ECAC minutes and presentations June 2016

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 15 June 2016, 9am to 3pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kohanga Reo National Trust
  • Trisha Benge, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Association of NZ
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Jo Young, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Evan Kidd, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Viv Butcher, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Penelope Janes, Barnados New Zealand
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Tanya Harvey, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Sophie Hamilton, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office
  • Deborah Wansbrough, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Susan Howan, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support (chair)
  • Ruth Shinoda, Associate Deputy Secretary, Education System Performance
  • Nancy BellDirector, Early Learning
  • <Senior Manager> Senior Manager, ECE Resourcing and Implementation
  • <Senior Manager> Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • <Chief Policy Analyst> Chief Policy Analyst, ECE Policy
  • <Senior Adviser> Senior Adviser, ECE Implementation Planning (secretariat)


  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Kararaina Cribb, Te Kohanga Reo National Trust

Welcome, karakia and introductions - Susan Howan

  • Susan welcomed the group; Trisha opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated and confirmed.
  • There was an acknowledgement and farewell of ECAC members Sally Wooller (NZEI) and Kathy MacFarlane (Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools).  New ECAC members Jo Young and Karen Affleck were welcomed and introduced themselves.
  • Clare Wells gave a tribute to Anne Smith and her considerable contribution to early childhood education in New Zealand.

Budget - Ruth Shinoda

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 1.1 MB].

  • The group discussed the data used to inform budget setting.  The includes the Quarterly Employment Survey and the Survey of Income, Expenditure and Fees (SIEF).
  • As SIEF response rates are low, the data is of limited use.  The Ministry is keen to ensure that only data that will be used is requested, and that providing it is not a burden for services.
  • Ruth welcomed conversations on alternative data sources, and ECAC expressed interest in being practically involved.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Report back to ECAC with options for collecting financial data. <Senior Manager> Dec 2016

Review of Funding Systems - Damian Edwards

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 373 KB].

  • This review is part of a wider work programme.
  • Funding is a key mechanism for addressing achievement challenges. We want to target the right resources for children who need it most. The current system has strengths and weaknesses.
  • Currently the review is in its engagement phase. This includes an advisory group which includes representatives from the early learning sector. A group specific to early learning (the Sector Advisory Group on ECE Funding) is also being reconvened and will run in parallel.
  • Wider sector engagement will occur in the regions. There will also be engagement with specific interested groups. Damian invited ECAC members to make contact and provide input.
  • Conceptual principles are being developed and more detailed proposals will be developed by the end of the year.
  • The terms of reference are set. Tertiary sector funding is not in scope. 20 hours ECE is also not being reviewed; but feedback on this is welcome.
  • The importance of an at-risk component was noted.
  • Future-proofing will be part of testing.
  • There is further information about the review on the Ministry’s website (external link)
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Share with ECAC the principles being developed by the Review of Education Funding Systems Advisory Group. <Chief Policy Analyst> When Available
Circulate link to information on website to ECAC. Secretariat ASAP

Special Education Update - David Wales and Programme Manager

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 5.3 MB].

  • David circulated some A3 handouts and these included information on the system, current funding administration and special projects.  Background on the update was provided, including consultation and engagement.
  • There are four key areas of focus:
    • Child-centred approach
    • Communities of learning
    • Empowering parents
    • Targeted and tailored support
  • Is the term ‘special education’ still appropriate?  The term ‘additional learning support’ fits well.
  • The Ministry doesn’t know how many children and young people are being supported because of the way the dispersed model works.  We need better visibility around this.
  • The design is child-centred, with parents and whānau closely involved in decision-making from the beginning.  There is likely to be a shift in emphasis to an integrated approach vs individual specialists working with a child.
  • An update on the special projects was provided.  There are good outcomes from these already, and now the Ministry is working on how they can be absorbed into the overall work programme.
  • The project team is working closely with the funding review team.
  • Next steps include a cabinet paper and the Minister of Education’s agreement on general direction.  Service design will take place during the second half of 2016, with implementation from 2017.
  • ECAC members were invited to contact <Programme Manager> with questions or comments.
  • ECAC will be kept informed of progress.  In the meantime further information on the update is on the Ministry’s website (external link) .
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate link to information on website to ECAC. Secretariat ASAP

