Qualification requirements

Learn how your service can meet your teacher and Person Responsible qualification requirements.

Level of compliance Main audience Other

Required

  • All early learning services 
  • Service managers
  • Educators, teachers and kaiako

All licensed teacher-led early learning services must employ a specified number of qualified teachers and Persons Responsible, in order to meet licensing requirements. The specific requirements vary depending on the type of early learning service.

Teacher-led centre-based

At least 50% of required staff must have a recognised ECE teaching qualification.

Teachers need not be employed full-time to count towards the 50% requirement. A part-time teacher (including relief teachers employed by the service) with a recognised ECE teaching qualification can be counted at a maximum of two different licensed services.

This is because the requirement for 50% qualified ECE staff does not have to be maintained at all times throughout the day.

A service can count one person who is in their final year of study towards the 50% requirement, provided they are enrolled in an approved programme that will result in a recognised ECE teaching qualification.

Where 50% does not equate to a whole number, services must round up.

Required staff is calculated depending on a service’s licence class (i.e. probationary, or full/provisional). For services on a probationary licence, the 50% is calculated and maintained based on the number of children enrolled. For services on a full or provisional licence, the 50% is calculated on the number of teachers required to meet ratios based on the maximum number of children specified on the licence (licence maximum).

More information on what counts as a recognised qualification can be found in the sections below.

There must be one person responsible for every 50 children attending and persons responsible must have a recognised qualification and a current practising certificate. From 9 January 2020, in teacher-led centre-based services this can be either a recognised early childhood education (ECE) or primary teaching qualification. Prior to this date, only ECE qualifications were recognised.

Having a person responsible is a requirement that must be met at all times, like adult-to-child ratios.

From 26 February 2024 Regulation 60 comes into effect. Regulation 60 supports the existing Person Responsible requirements set out in Regulations 3 and 44(1)(d) and clarifies the day-to-day duties expected of the Person Responsible

Role of the Person Responsible in teacher-led centre-based services(external link)

To be eligible for higher funding rates, teacher-led, centre-based services must attest that they are paying teachers that have a recognised ECE or primary teaching qualification at specified salary rates.

Funding requirements for teacher-led, centre-based services – ECE Funding Handbook(external link)

Qualification requirements for teacher-led centre-based services (including kindergartens):

 

Component

50% Qualified licensing requirement

Person Responsible

Funding - Certificated teachers

A current practising certificate issued by the Teaching Council

Not required

Required

Required

Recognised ECE teaching qualification
(or overseas qualification assessed as comparable by NZQA)

Required

Meets requirement

Meets requirement

Recognised primary teaching qualification
(or overseas qualification assessed as comparable by NZQA)

Does not meet requirement

Meets requirement

Meets requirement

Staff enrolled in a course of study that will result in a recognised ECE teaching qualification within 12 months

Can count one staff member towards requirement

Does not meet requirement

Does not meet requirement

Hospital-based services

At least 50% of required staff must have a recognised ECE teaching qualification.

There must be one person responsible for every 50 children attending and persons responsible must have a recognised ECE qualification and a current practising certificate.

From 26 February 2024 Regulation 61 comes into effect. Regulation 61 supports the existing Person Responsible requirements set out in Regulations 3 and 44(1)(d), and clarifies the day-to-day duties expected of the Person Responsible

Role of the Person Responsible in hospital-based services(external link)

Teachers need not be employed full-time to count towards the 50% requirement. A part-time teacher (including employed relief teachers) with a recognised ECE teaching qualification can be counted at a maximum of 2 different licensed services.

This is because the requirement for 50% qualified ECE staff does not have to be maintained at all times throughout the day.

A service can count one person who is in their final year of study towards the 50% requirement, provided they are enrolled in an approved programme that will result in a recognised ECE teaching qualification.

Where 50% does not equate to a whole number, services must round up.

Required staff is calculated depending on a service’s licence class (i.e. probationary, or full/provisional. For services on a probationary licence the 50% is calculated and maintained based on the number of children enrolled. For services on a full or provisional licence the 50% is calculated on the number of teachers required to meet ratios based on the maximum number of children specified on the licence (licence maximum).

More information on what counts as a recognised qualification can be found in the sections below.

Qualification requirements for hospital-based services:

Component 

50% qualified licensing requirement

Person Responsible

Funding – Certificated teachers

A current practising certificate issued by the Teaching Council

Not required

Required

Required

Recognised ECE teaching qualification
(or overseas qualification assessed as comparable by NZQA)

Required

Required

Meets requirement

Recognised primary teaching qualification
(or overseas qualification assessed as comparable by NZQA)

Does not meet requirement

Does not meet requirement

Meets requirement

Staff enrolled in a course of study that will result in a recognised ECE teaching qualification within 12 months

Can count one staff member towards requirement

Does not meet requirement

Does not meet requirement

Home-based services

Home-based early learning services must comply with the transition to a qualified educator workforce. 

