ECAC minutes and presentations December 2016

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 14 December 2016, 9am to 2:45pm at Education Council, Level 12, 80 Boulcott Street, Wellington.

Attendees

ECAC members

  • Tanya Harvey, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Jo Young, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Michelle Unuia, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Deborah Wansbrough, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Nancy Bell, Director, Early Learning
  • <Senior Manager>, Senior Manager, ECE Resourcing and Implementation
  • <Senior Manager>, Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • <Senior Adviser>, Senior Adviser, ECE Implementation Planning (secretariat)
  • <Senior Adviser>, Senior Adviser, ECE Implementation Planning (secretariat support)

Apologies

  • Penelope Janes, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Evan Kidd, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Kararaina Cribb, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Susan Howan, Ministry of Education

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Susan Howan

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

Introducing Iona Holsted, Secretary for Education

  • Iona acknowledged ECAC as a unique and important forum that represents the diversity of the early learning sector. She thanked the group for coming together at such a busy time of the year. 
  • We have known for a long time the importance of early learning. Curriculum is important, but first and foremost parents want to know their children are safe and happy.
  • There was a brief discussion around the Ministry’s areas of focus, including the Te Whāriki update, Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako and learning support update.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Te Whāriki update consultation

Nancy Bell, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 2.8 MB].

  • Nancy explained that a substantive amount of feedback has been received through the consultation process, either via 36 regional hui (with 1,400 attendees), online (380 responses so far) or individual meetings. Consultation closes on Friday, 16 December 2016.
  • Detailed and thoughtful feedback has been received and Nancy provided an overview of this. It is clear that there is more work to do to articulate the ideas valued by the writers and the sector.
  • Feedback will be analysed in detail by Nancy’s team. All feedback will be coded into themes to ensure that it is included in the analysis. The aim is to ensure that the update meets stakeholder group expectations as well as those of the Minister of Education.
  • Nancy asked ECAC members for their feedback on the most important themes in the feedback. Discussion included the inclusion of NZ Sign and other official languages, the importance of learning dispositions and questions to deepen practice, visibility of pedagogical leadership, and the importance of reflecting the diversity of provision.
  • The group expressed their concern about the ability of the Ministry to complete this work before the roll-out; Nancy responded that the sector’s feedback and suggestions have been very useful and will help the writers to make good progress within the timeframe.
  • A complementary website (Te Hono) will be developed and launched concurrently with Te Whāriki, and Nancy provided an overview of the draft layout of this. 
  • The content of the website will link to exemplars (to be developed) and other assessment frameworks and tools, eg Kei Tua o te Pai. Te Hono will also include resources which are not currently available online such as Te Aho Tuktutuku | Early Mathematics. ECAC members were positive about this. Nancy invited members to get in touch with feedback at anytime.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Update from ERO

Sandra Collins, Education Review Office

Refer to presentation slides.

Key discussion points:

  • Since Iona Holsted presented to ECAC in June, ERO have published their Strategic Intentions 2016-2020 (external link) .
  • ERO’s current evaluation indicators were developed and published as part of He Pou Tātaki, ERO’s approach to reviews in 2013. Sandra explained that these would be updated from 2017, using a similar approach taken with the school indicators. This will include engaging with an academic expert group to critique the current indicators and look at current research and evidence. 
  • ERO have also recently published a retrospective study that synthesises 17 of ERO’s national evaluation reports, Early Learning Curriculum – what’s important and what works (external link) . The report shows that there is variability of quality across the sector. The Te Whāriki update writers have had access to this report. 
  • Sandra talked about effective internal evaluation for improvement. A section of a publication for schools has been adapted and developed for the early learning sector and some hard copies are available. Next year, ERO will be undertaking some effective practice case studies in early learning services. 
  • Next year’s national evaluation reports will include oral language in the early years; food, nutrition and physical activity; and newly graduated teachers and their preparedness to teach.
  • ERO will be working with Nancy’s team as Te Whāriki is updated to undertake a series of national evaluations focused on its implementation in early learning services.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako Subgroup report back

Clare Wells (NZ Kindergartens) and Tanya Harvey (AKA)

Refer to papers circulated prior to meeting.

Tanya provided some background:

  • An ECAC Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup was supported by the Ministry to provide advice on how to support education and care services me ngā kohanga reo (services) engagement in Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. 
  • A smaller group was formed to develop the advice into a paper, and this was presented to ECAC in September 2016.

Clare explained progress to date and next steps:

  • The paper presented at ECAC in September has been updated following feedback from the group, and split into three shorter papers:
    • A guide to promote engagement – this sets out ideas for how education and care services me ngā kohanga reo can be involved in Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, including thresholds and the importance of pedagogical leadership.
    • A strategy for engagement – focuses on some of the policy and communications work that needs to occur, and includes ideas about buy-in and leadership.
    • A process timeline sets out what’s happened so far.

