Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines home-based ECE services as the provision of education or care, for gain or reward, to children who are under the age of 5 years, or who are aged 5 years but not enrolled at school, in:

  • the children’s own home; or
  • the home of the person providing the education or care; or
  • any other home nominated by a parent of the children.

These services 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 services meet the minimum standards required by the regulations.

For each criterion there is guidance to help services meet the required standards.

The publication of the criteria on its own can be downloaded as a PDF [PDF, 1.3 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS5 Assembly areas safe

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and Safety practices criterion 5

      Designated assembly areas for evacuation purposes outside the building keep children safe from further risk.


      The criterion aims to uphold the safety of children by ensuring that assembly areas do not place children in further danger - on a main highway for example. The criterion is also based on the assumption that a safe assembly area is more likely to result in regular drills being carried out.

      Amended May 2015

  • 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.

      In an emergency situation, the educator (as the only adult nearby) often needs to deal directly with emergency service personnel when they arrive at the scene. This makes it even more important that there is a safe place for children to wait while the emergency is dealt with. Young children often behave erratically when scared or distressed, and educators need to reduce stress (for themselves, as well as for the children) in these situations as much as possible.

      Parents need to be informed where the evacuation point will be so they will know where their children will be.

      The National Emergency Management Agency and the Ministry of Education have produced a template that can be used for planning for a variety of emergencies.

      National Emergency Management Agency(external link)

      Download the Emergency Management Plan template.