Rant or rave – your say

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Ed­u­ca­tion sub­sidy for all

Your re­cent ar­ti­cle, Par­ents feel obliged to pay ex­tra ( Mir­ror, Au­gust 13) raised the is­sue of some early child­hood cen­tres charg­ing par­ents ‘‘op­tional’’ ex­tra charges for chil­dren re­ceiv­ing the 20 Hours ECE sub­sidy.

We want to un­der­line that par­ents don’t have to pay these charges. Any par­ents who have al­ready signed up to an op­tional charge should ex­pect to be given a rea­son­able op­por­tu­nity to re­view this de­ci­sion with their ECE ser­vice.

We want to en­sure that qual­ity early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion is avail­able to all fam­i­lies, ir­re­spec­tive of their fam­ily in­come. Ex­tra pay­ments can make it harder for some par­ents to af­ford the early learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that are so im­por­tant for all kids.

We are happy to look into any com­plaints from par­ents who feel they have been com­pelled to make ad­di­tional ‘‘op­tional’’ pay­ments. Just get in touch with your lo­cal Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion of­fice. You can find their con­tact de­tails at: minedu.govt.nz.

All chil­dren at­tend­ing early child­hood cen­tres are sub­sidised by the govern­ment, and those aged be­tween 3 and 5 re­ceive a higher sub­sidy of up to $11.72 per child per hour for 20 hours ECE a week.

Par­ents are en­ti­tled to the sub­sidy for up to six hours a day, and a to­tal of 20 hours each week.

If there are ad­di­tional ac­tiv­i­ties and items above the reg­u­lated re­quire­ments for ECE ser­vices, the ser­vice can ask for an op­tional ex­tra pay­ment, but par­ents don’t have to pay it. It may mean that chil­dren don’t have ac­cess to ex­tra ac­tiv­i­ties or items on of­fer.

While your ar­ti­cle said that ‘‘in 2011 cen­tres were al­lowed to start charg­ing op­tional fees’’, in fact that isn’t cor­rect.

There has been no change in the rules since the pol­icy be­gan in 2007.

Rawiri Brell, Deputy Sec­re­tary, Early Learn­ing, Par­ents and Whanau, Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion

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