Key discussion points:

  • ECAC members acknowledged the work of the subgroup in developing the papers.
  • The papers attempt to cover how to engage education and care services me ngā kohanga reo in the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako strategic leadership role and how to ensure all services in the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako are engaged and working together.  The papers therefore aim to ensure that all types of service can participate in a meaningful way, as well as ensure that services can join at a later date.
  • The papers recommend that, in teacher-led services, those involved in leadership roles hold a current practising certificate. NZ Playcentre Federation and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust have some feedback on how to make the papers meaningful for their whānau.
  • How professional learning and development would be accessed by services in the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako was discussed (see separate presentation on this).
  • While there is no requirement for Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to include services, regional teams are strongly encouraging this.
  • The subgroup is proposing a workstream be set up in the Ministry to provide advice and guidance around Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako roles and leadership for services and schools.  The strategy for engagement paper includes detail on recommended steps for achieving this – genuine and authentic commitment, better communication and messaging, refining the ideas, and a case for greater resourcing and easing the path to participation.
  • ECAC members suggested that it would be useful to see a timeline of actions for 2017.
  • The NZCER report Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: The Emergent Stage (external link) explores the involvement of schools in Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. The report includes an overview of the development and implementation of the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako policy, schools’ engagement with Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, the experiences of early Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako and different perspectives on how Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako are progressing.

ECAC endorsed the ECAC Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup’s papers.  It was agreed that once the papers had been finalised and submitted to the Ministry, they could be shared with ECAC members who could then send them out to their member services.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate NZCER report to ECAC members.  Secretariat ASAP
Finalise and submit Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup papers to the Ministry. Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup 23 December 2016
Circulate final Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup papers to ECAC members. Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup 23 December 2016
Respond to Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako subgroup papers <Senior Manager> Next ECAC

Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako communications strategy 

<Lead Adviser>, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 821 KB].

  • <Lead Adviser> provided an overview of how the Ministry has communicated about Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to date. The Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative was announced in 2014 and the first Community of Schools (CoS) was approved in December that year. In November 2015, the first three early learning services were approved as part of the Geraldine Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.
  • There are now 95 early learning services spread over 24 Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, representing 4,609 children (based on enrolments at July 2014).
  • From early 2017, the Ministry will have a lead advisor dedicated to Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako communications and stakeholder relationships. 
  • Future messaging regarding early learning will focus on teacher expertise and pedagogy, as well as transitions.
  • There will be a Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako story published in the first Education Gazette in 2017, which includes an early learning service. 
  • <Lead Adviser> conveyed the importance of members communicating good news stories involving early learning to the new lead advisor, once appointed, so they can be followed up.
  • The Ministry is currently working with an Auckland Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako that are producing a video about their Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako journey to date. Once this is finalised, we will look at the options for utilising it or snippets from it for various audiences/channels.
  • We are also looking at options for video tutorials, eg showing Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako how to compare early learning data with school data. 
  • These and other channels and methods of communicating about Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako are in the early planning stages but will be more visible in 2017.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako PLD update

Melissa O’Carroll, Ministry of Education

  • Melissa provided an overview of the Professional Learning and Development (PLD) framework for Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.
  • The framework was initially set up for schools and Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako. ECE services me ngā kōhanga reo in Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako have full access to this. 
  • The Ministry is working to align accredited Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) providers with this PLD framework. 
  • The Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako PLD comes from the school PLD budget, ie it’s in addition to what’s available via SELO. 
  • PLD is allocated to Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako to support them to meet their achievement challenge, within areas of national priority. Where early learning services are part of a Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, they are able to access the PLD resource if this fits with that Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako’s achievement challenge and priorities.
  • The accreditation process for facilitators able to deliver centrally-funded PLD for schools, kura and Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako has just been completed, and a list is available on the Ministry’s website (external link)
  • As most Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako have not yet been allocated their PLD budget, there is still lots of opportunity for early learning services to engage in the process. 
  • The group discussed the early learning skills of the accredited facilitators - this will improve over time, and ensuring this will be a key piece of work the Ministry undertakes next year.
  • It was noted that Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako decisions are made by Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako, not the Ministry.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Circulate list of accredited PLD providers.

Secretariat ASAP

Funding Review

Damian Edwards, Ministry of Education

  • Damian explained that the paper that went to Cabinet in October reported back on the outcome of the sector engagement and recommendations for next steps. 
  • A substantial programme of work will now be required to translate the high level concepts into workable options.
  • One of the key changes for early learning is a shift from per-place to per-child funding. The Ministry is currently doing some modelling on this. For much of the sector, this won’t mean much change, but there are some distinctive areas where this will have an impact. 
  • The sector will continue to be engaged in the work via a series of technical reference groups. These will be small, topic-specific, technical groups comprised of sector experts to advise on detailed design. Members will be selected by the Minister, rather than via a nomination process. 
  • The advisory group which was established in the first phase of the review will continue, with a slightly different terms of reference. This group includes three members of ECAC, and is chaired by the Minister of Education.
  • Damian explained that the Ministry will need to test some ideas and assumptions with ECAC. This could be done via the usual agenda at the regular quarterly meeting, or might need to be an additional specific session.
  • More information including the Cabinet Paper can be found on the Ministry’s website.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Confirm dates for engagement on detail with ECAC.

