Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce

  • Hon Chris Hipkins

Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said.

From 1 January 2025, there will be a single quality rate for home-based services with a requirement for 80% of educators to hold at least a Level 4 ECE qualification, Te Ara Tuarua, or a grand-parented Level 3 qualification.

The requirements for the quality funding rate will be lifted annually to encourage the shift to a qualified home-based workforce. From 1 January 2021, home-based services must have at least 30% qualified educators to receive the quality funding rate, and this will increase over time until it reaches 80% qualified on 1 January 2024.

The minimum requirements for the standard funding rate will change as well. From 1 January 2022, 10% of educators in a standard funded home-based service must have completed the Level 4 ECE qualification. The standard rate requirements will be gradually lifted until January 2025 when the standard rate will be removed altogether.

“The decisions announced today will reassure the parents and caregivers of the 17,000 children in home-based ECE that their child is receiving quality learning and care,” Chris Hipkins said.

“It represents a substantial shift for the home-based sector.  It is important to gradually lift the requirements to give time for educators and service providers to adjust,” Chris Hipkins said.

Support is available to help home-based services transition to a fully-qualified workforce.

Budget 2020 provides $36.2 million of additional funding to support the transition to a fully-qualified educator workforce. This includes fees assistance for up to 2,646 students who are not eligible for fees free, and visiting teacher support payments to help services transition to the quality rate.

“We know that educators right across the early childhood sector do an amazing job teaching and caring for our young children. These changes will provide a valuable opportunity for those working in their homes to upskill and develop their careers further, and give certainty to parents and whānau on the quality of home-based early learning,” Chris Hipkins said.

More information about the changes to home-based early childhood education is available on the Education Conversation website and here is the link to the Cabinet paper.