ECE complaints data released

A new report released today by the Ministry of Education provides greater transparency and additional information to parents, says Deputy Secretary Sector Enablement and Support Katrina Casey.

"We started releasing information on complaints about early childhood education (ECE) in 2014 to give parents confidence that we take all complaints seriously and act upon them," says Ms Casey.

"In 2016, we received a total of 331 complaints about early learning services. This is a drop from 2015 when we received 342 complaints and the second year running we have seen a fall in complaints.

We investigated 245 of the 2016 complaints. A further 86 did not require investigation. These were either resolved at the source, referred to the service’s own complaints process, referred to another agency or withdrawn.

Of the complaints investigated by the Ministry, a total of 163 were upheld, meaning that standards had not been met or the investigation found something that the service was required to improve. In 2016 we investigated and upheld more complaints than in previous years.

This year we have reviewed the report to provide more information on complaints, including where complaints have resulted in referrals to other agencies, a change in licence status or a teacher leaving the service.

In addition to the report we are issuing a new and separate table listing all complaints received.

For the first time, this year’s report also includes information on incidents notified to us by early learning services.

In total, we received 152 reports of incidents from early learning services in 2016 - a mix of mandatory and voluntary notifications from services. We value the insight that this additional information provides.

New Zealand licensing standards for ECE are amongst the best in the world and services need to meet these standards to retain their full licence. In 2016, 98% of the 4,609 ECE services held a full licence.

Every complaint we receive is treated seriously. We assess each complaint, and if a service falls short of the standards we impose conditions for improvement or shut the service down.

We continue to look at ways to improve our management of complaints and to use the insights from our investigations to improve our services. We expect to publish the 2017 complaints report by the end of June.

Nothing is more important than the safety and wellbeing of our children."

Read the report

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