he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Issue 82

25 May 2023
he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga

Issue 82
25 May 2023

Kia ora koutou


Details on how the budget relates to early childhood education follow in today’s bulletin.

There are also important reminders about the upcoming ECE Census and
financial reporting and funding requirements.


Ngā mihi



20 Hours ECE subsidy – extension to two-year-olds

The 20 Hours ECE subsidy, which is currently available for three to five-year-olds, will be extended to include two-year-olds from 1 March 2024. The rate of the subsidy is also being increased by 4.6 percent.  

We’ve had some questions about the extension of 20 Hours ECE to two-year-olds:

  • The funding rates for 20 Hours ECE for two-year-olds are the 20 Hours ECE funding rates from 1 March 2024.
  • If a service chooses to opt-in to 20 Hours ECE, they must offer 20 Hours ECE to all eligible children aged two to five-years-old.
  • Parents will choose which days the 20 Hours ECE funded hours are allocated to, but the existing six hour per day limit for 20 Hours ECE funding will remain. 
  • The number of hours of 20 Hours ECE that a service can offer each child will depend on the service’s hours of operation, the space available at the service, and the child’s hours of enrolment. 
  • Services can still choose to operate above minimum adult-child ratios – this is a matter for each service to determine.

The 4.6 percent increase in the rate of the subsidy will come with new funding conditions. These will apply to both two-year-olds and three to five-year-olds. These funding conditions will require services that opt into 20 Hours ECE to: 

  • set fees by the hour only, for two to five-year-old children, so that any fee charged would clearly set out the number of hours being charged for (The 20 hours associated with 20 Hours ECE would have to be specified as $0 per hour) 
  • publish their hourly fees 
  • allow parents to enrol children for only the hours of 20 Hours ECE, if they choose 
  • provide us with fee data. 

We will also be reviewing the existing 20 Hours ECE funding conditions relating to optional charges and donations. We intend to finalise and publish new funding conditions at the end of July.   


The new funding rates available from 1 March 2024 are published in Appendix 1 in the ECE Funding Handbook:  


ECE Funding Handbook – Ministry of Education

Third pay parity opt-in announced for education and care services

One of the initiatives announced as part of Budget 2023 was a third pay parity opt-in for education and care services, to be known as ‘full parity’.


Full parity funding rates are the same as kindergarten funding rates. Services that opt in must attest to paying their certificated teachers the full kindergarten pay scale. Salary scales for the three opt-in funding rates are outlined in appendix 4 of the ECE Funding Handbook.


ECE Funding Handbook: Appendix 4 – Ministry of Education


This third tranche of pay parity funding further supports the Government’s election manifesto commitment to close the pay gap between certificated teachers in education and care services and their counterparts in kindergartens. It will be available from 1 November.


Budget 2023 provides $322 million over four years for this third opt-in and builds upon the $587 million already provided in Budgets 2020–2022.


Further information is available on our website: 


Pay parity opt-in scheme – Ministry of Education


The Funding Handbook and guide to pay parity have also been updated:


Pay parity: A guide to pay parity for ECE teachers and service providers [PDF, 2.349 MB]


Any questions can be sent to ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz.

Preparing for the upcoming census 2023

The ECE Census week this year is 19 to 25 June.


All early learning services will need to submit a complete and accurate ECE Census to us by 14 July. The information submitted is crucial for ECE service monitoring and policy development in New Zealand.


There are two changes to the ECE Census in 2023:

  • Qualification codes for teachers have changed.
  • Early childhood education teachers with contact hours in census week will be asked for the age range of children they spent the majority of time teaching during the ECE Census week.

More information about the 2023 ECE Census and changes can be found here:


Annual ECE Census return week – Education Counts


The ECE Census question and answer page is here:


The ECE Census – Ministry of Education

Financial reporting due 30 June

Early learning services that have received income of over $80,000 (including GST) from the Ministry and have operated for a full financial year must submit audited financial statements along with a copy of the declaration form to us by 30 June.


Declaration form for financial reporting for the financial year ending 2022


The completed form should be returned by email: resourcing@education.govt.nz.

You can read more about the financial reporting requirements in chapter 12 of the Funding Handbook and on financial declarations on our website: 


Chapter 12: Financial reporting – Ministry of Education


Financial declarations – Ministry of Education

Funding reminders

Critical dates for the July 2023 RS7 return

On 1 July, we will pay the next instalment of ECE funding to licensed early learning services.


Key funding dates for the upcoming July 2023 payment are as follows:




Thursday, 1 June

Opening date for RS7 return submission

Friday, 9 June

Final date for paper and electronic RS7 returns to be received by us for funding to be paid on Monday, 3 July

Monday, 3 July (overnight)

ECE operational funding payment occurs


Services that submit their RS7 return after 9 June, but before 10 July, will receive funding on 20 July.


An email acknowledging receipt of the RS7 return will be sent to your service. If you do not receive an acknowledgement within two working days of your submission, check your student management system (SMS) or early learning information system (ELI) reports. Contact us at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz if you need to. 


Opting in to pay parity

Education and care services will confirm their opt-in status to pay parity when they complete the attestation of certificated teachers’ salaries section of their RS7 return.


Through the attestation a service is confirming what salary conditions they have met for the attestation period of the RS7 return. For the July 2023 funding round the attestation period is February to May 2023.


More information about the pay parity attestation can be found on our website.


