ECE updates

Issue: Volume 94, Number 6

Posted: 20 April 2015
Reference #: 1H9cxk

He Pānui Kōhungahunga

Image of children running

ELI updates and funding information will now be communicated via He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin, along with other important information about early childhood education (ECE).

The second issue was published and sent to ECE services via email on 23 March. If your service did not receive this, we may not have your most up-to-date contact details.

Please ensure the Ministry always has up-to-date records for your service’s phone number, general email address, ELI email address, and funding contact person details (phone and email), as important information is now communicated electronically.

Any content, feedback or queries can be sent to the He Pānui Kōhungahunga team at ece.info@minedu.govt.nz

Reminder about emergency preparedeness

Early childhood education (ECE) services and kōhanga reo need to be prepared for a range of potential emergencies (including fire, chemical contamination, threats, earthquake) to keep children safe. This includes situations:

  • when an emergency evacuation is required
  • when it would be dangerous to leave the premises.

We want to remind services their written procedures and supplies need to cover all types of emergencies, not just those requiring evacuation.

Further information about the requirements for emergency planning for ECE centres can be found on www.lead.ece.govt.nz(external link) under Health and Safety practices criterion 7 – Emergency Plans and Supplies.

The requirements for home-based services are under Health and Safety practices criterion 4 – Emergency Evacuation.

For ngā kōhanga reo the information is under Health and Safety practices criterion 7 – Emergency Supplies.

The Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Education have also produced a template for planning for a variety of emergencies. This can be found on www.lead.ece.govt.nz(external link) under Health and Safety practices criterion 7 – Emergency Plans and Supplies, under the guidance tab.

Child protection policies and safety checking or workers

We have been updating you regularly on the Vulnerable Children Act (‘the Act’) and its implications for early childhood education (ECE) services and kōhanga reo.

The Act requires state sector agencies who work with children, and the organisations they fund, to have child protection policies. The Act will also require all paid children’s workers to be safety checked in a consistent way, and this will be phased in over time.

As ECE services and kōhanga reo are funded by the Ministry of Education, you will need to work towards meeting these requirements.

This update is to give you more information about the requirements, tell you about new guidelines that have been launched to help with this, and let you know when we will be in touch with more information.

Child protection policies

All ECE services and kōhanga reo need to put a child protection policy in place that meets the requirements of the Act. The policy needs to contain provisions on the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. 

New guidelines have just been launched to help you with this. The guidelines include a review tool to help you identify gaps in current policies, information about what to include in a new policy, and example policies. You can download the children’s workforce guidelines, ‘Safer Organisations, Safer Children’ from the Children’s Action Plan website: www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz(external link)

Currently, under the Ministry of Education’s Licensing Criteria, ECE services and kōhanga reo need to implement a process for the prevention of child abuse and a procedure for responding to suspected child abuse. Alongside this, some ECE services and kōhanga reo may also have a child protection policy.

The Act requires a policy to be put in place as soon as practicable. Now that the guidelines are available, it is timely to review your processes, procedures and policies to ensure that you are meeting the new requirements. The guidelines will help you do this.

The Ministry will be reviewing the Licensing Criteria to align them with the new requirements. You can expect more information about this in a future edition of He Pānui Kōhungahunga – The Early Learning Bulletin.

Having a high-quality child protection policy is part of building good practices to keep children safe, and to ensure that suspected and potential abuse and neglect are identified and responded to appropriately.

Safety checking and workforce restrictions

Over time, new safety-checking requirements for paid children’s workers will be phased in. This means that eventually all ECE services and kōhanga reo will need to safety check all children’s workers they employ or engage. This includes contractors. The date from which safety checking will start is yet to be confirmed.

As part of the safety checking process, anyone convicted of a specified offence cannot be employed or engaged as a core worker, unless they have an exemption. Again, the implementation date for this, and how the exemption process will work, is yet to be confirmed.

The safety-checking requirements and timeframes for putting these in place will differ depending on the type of worker. We will let you know in a future edition of He Pānui Kōhungahunga – The Early Learning Bulletin what all of this means for ECE services and kōhanga reo.

Currently, under the Ministry of Education’s Licensing Criteria, ECE services and kōhanga reo need to have suitable human resource management practices in place, and ensure all employees and contractors are police vetted.

Although the new safety-checking standards are not yet a legal requirement, now is a good time to start reviewing your selection policies and processes to see if they meet the new requirements. This will ensure you are ready when the changes become law.

New guidelines have been launched to provide advice on selecting safe people to work with children. You can download the children’s workforce guidelines, ‘Safer Recruitment, Safer Children’ from the Children’s Action Plan website: www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz(external link)

Further information

We will provide more information about this in a future edition of He Pānui Kōhungahunga – The Early Learning Bulletin.

In the meantime, you can find information on the Vulnerable Children Act, including child protection policies and safety checking, on the Children’s Action Plan website: www.childrensactionplan.govt.nz(external link)

If you have any questions, please email ece.info@minedu.govt.nz

Inland Revenue Helpdesk

Inland Revenue has a general business helpdesk to support you with any questions you have; for example, how to complete PAYE/GST forms, what the tax payment dates are, and what you need to do to keep up with your tax obligations.

You can call 0800 377 774 to talk to a customer service representative, who will arrange for a referral to their community compliance team for assistance. The team is available on this number Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

Or you can use these links to find more information:

Things to note

Last issue of the ECE Update

This will be the last ECE Update in Education Gazette. Information that has previously been shared in this publication can now be found in the new monthly electronic publication, He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin.

If you have any queries regarding He Pānui Kōhungahunga – the Early Learning Bulletin or you would like to receive a copy of this electronic publication please email ece.info@minedu.govt.nz

Ordering resources and publications

If your service does not currently receive Education Gazette you can subscribe by going to: www.edgazette.govt.nz(external link)

To order early childhood education resources and publications, contact Wickliffe. Wickliffe provides customer services for the Ministry of Education publications. If you need to order anything:

Useful links

www.education.govt.nz(external link)
www.lead.ece.govt.nz(external link)
www.educationcounts.govt.nz(external link)
www.softwareforlearning.tki.org.nz(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 2:36 PM, 20 April 2015

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