1 Jun 2011

Taskforce recommends big changes to early education

5:18 pm on 1 June 2011

A government taskforce has recommended major changes to early childhood education, including an entirely new funding system.

The taskforce was chaired by Dr Michael Mintrom and is calling for higher subsidies for children from Maori, Pacific Island and poor families, and tougher sanctions on low-quality early childhood centres.

At the heart of Wednesday's report is a proposed funding system based on a core subsidy for the first 20 hours of a child's enrolment.

The subsidy would be higher for children aged under two, children with special needs and those from Maori, Pacific Island or low-income families.

After 20 hours, the subsidy would drop to a much lower rate.

The taskforce also wants more help more quickly for low-quality services, but tough sanctions for those that do not improve.

It also wants incentives to encourage centres to have all their staff qualified.

The Government is considering the recommendations.

At present, the Government subsidises every child who attends an early childhood education centre by an average of $7600 each year, compared with $6700 for an average secondary student and $5500 for primary students.