Communities of Learning (CoL) - Peter Reynolds

  • Peter reported back from the first meeting of the ECAC Communities of Learning (CoL) subgroup, held on 13 June.
  • This first meeting was focused on discussing how CoL could be rolled out to the early learning sector. 
  • The group discussed the benefits and challenges to early learning sector participation in CoL.  There is no specific funding available for the early learning sector to participate in CoL.  Other challenges include geography and the number of early learning services.
  • The involvement of early learning services in CoL is not just about transition, but improving outcomes for children. 
  • There are 117 CoL; 22 of these have had their achievement challenges endorsed so there are still opportunities for involving the early learning sector.  Two CoL formally include early learning services – Geraldine and Oamaru.
  • There was some discussion on how CoL would work in the Māori medium setting, or a group of Rudolf Steiner services and schools not closely geographically located. 
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Let ECAC members know who they can contact re CoL. Secretariat ASAP
Provide detail on CoL which include early learning services. Secretariat ASAP
Provide detail on Māori medium CoL. Secretariat ASAP

Quality in early learning - Nancy Bell

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 3.4 MB].

  • There are a diverse range of views on the definition of quality.
  • In NZ, there are a range of early learning service types, models and philosophies.  A number of factors influence quality provision, eg for example in teacher-led settings this may include teacher qualifications, ratios and group size.  Is there a quality measure that can be applied across settings?
  • Access to professional learning and development (PLD) is important.  During the 2014/15, 2,404 early learning services were engaged in PLD under the Strengthening Early Learning Services (SELO) provision.  We do not have data about PLD that is sourced independent of the Ministry.
  • ERO evaluations show that 90% of services are "well placed” or "very well placed" to support positive outcomes for children.  ERO's national evaluation reports also provide insights into quality provision.
  • There are a number of areas of work which might be drawn together and contribute to the development of a quality work programme, eg the recommendations from the Advisory Group on Early Learning (AGEL), PLD programmes, Communities of Learning (CoL).  Some areas of work need engagement within a short timeframe.
  • The Ministry is keen to continue to work with ECAC on the development of a quality work programme.

Education Review Office (ERO) - Iona Holsted

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 1.5 MB].

  • Iona presented to the group and answered questions.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate School Evaluation Indicators to ECAC members. Secretariat When published.

Early Learning Taskforce, iwi work, ARoNA - Manager

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 1.9 MB].

  • <Manager> gave an overview of the broad programme of work aimed at improving information, communications and two-way engagement for educators, learners, parents, whānau, communities and employers.  Improved engagement in education and higher expectations at home and in formal settings is the overall goal of the work.
  • The work of the Early Learning Taskforce has resulted in increased participation rates for all children, including Māori and Pasifika.
  • There is work underway with 29 iwi to raise early learning and achievement in literacy/numeracy and NCEA Level 2.  Successes include iwi utilising Whānau Ora entities, community events and Whānau Education Action Plans (WEAP).
  • A student-focussed methodology is at the core of the At Risk of Not Achieving (ARoNA) work, and NCEA achievement data is used to support schools and families identify how individual students at risk of not achieving NCEA Level 2 can be supported to succeed.
  • <Manager> invited ECAC members to get in touch if they would like any more information about this work.

Other discussion items

VCA and core competency work – Susan Howan

  • The Children’s Action Plan Directorate have not yet confirmed next steps for this work
  • We will continue to be clear about how we see the work progressing for the education sector.
  • ECAC will be kept informed.

Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards – Clare Wells

  • Congratulations to the winners of this year's awards, Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti and Karanga Mai Early Learning Centre. 
  • Details and videos are available on the Ministry's website (external link) .

Advisory and reference groups – general discussion point

The group discussed the number of different advisory groups currently underway, and the need to ensure that meeting dates are appropriately timed for useful discussion and report-back.

Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate a schedule of early learning sector groups and meeting dates. Secretariat ASAP
Confirm next meeting date, in line with other early learning sector group meeting dates (as above). Secretariat ASAP

Meeting closed 3.00pm

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