medium or long term can be very helpful for services. Strategic planning enables a service to determine its direction and what it hopes to achieve in the future.
- Strategic plans are best developed in consultation with all stakeholders, e.g. parents/whanau, management committees/staff.
- Strategic plans should be regularly reviewed and modified. Progress could be recorded, perhaps on the bottom or back of the annual plan.
At this stage, the Ministry is taking an educative approach to assessing the NELP, given these are recent criteria change.
Ministry staff will engage in conversations with services about how they may show they have regard for the NELP. For example, some services may be due to update their annual plan so it could be as simple as including the NELP in this. Services could look at how the NELP can be woven into their self-review and internal evaluation processes and systems as well as professional growth cycles.
We are realistic that services providers are unlikely able to provide a lot of documentation to demonstrate full compliance with these criteria right now. Over time we will be expecting more, which will be indicated in discussions between advisers and service providers.
The Ministry is currently working on developing a suite of resources to assist services to meet the NELP criteria. This is likely to include PLD webinars later in the year. More information will be provided when available.
Te Hurihanginui Te Hurihanganui – Education in New Zealand(external link)
Tau Mai i te Reo Tau Mai Te Reo – Education in New Zealand(external link)
Action Plan for Pacific Education Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030 – Education in New Zealand(external link)
Learning Support Action Plan Learning Support Action Plan – Conversation space (education.govt.nz)(external link)