ECAC minutes and presentations September 2017

The Early Childhood Advisory Committee (ECAC) met on 6 September 2017, 9am to 2:30pm at Mātauranga House, Wellington.


ECAC members

  • Donna Eden, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Karina Bird, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Thelma Chapman, Christian Early Childhood Education Association of Aotearoa
  • Arapera Royal-Tangaere, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust
  • Helen McConnell, Te Kura – the Correspondence School
  • Jacinta Blank, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Cathy Wilson, Montessori Aotearoa NZ
  • Kathy Wolfe, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Keith Newton, Barnardos New Zealand
  • Hellen Puhipuhi, Pasifika Advisory Group
  • Susan Phua, New Zealand Homebased Early Childhood Education Association
  • Karen Affleck, The Federation of Rudolf Steiner Schools
  • Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council
  • Katina Beauchamp, Early Childhood Council (observing)
  • Tanya Harvey, Early Childhood Leadership
  • Susan Foster-Cohen, Early Intervention Association Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Raewyn Overton-Stuart, Home Early Learning Organisation
  • Hikitia Ropata, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Ministry of Education

  • Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support
  • Nancy Bell, Director Early Learning, Ministry of Education
  • Anthony Newton, Group Manager, ECE Resourcing and Operations
  • Siobhan Murray, Senior Manager, ECE Policy
  • Kathryn Burch, Senior Adviser, ECE Regulations and Planning (secretariat)


  • Marianne Kayes, Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Susan Bailey, New Zealand Playcentre Federation
  • Charmaine Thomson, NZEI Te Riu Roa
  • Clare Wells, New Zealand Kindergartens Inc
  • Sandra Collins, Education Review Office
  • Susan Howan, Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement and Support

Welcome, karakia and introductions

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina welcomed the group and Arapera opened the meeting with a karakia.
  • Apologies, minutes and actions were previously circulated by email and confirmed.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

No action items


National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP)

Ben O’Meara, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 286 KB].

  • The Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 (external link) introduces a number of changes that puts the progress and achievement of children and young people at the heart of the education system.
  • The Act enables the Minister of Education to issue a statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP).  These will set high level priorities to guide the strategic direction for early learning services and schools.
  • The Minister is required to consult before publishing the NELP.
  • The Ministry is having preliminary discussions with key stakeholders over the next 6 weeks to develop advice on possible priorities for inclusion in the NELP, prior to public consultation.
  • Work to review Ka Hikitia and the Pasifika Education Plan has been extended until the end of 2018 to ensure they are aligned to the NELP.
  • Slides circulated to the group prior to the meeting set out some key questions to kick-start discussion:
    • What should the NELP focus on to help shape excellence in the education system?
    • What should the NELP focus on to help shape equity in the education system?
  • The group identified and discussed the following possible priorities:
    • Vulnerable children
    • Inclusion
    • Equity and excellence
    • Collaboration, partnership
    • Engagement with families and whānau

Next steps:

  • The Ministry will report to Ministers and Cabinet after the election.
  • Full public consultation is anticipated in early in 2018.
  • It is expected that the NELP will be agreed and published prior to 2019.
  • The Ministry will keep ECAC updated.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako

Tony Turnock, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 701 KB].

  • Tony provided an overview of progress to date, using the circulated slides.
  • There are currently 210 approved Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.  The slides show data on the number of participating schools, services and children, by region, decile, socio-economic makeup and size, and the number of Kāhui Ako with endorsed achievement challenges.
  • The Ministry has been working with Te Kura as a national provider on how they might be involved in Kāhui Ako. 
  • There is also work being done to support ways that Iwi can engage with Kāhui Ako in an equal partnership to raise achievement for all children and young people across a pathway.
  • On average, it takes 12 months for achievement challenges to be developed and endorsed.  How achievement challenges are developed is improving with experience.
  • Each Kāhui Ako decides how it will work together and sets its achievement challenges.  A range of tools, resources and services are available, and these can be tailored to support different needs, eg Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT).
  • Tanya explained that an ECAC subgroup, made up of sector representatives, has been gathering information on early learning sector experiences in Kāhui Ako.  Leads from 6 Kāhui Ako will be interviewed to find out more about enablers and barriers.
  • The group agreed that Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako will be a standing ECAC meeting agenda item.
  • There is more information on the Ministry’s website.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Send link to endorsed achievement challenges and highlight examples with relevant early learning challenges Secretariat ASAP
Co-present an update, including a report back and discussion on subgroup’s work Tony, Tanya, Clare December 2017

Education Resourcing System (ERS)

Steve Botica, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 516 KB].

