$278.2m funding for early learning services - Govt

The government has announced a higher funding rate for early learning services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins provided an update on the government’s response to COVID-19 at the weekly post Cabinet Press Conference this afternoon.

Budget 2020 provides $278.2 million to restore the 100 per cent funding band for teacher-led ECE services after it was scrapped by the previous Government in 2010, Chris says. 

“We have bought it back in budget 2020 in recognition that quality early childhood education will be a part of our response in recovery from COVID-19,” Jacinda says. 

She says the funding will encourage centres to keep their fully trained teachers in work. 

Chris says this funding comes at a time when there is likely to be lower demand for early learning. 

“We don’t want to lose any registered teachers we have while we experience a dip in participation.” 

“This new funding band will encourage more centres to use fully trained teachers and keep them in work.

“A decade of underfunding in early childhood education under National has had a significant impact on the sector which is why I put ECE as my top priority for this Budget.” 

The new funding rates will apply from January 1 next year. 

Chris says 209,759 students were reported as attending school this morning. This is about 80 per cent of students in New Zealand. 

There were 36,780 children reported as attending early learning services. 

“These numbers are very encouraging, and we are very pleased to see the vast majority of parents sending their children back to school,” says Chris. 

Earlier: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will provide an update on the government’s response to COVID-19 at the weekly post Cabinet Press Conference this afternoon. 

She will speak live from the Beehive at 3pm. 

The Director-General of Health has reported zero new cases of COVID-19 today.  

Ashley Bloomfield says with no new cases today, the total number of confirmed and probable cases remains at 1499.

He says the total number of confirmed cases is at 1149. This is the number that is reported to the WHO each day.

There are no additional deaths to report.

There is no change to the number of people who have recovered from COVID-19. The number remains at 1433 or 96 per cent of the total number of cases in New Zealand.

Ashley says two people remain in hospital.

He says one is in Auckland City Hospital and the other is in Middlemore Hospital. Neither of the cases are in ICU.

Laboratories carried out a total number of 2570 tests yesterday. A total number of 230,718 tests have been carried out to date.

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