Minister welcomes release of ECE Taskforce report

  • Anne Tolley

Education Minister Anne Tolley has welcomed the release by the Independent Taskforce of a report on the future of early childhood education in New Zealand.

The Minister established the Taskforce in October 2010 to review the effectiveness of ECE spending and to make recommendations on proposed improvements, including changes to funding and policy settings, for a sector which will benefit from $1.4 billion of taxpayer investment in the year ahead, and which received a $550 million boost over four years in Budget 2011.

“The Taskforce has done a very thorough job and I want to thank them for their hard work,” says Mrs Tolley.

“The Government was already concerned about the variability across services, the lack of accountability, poor access for many children, and the need for a more targeted funding system. It is heartening that these serious issues have been identified by the Taskforce, and that positive suggestions have been made to deal with these areas of concern.

“Some of the recommendations are already being addressed, through the $91.8 million increased participation programme announced in Budget 2010, and the $30 million early learning information system delivered in Budget 2011 to improve information about participation and system performance, which will allow better monitoring of funding and enable us to give more transparency for parents.

“The Taskforce also recommends eighty per cent registered staff in teacher-led services, which is in line with the Government’s target for 2012, and with 67 per cent of teachers qualified at the moment, we are well on course to reach that figure.

“We will now work through the recommendations, and will take them out for consultation. The details of this will be announced in the near future.

“The Government is totally committed to a high-quality early childhood education system that works for all children and families, and any proposals for major changes to ECE will form part of the election campaign.”