ECAC minutes and presentations June 2017

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 7 June 2017, 9am to 2pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Tanya Harvey, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Robyn Maria, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Donna Eden, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Hikitia Ropata, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Susan Howan, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Anthony Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations
  • Colin Meehan, Manager, ECE Regulations and Planning
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • Kathryn Burch, Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning (secretariat)


  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Kararaina Cribb, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office
  • Nancy Bell, Director Early Learning, Ministry of Education
  • Avril Keller, Manager, Early Learning, Ministry of Education
  • Misty Parbhu, Manager, ECE Operational Policy, Ministry of Education
  • Randall Gravit, Manager, ECE Operational Funding, Ministry of Education

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Cathy Wilson opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated by email and confirmed.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

No action items


Budget 2017

Damian Edwards and David Wales, Ministry of Education

NZ Productivity Commission

  • Damian referred to the contextual slide including statements by Hon Steven Joyce.  Government has a focus is on lifting productivity and achieving greater return on investment – this was a key driver for decisions in Budget 17.
  • Government is asking the NZ Productivity Commission (external link) to investigate measuring and improving the productivity of core public services. 
  • There will be opportunity for engagement with ECAC on this; ECAC members can also engage independently.  A terms of reference will shortly be published and this will be the first opportunity for input. 
  • This builds on last year’s productivity commission, but this one is more wide-ranging.  There was some discussion about where ECE fits in terms of education or social services.

Vote Education initiatives

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 1.2 MB].

Key discussion points on the targeted funding for disadvantage:

  • Data from MSD and ELI have been used in the modelling – only numbers are provided, no names of children. 
  • Updated data will be used for calculating the final payment amounts. 
  • This funding is in addition to current equity funding.  Equity funding, along with decile funding for schools, will be considered as part of the Review of Funding Systems
  • Ensuring the effectiveness of targeted funding is critical.  To evaluate its impact, we will build on existing reporting and accountability requirements – we don’t want to add a huge administrative burden to services, but we need to ensure that the evaluation is meaningful.
  • The Ministry is open to looking at the equity funding model to inform future work; ECAC members noted that analysis may show that increased/different reporting may be required.

Key discussion points on the Learning Support initiatives:

  • David explained that all three learning support initiatives have an identifiable evidence base – we know that they address need and will provide opportunity to apply a social investment approach which will have better outcomes for children.  All initiatives have an evaluation component.
  • Although the budget bids are managed separately, the intention is that the work is joined up.  Implementation details are still being worked through.
  • It is up to services to manage how they release teachers for training – there is no additional resourcing for teacher release.
  • ECAC members were positive about this additional resource, and asked whether it can be deployed quickly.  Katrina explained that the review of the learning support delivery model is intended to remove some of the artificial barriers so that services are more readily accessible.

Other points:

  • Treasury is responsible for the proactive release of the Budget templates that agencies complete as part of the Budget process.  Proactively released documents are on the Treasury website (external link) .  The oral language initiative (Early identification and removal of communication barriers to the curriculum) is the only early learning initiative included in this release.  Budget templates for other successful Budget initiatives can be obtained through making a request to Treasury under the Official Information Act 1989 (
  • The Ministry has proactively released its Budget documents on the Ministry website.
  • ECAC members asked if there was any funding for expanding ERO’s oversight. Information on this Budget initiative is also on the Treasury website [PDF, 241KB] (external link) .
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Keep ECAC informed on the Productivity Commission investigation and provide opportunity for engagement. Siobhan Murray  TBC
Get feedback from ECAC on the evaluation framework for the targeted funding for disadvantage. Siobhan Murray September 2017
Update ECAC on the learning support delivery model and implementation of budget initiatives at next ECAC meeting. David Wales September 2017

Family Start and the Early Learning Payment

Paul Arts and Janet Dean, Oranga Tamariki

Family Start and the Early Learning Payment

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 524 KB].

  • Family start is a highly targeted, intensive home-visiting programme available to whānau/families from before birth until children start school; there are currently 6,000 whānau/families participating.
  • Participating in early learning is a key programme outcome; Family Start workers facilitate this.
  • Currently, whānau/families enrolled in selected Family Start programmes with children aged 18-36 months who are also participating in a certificated/licensed early learning service are eligible for an Early Learning Payment.  This is available for 20 hours per week.  WINZ processes applications and makes payments; more information is available on their website (external link) .
  • As a result of Budget 2017, the Family Start programme is being extended to 7,000 places and the Early Learning Payment will be nationally available.
  • Information about Family Start and the Early Learning Payment will be published in the next issue of He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin.

