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. 


PF24 Tempering valve

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Premises and Facilities criterion 24

      § A tempering valve or other accurate means of limiting hot water temperature is installed for the requirements of criterion HS13 to be met.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by removing the risk of hot water scalding. The criterion also aims to ensure that water is kept at a comfortable temperature to encourage hygienic handwashing practices.

  • 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.

      You will only need a tempering valve if the centre has a hot water cylinder.

      Because stored hot water (that is, inside a hot water cylinder) must be kept at 60°C to prevent Legionella bacteria from growing, a tempering valve is currently the only safe and effective means of ensuring that water accessible by children is delivered at a temperature of no more than 40°C. A tempering valve is a safety device fitted by a plumber designed to provide water to taps at a consistently controlled temperature. It works by mixing hot and cold water between the hot water source and the outlet.

      If the centre’s hot water supply is produced by a continuous flow gas hot water system, it must be set to deliver water at no more than 40°C wherever the children have access. (See HS 13 – Temperature of Water from Taps Children Can Access). These systems are electronically controlled and can be installed with up to 3 temperature controllers for different water outlets. Be aware that all continuous flow hot water heaters come with a factory set temperature of 55°C, so you will need to reset them for water outlets accessible by children to less than 40°C.