Government funding cuts are hitting home with kindergartens being forced to lay off teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens – formally the Wellington and Rimutaka Kindergarten Association – this week wrote to parents advising them that Government funding cuts meant they would have to make changes to ensure their 85 kindergartens and home-based services stay viable.
“The letter says that since a 14 per cent cut to kindergarten funding in 2010, the Government has failed to ensure annual funding is adjusted for inflation – meaning kindergartens have had to absorb further funding cuts every year.
“Whānau Manaaki has warned there will be forced redundancies if not enough teachers agree to reduce their hours. Other options include reducing non-contact time for teachers and opening longer to increase the income kindergartens receive.
“This kindergarten association rightly remains committed to having qualified teachers because evidence shows they provide the best outcomes for young children.
“However, the Government has pushed for increased participation to meet arbitrary targets at the expense of educational quality.
“Labour has a strong record on early childhood education. The former Labour government is proud to have introduced the 20 hours free policy which has helped so many families.
“We remain committed to increasing the number of qualified teachers working with our youngest students.
“The Government’s funding cuts are shortsighted and will have lasting ramifications for children, parents, teachers and the wider school community,” Chris Hipkins says.