Key points raised by the Taskforce were that ECE is a valuable investment that should be available to all children but targeted to those from disadvantaged backgrounds; quality should be raised; and a new funding system is required. The ECE Taskforce report can be found on the ECE Taskforce website.
There was an eight week public consultation period on the recommendations made in the ECE Taskforce report. Parents, whānau, employers and the ECE sector were encouraged to take part so the Government could consider public feedback before working through the recommendations.
The consultation began on 15 June 2011 and ended on 8 August 2011. There were 3,928 responses received to an online survey:
- Just over half were from parents.
- Most of the others were connected with the ECE sector - over a quarter of respondents were ECE teachers or educators.
- Of the 1,723 respondents who identified which service their children attended, 59% were from Playcentre, 30% were from home-based ECE, 20% were from kindergarten, and 20% education and care.
Consultation feedback echoed the need for high-quality ECE, but many requested a clearer definition of what constitutes quality. There were calls for stronger action and advice for poor-quality services. There was strong support for greater accountability, support for the role of ERO, and requests for better information for parents.
Most respondents supported maintaining the current funding system, including subsidising universal access. Many stressed the need for flexibility, and to recognise the role of parents.
The Ministry of Education has released two reports on the responses:
- Consultation on the ECE Taskforce Report, An Agenda for Amazing Children: Detailed Findings; and
- Consultation on the ECE Taskforce Report, An Agenda for Amazing Children: Key Findings.