ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 311(5) of the Education Act 1989. The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Downloading the ECE Funding Handbook

If you want a printed copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

Licensing Criteria Cover

3-A-1 Funding eligibility

A symbol.  Books.

  • Introduction
    • This page outlines the eligibility conditions for the ECE Funding Subsidy.

      Licensed services receiving the ECE Funding Subsidy must meet these conditions at all times.

      Chapter 4 contains eligibility requirements for 20 Hours ECE.

  • Eligible services
    • Early childhood education services are eligible for the ECE Funding Subsidy if they are:

      • licensed and
      • open for at least one continuous period (session) of 2.5 hours per week.

      Sessional services operating a session of 2.5 to 3 hours will receive funding for 3 hours.

  • Eligible children
    • Funding can be claimed only for children who fill a child-place and are less than 6 years of age.

      Funding cannot be claimed for:

      • children enrolled in school
      • conditionally enrolled children who do not attend
      • casually enrolled children who do not attend.
  • Child-places
    • Each service is licensed to provide early childhood education to a maximum number of children at any one time.

      This is called the number of ‘child-places’ that the service may provide.

  • Dual enrolments
    • Children may be enrolled at more than one early childhood education (ECE) service but funding cannot be claimed by two services for the same hours of attendance. Parents/guardians must attest that their child is not enrolled at another service for the same times (See Section 6-1 for further details on enrolment records).

      In a dual enrolment situation, funding may be claimed only by the service at which the child was present.

      Dual enrolments – Correspondence School

      Children enrolled at The Correspondence School may be funded at another ECE service for up to eight hours per week.

      ECE services must note this arrangement on the child’s enrolment agreement (see Section 6-1 for further details on enrolment records).