2016 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Complaints and Incidents Report

This report summarises the complaints and incident notifications we received in 2016 about ECE services and ngā kōhanga reo (early learning services).

New Zealand standards for early childhood education (ECE) are amongst the best in the world. Of 4,609 licensed ECE services and ngā kōhanga reo (early learning services) across the country 98% met or exceeded these standards in 2016. Standards ensure that almost 200,000 children attending ECE are receiving quality early learning.

In 2016, we received a total of 331 complaints about early learning services. We investigated 245 of these – 74% of all complaints received. A further 86 (26% of complaints) did not require investigation. These were either resolved at the source, referred to the service’s complaints procedure, or withdrawn.

Of the complaints investigated by the Ministry, a total of 163 (67%) were upheld, meaning that standards had not been met or the investigation found something that the service was required to improve. In 2016 we investigated and upheld more complaints than in previous years, with a focus on health and safety, premises and facilities, and the governance, management and administration of early learning services.

When standards aren’t being met, parents need to feel comfortable voicing their concerns or issues. If parents have a concern or issue, they are encouraged to raise this with their early learning service. We require all licensed early learning services to have a complaints process and respond to the concerns of parents. At times, parents may not be satisfied with how their complaint was dealt with by the early learning service. In these cases we encourage parents to contact their local Ministry office.

We keep a record of all complaints and assess each one to determine if further investigation or action is required. We will work with early learning services to assess what action is required. We work to ensure that both parents and the service are happy with the outcome.

We take all complaints seriously – and this year we have included more information about how we act on serious complaints. This includes complaints that were referred to other agencies or resulted in a change to the service’s licence status.

This report also includes for the first time information on incidents notified to us by early learning services. In May 2016 we made it a requirement for all early learning services to let us know when any incident has occurred at a service that required another agency to be notified, such as the Ministry for Children | Oranga Tamariki, the Education Council, or New Zealand Police. In total, we received 152 reports of incidents from early learning services in 2016 – a mix of mandatory and voluntary notifications from services.

Further information:

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback