Early Learning Regional News - 23 February 2021

Regional News / General News / Other News updates from the Directors of Education for Ministry of Education regions.

Tai Tokerau Regional News

Kia ora koutou,

Ngā mihi o te tau hou. Happy New Year to you all.
I hope you have had a chance to have a much needed rest and ready to start 2021.

New Staff at the Ministry of Education

We are excited to welcome new staff joining our Ministry whānau

Jill Douglass Speech Language Therapist (Kerikeri)
Kristen Shepherd Speech Language Therapist (Whangārei)
Louise Field Intern Psychologist (Whangārei)
Paul Bennett Regional Infrastructure Manager (Whangārei)
Ramya Adiseshan  Speech Language Therapist (Kerikeri)
Shane Gregory Service Manager (Kerikeri)
Teressa Ah Fook Special Education Advisor (Whangārei)

Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO)

The Ministry of Education is providing the following SELO opportunities to over 80 licensed services in Te Tai Tokerau region from February to June 2021.

Here is a list of the programmes for SELO 2 /3 in Te Tai Tokerau starting in January and February 2021:

  • Lifemoves Therapy – Jan McConnell: Working with trauma through dance
  • Raukatauri Music Therapy: Working with trauma through music
  • Tanya Valentin Infants & Toddlers
  • CORE Education Kāhui Ako: Local curriculum
  • CORE Education: Responding to Trauma
  • ECE Consulting Jean Morgan: Governance and Management
  • Inside Out: Wendy Baker: Safe play, Managing self
  • Stand Tu Maia: Theraplay Institute: Kāhui Ako: Responding to Trauma

If there is anything that you would like to see Ministry of Education provide for you under SELO, please email your interest to sacha.cherrington@education.govt.nz.

Incredible Years Programme

The Incredible Years programme is a parenting programme aimed at helping whanau and parents gain skills and stimulate the development of positive behaviour for their tamariki.

A schedule has been confirmed for the following locations:

  • Dargaville
  • Ruakaka
  • Kaitaia
  • Whangārei
  • Maungaturoto
  • Hikurangi
  • Kaikohe
  • Opononi
  • Kerikeri
  • Moerewa
  • Whangaroa
  • Ruawai.

If parents or whanau would like further information, please contact Eileen Turner at IY.TT@education.govt.nz

Waitangi Day Commemorations

Ministry tents for Waitangi Day celebrations

Waitangi Day 2021 marked 181 years of the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The Ministry of Education set up a stall to promote Māori Education Strategy; the refresh of Ka Hikitia / Tau Mai te Reo, Aotearoa New Zealand Histories, Te Ahu o te Reo Māori, Education and Training Act 2020 alongside regional learning priorities.

The best part of our job is interacting with our communities, parents and students and hearing their aspirations and how we can support their education pathway.

We are currently seeking feedback on draft curriculum content for Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories. Please take the opportunity to provide your feedback by completing the survey. Your voice is important.

Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories in our national curriculum

I wish you every success in 2021.


Ngā mihi nui

Hira Gage
Director of Education Tai Tokerau
Phone: 09 436 8914
Email: hira.gage@education.govt.nz

Auckland Regional News

Tēnā koutou katoa

It is my pleasure to share this message with you as Isabel Evans takes a well-deserved break with her whānau. Isabel will be back on board on 24 February.

I trust you and your teams enjoyed the summer break with whānau and friends. We hear that the beginning of the year started smoothly for most however our experience this last week shows how lucky we have been this summer. It is a timely reminder that we need to still take care and scan, scan, scan!

I personally would like to thank you all again, for the incredible community spirit and the responsiveness and care for our whānau. Everyone just got on with doing what needed to be done! I particularly want to acknowledge the Principal at Papatoetoe High School, Vaughan Couillault, and his team who have done an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.

We have heard many stories about the innovation and support provided in our communities – please feel free to get in touch to share your stories with us.

Urgent Response Fund

Please note the following key information for Urgent Response Fund (URF) applications:

  • The $14.5m URF fund for Tāmaki Makaurau is available for one year from 1 July 2020 until 30 June 2021
  • Currently over 1600 applications received, with $9.5m approved and just under $5m available.
  • Applications for the remaining period (term 1 and term 2, 2021) will close 5pm on 16 April, or earlier, depending on the funds available
  • New applications can only be made to cover term 1 and/or term 2, 2021
  • Only applications that fit the URF criteria will be considered – please contact your Learning Support Manager or Education Adviser if you need any help.

New bilingual pre-school

On 6 February, the Associate Minister for Education, Aupito William Sio, officially launched the Aukilani Kids bi-lingual pre-school in Avondale. The faith-based pre-school is located next to the Fale Sa (church building) with a strong emphasis on aganu’u faasamoa, the Samoan language.

There is a strong sense of ownership from the ekalesia (church) community, Whau community board and local business to ensure the success of the centre. The service has a focus on ensuring that the children attending, get the language measina (treasure) that has been gifted from generation to generation - linked closely to Te Whariki and Pacific Education frameworks.

Children helping cut the ribbon at new bilingual preschool
From Minister Sio “It was great to see the young ones so eager to participate when I invited them to come up and help me cut the ribbon....!”


Please do not hesitate to contact your Ministry team if you wish to discuss any ideas or issues. We look forward to hearing from you.

Ngā manaakitanga


Deidre Alderson
Director of Education for Auckland (Acting)
Email: deidre.alderson@education.govt.nz

Waikato Regional News

Tēnā koutou e te whānau

I trust you have all had a refreshing holiday break with whānau and friends and were able to celebrate Waitangi Day. This day commemorates the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and is an opportunity to reflect on the part we all must play in honouring the intent of the three articles as educators as well as citizens of Aotearoa / New Zealand.

I look forward to supporting you all throughout this year and welcome your feedback and suggestions from the mahi you are involved in.

Mauri Ora
Shane Ngātai

Ministry of Education Learning Support Courses and Workshops for Parents and Educators

In the booklet below please find a range of courses that parents, whānau and educators are welcome to participate in throughout 2021. Information on how and when to enrol by is included in the booklet.

Courses and Workshops for Parents and Educators [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories

You will be aware from the previous bulletin and recent media coverage that from 2022 onwards, Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories will be taught in all schools and kura. From an early childhood perspective, learning about local histories links directly to the principles and strands of Te Whāriki. As we visit early learning services, we are always encouraging teachers to explore and become knowledgeable about the history of their local area. If you are looking for a place to draw inspiration to start on this journey, there is a wealth of information on Te Whāriki Online. There are resources, provocations and further links to designing your own local curriculum.

Local curriculum, Tuia Mātauranga, and beyond - Te Whāriki Online(external link)

Similarly, the Education Gazette / Tukutuku Kōrero has some great reads highlighting success in education when children’s identities, languages and cultures are affirmed. The first edition for this year has a wonderful story about a local kura Te Wharekura o Rakamanga in Huntly which I encourage you to read.

Education Gazette(external link)

Early Learning Team Waikato Region

Recently we have welcomed some education advisors to our Waikato team. Below is an updated list of advisors available to help with your licencing and certification queries;

Mere Lawson-Nuri, Manager Education 07 8508960 mere.lawsonnuri@education.govt.nz
Gill Brown 07 8587140 gill.brown@education.govt.nz
Terri Burridge 07 8587172 terri.burridge@education.govt.nz
Mariana Raukawa 07 8373117 mariana.raukawa@education.govt.nz
Ali Bell 07 8580126 alison.bell@education.govt.nz
Tracey Martin 07 8580120 tracey.martin@education.govt.nz
Linda Baxendine 07 8373156

linda.baxendine@education.govt.nz

Our new team members:

Ana Kirk 07 8580127 ana.kirk@education.govt.nz
Leah Steens 07 8508895 leah.steens@education.govt.nz
Shannon Woodcock 07 8587189 shannon.woodcock@education.govt.nz
Cherie Marks 07 8508977 cherie.marks@education.govt.nz

If your early learning service, nga Kōhanga Reo or playgroup has a story of success or celebration that you would like to share with the wider Waikato region, please email it through to linda.baxendine@education.govt.nz. We are always happy to receive contributions.


Shane Ngātai
Director of Education Waikato
Phone: 07 858 0124
Email: Shane.Ngātai@education.govt.nz

Bay of Plenty - Waiariki Regional News

Kia Ora and Talofa Lava

The year is off to a very busy start with a number of initiatives such as the Early Learning Regulatory Review, Aotearoa New Zealand’s Histories draft curriculum being announced, as well as the continuation of other initiatives for example the Urgent Response Fund (URF). I hope that you are all managing to keep up with what is happening.

Staffing Matters with the Bay of Plenty Waiariki region

Nancy Macfarlane who has been Manager Education with the early learning portfolio across the Bay of Plenty – Waiariki region has secured an exciting new position within the Ministry as Senior Manager, Curriculum Pathways and Progress. Congratulations Nancy.

