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Pressure continues to fund ECE

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6/11/2016

Teachers' union the New Zealand Education Institute is launching a new campaign calling for better funding of early childhood education.

An event at Hill Street Early Childhood in Wellington on Monday morning will publicise the campaign to restore funding and quality to ECE.

Pre-school centres were being forced to cut teacher pay, rely more on untrained staff, reduce qualified time with children and ask for more cash from parents, all of which is unsustainable, the union said after it surveyed 264 out of more than 4500 ECEs.

The union argues that since 2010 the government has only been funding a maximum of 80 per cent trained staff and an extra $369 million in this year's budget over four years will be swallowed up by more children taking part.

It wants the government to commit to having all fully trained staff in ECEs, fund them 100 per cent and increase per-child funding to 2010 levels, inflation adjusted.

It also wants to reduce class sizes and the teacher-to-child ratios.

The government spends more than $1.6 billion on ECE each year. It recently announced a review into what was being taught at ECEs.

The government has a target of 98 per cent of children starting school having previously participated in ECE by December 2016.

The ECE participation rate has hit a record high, Education Minister Hekia Parata has said.

In the year to March 2016, 96.6 per cent of children starting school had participated in ECE. That's an increase of 1.9 percentage points from 2011 or in actual terms almost 4000 more children.

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