ECAC minutes and presentations December 2017

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 6 December 2017, 9am to 2:15pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • McConnell, Te Kura – the Correspondence School
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Karen Shields, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Katina Beauchamp, Early Childhood Council
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Sandie Burn, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Nicola Woollaston, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office
  • Hikitia Ropata, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (chair)
  • Suze Strowger, Associate Deputy Secretary, Operational Delivery
  • Anthony Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations
  • Nancy Bell, Director, Early Learning, Early Learning and Student Achievement
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • Kathryn Burch, Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning (secretariat)


  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Damian Edwards, Associate Deputy Secretary, Education System Policy

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Raewyn opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated by email and confirmed.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako

Tony Turnock, Ministry of Education and Clare Wells, NZKI

Progress to date

  • Tony presented the latest engagement data – this included numbers of Kāhui Ako; participating early learning services, schools and children; and data by provider type, region, socio-economic make-up and size. There was also data on Māori medium representation, endorsed achievement challenges and appointments.

Key discussion points:

  • There are some areas where there is very good participation (eg Tai Tokerau) and others where we would like to make more progress (eg Otago).
  • Early learning services do not need to be formally approved members to participate in a Kāhui Ako, but this is recommended.
  • There are a variety of achievement challenges; each Kāhui Ako identifies achievement challenges that are a priority for their community. Endorsed achievement challenges are published on the Ministry’s website
  • Each Kāhui Ako determines their achievement challenge cycle – most have a 3-year cycle. In some cases, the first year is spent establishing baselines to best determine what the community’s achievement challenge/s might be.
  • Wellbeing is becoming an increasing focus for Government, the Ministry and Kāhui Ako.
  • There was some discussion on oral language. Tony explained that early learning services played a significant contribution to the development of the oral language challenge in the Tokomairiro Kahui Ako. 
  • Sandra explained that ERO is doing some Kāhui Ako case studies. Nancy pointed out that there are some good practice stories to support language and literacies on Te Kete Ipurangi (external link) ; this links to ERO’s two previous literacy reports.

Sector group’s report

Refer to paper ECE services me ngā kōhanga reo participation in Kāhui Ako.

  • Clare provided a summary of the paper, which is the work of the sector group. The group wanted to gather information about the experiences of early learning services and perspectives on engagement from leads and principals.
  • The group established criteria to select 6 Kāhui Ako, then interviewed service leaders, principals and a Kāhui Ako lead on enablers, barriers and benefits.
  • The group’s key findings are:
    1. A range of factors enable service participation; the most significant is the goodwill of service providers and leaders, and principals.
    2. The main barrier to service participation is the initiative itself – its origin as ‘Communities of Schools’ and the resourcing policy.
    3. A range of benefits beyond transitions were identified, including improvements in pedagogical understanding, curriculum design and community engagement.
    4. The initiative needs to be redeveloped so that children and whānau gain the benefits of collaboration.
  • The group’s recommendations are:
    1. Review the policy to make it more inclusive and align it with a 30-year education strategic plan. 
    2. Consult with the sector as part of the review, to ensure changes result in authentic collaboration.
    3. Include models of engagement (eg the threshold model previously proposed by the sector group) in any consultation.
    4. Ensure consistent national implementation across Ministry offices.

Next steps

  • Katrina explained that the Ministry plans to review some aspects of the Kāhui Ako policy to see if there are any areas where there could be more flexibility. Guidelines will also be reviewed. The sector group’s paper will help with this, and the Ministry will work with ECAC as the review is planned and progresses.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
 No action items    

Learning Support update

David Wales and Sally Jackson, Ministry of Education

David and Sally provided an update on key learning support initiatives.

Dispute Resolution Process (DRP)

  • An update on this work was requested by an ECAC member; Sally provided an overview.
  • The process is being developed to manage unresolved issues, concerns and complaints between parents, caregivers, whānau and schools relating to students who require additional learning support. It aims to resolve issues quickly and at a local level, and has a focus on prevention.
  • The Ministry has been working with the NZ School Trustees Association (NZSTA) and the Government Centre for Dispute Resolution (external link) , a working group (including young people, parents and representative groups) and wider stakeholder groups (including some early learning sector organisations). The draft process has been reviewed by the Human Rights Commission (external link) .
  • The DRP is for the compulsory education sector; there is no plan at present for it to be available for the early learning sector.
  • There are complaints requirements for early learning services; Ministry regional offices provide support where required.

22 local improvement projects

David explained that a report on these projects is available on the Ministry’s website [PDF, 344 KB]. The report provides a snapshot of the key features of the projects including strengths and lessons learned. Most of the projects have been incorporated into ongoing practice.

New learning support delivery model

  • From an initial pilot with 3 Communities of Learning | Kahui Ako, there is now interest from 36 other Kāhui Ako to try the new service delivery model. Many of these Kāhui Ako include early learning services. Schools and early learning services not part of a Kāhui Ako are also able to access the new way of working if they wish. 
  • David circulated an A3 summarising the New Learning Support Delivery Model.

