The Government will invest an extra $550.3 million in early childhood education over the next four years, to allow as many families as possible to access quality services where they are needed the most, Education Minister Anne Tolley says. Budget 2011 provides an 11.5 per cent increase in ECE spending from Budget 2010 - or an additional $147 million in 2011/12 - bringing the total annual investment to $1.4 billion. ?Our priority is to increase participation for those groups that will benefit the most from early childhood education, including M?ori, Pasifika and children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, while also controlling Government expenditure,? Mrs Tolley says. Budget 2011 highlights for ECE include:
$416.7 million over four years to meet the increased demand from population growth, and more children staying in ECE for longer periods of time.
$61 million over four years to increase funding rates for ECE services to allow for rises in costs.
$21.5 million over four years to extend and strengthen the early childhood equity fund, which provides additional resources to services with high enrolments of children from priority groups. Services will receive additional funding to set up in priority communities.
$12.8 million operating and $18 million capital expenditure over four years for an early learning information system to improve information about participation and system performance.
$20.3 million over four years to fund early childhood education for children in care and to extend the Home Interaction Programme for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY).
?Given the rapid growth in Government spending on ECE funding over recent years, we are continuing to ensure that the system is sustainable, and that it is achieving the Government's priorities,? Mrs Tolley says. ?Budget 2011 highlights our commitment to quality early childhood education, and to making sure children can participate, so they can get the best possible start to their education.?