  • Steve explained that the current resourcing system that the Ministry uses to calculate early learning and school funding and staffing is over 25 years old.  It isn’t flexible enough to meet changing needs and must be replaced.
  • The new system will automate and simplify funding applications, reduce paper and provide better information online.  It will be flexible enough to meet policy change, and provide improved ability for the Ministry to accurately model and forecast.
  • Playgroup operational funding will be the first early learning funding component to test end-to-end functionality and our development processes.
  • The Ministry will pilot with a small group of 4-5 playgroups, before roll-out in mid-2018.  The remaining early learning functionality will be delivered from mid-2019.
  • The Ministry will keep the sector updated via the website, bulletins and through ECAC.
  • Steve encouraged the group to provide input and ask questions, email
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Targeted funding for disadvantage

Siobhan Murray, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 240 KB].

  • A brief overview of the pre-implementation evaluation that the Ministry is currently developing was provided.
  • Siobhan invited ECAC members to contact her by 20 September if they would like to have input into guidance and reporting requirements. The guidance and reporting will be finalised in November in time for the funding notices to services.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline

Circulate Siobhan’s contact details.

Secretariat ASAP

Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko

Chris Harwood, Ministry of Education

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 1.7 MB].

  • In 2016, the Minister announced the strengthening of Digital Technologies | Hangarau Matihiko (DT | HM) in the curriculum.
  • The Ministry has been working with approximately 40 stakeholder organisations through a reference group.  An early learning representative, nominated by ECAC, is on this group and ECAC members expressed an interest in receiving regular reports from their representative.
  • Consultation on the draft content has just finished, and Chris circulated a copy of the draft DT | HM consultation document [PDF, 5.5 MB].
  • Chris explained that there are 5 progress outcomes for the computational thinking for digital technologies area, and these are outlined on page 25 of the circulated document.  Although these are mapped from year 1 at school, we know this learning begins before the start of school. 
  • The strengthened DT | HM content links closely to Te Whāriki, which promotes the integrated use of digital technologies, using digital technologies to access and engage with the wider world, and supports children to become increasingly capable of using a range of problem solving and reasoning strategies.
  • Chris circulated an A3 showing the high level implementation strategy.  This includes professional learning and development (PLD) for teachers, establishing professional industry networks and developing interactive resources.  It will be important to ensure transition is reflected in the resources.
  • If services identify digital technologies as a priority area for development, PLD funding can be accessed through Kāhui Ako.  Nancy explained that the funding available for Te Whāriki networks could also be used.
  • Curriculum content will be finalised by the end of the year.  Schools will be required to implement the curriculum from 2020, but some schools will begin to implement it from the beginning of 2018.
  • Chris welcomed ECAC’s feedback, email
  • There is more information on the Ministry’s website.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Circulate contact details for reference group’s nominee Secretariat ASAP 
Arrange report back to ECAC by reference group’s nominee Secretariat December 2017

Learning support

David Wales, Ministry of Education

David outlined 2 key Learning Support initiatives.

Oral language:

  • This initiative was announced in Budget 2017.
  • The Ministry has been working with Treasury to confirm the evaluation plan.
  • It aims to enhance the capability of early learning services and to improve the oral language and early literacy skills of 3 and 4 year old children, thereby supporting later achievement and wellbeing.
  • There is $6.020 million of funding available over 4 years.
  • The Ministry will be going to open tender to seek suitable providers.
  • The Ministry will also be convening a sector advisory group, and is seeking nominations from ECAC.
  • The group agreed to nominate Susan Foster-Cohen, Arapera Royal-Tangaere and Cathy Wilson.