I have asked Merle Ramsay to act in the position of Manager Education schooling and early learning until 30 June 2021. This will give us time to advertise for a permanent manager in the coming months. Merle will be known to many of you through her outstanding work with Kāhui Ako.

Shari Brell and Nicole Young who have been Senior Advisors for early learning have also won other positions in the Ministry. Both have been appointed to the newly created Curriculum Lead positions. These positions are regionally based and will strengthen the Ministry’s frontline support for curriculum and will focus on wellbeing. They will provide hands-on support to teachers and Kaiako in early learning, kōhanga, schools and kura. Shari and Nicole’s last day in their Senior Advisor roles is the 26 March 2021.

We have recruited the Senior Advisor vacancies and I am pleased to announce that Jodi Irwin and Renee Cleaver have been appointed as Senior Advisors Early Learning. Jodi will be based in the Rotorua office and Renee will be based in our Tauranga office. Congratulations to both Renee and Jodi.

Secondment Opportunity

To complement Merle in her role as Manager Education I would like to appoint a Lead Advisor Early Learning for a fixed period of six months. If this opportunity interests you or a member of your staff please make contact with Merle Ramsay at merle.ramsay@education.govt.nz or 021 240 7189. This position could be based in either the Tauranga or Rotorua office.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with staff from this office if you need assistance with any matters. There is no wrong door into the Ministry of Education so when you ring 07 349 7399 you will be put through to the best person to answer your query.

Remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Scan at every opportunity.

Feel free to email me at ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz or call me on 07 349 8309 if there is anything you’d like to discuss.

Ia manuia

Ezra Schuster
Director of Education Bay of Plenty – Waiariki
Phone: 07 349 8309
Mobile: 027 296 8196
Email: ezra.schuster@education.govt.nz

Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatu Regional News

Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa

Welcome to 2021. I hope that this first regional Pānui Kōhungahunga finds you well and that you have each had a chance to have a short break and spend valuable time with family and friends over the summer period.

Urgent Response Fund (URF)

Our region has provided over $3m to support schools, kura and early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo to attend and engage in learning and wellbeing for children and young people following the COVID-19 lockdowns.

An outcomes survey sent to the early receivers of the fund indicates that the funding has made a significant difference to support with the priority needs of children.
We have approximately $1m left in the fund for allocation across our region with URF available through to 30 June 2021.

Further information on how to apply and the purpose of the fund can be found on the Education website. If you would like to discuss an application, you can contact Suzanne Beenen on 06 757 6434 or at Suzanne.beenen@education.govt.nz.

Urgent response fund – Ministry of Education website

SELO – Inclusive Practice Delivery

In November we hosted a successful professional learning and development opportunity through SELO involving over 200 teachers from across the Taranaki and Manawatū.

The Inclusive Practice conference, organised by LEAP Education explored our image of the child, unconscious bias and an exploration of He Māpuna te Tamaiti. This was followed by a series of workshops for kaiako, managers and leaders.

Dr Lesley Rameka presented a keynote to open our minds to the role of teachers and leaders in education. This was reminding us of the social and political context we are in, both in Aotearoa New Zealand and more globally. Anneke Pati from Learning Support walked us through He Māpuna te Tamaiti, unlocking the code and inviting us to engage more fully in messages and the possibilities of improving outcomes for children.

Presentation in a hall

Presentation in a hall

We would like to thank all the teachers and leaders who attended the sector forums in both New Plymouth and Palmerston North. We hope that you all found this valuable. It has inspired teaching teams to continue working on unpacking He Māpuna te Tamaiti and are practicing some of the amazing teaching strategies that we saw demonstrated.

The Whanganui hui is planned for later in the month with information sent to those services for registering.

We are very happy for you to contact us if you have any follow up questions or feedback for the Ministry, specifically about SELO. Thank you to those who have already followed up with questions regarding safety checking children’s workers.

Our SELO providers spend many hours planning the SELO contracts and events for us, which we greatly appreciate. Along with individual and cluster SELO provision we like to offer the opportunity of large hui as we all benefit from collaborative learning, building relationships with others in the early learning sector and sharing quality practices.

Playgroups Funding – January to June 2021

Playgroups are now able to apply for Operational Funding for the January to June 2021 period using ERS. You will be able to track the progress of your funding request and access your payment advice notices online.

Supporting information for ERS including FAQs, a training module, and step-by-step guidance is available on our website.

