Excerpt from Issue 95 of 23 November The Early Learning Bulletin

 

Issue 95

23 November | Whiringa-ā-rangi 2023

 

Absence rules

We are aware that some communities are experiencing high levels of illnesses. We would like to remind you of the existing absence rules that recognise that absences do occur, and services should not be unreasonably penalised because of this.Absence rules allow services to claim funding for hours that permanently enrolled children do not attend, providing that certain conditions are met. See Chapter 6 of the ECE Funding Handbook for more detail:ECE Funding Handbook: 6-5 Three Week Rule for Continuous Absence – Ministry of EducationAs outlined in the 12 October Early Learning Bulletin, the EC13 can no longer be completed by a parent or guardian, in place of a medical practitioner. Temporary funding protections end – Early Learning Bulletin 12 OctoberThe ECE Funding Handbook states that if a child is advised by a health authority or medical practitioner to stay home due to illness, the exemption from the three-week rule to continue to receive funding can still be accessed.   See Chapter 7-7 Absence rule exemptions. 7-7 Absence rule exemptions – Ministry of Education You will see in the criteria subsection of this chapter that a child will qualify for an exemption for the absence rules if they have a short-term illness or condition that is supported by an EC13 form, and this specifies the period of the exemption. This, along with the other absence rules, allows services to claim funding for hours that permanently enrolled children do not attend, providing that certain conditions are met.

 

Minimum salary scale reminder – increases from 1 December

The Pay Parity Scheme now has a Full Parity Salary Scale with associated higher funding rates that were effective from 1 November 2023. It is important to note that there will be an increase for all minimum salary scales (Base, Parity, Extended Parity and Full Parity) from 1 December 2023. All services need to be aware of these and implement the appropriate increases for their certificated teachers. See Appendix 4 for the minimum salary scales: ECE Funding Handbook: Appendix 4 – Ministry of Education See Appendix 1 for the funding rate tables: ECE Funding Handbook: Appendix 1 – Ministry of Education

 

Safety checking and police vetting requirements

 

Following recent queries, we want to remind you about the following topics relating to safety checking and police vetting. Certificated teachers When undertaking a safety check of a certified teacher, you are not required to request a police vet for a teacher who has been issued a current practising certificate by the Teaching Council. This is because a police vet is part of the Teaching Council’s practising certificate renewal process.You must still complete all other components of the safety check: Safety checking – the 7 components – Ministry of Education

 

Contractors and their employees Under Schedule 4 of the Education and Training Act 2020, a police vet must be obtained for contractors and their employees before the person has, or is likely to have, unsupervised access to children. Education and Training Act 2020: Schedule 4 – New Zealand Legislation

 

Guidelines for risk assessments required under Schedule 4 of the Education and Training Act 2020 Schedule 4 of the Education and Training Act 2020 was amended on 23 August 2023 to clarify an existing requirement for licensed early childhood services to consider the information contained in the police vet to assess whether the person would pose a risk to the safety of children. Police vetting requirements under this section are for relevant persons who are not children’s workers. They do not limit or otherwise alter the requirements for safety checking of children’s workers required under the Children’s Act 2014.  Education and Training Amendment Act – Early Learning Bulletin 31 August The assessment of information returned in a police vet must take into account the following: Guidelines for risk assessments required under Schedule 4 of the Education and Training Act 2020 – Ministry of Education You can find further information about Police vetting and safety checking below: Police vetting for early learning services – Ministry of Education Safety checking – general guidance – Ministry of Education

 

Upcoming changes to first aid qualification requirementsFrom 26 February 2024, all persons responsible in teacher-led education and care centres must hold a first aid qualification from a first aid training provider recognised by New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). Read more about this requirement here: Upcoming changes to first aid qualification requirements – Early Learning Bulletin 9 November

 

Heads-up | He kupu puakiUpcoming changes for licensed home-based early learning services

The home-based service qualification requirements described in Schedule 1A of the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 will move to the next stage of the phased implementation on 1 January 2024.  Read more about the changes here: Upcoming changes for licensed home-based early learning services – Early Learning Bulletin 9 November

 

Clarification regarding ‘service open’ code

The ‘SO’ or ‘service open’ code should be used when:

  • a service is open during a holiday period, and
  • parents have confirmed their child(ren) are booked to attend but no children are in attendance, and
  • teacher(s) are present.

If this situation occurs, services are entitled to funding for that day and should use the SO code.  A service can only claim funded child hours for the hours the staff are present for that day, that is, if the teacher starts at 9am and closes the service at 12pm (instead of 3pm), then the service can only claim funded child hours for the half day.

 

Reminder about data retention and disposal timelines

All records required to support funding claims must be retained for a minimum of seven years. This includes paper-based or electronic records. After this time, we suggest records be deleted or securely disposed of. Record keeping requirements are available here: Record keeping requirements – Ministry of Education

 

Ramadan information webinar for early learning and school staff

Practising Muslims will be observing the holy month of Ramadan from mid-March to mid-April in 2024. We will be hosting opt-in webinars for early learning and school staff, including an introduction to Ramadan, and guidelines for supporting students, learners, colleagues and whānau who are observing Ramadan. Registration: Register for one of the webinars using the links below: Tuesday 27 Feb, 3:30 PM webinar registration link Webinar: Introduction to Ramadan – Microsoft Teams events Wednesday 6 March, 3:30 PM webinar registration link Webinar: Introduction to Ramadan – Microsoft Teams events