Transporting children to and from early learning services

Some early learning services provide transport to and from their service. This is not part of the regulated service and is not funded by the Ministry of Education. Rather, it is a private arrangement between services and the child’s family.

Licensed hours and funding

As transport is not part of the regulated service, funding from the Ministry cannot be claimed for the time a child is being transported.  This means enrolment forms should not cover the period of time in which children are being transported for attendance.

Attendance records

Attendance records should accurately record when a child is attending the service. This is especially important in emergencies so a service knows who is on the premises.

The ECE Funding Handbook(external link) requires that the ECE service or kōhanga reo has a process to ensure all parents/guardians regularly examine and confirm the attendance record. Therefore, any service that has someone other than a parent/guardian regularly dropping off and collecting a child will need to put a process in place to ensure this happens.

Signing children in and out

  • There are no regulations or criteria governing who can sign a child in to a service, so the person dropping them off can sign children in.
  • Education (Early Childhood) Regulations 2008 Regulation 58(external link) requires a service to obtain written consent if someone other than the parent/guardian collects the child from the service, so this will be needed for the person transporting them home to sign a child out from the service.

Safety checking and police vetting

As transport is not part of the regulated service, the Children’s Act 2014 requirement to safety check the adult(s) accompanying the children does not apply. However, it would be best practice to safety check those adults or obtain a police vet for them if this has not already been done.

Service responsibilities

The ECE service or kōhanga reo is responsible for developing practices for transportation that meet the health and safety needs of children and should provide information for parents, such as:

  • Ensuring appropriate adult:child ratios in the vehicle
  • Who the adult(s) accompanying the children will be – including any qualifications (teaching, first aid)
  • Whether adult(s) accompanying the children have been safety checked or police vetted
  • Supervision arrangements for children in the vehicle while other children are being walked to their home/door
  • Alternative arrangements if parents are not at home when children are dropped home
  • Having contact details of the parents available for the accompanying adult(s)
  • Sign-in  and sign-out procedures
  • Having a process to notify the adult(s) collecting children if a child will not attend
  • Having a process to ensure all children to be transported home are taken home at the correct time.

In addition the driver must hold a current full New Zealand driver’s licence and the vehicle must meet NZ Transport Agency regulations.

The ECE service or kōhanga reo also needs written permission from the person providing day-to-day care of the child for the person providing the transport to sign the child out of the service.

This information needs to be given to parents either at the time of enrolment or prior to transportation commencing.

Providing transport during licensed hours (for excursions) is covered by the following ECE licensing criteria.

  • HS18 for centre-based services
  • HS18 for kōhanga reo, and
  • HS15 for home-based services  

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