Early childhood teachers will be celebrating another step towards pay parity in this year’s Budget – but there’s still no parity for tamariki in early childhood education services, or their whānau.
“After being forgotten in last year’s Budget, we’re very pleased that experienced ECE teachers may see their pay increase – even though it still won't match kindergarten pay and doesn’t start until next year,” says Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood NZ chief executive Kathy Wolfe.
“However, the 136,000 tamariki in ECE services continue to be funded at less per hour than those in kindergartens - which does not equate to parity for those tamariki or their whānau,” Kathy Wolfe says.
“Tamariki in ECE services, who make up 70% of all children in early learning, are coming off second best.”
Kathy Wolfe says years of under funding has placed early childhood education in a critical situation.
Since 2011, Government funding for early childhood education has increased at less than half the rate of inflation.
“Government needs to do more than it has done so far to support the learning and education of our youngest tamariki.”
“While we value and appreciate any increase in Government funding, this year’s 2.75% increase does not reflect the rising costs that ECE services are facing with inflation at 6.9%,” Kathy Wolfe says.
“Some of our ECE service members will be wondering how they’re going to meet rising costs. Some will be facing hard choices about whether they can afford pay parity for their teachers, or even whether they can keep their doors open without asking whānau to pay more or reducing quality by cutting back to minimum numbers of teachers.”
“And, ultimately it is our youngest tamariki who will pay the price during the 1,000 most important learning days of their lives.”