ECE Funding Handbook
Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020. 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.
Licensing Criteria Cover
3-B-2 Teacher-led education and care services
This section explains:
- how the ECE Funding Subsidy for teacher-led education and care services is calculated
- the definitions of Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff
- how to keep track of Certificated Teacher Hours
- how the proportion of Certificated Teacher Hours is turned into a funding rate
- record keeping requirements for teacher-led education and care services.
Teacher-led education and care services
Teacher-led education and care services come in many different forms, including kindergartens, crèches, aoga, and childcare centres.
Funding rates for teacher-led education and care services depend on four variables:
- whether a service is all day or sessional
- the number of ‘Certificated Teacher Hours’ a service has as a proportion of the total number of regulated (ratio) staff hours (discussed later in this section)
- the age of children attending the service
- whether the service is offering 20 Hours ECE.
The funding rates for teacher-led services do not apply to home-based services.
See Section 2-6 for further information on funding rates.
Attestation of certificated teachers’ salaries
By attesting that all certificated teachers employed by their service are being paid at least at the Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q3+ entry levels in the current Early Childhood Education Collective Agreement of Aotearoa New Zealand1, all education and care services, kindergartens and hospital-based services will be eligible to receive higher funding rates.
This is to ensure that certificated teachers are recognised and rewarded for their contribution to quality ECE through higher salaries.
Note: this also applies to New Zealand qualified and certificated primary teachers who may be employed at a teacher-led education and care service, kindergarten or hospital-based service.
The current rates for attestation can be found on the Education.govt.nz website.
Regulated (ratio) staff
Regulated (ratio) staff are staff required to meet the minimum regulatory requirements for staff:child ratios.
To find out the regulated (ratio) staff requirements for your service, please refer to the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.
For more information on the Regulations see: www.legislation.govt.nz
Regulated (ratio) staff hours
Regulated (ratio) staff hours are the total number of hours worked by all regulated (ratio) staff in a service each day.
Example: regulated (ratio) staff
Hine and Jocelyn work at Rimu Rd Crèche from 7am to 3pm every day.
From 7am-8:30am, there are usually only a few children present. This means only one person is required to meet the regulated (ratio) staff requirements.
The regulated (ratio) staff hours from 7am-8:30am = 1.5 hours. Only include those staff who are required to be present to meet regulated ratio requirements during that time period. For this example only include either Hine’s or Jocelyn’s hours.
A ‘certificated teacher’ is a holder of a current practising certificate that has been issued by the Teaching Council, or a letter from the Teaching Council advising that certification has been approved and that the practising certificate will be mailed within four to six weeks.
This includes teachers whose practising certificates are marked 'full', 'provisional' or ‘subject to confirmation’. For more information please refer to the Teaching Council's website.
Note: For ECE funding purposes, ’certificated teachers’ must be ECE qualified teachers, or New Zealand qualified primary teachers or have comparable overseas primary teacher’s qualifications supported by an assessment from NZQA.
Certificated Teacher Hours
Certificated Teacher Hours are the total number of hours worked by all certificated teachers in a service at times when they were counted towards regulated (ratio) staff.
‘Other Teachers’ and Other Teacher Hours
For funding purposes, ‘Other Teachers’ are defined as any regulated (ratio) staff members who do not meet the above definition of a certificated teacher.
‘Other Teacher Hours’ are regulated (ratio) staff hours worked by ‘Other Teachers’ as defined above.
Example: Certificated and Other Teacher Hours
Hine, Jocelyn, and Alex work at Rimu Road Crèche from 7am to 3pm each day. Hine is a certificated teacher. Jocelyn and Alex are not certificated teachers.
From 9am - 11am there are 12 children present. Two people are required to meet the regulated (ratio) staff requirements. From 9am-11am Hine’s hours are counted as Certificated Teacher Hours. Jocelyn’s hours are counted as Other Teacher Hours.
Alex’s hours are not counted because only two people are required to meet the regulated (ratio) staff requirements.
Keeping track of teacher hours
Teacher-led education and care services are required to keep a Staff Hour Count that will keep track of the number of Certificated Teacher Hours and Other Teacher Hours that make up the regulated (ratio) staff hours for their service.
Services must use the Staff Record to manage the Staff Hour Count.
Staff Record requirements
Teacher-led education and care services (excluding sessional kindergartens) must keep a Staff Record to manage their Staff Hour Count. The Staff Record shows the actual hours worked by regulated (ratio) staff on a daily basis.
For the purposes of the Staff Hour Count the Staff Record must contain all of the following:
- the names of staff used for regulated (ratio) staff requirements at any time during the day
- a note against each staff member’s name that identifies whether or not the person is a certificated teacher
- the actual number of regulated (ratio) staff that were required during each hour of the day to meet regulated (ratio) staff requirements
- the actual hours worked each day by each regulated (ratio) staff member
- the total actual hours worked each day by certificated teachers who were counted towards regulated (ratio) staff requirements (including hours worked by Other Teachers acting as relievers for up to 40 discretionary hours)
- the total actual hours worked each day by Other Teachers who were counted towards regulated (ratio) staff requirements.
How to complete the Staff Record
You can complete your Staff Record either:
- at the end of the day, recording actual hours worked by regulated (ratio) staff (make sure you keep a copy of the roster or schedule to support this) or
- planning your roster or schedule before the start of the week, and making changes each day only if there was a change to the regulated (ratio) staff requirements for any of the hours in that day. By the end of the week, the planned staff record will have become a record of actual hours worked.
The table below shows one way you could complete your Staff Record and Staff Hour Count.
