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, 1.8 MB] and printed. 

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022. 


GMA7 Human resource management

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Governance Management and Administration criterion 7 

      Suitable human resource management practices are implemented.

      Documentation required:

      Processes for human resource management; including:

      • selection and appointment procedures;
      • job/role descriptions;
      • induction procedures into the service;
      • a system of regular appraisal;
      • provision for professional development;
      • a definition of serious misconduct; and
      • discipline/dismissal procedures.

      The criterion informs the Ministry of Education about the management’s commitment and capability to implement human resource management practices that will recruit, manage and develop competent staff, as the ongoing quality of the staff engaging with and educating children is important in a quality service.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      The requirement to ensure that human resource management practices are implemented is underpinned by Regulations 47(1)(a) and 47(1)(e). These require service providers to ensure that the service is effectively governed, is managed in accordance with good management practices and all reasonable steps are taken to provide staff employed or engaged in the service with adequate professional support, professional development opportunities, and resources.

      The following examples are provided as 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.

      Selection and Appointment Processes

      NZ Government website(external link) carries a range of resources and tools for employers covering recruiting, appointing and managing staff.

      Services should ensure that:

      • Job descriptions for are regularly reviewed and reflect the philosophy and needs of the service. For certificated teachers, link to the Standards for the Teaching Profession | Ngā Paerewa(external link). The Ministry of Education provides further information on job descriptions.
      • Appointment policies and procedures are clear, reflect the requirements of current legislation, provide managers with useful guidance and are regularly reviewed.
      • Before confirming an appointment a safety check is undertaken in accordance with the Children’s Act 2014 (see also GMA7A).
      • All staff employed or engaged in the service are provided with ongoing support and receive a documented orientation and induction into the service which outlines all policies and procedures.

      Professional Development and Appraisals (or Professional Growth Cycle)

      Services should ensure that:

      • Professional development for staff employed or engaged in the service is a priority, proactively supported and appropriately resourced.
      • Tōmua (Provisionally Certificated Teachers) are proactively supported to become fully certificated.
      • Philosophy, goals and professional development are clearly linked.
      • Professional development is closely aligned to individual appraisal goals or the professional growth cycle for certificated teachers.
      • A regular appraisal system or professional growth cycle is documented and is part of an annual cycle linked to professional development and includes provision for ongoing coaching or mentoring and self-reflection.
      • Staff employed or engaged in the service, in conjunction with the appraiser, identify specific and measurable goals, and progress towards achieving these is monitored through documented observations, conversations and ongoing feedback.
      • Professional development for certificated teachers (in all practising certificate categories Tōmua, Tūturu and Pūmau) is aligned with the Professional Growth Cycle for Teachers as required by the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand,Tātaiako(external link) and Tapasā(external link).

      Discipline/Dismissal Procedures

      The Employment New Zealand Website carries a range of resources and tools for employers covering Disciplinary Processes(external link) and Dismissal(external link).

      • Discipline and dismissal policies and procedures must be clear, reflect the requirements of current legislation and provide managers with useful guidance.
      • The Education and Training Act 2020 states that an employer must provide a mandatory report to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand in certain circumstances. A Conduct and Competence Process Guide provides a comprehensive coverage of the process and requirements.

      Serious Misconduct

      The Education and Training Act 2020(external link) and the Teaching Council Rules 2016(external link) outline the criteria for reporting serious misconduct and may assist in defining serious misconduct in your service.

  • Things to consider
    • Things to consider

      Other useful sites for help with employment issues:

      The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides comprehensive advice for employers through its Employment New Zealand website. This gives you access to such tools such as an Employment Agreement Builder and a Holiday and Leave calculator, and resources including:

      The Employment Relations Service website has a wealth of information. This includes templates for letters to appoint staff, fact sheets, employment agreement guides and help calculating parental leave for your staff. There is also an ‘Ask a question’ feature. This site is highly recommended - there is a huge range of resources to help.

      The Human Rights Commission website(external link) provides information about equal opportunities, Including a discrimination and complaints guide.

      The New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)(external link) is a union that negotiates collective employment agreements on behalf of many early childhood teachers. As a condition of receiving higher levels of government funding, teachers must be paid at a rate that is at least as high as the lowest step on their ‘consenting parties early childhood collective agreement’.

      The Inland Revenue Department(external link) is a good starting point for finding out about obligations and entitlements concerning tax.