Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand acknowledges the 1.2% CPI general increase in today’s Budget, which will assist Early Childhood Education (ECE) services with their day-to-day funding, but unfortunately this is just not enough to help struggling services, especially those trying to recover from 2020 Covid environment. Where is the acknowledgement of the ‘above and beyond’ that services provided during 2020?
The increase in funding aims to help all funded ECE services and kōhanga reo manage increasing costs of provision and maintain quality and affordability for families and whanau, but yet, it is still 8% behind CPI due to a long tail of under or no funding over the past 11 years.
“This increase is good to see but we are concerned it will be insufficient for many early childhood education services to keep up with increasing running costs, including rents, maintenance, and all-important learning resources for children,” says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe.
“While we do understand the unprecedented pressures on the government’s budget at this time, it is disappointing not to see more funding for the ECE sector in this Budget, apart from that earmarked for pay parity.”
“Last week we welcomed Education Minister Chris Hipkins’ announcement of a $170m commitment over four years for early childhood education teachers. This funding will support an increase in the minimum salary education and care services must attest they are paying certificated teachers.”
“This will see the lowest-paid teachers’ salaries rise from $49,862 to $51,358 from July 1 this year. This is welcome, if overdue, but it’s a shame there is nothing for our more experienced and skilled teachers and teacher leaders, to ensure they are valued and retained,” says Kathy Wolfe.
“While they are happy to see their lower paid colleagues receive a much-needed boost, more experienced teachers have been crying out for recognition for years too. It’s deeply concerning that there is no incentive for these teachers to move into leadership positions. There is a real risk that they will leave ECE teaching, and their wealth of knowledge and experience will be lost to their communities.”
“The Budget also signals a set of higher funding rates ECE services may opt into if they agree to pay these teachers defined pay steps based on the kindergarten teachers’ collective agreement. We await more details on what the higher funding rates will look like and how services will access them, “ says Kathy Wolfe.