Step Action 1 Choose a ‘block of time’ that you will use on your Staff Record. This could be either a half or whole hour block. 2 Work out your regulated (ratio) staff requirement for each block of time. This should be based on the maximum number of children who attended during each block of time. 3 Write down your regulated (ratio) staff requirement for each block of time. 4 Write down the actual blocks of time worked by each regulated (ratio) staff member. Make sure you write down the staff member’s name and indicate whether they are a certificated teacher. 5 If you have used half hour blocks, convert these blocks into whole hours. 6 Add up the total actual hours worked each day by certificated teachers who were counted towards regulated (ratio) staff requirements. Write this number down. 7 Add up the total hours worked each day by Other Teachers who were counted towards regulated (ratio) staff requirements. Write this number down. 8 These totals are your Staff Hour Count.
Recording breaks/ absences
Breaks/absences of 15 minutes or more must be recorded on the Staff Record to maintain transparency, and may be counted as one discretionary hour.
Breaks/absences under 15 minutes do not need to be recorded on the Staff Record.
Services must record the hours covered by Other Teachers as Other Teacher Hours on the Staff Record and Staff Hour Count for breaks/absences over 15 minutes.
Refer to the Glossary in this Handbook for definition of discretionary hours.
Certificated teacher absences and discretionary hours
Services should maintain a list of certificated relievers who are available when certificated teachers are absent.
The Ministry will accept up to 40 discretionary hours per funding period (to maintain current rates of funding) when certificated relievers are not available, provided that the record keeping requirements described in this section are met.
Services may record the hours worked by relievers who are Other Teachers as Certificated Teacher Hours for the purposes of the Staff Hour Count for 40 hours during the funding cycle. Services may choose which hours these apply to – they do not have to apply to the first 40 hours.
Between 1 October 2019 and 30 September 2020 services were entitled to 60 discretionary hours per funding period when certificated relievers were not available.
From February 2020 until February 2021, services are required to submit a record of the number of discretionary hours they have used in a funding period to the Ministry. If no hours have been used, then no submission is required.
Services that use an approved student management system (SMS) please contact your SMS provider if you require assistance in providing this information.
Services that submit paper-based RS7 or use ELI Web and have used discretionary hours during a funding period, must submit the report found at the following link along with their RS7 - Discretionary Hours report October 2020 - January 2021 [PDF, 135 KB].
Refer to the Glossary in this Handbook for definition of discretionary hours.
How to use discretionary hours
- List the number of discretionary hours (or parts thereof) that have been used to cover the absence of each certificated teacher for the day.
- Add together the allowable discretionary hours that have been used to cover the absences of all certificated teachers for the day.
- Round the total to the nearest whole number. Numbers ending in 0.5 or above should be rounded up to the next whole number. Numbers ending in 0.4 or below should be rounded down to the previous whole number.
Discretionary hours: record keeping
Service providers must keep evidence of attempts to contact a certificated teacher to cover the absence.
These records should be kept at the service for examination by the Ministry’s Resourcing Auditors during an audit. They do not need to be sent to the Ministry each funding period.
Signing the Staff Record
The Staff Record must be signed (in full) at the end of each week by each regulated (ratio) staff member as a true and correct record of their actual hours worked for that week.
Link between Staff Hour Count and funding rate
Follow the diagram below to see an example of how a service’s Staff Hour Count is used to determine their funding rate.
Example: November funding period
- Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their November RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for June, July, August and September.
- The Ministry calculates that the percentage of Certificated Teacher Hours for June - September for Kowhai Street Childcare Centre was 67%.
- Kowhai Street is placed on the 50-79% funding rate.
- Kowhai Street’s wash-up funding for June, July, August and September is paid at the 50-79% funding rate.
- Kowhai Street’s advance funding for November, December, January and February is paid at the 50-79% funding rate.
Example: March funding period
- Kowhai Street Childcare Centre completes their March RS7 Return with their Certificated Teacher Hours and regulated (ratio) staff hours for October, November, December and January.
- The Ministry calculates that the proportion of Certificated Teacher Hours for October – January was 82%.
- Kowhai Street’s wash-up funding for October, November, December and January is paid at the 80%+ funding rate.
- Kowhai Street’s advance funding for March, April, May and June is paid at the 80%+ funding rate.
Process for change of funding rate
Services do not need to apply for a change of rate.
Each service’s funding rate is calculated by the Ministry at the time of each funding round. Wash-up funding will be paid at the new funding rate.
Services that employ a certificated teacher between funding rounds must budget funds to cover the period before the higher funding rate takes effect.
For more information on how to calculate the Staff Hour Count refer to Section 9-4.
Services must keep the following documentation:
- a copy of the current practising certificate of each certificated teacher copies of ECE qualifications for all staff members
- a Staff Record (that has recorded the actual hours worked by all
- regulated (ratio) staff) for every day the service is operating
- signature sheets where regulated (ratio) staff have signed (in full) at the end of each week that the Staff Record is a true and correct record of their actual hours worked for that week
- records that verify that each certificated teacher counted towards Certificated Teacher Hours was employed by the service at that time
- records that verify the pay rate at which each certificated teacher is paid.
Documentation (including copies of practising certificates) must be kept for seven years.
More record keeping information
Use the following table to find further information about record keeping and financial reporting requirements:
If you are looking for... See Section Record keeping requirements for 20 Hours ECE 4-4 An overview of the record keeping requirements for all services 11-1 Information on funding claim audits and record keeping audits 11-2 Information or instructions for financial reporting 12