he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga
Issue 90

14 September 2023
he pānui kōhungahunga

He Pānui Kōhungahunga

Issue 90
14 September 2023

Ata mārie

It’s Te Wiki o te Reo Māori | Māori Language Week with events throughout the motu celebrating the language.

The theme of Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori – making the language stronger – will continue this year. 

The first Māori language day was marked in 1975, and there has been steady progress with te reo since that time, particularly within early learning. Kōhanga Reo were established in 1982 and there are now around 460 centres.

As Māori language commissioner professor Rawinia Higgins puts it, in 50 years we have gone from protests protecting the language to parades promoting it.

Kia maiea tō rā


Critical dates for the November 2023 RS7 return

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

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




1 October 

Opening date for RS7 return submission 

9 October 

Final date for paper and electronic RS7 returns to be received by us for funding to be paid on Wednesday, 1 November 

1 November (overnight) 

ECE operational funding payment occurs 


Services that submit their RS7 return after 9 October, but before 8 November, will receive funding on 20 November. 

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, please check your student management system (SMS) or early learning information system (ELI) reports.

If needed, you can contact us at ECE.Funding@education.govt.nz. 

Full parity opt-in from 1 November

Higher funding rates are available to education and care services who pay all employed certificated teachers | kaiako at or above certain minimum salary steps.

These funding rates are available in Appendix 1 of the ECE Funding Handbook:

ECE Funding Handbook: Appendix 1 – Ministry of Education

The minimum salary scales are available in Appendix 4 for the ECE Funding Handbook:

ECE Funding Handbook: Appendix 4 – Ministry of Education

Moving from Extended Parity to Full Parity

For the November funding round, use the updated RS7 return to select Full Parity salary scale if you:

  • have previously attested to paying all employed certificated teachers | kaiako at, or above, the amount described in the Extended Parity salary scale, and
  • choose to attest to paying all employed certificated teachers | kaiako at, or above, the amount described in the Full Parity salary scale from 1 November.

More information is available on the RS7 attestation factsheet:

RS7 Return attestation changes fact sheet [PDF, 270 KB]

Moving from Base or Parity to Full Parity

For the November funding round, services that have previously attested to paying all employed certificated teachers | kaiako at, or above, the amounts in the Base or Parity salary scales and who wish to move directly to the Full Parity salary scales, will need to:

  • complete and submit the appropriate attestation in the RS7 return for the pay parity salary scale conditions you have met from 1 June
  • complete an EC20a form and send it to the ECE operational funding team. This will be processed for the next available payment date. Note that the EC20a form will not be processed for payment on 1 November.

More information is available on the EC20a factsheet:

EC20a: Advance period attestation [PDF, 292 KB]

Read more on the pay parity opt-in scheme here:

Pay parity opt-in scheme – Ministry of Education

ECE Funding Handbook: Chapter 3-B-2 – 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. Alternatively, the new owner can send an 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 will be actioned by the new owner. We do not split payments. 

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 the paper-based RS7 form for the month/s before you began using this system, or 
  • submit your entire funding claim using the paper based RS7 forms. 


You are responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the data submitted. Resubmissions are available to correct genuine errors or oversights that emerge later. 


  • for the June to September 2023 period should be made electronically 
  • for the October 2022 to May 2023 period should be submitted using a paper-based RS7 form. 

Resubmissions relating to any time before October 2022 will not be processed. Note that resubmissions may be audited by our monitoring team. 

Accessing your funding notice

Funding notices for the 1 November payment will be available for download from the secure data portal (SDP) following the payment. 

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 further information about the secure data portal and accessing electronic funding notices, contact us at ece.securedataportal@education.govt.nz. 

Discretionary hours reporting requirements

Teacher-led centre-based, and hospital-based services could use up to 80 discretionary hours in the June to September funding period. A discretionary hour is an hour that a service can claim an unqualified teacher as a certificated teacher for the staff hour count. 

If your service used discretionary hours during the current funding period, you must submit a record of the total number of discretionary hours along with your RS7.  

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 and have used discretionary hours, you must also send us the form below along with your RS7. 

Discretionary hours report form: 80 Hours [PDF, 276 KB] 

Note, do not complete the form if your service has not used any discretionary hours. 

The completed discretionary hours form and RS7 should be returned by post to ECE Operational Funding, Ministry of Education, PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140 (for paper-based forms only) or by email to ece.funding@education.govt.nz. 

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

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

Further information

For funding rules, refer to the ECE Funding Handbook: 

ECE Funding Handbook – Ministry of Education

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: phone: 0800 323 323 or email resourcing@education.gov.nz.

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

Local Ministry offices – Ministry of Education

Building warrant of fitness

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has issued guidance to local councils around managing situations where building owners have missed inspection, maintenance and reporting (IMR) procedures and therefore cannot display a valid building warrant of fitness (BWoF). You can read more about this here:

Missed inspection and maintenance procedures – Building Performance

Any questions about the guidance will need to be directed to your local council or MBIE.

If your early learning service is located in a building which requires a BWoF, this is a timely opportunity for you to review your processes to ensure you are on top of IMR procedures.

It is important to note that not displaying a valid BWoF is a breach of the Building Act 2004. Local councils are responsible for enforcing BWoF requirements.

You will be aware the licensing criteria also requires early learning services to comply with the Building Act 2004.

Get in touch with your local Ministry office as soon as you become aware you may not be able to display a valid BWoF. We will work with you to assess the risks of each situation.

Local Ministry offices – Ministry of Education

Early learning network – update

An interactive early learning network dashboard has now been made available on Education Counts.

The Early Learning Network Dashboard – Education Counts 

The purpose of the interactive dashboard is to support those wishing to apply for network approval to access and interpret data relating to the communities they intend to serve more easily.

This dashboard brings together Statistics NZ data on population and ethnicity with ECE Census data on current provision as well as future provision (network approvals granted) at a statistic area (SA2) level. 

The early learning network approval processes are now well underway with a steady stream of applications. A couple of applications have also been declined, for varying reasons, which is the system doing what it should. We don’t publish those for reasons of confidentiality. You can find the list of approvals here:

Register of Network approvals and revocations – Ministry of Education