Temporary increase in discretionary hours for teacher-led centre-based early learning services

Following sector feedback about the shortage in teacher supply in early learning, the Government has temporarily increased the number of discretionary hours available to teacher-led centre-based services.

An increase to discretionary hours will apply from 1 October 2019 until 31 May 2020. During this time the Ministry will accept up to 60 discretionary hours per funding period (to maintain current rates of funding) when certificated relievers are not available, provided that the record keeping requirements described in this section are met. The previous allocation was 40 hours per funding period.

Between 1 October 2019 and 31 May 2020 services may record the hours worked by relievers who are Other Teachers as Certificated Teacher Hours for the purposes of the Staff Hour Count for 60 hours during the funding cycle. Services may choose which hours these apply to – they do not have to apply to the first 60 hours.

From February 2020, services will be required to submit a record of the number of discretionary hours they have used in a funding period to the Ministry. If no hours have been used, then no submission is required.

It is important to note that discretionary hours only apply in a funding context. Regulatory requirements in relation to staffing, including having one Person Responsible for every 50 children attending and maintaining necessary adult to child ratios, must be met at all times.

Further information on the current discretionary hours policy can be found in the Funding Handbook.

If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact us at ece.funding@education.govt.nz.

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