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. 


HS14 Temperature of hot water in cylinders

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 14

      § Water stored in any hot water cylinder is kept at a temperature of at least 60°C.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by ensuring that stored hot water does not support legionnella and cryptospiridiosis bacterial growth.

  • Guidance
    • Guidance

      Any examples in the guidance are provided as a starting point to show how services can meet (or exceed) the requirement. Services may choose to use other approaches better suited to their needs as long as they comply with the criteria.

      For water stored in a hot water cylinder, the cylinder’s thermostat must be set to at least 60º, to prevent legionella bacteria from growing in the pipes.

      Once the thermostat has been adjusted to the required temperature, it can be locked to prevent accidental or unauthorised re-adjustment. Refer to PF24 – Tempering Valve.

      Guidance for criterion PF16 – Kitchen Facilities provides information about domestic and commercial dishwashers. If your centre is considering installing a dishwasher you need to consult your local District Health Board Public Health Unit for advice about dishwashers and hot water requirements for ECE centres. Guidance is also provided for centres that do not have a dishwasher and wash dishes by hand.