Key discussion points:

  • Referrals can be made by a range of service providers, eg Well Child providers, general practitioners, early learning services.  Approximately 30% are self-referrals.
  • The programme uses a multi-disciplinary approach – the Family Start worker works with a range of people and services to provide tailored support to each whānau/family.
  • Workers are qualified and trained; some are qualified social workers, some are health trained and some have teacher qualifications.  From 1 July, all workers will need to be qualified to degree level in a relevant discipline.
  • There are no reporting requirements for early learning services if they refer a whānau/family to Family Start or for the Early Learning Payment.
  • If a child’s whānau/family leaves the Family Start programme, the Early Learning Payment will continue as long as the child remains enrolled in a certificated or licensed service.

Parenting Resource

  • The Hon Anne Tolley recently launched a new Parenting Resource and a brief video overview was shown; a similar overview video is available on the parenting resource website (external link) .
  • The resource is designed for use by workers supporting families with young children.  It includes parenting and child development information from pregnancy through to 3 years of age.
  • For each age and stage, a developmental summary is provided along with different topics which are explored in detail, eg communication, motor skills.  There are session notes for introducing different topics to parents, activity ideas and resources.  The resource links to other websites and resources where relevant, eg Ministry of Education pages.
  • Paul explained that this is now the primary practice tool for Family Start workers.
  • The ECAC group were positive about the strengths-based approach which has been taken to develop the resource.
  • The resource will be extended to cover 3 to 5 years of age.  The ECAC group expressed an interest in being involved in the development of these ages and stages, noting the importance of ensuring appropriate content on expectations about what children should be able to do prior to starting school.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
 Ensure ECAC can contribute to development of Parenting Resource for 3-5 years of age  Siobhan Murray  TBC

