13 March 2017

NZEI Te Riu Roa says its ironic that the Government is claiming success towards its ECE targets in the same week its funding cuts have forced Auckland and Hawke's Bay kindergartens into a battle for survival.

The Government has just released its latest Better Public Performance update, claiming that 96.7 percent of children now attend ECE prior to starting school. The Government had set a target of 98 percent attendance by 2016.

"Its a tragic irony that in the same week Auckland and Heretaunga kindergartens told parents they're battling to survive, the Government is boasting about its ECE targets," said Virgina Oakly, NZEI Te Riu Roa executive member and kindergarten head teacher.

Since 2010, funding for Early Childhood Education has been virtually frozen, and funding for services who only employ qualified teachers, like Kindergartens, has been cut even further. Almost all new funding for ECE has gone on the Government's attendance drive, in order to meet its targets.

"Government funding cuts are driving down quality in ECE, at the very time the Government should be encouraging the best quality services to thrive. 

"Quality ECE costs more but every child is worth it, and New Zealand can afford to provide it," Ms Oakly said.

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