Play­cen­tre par­ents re­lieved

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By KA­T­RINA LINTONBON

There were cheers and hugs, tears and laugh­ter and a whole lot of cel­e­bra­tion go­ing on at play­cen­tres in the Mata­mata area fol­low­ing con­fir­ma­tion from Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Anne Tol­ley that there was no risk of cuts to Play­cen­tre fund­ing.

Mrs Tol­ley has come out swing­ing af­ter a num­ber of me­dia re­ports sug­gested that the Gov­ern­ment was sup­port­ing rec­om­men­da­tions by the Early Child­hood Ed­u­ca­tion Task­force to cut play­cen­tre fund­ing by as much as 70 per cent.

Mrs Tol­ley said there was no risk to play­cen­tre fund­ing, fol­low­ing the re­lease of the task­force re­port.

‘‘The Gov­ern­ment is in­vest­ing $ 1.4 bil­lion in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion this year and the task­force was es­tab­lished to re­view the ef­fec­tive­ness of early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion spend­ing and to make rec­om­men­da­tions on pro­posed im­prove­ments,’’ said Mrs Tol­ley.

‘‘ This in­cluded rec­om­men­da­tions for changes to fund­ing and pol­icy set­tings but I want to make it ab­so­lutely clear that this will not re­sult in any fund­ing cuts to play­cen­tres or par­ent-led ser­vices.’’

Fam­i­lies at Mata­mata Play­cen­tre were over­come with ex­cite­ment fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment. ‘‘We couldn’t be more de­lighted and re­lieved. We all just want to thank the Mata­mata com­mu­nity for its sup­port.’’

Mrs Tol­ley said: ‘‘The Gov­ern­ment val­ues a di­verse early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor, which in­cludes ser­vices where par­ents choose not to have fully-qual­i­fied teach­ers.

‘‘This is why we ex­tended 20 hours’ early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion to play­cen­tre and ko­hanga reo last year, some­thing which the pre­vi­ous Gov­ern­ment re­fused to do. We are com­mit­ted to high­qual­ity early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion, de­liv­ered by teacher and par­en­tled ser­vices, and we are mak­ing sure the sys­tem works more ef­fec­tively to ben­e­fit ev­ery sin­gle one of our youngest New Zealan­ders.’’

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