A return to 100% Government funding for qualified and registered early childhood teachers has been greeted with delight by South Canterbury kindergartens.
South Canterbury Kindergartens general manager Dave Hawkey said the National government’s reduction of the funding to 80% in 2010 had meant many kindergartens ended up in deficit and had to use financial reserves.
The extra funding was crucial and would give the South Canterbury association much-needed financial certainty, Mr Hawkey said.
“This is exciting for us and has been a long time coming. It’s excellent news for our staff, who have been working in an underfunded system for a decade.
“It also means we can now start to plan to do some things at our kindergartens which have been deferred because we just couldn’t afford them.”
The funding top-up was hugely significant, as the association had continued to support a 100%-qualified teacher workforce, while only receiving 80% funding, Mr Hawkey said.
South Canterbury Kindergartens was a member of New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK), which had been lobbying the Government to reinstate the funding as it was one of its Coalition agreement promises, he said.
NZK took an active role in working with the Ministry of Education and others to develop an early learning action plan, which identified the need to improve the consistency and levels of teacher salaries.
“This announcement will mean that our kindergarten association will now have a significantly improved financial position,” Mr Hawkey said.
“This means we can start planning to look at deferred maintenance and improvements that have been on the back burner due to lack of funds.
“We are delighted with the announcement and congratulate the Government on their decision.”