Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services

Section 10 of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link) defines hospital-based education and care service as the provision of education or care to 3 or more children under the age of 6 who are receiving hospital care.

ECE services operating from hospital premises that provide education and care to siblings of patients or children of hospital staff or patients are centre-based ECE services, not hospital-based ECE services.

Hospital-based 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, 1.2 MB] and printed.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

HS3 Assembly areas safe

  • Criteria
    • Criteria

      Health and safety practices criterion 3

      Designated assembly areas 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.

      All DHBs have emergency plans. When an evacuation does occur the service will need to follow the guidance of the wardens of the DHB the DHB evacuation plan. The plan will include the assembly area(s) for the hospital buildings.

      In an evacuation of a hospital based service all children will be under the management of the medical staff not the play specialist.

      Additional guidance is available specifically for services above ground level, we recommend you read Guidance for ECE Services - Evacuation from High Rise Buildings [PDF, 394 KB]