Vulnerable Children work update

Blythe Wood, Ministry of Education

  • Blythe explained that there is an increasing focus on earlier intervention.  Data and evidence enable early identification of risk factors and behaviours, and government and agencies are increasingly investing in assessments, programmes and interventions in the 0-5 age range.
  • The new Ministry for Vulnerable Children Oranga Tamariki (external link) (MVCOT) was launched on 1 April.  There are 6 agencies accountable for protecting and improving the lives of vulnerable children – NZ Police, the Ministries of Health, Education, Justice and Social Development, the Department of Corrections, along with MVCOT.
  • A Vulnerable Children’s Plan is being developed.  This will be a public document which details what the 6 accountable agencies will do to achieve the government’s priorities for vulnerable children.  The first plan will focus on existing and planned work across the sector and is expected at the end of 2017.  It will be reviewed at least every three years; an investment approach based on increased evidence will inform government’s priorities and future iterations of the plan.
  • Blythe outlined the accessing services pilot project, aimed at testing the speed of access to services through a direct purchasing model targeting children and young people in care or at risk of coming into care.  Two DHBs are involved in stage 1 of this pilot.  Existing assessment processes (such as Gateway) are used. 
  • Services eligible for purchase include, for example, services that can’t be accessed from the DHB or other agency funded providers, services that are available but there is an unreasonable delay, services for whānau or parents.  There are good results from the pilot which will be extended to another 2 DHBs.  The Ministry will continue to work with MVCOT on this.
  • There are 5 early enhancements initiatives to delivering a range of resources and tools to support caregivers, primary health care and education providers to increase uptake of universal services.  The focus of these enhancements is on children in care, and is being led by the Ministry of Health, with MVCOT and the Ministry of Education.  The initiatives are:
    1. Raising awareness of universal services – workshops and a handbook to be launched this month.  The Ministry of Education has developed the education content.  It is available on the MVCOT website (external link) , and will also be promoted in a future issue of He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin.
    2. Development of information for educators – an online training resource.  A sector working group has provided input.  It is being launched with the aforementioned handbook and is also available on the Ministry’s website.
    3. Escalation of concerns about access to school – a pilot in three regions of different models to improve access to schooling and enrolment.  A single Ministry contact provides support.
    4. 0800 number (Plunket line) to register for Well Child Tamariki Ora checks – an enhanced care pathway will pilot in July.  Responses will be based on the level of need for each child.
    5. Additional Well Child Tamariki Ora visits – a standard and enhanced care pathway will pilot in July.  This initiative links midwives, social worker, birth family and providers.
  • The government is considering reviewing the mental health strategy and there is information on the Government’s website (external link) .  The Chief Science Advisers for health, education and social development are keen for the strategy to include a focus on early childhood.  ECAC members expressed an interest in being part of this work.
  • A framework will be developed to enable information sharing to better respond to vulnerable children and young people.  The changes will be a result of a Bill (external link) which allow for the development of a code to guide practice.  Changes will come into effect sometime in the next two years, before 1 July 2019.  We will work with ECAC to develop guidance as the information sharing provisions develop.
  • NZ does not currently have a set of national care standards – current regulations (external link) are focussed mainly on procedures and apply to a narrow population.  This affects expectations of children and young people in care, and limit accountability.  Care standards will act as a catalyst for change to transform the quality of care by increasing the transparency of, and accountability on, the care system.  They will provide a frame of reference for care providers to monitor against. 
  • Care standards will put children and young people at the centre of the care system, and provide them with a clear understanding about what they can expect.  Standards will be age-specific and include health, education, confidentiality standards.  The educational standard is currently worded as “I am being successful in my educational journey.”
  • Blythe provided an overview of a number of family violence and sexual violence initiatives of interest to the early learning sector, and ECAC members expressed a strong interest in contributing to this work:
    1. Increased ACC funding for Auckland HELP (external link) to extend the delivery of the child safety programme being run in early learning services.  Includes further development of the programme and exploring an expanded roll-out beyond Auckland to 7 other regions.
    2. Work with ACC, NZ Police and NGOs towards a whole of ECE approach to reduce child sexual abuse.
    3. Exploring options based on international best practice on what works to prevent child sexual abuse.
  • A workforce capability framework has been developed and will soon be launched.
  • There was some discussion about the VC advisory group, which includes representatives from the school and early learning sector (including some ECAC members).  What is the membership and terms of reference for that group, is there some overlap, and can information from that forum be shared with ECAC?
  • Blythe encouraged ECAC members to contact her directly for further information or discussion, email
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
 Provide an update on previously developed core competency framework, its fit with the VC work, and ensure that any future conversations about it include ECAC. Blythe Wood As work progresses
Keep ECAC updated and provide appropriate opportunities for engagement as these areas of work progress Blythe Wood As work progresses
Review VC advisory group membership, terms of reference and share minutes from meetings with ECAC. Blythe Wood ASAP

Te Whāriki implementation update

Natasha Kuka, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 3.3 MB].

  • Natasha provided an update on the programme of work so far, an overview of what’s changed, and details on the implementation support being put in place since the launch in April.
  • The report and summary of engagement findings are available on Te Kete Ipurangi (external link) .
  • There are two streams of implementation support via Core Education and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust. 

Natasha provided an overview of the Core implementation support:

  • 36 workshops will be run between May and July.  A further series of 10 workshops will be run in late July-August.
  • 24 curriculum champions are being recruited.  Appointments will be made in June, with curriculum enquiry networks established for one year from July.  The curriculum champions are expected to support 3 networks with up to 15 pedagogical leaders each; Core Education will provide support.  The next phase will be to consider next steps for the networks.
  • There will be webinars and new resources available on Te Kete Ipurangi. (external link)

Key discussion points:

  • How the networks will be established is yet to be determined; these could be identified by the Ministry, services, teachers or champions.  The approach is to use as many channels as possible to identify participants.
  • Selection criteria for the curriculum champions include qualifications and experience, as well as competencies around leadership and mentoring.  Champions will be required to support leaders coming from different ECE philosophies.
  • ECAC members were positive about the implementation support and expressed an interest in being involved in developing aspects of it if needed.
  • There is no additional funding for release time for ECE staff to participate.  Members noted that schools received two paid days for participating in PLD when similar changes were implemented in that sector over a two year period.