Pay parity opt-in scheme – Ministry of Education

RS7 returns following a change of ownership

Following a change of ownership, the new owner may submit:

  • an electronic RS7 return for the period after the purchase and send a paper-based RS7 for the period prior to the purchase
  • the entire funding claim using a paper-based RS7 return. 

All funding following a change of ownership will be paid to the new owner. Any payment to the old owner should be actioned by the new owner. We do not split payments between the old and new owners.


Paper-based RS7 returns must be sent by email to ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz or posted to the ECE operational funding team at the Ministry of Education PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140.

RS7 returns following a change of SMS

If you have not been using your new system (SMS or ELI Web) for the entire funding period, you can submit:

  • the portion of your claim electronically, for the month/s you have been using your new system and send a paper-based RS7 form for the month/s before you began using this system; or
  • your entire funding claim using the paper-based RS7 return.

Paper-based RS7 returns can be sent by email to ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz or posted to the ECE operational funding team at the Ministry of Education PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140.


Late RS7 submissions

If, for whatever reason, your service submits your RS7 return after 9 June, funding will be processed for a later payment.


RS7 returns received after 9 June, but before 10 July, will be processed for payment on 20 July.


You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the data submitted. Resubmissions are available to correct genuine errors or oversights that emerge after you submit your RS7 return.


Resubmissions should be made:

  • electronically through your SMS for the February 2023 to May 2023 period
  • using a paper-based RS7 return for the October 2022 to January 2023 period.

Resubmissions relating to any time before June 2022 will not be processed. Any resubmissions may be audited by our monitoring team.

Accessing your funding notice

Following the 1 July payment, funding notices will be available for download from the secure data portal (SDP).


Secure data portal – Education Sector Logon


Only funding contacts with access to the SDP will be able to download their service’s funding notice.


For information about the SDP and accessing electronic funding notices contact us at ECE.SecureDataPortal@education.govt.nz.

Discretionary hours reporting requirements

Teacher-led and hospital-based services must submit a record of the total number of discretionary hours along with their RS7 return. Services that have not used any discretionary hours do not need to complete the report.


If you use an approved SMS and require assistance providing the information, contact your SMS provider.


If you submit a paper-based RS7 or use ELI Web, you must submit the following discretionary hours form:


Discretionary hours report form: 80 Hours – Ministry of Education


Completed discretionary hours forms should be returned to the ECE operational funding team at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz or posted to the ECE Operational Funding team at the Ministry of Education PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140.


For more details on the requirements for discretionary hours, refer to the ECE Funding Handbook:


3-B-2 Teacher-led education and care services – Ministry of Education

Further information

Electronic RS7 returns and ELI reports are available on the ELI homepage:


Early Learning Information (ELI) reports – Ministry of Education


For any questions, or if you need to discuss any funding issues, contact our resourcing support team Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm via 0800 323 323 or resourcing@education.govt.nz.


For any licensing, general operational matters, or if you require any updates to your service’s contact details, contact your local Te Mahau office.


Local Te Mahau offices – Ministry of Education

Home-based ECE services – educator’s own children

We have recently received queries from home-based education and care services about having an educator’s own child in the home while education and care is being provided, and what needs to be considered for the home’s adult-child ratio and for ECE funding purposes.


This is a reminder that schedule 2 of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 states that for a home-based education and care service, a person present aged under six years counts as a child unless the person is enrolled at school and is the child of an educator providing education and care at the home.


Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 – New Zealand Legislation


This means that if the children of the educator are in the home, under six and not enrolled at school, they must be factored into each home’s adult-child ratio.


As per chapter 3-B-4 of the ECE Funding Handbook, ECE funding must not be claimed for a home-based educator’s own children.


ECE Funding Handbook – Ministry of Education


Consequently, if a home-based education and care service has the educator’s own child in the home whilst education and care is being provided, this child must not be funded but they must be included in your service’s adult-child ratio.


Contact your SMS vendor directly for details on how this should be recorded in your student management system (SMS).

Reminder about data submission and confirmation events

A reminder that it is a condition of funding that licensed early childhood services provide all required data to us each month via SMS, including confirming the accuracy and completeness of your ELI records by end of the following month.


For example, all records for the month of February (including temporary closures) must be confirmed as accurate and complete by 31 March.


Funding may be withheld in part or in full if we do not receive information from your service within the timelines mentioned in the ECE Funding Handbook.


Specific data questions can be addressed to eli.dataquality@education.govt.nz.


For more information about your ELI data submission requirements, see chapter 14 of the ECE Funding Handbook:


ECE Funding Handbook: Chapter 14 collection of information – Ministry of Education


Expressions of interest invited for new advisory panel

Expressions of interest are invited for an advisory panel for action 1.3 of the early learning action plan.


This is an exciting opportunity to make a positive difference and help ensure the provision of high-quality physical early learning environments.


The advisory panel will play a key role in contributing to the development of comprehensive guidance for early learning services on:

  • centre design – indoor and outdoor
  • environmental factors (for example, thermal comfort, activity space)
  • group size and organisation.

We are seeking expressions of interest from people with technical, academic, education or cultural knowledge and expertise in one or more of these areas. This includes people who bring te ao Māori and Pacific perspectives, and practical experience in early childhood care and education settings, as well as people from outside the sector with relevant academic and technical expertise.


To find out more, or to submit an expression of interest, visit:


Early learning regulatory review – Ministry of Education


Any queries can be emailed to earlylearning.regulatoryreview@education.govt.nz.


Expressions of interest close at 9am on 26 June.