ECE Funding Handbook

Welcome to the Early Childhood Funding Handbook. This Funding Handbook is issued under section 548(5) of the Education and Training Act 2020(external link). The funding paid to licensed services is paid subject to the terms and conditions set out under this Handbook and must be complied with. The terms used in this Handbook are based in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

This Handbook is designed to be a ‘one-stop-shop’ for all you need to know about early childhood funding, including:

  • the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Funding Subsidy
  • 20 Hours Early Childhood Education (ECE)
  • Equity Funding
  • the Annual Top-Up for Isolated Services

Note: The information in the Funding Handbook does not apply to certificated playgroups. These services should contact their Ministry regional office for further information.

Downloading the ECE Funding Handbook

If you want a printed copy of this handbook, refer to the list of downloads in the contents section where you will find downloadable PDF versions of each chapter.

ECE Funding Handbook downloads

3-C-3 Playcentres

P symbol.  Checklist.

  • Introduction
    • Playcentres are licensed early learning services co-operatively managed by parents and staff. All playcentres are a member of Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa – Playcentre Aotearoa.

      This section explains:

      • operating, supervision and qualification requirements for playcentres
      • requirements for quality funding rates
      • record keeping requirements for playcentres.
  • Operating Requirements
    • All playcentres must:

      • be a member of Te Whānau Tupu Ngātahi o Aotearoa – Playcentre Aotearoa, and
      • be run according to the operating requirements set out in the Playcentre Aotearoa constitution, and
      • be organised, equipped and manager on a co-operative basis, and
      • provide programmes for children that are at least partly managed by the parents of the children attending the session.
  • Supervision requirements
    • For each session, all playcentres must:

      • Ensure that at least one person takes the role of person responsible and holds a recognised qualification(external link), and
      • use a supervision plan approved by Playcentre Aotearoa, and
      • have no more than 30 children attending, and
      • have a maximum adult:child ratio of 1:5, and
      • ensure that all children under 2 and a half years of age are accompanied by a parent or caregiver.
  • Group supervision requirements for standard funding
    • In order to receive funding at the standard rate, playcentres must have:

      a) A supervision plan approved by Playcentre Aotearoa and

      b) At least one person on each session who holds a qualification gazetted as meeting the Person Responsible requirements for Playcentres.

      Acceptable qualifications for a person responsible are set out in a notice in the NZ Gazette(external link). These include:

      • Playcentre Sessions (course 3 of The Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education)
      • Playcentre Practice (course 4 of the Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education)
      • Playcentre in Context (course 5 of the Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education)
      • The Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education
      • A level 4 or above in early childhood qualification recognised in the NZ Gazette(external link) notice as suitable for a person responsible in Playcentres.
      • An ECE teaching qualification recognised by the Teaching Council for the purposes of registration.

      Please direct any questions about the qualifications for Playcentres to your playcentre association contact person or Ministry regional office.

  • Group supervision requirements for quality funding
    • To be eligible for quality funding rates, licensed playcentres must meet one of the qualification options below. Where two or more different qualifications are required, these must be held by separate people.

      Until 31 December 2021:

      Option Minimum qualifications
      1

      Two level 4 qualifications recognised in the NZ Gazette(external link)

      2

      Two Playcentre Practice (course 4 of The Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education)

      3

      A level 4 qualification recognised in the NZ Gazette(external link), and

      Playcentre Practice (course 4 of The Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education)

      4

      A level 5 qualification recognised in the NZ Gazette(external link), and;

      Playcentre Educator Award or two Playcentre Introductory Awards

      5

      Playcentre in Context (course 5 of the Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education), and;

      Playcentre Educator Award or two Playcentre Introductory Awards

      6

      A level 6 qualification recognised in the NZ Gazette(external link), and;

      Playcentre Educator Award or two Playcentre Introductory Awards

      7

      The Playcentre Diploma in Early Childhood and Adult Education, and;

      Playcentre Educator Award or two Playcentre Introductory Awards

      8

      An ECE teaching qualification recognised by the Teaching Council for registration purposes, and:

      Playcentre Educator Award or two Playcentre Introductory Awards

      Please direct any questions about the qualifications for Playcentres to your playcentre association contact person or Ministry regional office.

  • Discretionary situations for Playcentres
    • Playcentres that cannot meet the person responsible or minimum qualifications for group supervision may be eligible for discretionary funding for up to five sessions per funding period. All other supervision and licensing requirements must be met including adult:child ratios and first aid qualification requirements.

      There are some other conditions – playcentres must contact their relevant Ministry regional office for information about the process prior to the session starting.

       

  • Playcentres with no Person Responsible
    • Funding may continue at the standard rate for playcentres who do not have a person responsible, provided the breach of qualification requirements is being managed through a provisional licence process. This is a temporary measure (generally for up to 3 months) and will only be considered where there is a clear action plan in place to fill the person responsible role.

      Playcentres should contact their relevant Ministry regional office as early as possible to discuss their situation. It is important to note that if a playcentre does not meet the conditions on any provisional licence then the licence must be cancelled.

  • Changing funding rates
    • Use this table to find out when and how to change your licensed playcentre’s funding rate:

       If a playcentre ... and ... then ... using ...
      is funded at the standard rate can meet the requirements of one of the quality options  you may apply to be funded at the quality rate the EC11 Form.
      is funded at the quality rate can no longer meet the requirements of any of the quality options  you must apply to return to the standard funding rate the EC11 Form.
      is funded at the quality rate has had a change in parents/whānau involved in leading the ECE programme, but still meets the requirements of one of the quality options  you must inform your Ministry of Education regional office of the change the EC11/A Form.

      Funding rate changes for quality rate funding are effective from the date the EC11 Form, with all evidence required to assess the request, is received by the Ministry.

  • Record keeping
    • The table below shows the record keeping requirements for Playcentres:

      If your playcentre... you must...
      is funded at the standard rate
      • have enrolment records for each child and
      • keep attendance records to show the hours each child attended.
      is funded at the quality rate
      • have enrolment records for each child and
      • keep attendance records to show the hours each child attended

      plus

      • meet the record keeping requirements for quality funding rates (see Section 3-C-2 for further details).