Arapera provided an overview of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust implementation support:

  • Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust has worked closely with their network and experts to overlay the cultural context. 
  • There will be 13 introductory wananga and up to 21 district wananga.
  • 3-6 kairaranga will be selected to lead mokopuna learning programme inquiry in each rohe and purapura.  There is a good selection of people with relevant skills to draw on; however, so that kaiako can continue working with their kōhanga, additional kairaranga will be recruited.
  • There will be 6 webinars, and new resources will also be available on Te Kete Ipurangi (external link) , but some material will only be available on the Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust website – it is important that the matauranga Māori is shared and used with care.

Other points:

  • Natasha explained that the Ministry has been working with ERO to strengthen practice – a series of iterative evaluations will be undertaken in 2017 (on awareness) and 2018 (on impact).
  • The Ministry is also briefing ITE providers.
  • In terms of assessment, services can use (but are not limited to) existing frameworks, but these must be aligned with the principles of Te Whāriki.
  • Natasha invited ECAC members to provide feedback at any time; members explained this might be more usefully done after the workshops.  Send feedback to
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

 No action items


Education Council work programme

Hikitia Ropata and Sarah Paterson, Education Council

Refer to presentation slides [PPTX, 2.1 MB].

  • Sarah provided a broad overview of four of the Education Council’s key areas of work.  To set the context, she explained that success for learners is a central tenet to the work programme.

Initial Teacher Education (ITE)

  • The Council wants to lift the quality of ITE to equip teachers for current and future learning environments.  A number of recommendations have come from the Council’s discussion paper on Strategic Options for Developing Future Orientated ITE.  The Council also commissioned the NZ Council of Educational Research (NZCER) to undertake a literature review.  The paper and literature review can be found the Education Council website (external link) .
  • Consultation about programme design is about to commence and will be open for 4 weeks.  An information pack is available on the Council’s website (external link) .  Feedback is welcome using the online survey, completing the submission template or contacting Sarah directly to discuss.

Code and Standards

  • Consultation on the code and standards took place between March and April this year.  More than 2,000 responses are being analysed to shape the final document.  The draft standards are being piloted in selected settings, and the final version will be introduced from July.

Centre for Leadership Excellence

  • Frances Nelson addressed ECAC in February to provide an overview of this work as it got underway.
  • A coherent leadership strategy is being designed during 2017.  A range of products will be developed to share with the profession.  To undertake this work, various fora have been held to bring together professional, academic, cultural and strategic expertise. 
  • A national forum for Communities of Learning | Kahui Ako leaders will be held in July and November, and an advisory group will be convened.
  • More information can be found on the Education Council website (external link) .

Learner and Whanau Support Programme

  • A system of support will be established for learners and their families/whanau involved in the disciplinary process.  This will include a set of guiding principles to support decisions and processes, accessible and culturally responsive information resources, and criteria for liaison support people.

Key discussion points:

  • The lifting of the ITE moratorium from 2018 – new programmes will still need to go through the Education Council’s programme approval process.
  • Expanding pathways towards post-graduate ITE qualifications in the early learning sector – the implications for growth in leadership and length of programmes on student loans and allowances.
  • The Council has convened an Early Childhood Advisory Group to provide their governing board with advice.  More information about this advisory group can be found on the Education Council website (external link) .
  • Sarah and Hikitia invited ECAC members to make contact with queries or for further discussion, email and
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
 No action items    

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Damian advised the group that a decision has been made for NZ not to participate in the OECD International Early Learning Study and the group received this positively.
  • Cathy Wilson alerted ECAC members to the recently released consultation on Tapasā, cultural competencies framework for teachers of Pasifika learners.
  • Katrina explained that Karl Le Quesne (previously GM ECE and more recently Deputy Secretary Early Learning and Student Achievement (ESLA)) is departing the Ministry for a new role at Department of Internal Affairs. Ellen MacGregor-Reid (currently Deputy Secretary Strategy, Planning and Governance) will be taking over the role of Deputy Secretary ELSA. Ellen will continue to be responsible for the funding review work, to ensure continuity.
  • Katrina invited ECAC members to submit requests for discussion items for the next ECAC meeting agenda; receiving request as early as possible helps ensure the right discussion leads can attend.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Send link to Tapasā consultation to ECAC members Secretariat  ASAP
Invite Ellen MacGregor-Reid to the next ECAC meeting Secretariat September 2017
Ensure Communities of Learning – Kāhui Ako is on the next ECAC meeting agenda Secretariat September 2017

Meeting closed 2:00pm

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