Consultation on priority areas for new licensed early childhood services

Public and early learning sector views are being sought on the Government’s priorities for the National and Regional Statements that will set the Government’s direction for new licensed early childhood services under the network management system coming into effect on 1 February 2023.

In 2019, the Government set its high-level direction and vision for early learning for the next ten years through 'He taonga te tamaiti – Every child a taonga: Early learning action plan 2019-2029'. One of the objectives developed in discussion with the sector was for early learning services to be part of a planned and coherent network. 

The Education and Training Act 2020 introduced a new network management function for early childhood services. Under network management, potential providers of new early childhood services must first apply to the Minister of Education for network management approval before they can apply for a licence.

Introducing a managed network approach is designed to enable all children and their whānau to have access to quality early learning settings, particularly in communities that have been underserved, and to support parental and whānau choice.

In 2021 the Government consulted on a number of proposals to support implementation of network management, and these received broad support. The Government is now consulting on the final policy changes needed and the types of service offerings that should be a priority for the licensed early childhood network. These priorities will be communicated through the new National and Regional Statements. Potential new services will be asked to show how they meet these priorities when they apply for network management.

The proposed priorities are intended to ensure new licensed early childhood services address known gaps in the network, support existing education strategies and reflect obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Consultation is an important chance for all people interested in the care, education, and wellbeing of our youngest tamariki to have their say.

Consultation on the proposals closes on 2 June 2022. 

As part of this consultation process, the Ministry is also consulting on some other key aspects of network management and how it will operate. These include the information applicants will need to supply, processes for assessing applications, a register of network management approvals and more.

For more information and to take part in the consultation, please visit Early Learning Regulatory Review — Kōrero Mātauranga(external link).

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