Playgroup funding(external link)

Playgroup Special Grants

The Special Grant is a discretionary grant to assist a playgroup to cover the large costs that cannot be met from other funding. The Special Grant may contribute to or meet the full costs of what is applied for. Please contact your education advisor to request an application.

Please ensure that we have the most up-to-date email details for your playgroup in our records, by either telling us in ERS, or contacting Ann Cherie at anncherie.phillips@education.govt.nz.

Please contact me using the details below if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.

Ngā mihi

Marlene Clarkson
Director of Education Taranaki, Whanganui, Manawatū
Phone: 06 349 6304
Mobile: 027 275 1450
Email: marlene.clarkson@education.govt.nz

Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast Regional News

He mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa. I hope 2021 has started well for you, your staff, children and whanau.

As we settle into 2021, we are all mindful of those children who might require additional supports to ensure ongoing attendance, participation and engagement in early learning. The Urgent Response Funding (URF) can be accessed to support this. The URF panel have already met this year to make recommendations on applications from late last year and January. The group will now meet weekly and started on 16 February to progress applications. Please prioritise improving attendance and engagement in your applications. Your Education Adviser is available to support you with this, do not hesitate to contact us.

Playgroup Operational Funding

Operational funding for Playgroups is now open. Funding can be applied for up until 24 June via ERS. Refer to the Playgroup Funding Handbook on our website for further information, alternatively contact your Education Advisor.

Playgroup operational funding Playgroup Funding Handbook

Updating Playgroup Details

It is important that the Ministry has the most current details for your playgroup. If your playgroup has had a change of contact person/s, postal addresses, email, change of venue, days of operation or bank account details, please notify us. Incorrect details may result in delayed funding.

Hazard Checklists

A friendly reminder for services to ensure equipment, premises and facilities are checked on every day of operation for hazards to children.

Consideration of hazards must include but is not limited to:

  • cleaning agents, medicines, poisons, and other hazardous materials;
  • electrical sockets and appliances (particularly heaters);
  • hazards present in kitchen or laundry facilities;
  • vandalism, dangerous objects, and foreign materials (e.g. broken glass, animal droppings);
  • the condition and placement of learning, play and other equipment;
  • windows and other areas of glass;
  • poisonous plants; and
  • bodies of water.

To ensure compliance, services need to ensure that they are using the exact wording from the criteria. For further information, refer to the following links to licensing criteria or contact your ECE Education Advisor for any queries.

HS12 Hazard and risk management - Licensing criteria for centre-based ECE services
Hazards and outings - Licensing criteria for Kōhanga reo
HS11 Hazard management - Licensing criteria for home-based ECE services
HS10 Hazard and risk management - Licensing criteria for hospital-based ECE services
HS7 Hazard management - Certification criteria for playgroups

Otago Southland Regional News

Kia ora koutou and warm Pasifika greetings

It’s been a long time since our last Regional News in the Early Learning Bulletin. I hope you have all taken some time to relax, refresh and enjoy some downtime over the holiday period and that your start of year has begun smoothly. I know you will have exciting plans ahead to work with the staff, parents, whānau and community to support the learning pathways of the children in your services in a new ‘COVID-normal’ environment and for many this work is already underway.

We anticipate there will still be a high level of communication this year, so have just included one brief updates about the Urgent Response Fund.

Urgent Response Fund

There is still funding available through the Urgent Response Fund to support children whose attendance or engagement at your service has been impacted following COVID-19. We are continuing to process applications under $5K, and applications over $5K will go to the Advisory Group for consideration. The first allocation meetings (Advisory sub-groups) are today (15 February) and I have included the schedule for the rest of Term 1 below.

Advisory Group application meeting datesSubmission date for applications
Monday 8 March By 8am Thursday 4 March
Monday 29 March By 8am Thursday 25 March
Monday 12 April

By 8am Thursday 8 April

The full Advisory Group is meeting next on 15 March – we’ll send a summary out to schools and early learning services following this meeting, including an update of funding remaining.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss an application – please contact your Education Adviser.

Next month we’ll include more information about other key areas of work and ways to engage with us during the year. We are keen to continue offering ECE zoom hui in 2021 to hear your ideas and provide any updates about key initiatives or ideas.
Please contact me if you wish to discuss any issues or ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.


Ngā mihi mahana

Julie Anderson
Director of Education Otago-Southland
Direct dial: 03 471 5217
Mobile: 027 836 484
Email: julie.anderson@education.govt.nz

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