 Secretariat March 2017

Investing in Children Programme

Grant Bennett, Investing in Children Programme

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 5.1 MB].

  • Grant provided an overview of the Investing in Children Programme. 
  • The programme is developing the strategies, framework, mechanics, policies and procedures required for the operating model of the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki.
  • This is a long-term process of change, over a 4-5 year horizon.
  • The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, will be established from 1 April 2017.
  • There are 6 key building blocks for the future system – engaging all New Zealanders, a child-centred system, strategic partnering, an investment approach (with a well-being frame), high aspirations for Māori, and a trauma-informed professional practice framework.
  • There is a 4-year work programme for the service and practice model design.  Grant offered to provide more detail to ECAC members on these if needed.  The activity in year one focuses on:
    • A blueprint for five core services, investment and impact analysis, and implementation plan,
    • A blueprint for system and agency practice frameworks, and review of assessment and decision making (including Family Group Conferences),
    • The delivery of early enhancement initiatives for children and caregivers, and
    • A detailed service, practice and operating model design for the implementation of new care and protection age settings.
  • Grant explained that they are committed to a co-design approach, and this includes working with the early learning sector.  Regional service design hubs will be run so that communities can be involved in the design process; the plan is for these to get started early in 2017.
  • The legislative changes required to support the transformational changes are significant and will occur in two stages:
  • Grant encouraged ECAC members to contact him if they wanted to continue the discussion with him.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

No action items.

   

Food Act implementation

<Manager>, Ministry for Primary Industries

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 6.5 MB].

  • <Manager> provided an overview of the early learning sector’s requirements under the Food Act 2014 (external link) .
  • All early learning services must ensure the food they serve is safe and suitable.  Some services also have additional requirements under the Act, mostly under National Programme 2.
  • The new legislation is concerned with risks, capabilities and behaviours, and applies to early learning centres that provide food for sale or as part of a paid service.
  • Home-based services are exempt from the Act.  Some activities are also outside the scope of the Act, eg food brought in lunchboxes.
  • Registration and verification should not be complex or onerous. 
  • New centres must register and meet the requirements as soon as they open.  Existing centres must apply for registration by 31 March 2017 and be registered by 30 June 2017; they must be verified within a year of registration.
  • In most cases, registration is done with local councils.  Businesses with sites in multiple areas can register with MPI.
  • ECAC members thought that councils were not ready to receive registrations, but <Manager> explained that they are all ready now. 
  • Verification services are can be provided by specialist companies, as well as local councils.  Not all councils are currently ready yet, and urgent work is underway by MPI to ensure more councils are able to verify early learning centres.
  • Some ECAC members have suggested that a centralised registration system would be useful for the early learning sector.  <Manager> said his team is willing to investigate this possibility with interested ECAC members.
  • <Manager> is keen to hear from ECAC members or services who are experiencing difficulties with registration or verification, or are receiving unreasonable quotes for verification (ie in excess of $500).  His team can be contacted on info@mpi.govt.nz or 0800 00 83 33.

There is more information on the Food Act requirements for the early learning sector on the Ministry’s website.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Early childhood education me ngā kōhanga reo data summary report 2015

<Manager> and <Senior Analys>, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 3.1 MB].

  • <Manager> and <Senior Analyst> presented highlights from the Early childhood education me ngā kōhanga reo data summary report 2015, which will shortly be published on Education Counts.
  • The report provides a statistical summary of key aspects of the early learning sector and trends over the previous ten years. It uses data from a range of sources, including the 2015 annual census of early learning services.
  • Expenditure information has been included for the first time (though most of this is otherwise publicly available).
  • Most key indicators showed relatively little change between 2014 and 2015. <Manager> explained that the collection methodology has changed – this provides a richer picture, but readers should exercise caution when comparing years.
  • There have been some data quality issues, particularly with regards to staffing data. The Ministry has looked at ways to clean the data, but as the quality of the data for some measures cannot be relied on it has not been included in the report. The Ministry may need to approach ECAC for help on ensuring that services provide accurate data in future Census returns.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items.    

Other discussion items

OECD International Early Learning Study

  • Some ECAC members asked for an update on this project, and expressed concern that work was progressing with Ministry involvement with no input from the early learning sector. 
  • Some members raised concerns that some academics, both globally and nationally, have reservations about the study.
  • <Senior Manager> explained that an international consortium has been contracted by the OECD. The consortium has begun working on what assessment tools might look like for each of four domains – early literacy/oral language; early maths and numeracy; social and emotional skills; and executive function. The study is limited to 3-6 countries only, and a number of countries have already decided not to participate.
  • No decisions have been made regarding whether New Zealand will participate in the study. The deadline for confirming participation is the first half of 2017. The study is scheduled to take place during 2019.

Teacher-led Innovation Fund

  • Applications for the third round of this fund are open for teachers in state and state integrated schools now, due on 16 March 2017. Information is available on the Ministry’s website.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Provide an update on the OECD International Early Learning Study at the March 2017 meeting.

Secretariat March 2017 

Meeting closed 2.45pm

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