Home-based staff qualifications changes(external link)

There must be 1 Person Responsible for every 50 children attending the service and persons responsible must have a recognised ECE qualification and a current practising certificate.

From 26 February 2024 Regulation 62 comes into effect for home-based early learning services. Regulation 62 supports the existing Person Responsible requirements set out in Regulations 3, 28(2) and 44(1)(d) and clarifies the day-to-day duties expected of the Person Responsible

Role of the Person Responsible in home-based services(external link)

Playcentres

In Playcentres, the Person Responsible must have a recognised qualification specified in the New Zealand Gazette. The Playcentre Person Responsible is not required to hold a current teacher practising certificate.

Qualifications for Persons Responsible in a Playcentre(external link)

There are also group supervision qualification requirements and these are set out in the ECE Funding Handbook. 

Supervision requirements in the ECE Funding Handbook

The group supervision qualification requirements are also illustrated in infographics on the Playcentre Aotearoa website.

Supervision requirements in infographics – Playcentre website(external link)

Recognised early childhood education teaching qualifications

An early childhood education (ECE) teaching qualification is strictly defined as one recognised by the Teaching Council for registration purposes. This means:

  • a NZ ECE teaching qualification, or
  • an overseas qualification assessed as comparable to a NZ ECE teaching qualification by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

NZ ECE teaching qualifications

Current approved programmes that result in recognised NZ ECE teaching qualifications are listed on the TeachNZ website.

List of approved NZ teaching programmes – TeachNZ website(external link)

Overseas qualifications

Before any qualification awarded outside New Zealand can be recognised for licensing or funding requirements, it must first be assessed and deemed comparable to a NZ ECE or primary teaching qualification.

This is called an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) and is carried out by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Teachers must request an IQA from NZQA directly. The result is a recognition statement that explains the qualification in the NZ context.

If the assessment results in comparability with a NZ teaching qualification, the recognition statement will state that the qualification meets the core knowledge components of a NZ initial teacher education programme. It will also state whether the qualification is considered to be an ECE, primary or secondary qualification.

International Qualifications Assessment – NZQA website(external link)

Discretionary pathway registration

In some cases, the Teaching Council may consider a person as satisfactorily trained to teach for registration purposes through the discretionary pathway, despite a person’s overseas qualifications being assessed as not comparable to a NZ teaching qualification.

Registration and practising certificates are not sector specific. But, if the discretionary pathway decision was made after August 2018 and the Council considers there to be enough evidence to show a person has completed sufficient ECE or primary teaching studies to the appropriate level, then the letter confirming registration via the discretionary pathway will state this. Only where this endorsement is specifically stated in the letter can that person be considered as holding a recognised qualification.

Teachers with discretionary pathway registrations completed before August 2018 can also apply for this endorsement.

Registration via the discretionary pathway – Teaching Council NZ website(external link)

Teaching qualifications not recognised

Primary and secondary teaching qualifications

Secondary teaching qualifications are not recognised for person responsible in any type of early learning service, or the 50% requirement in teacher-led centre-based or hospital-based services, or higher rates of funding.

Teachers with a recognised primary teaching qualification and a current practising certificate can be a Person Responsible in a teacher-led centre based service (from 9 January 2020) and count for higher rates of funding. They cannot be a Person Responsible in any other type of early learning service, or count towards the 50% requirement in teacher-led centre-based or hospital-based services.

NZQA’s pre-approved list of qualifications

NZQA has published a pre-approved list of overseas teaching qualifications which do not need an International Qualifications Assessment (IQA) for registration purposes. This list was developed for the school sector. It cannot be used by teachers wanting to count towards qualification requirements in the early learning sector because the sector (eg ECE) is not specified alongside each qualification on the list.

Record keeping

Services must keep records to demonstrate that they are meeting qualification requirements:

  • Certified copies* of each teacher’s qualifications (award certificates).
  • Certified copies* of NZQA International Qualification Assessment (IQA) recognition statements.
  • Documentation proving teachers are employed by the service. For example, employment agreements or letters of appointment.
  • Rosters showing when teachers are on duty.
  • Documentation for part-time teachers employed at two or more services. For example, a letter from the part-time teacher confirming which two services can count them towards qualification requirements.
  • Documentation for teachers in their final year of study. For example, a letter from the teacher or training provider confirming that they are enrolled in their final year of a programme that will result in a recognised ECE teaching qualification.

*Where certified copies of documents are required, they can be certified by any of the following:

  • The service's ECE professional leader, such as the centre manager.
  • Ministry of Education staff.
  • The authority that originally issued the document.
  • A Justice of the Peace.
  • A solicitor.
  • A notary public.
  • A registrar.

More information

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