  • Government has recently announced a package of 17 mental health initiatives.
  • This includes an initiative to strengthen self-regulatory skills in early childhood.
  • It is based on evidence from GUINZ (external link) and the work of the Chief Science Advisers.
  • It aims to support 3-4 year olds in home and/or early learning settings.
  • $3 million over 4 years is available.
  • A pilot approach will be taken, and a provider will be sought.
  • The Ministry will keep the sector updated on this work via the bulletin and ECAC.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
No action items    

Te Aho Ngārahu and Te Rāngai Kāhui Ako ā-Iwi

Kara Nepe-Apatu, Ministry of Education

Te Aho Ngārahu:

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 483 KB].

  • $1.91 million annually was secured in Budget 2017 to improve access to quality Māori language in localised curriculum material.
  • The Ministry is now calling for stories to develop resources for children and young people aged 0-18 years.
  • A three-stage process is being followed – story ideas, Māori medium panel and proposals.  Story ideas must cover one of three topics – NZ history, first encounters and women’s suffrage.
  • Stories must be authentic.  Endorsement, intellectual property and ownership is being taken into consideration.
  • Kara encouraged the group to submit ideas.  The closing date for submitting stories is 20 September.
  • More information, including a submission template, is available on the Ministry’s website.

Te Rāngai Kāhui Ako ā-Iwi:

Refer to presentation slides [PDF, 1.1 MB]:

  • The Minister of Education introduced Te Rāngai Kāhui Ako ā Iwi earlier this year. 
  • The framework aims to support sustainable Māori medium education pathways, and Kara provided an overview of this and how it was developed.  There are two key components:
  • The Framework, based on analysis of areas where Māori medium education is thriving, and
  • Regional System Data and Analysis, which uses benchmarked data to provide information about Māori medium education by region.
  • The Ministry is currently co-designing regional action plans with iwi in 4 pilot regions.  There will be introductory hui with remaining regions later this year.  A national implementation plan will follow.
  • Kara would welcome an opportunity to discuss the work further with any ECAC organisations.
  • Questions can be sent to
  • There is more information on the Ministry’s website.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
 No action items    


John McKeefry, Ministry of Education

  • Katrina introduced John, recently appointed in the role of Associate Deputy Secretary, Workforce. John is leading the development of a workforce strategy and is keen to get the ECAC’s early input at this meeting.
  • Workforce data is a challenge, particularly for the early learning sector. Good data will help provide a better picture of what the sector looks like, particularly on supply. 
  • John said the Ministry wouldn’t be developing a strategy alone – the Ministry will need to work with ECAC, the sector and other agencies. Strategy development will likely start early next year, and will have a long-term focus, eg 10-15 years.
  • It was noted that the sector is not just made up of teachers, ie there are parent/whānau-led services. This diversity needs to be taken into account in strategy development.
  • It will be important to ensure the strategy is aligned with NELP and fits with Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.
  • One of the Ministry’s current areas of focus is Auckland supply, and Peter shared his observations about this from an early learning sector perspective.
  • The group discussed the possibility of a sub-group or a specifically focussed workshop as a means to develop further thinking.
  • Tanya reminded the group that there was an ECAC subgroup convened a few years ago, and some of the material that came from that group might be worth reviewing.
  • It was agreed that ECAC members could provide/gather current state information if supplied with a set of key questions, eg vacancies, roles, length of time to fill, by region.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Source material from previously convened ECAC subgroup Tanya Harvey December 2017
Develop a set of questions and circulate to ECAC members for completion John McKeefry, Secretariat 29 September 2017
Present an update to ECAC at their next meeting John McKeefry December 2017

Other items and wrap up

Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education

  • Some ECAC members are on other advisory groups, and regular reporting back to ECAC would be useful – this will be a standing ECAC meeting agenda item.
  • ECAC members would like to invite the Minister of Education to the next ECAC meeting.
Action itemsResponsibilityDeadline
Arrange report back to ECAC from other advisory groups Secretariat Future meetings
Invite the Minister of Education to December ECAC Secretariat December 2017

Meeting closed 2:30pm

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