Budget 2017 initiatives

  • Incredible Years Autism – a tender was advertised on the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS) (external link) , and the evaluation panel is currently assessing applications. Final recommendations are expected by 11 December. Carolyn Webster-Stratton, the developer of the programme, has agreed to train the new facilitators in early 2018.
  • Oral language and literacy initiative – the tender process has been completed. As the Ministry was unable to identify a suitable provider, this initiative will be delivered by Ministry staff. The 8 regions selected for the initiative are now recruiting the 10 speech-language therapists – they will be trained in the Hanen (external link) ABC and Beyond programme, and start working initially with teacher-led centre-based services after training. The sector advisory group (including ECAC members) has met and provided advice on engagement and implementation planning.
  • Expansion of behaviour services – this will provide specialist support for an additional 1,000 children aged 0-8 with behaviour difficulties. Treasury has approved the evaluation plan but funding is currently being held in contingency whilst checking that the work remains aligned with broader Government strategy. 
  • Mental health initiatives – these are currently on hold pending direction from the Ministers of Health and Finance.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Provide process and summary information on the DRP

Sally, Secretariat When finalised

Circulate link to 22 local improvement projects report

Secretariat ASAP

Education Review Office update

Deena Mayor, Lee Rowe and Sandra Collins (ERO)

Deena presented an overview of the review of ERO’s review methodology:

  • ERO’s purpose statement and whakataukī is central to the work. International research has been considered and ERO has been working with some sector groups already.
  • The four phases of the work are:
    1. Develop and trial a methodology for large governing organisations.
    2. Revise the methodology for all services (except ngā kōhanga reo).
    3. Trial the new methodology (and indicators) for all services (except ngā kōhanga reo) and consider if the phase 1 methodology can be implemented for smaller governing organisations.
    4. Full implementation in 2019.
  • Deena explained that ERO will also be reviewing the differentiated return times, revising the self-report templates and framework and considering risk-based scheduling. Parent/whānau and educator surveys are also being considered.

Lee presented an overview of the indicators project:

  • The indicators were last reviewed in 2011-2012. The focus is on what matters most.
  • The three phases of the project are:
    1. Review the current evidence base related to significant influences on positive outcomes for children.
    2. Trial ERO’s new indicators (and methodology), gather feedback and refine.
    3. Full implementation in 2019.
  • There will be an academic panel, internal and external reference groups.

Sandra presented an overview of the Te Whāriki national evaluation programme:

  • In phase 1 (during terms 3-4 2017 and term 1 2018), data from services having an ERO review in this timeframe is being collected through a questionnaire followed by onsite visits. The focus is on awareness, accessibility and usefulness of PLD and resources, and barriers and challenges.
  • Phase 2 (from term 2 2018) will focus on how well services are designing, reviewing and evaluating their curriculum to reflect the refreshed Te Whāriki.
  • Phases 3+ (from term 3 2018) will ask how well services are implementing Te Whāriki to achieve the Ministry’s medium to long-term outcomes.

Nancy explained that the Ministry is working with ERO, Core Education and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust; information shared will inform the Ministry’s strategic planning to identify the support needed to ensure a strong implementation.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Ensure there is opportunity for an update at next meeting Sandra, secretariat March 2018

Minister of Education

Hon Chris Hipkins and Iona Holsted (Secretary for Education)

The Minister explained that he was keen to discuss matters of interest to ECAC members. Members asked the Minister questions and he responded to these. There were some questions about:

  • The Government’s first 100 days
  • Sequencing of manifesto commitments
  • A 30-year strategic plan for education
  • Funding
  • Pay equity
  • Te Whāriki, the Early Childhood Curriculum
  • Cohort entry
  • Inclusion
  • Home-based and parent-led provision
  • Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako
  • Future network planning
  • The Education Act
  • Ministerial delegations
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    


Ellen MacGregor-Reid and John McKeefry, Ministry of Education

  • Ellen and John are keen to start a conversation with ECAC on the development of an education workforce strategy – development of this will start over the next 12 months or so.
  • The A3 circulated shows what we know now about the early learning sector workforce; it’s not enough. The Ministry has very limited data for teacher-led services, and dated data for playcentres and ngā kōhanga reo. The Early Learning Information (ELI) system is not a reliable source of data, eg for qualifications. 
  • More data is available for the school sector because payroll is managed centrally for schools; the Ministry has good data for staff paid via school staffing entitlements (versus those employed with operational funding), eg on retention and movement. However, there are still some data gaps for the school sector, eg around vacancies.
  • It is critical to have good early learning sector workforce data to inform the development of a workforce strategy. Baseline data needs to be gathered now, in preparation for a strategy to be developed by 2020.
  • John’s team has begun a conversation with school sector representatives to look at the data and strategy development.
  • ECAC members indicated that they may be able to assist by providing data from different groups, eg via national Kindergarten and Playcentre organisations.
  • There was some discussion about adding questions to the July census; workforce data request questions and messaging would need to be finalised by the end of February to go out in March. The Ministry needs ECAC’s advice on how best to promote to the sector the need for providing this, and it was agreed to convene a sub-group of representatives to work on this; the timeframes for providing input would likely be very tight.
  • It was agreed that the Ministry would work separately with Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Indicate interest in the workforce data request sub-group via secretariat ECAC members ASAP 

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Peter has raised some concerns in his PB4L sector advisory group report.
  • There was a call for new representatives for the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) sector advisory groups, replacing Peter Reynolds (Early Childhood Council) and Sophie Hamilton (Te Rito Maioha), respectively.
  • There was some discussion on the purpose and usefulness of other advisory group reports. It was agreed that circulating a brief report or minutes was useful. Where minutes are embargoed or sensitive, these won’t be shared. Verbal updates at meetings could be provided in lieu of a written report or minutes.
  • Katrina invited members to suggest agenda items for the March 2018 meeting.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Respond to Peter’s PB4L sector advisory group report David Wales ASAP
Nominate representatives for PB4L sector advisory group ECAC members ASAP
Nominate representative for NZSL sector advisory group ECAC members ASAP
Allocate time at future meetings for sub-group reports Secretariat March 2018
Circulate ERO’s Newly Graduated Teacher report Secretariat When published
Send meeting dates for 2018 to ECAC Secretariat 8 December 2018

Meeting closed 2:15pm

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