Funding settings under the new traffic light system

Funding settings under the new traffic light system

To support early learning services with the impact Omicron is having on staffing levels and attendance we have made some changes to the funding settings for the current funding period. These changes are detailed below.

 

Emergency Closure

Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF or Traffic Light system) you can apply for Emergency Closure funding if your early childhood service is unable to open due to the impact of COVID-19 measures on your staffing. This could be because staff are required to self-isolate as they have tested positive for COVID-19, are a household contact, or they are symptomatic. This list is not exhaustive as there may be other factors impacting on your staffing that mean you are unable to open safely, which includes having the right ratio of adults, first aiders and person responsible for the number of children attending.

You should contact your local Te Mahau office to discuss whether Emergency Closure is an option for your service.

Absence Rules

To limit the impact of the funding disruptions caused by the spread of COVID-19 in the community the following changes were applied to the absence rules.  

For February to May 2022 funding period    

Frequent Absence Rule Reset

The Frequent Absence rule was reset on 1 February 2022 for all early learning services.   
 
This means February becomes ‘Month 1’ for the purposes of assessing a pattern of frequent absence. Previous patterns prior to 1 February 2022 can be disregarded. 

EC12 Absence Exemption

For permanently enrolled children who do not attend services you can use the EC12 exemption for this funding period. This applied to the period at the beginning of the funding period where we were in the red setting and was extended to 31 May to support services even if their region moved into the orange setting. 

For funding to continue for absent children in the February to May funding period parents or caregivers will need to complete a ‘statement of intention to return’ or ‘reconfirmation of enrolment to provide the evidence that a child has not permanently left the service. Please include any information about when the child is expected to return. This must be in writing but could be in the form of an email or text message. Where absence continues for a period of 4 weeks or more, parents need to re-confirm the situation in writing, this can be done in the form of an email or text message. You will need to keep a copy or record of this for audit purposes.  

For June to September 2022 funding period 
 
Frequent Absence Rule Reset

The Frequent Absence rule will be reset on 1 June 2022 for all early learning services.   
 
This means June becomes ‘Month 1’ for the purposes of assessing a pattern of frequent absence. Previous patterns prior to 1 June 2022 can be disregarded. 

EC12 Absence Exemption 

Due to the continued spread of COVID-19 and the anticipated spike in flu and RSV infections over winter services may use the EC12 form for children whose attendance is impacted by these viral infections. 

To access this exemption, an EC13 Form (Supporting Medical Certificate) is required. The EC13 form may be completed by the child’s parent or guardian if the child is: 

  • unwell with COVID-19 
  • unwell with a likely RSV infection or flu 
  • vulnerable to respiratory illnesses 
  • advised, by health authorities or a medical practitioner, to stay home due to illness in their household. 

For absences 4 weeks or more parents will need to complete a ‘statement of intention to return’ or ‘reconfirmation of enrolment to provide the evidence that a child has not permanently left the service. This must be in writing but could be in the form of an email or text message. You will need to keep a copy or record of this for audit purposes.  

You must not claim funding for children who have left your service. 

Parents and guardians will only be able to complete the EC13 form in place of a medical practitioner until 30 September 2022. 

Discretionary Hours

For February to May 2022 funding period    

80 discretionary hours are available to teacher-led services.

Early learning services are not required to have evidence that they have looked for a certificated teacher before using discretionary hours during the 1 February 2022 to 31 May 2022 period.

For June to September 2022 funding period 

80 discretionary hours are available to teacher-led services.

Early learning services are required to have evidence that they have looked for a certificated teacher before using discretionary hours during the 1 June 2022 to 30 September 2022 period.

These records should be kept at the service for examination by the Ministry’s Resourcing Auditors during an audit. They do not need to be sent to the Ministry of Education. 

Discretionary Situations

For Playcentres, quality-funded home-based services and quality-funded Kōhanga reo we have increased the number of discretionary situations (sessions or days) currently available per funding period from five to 10.

This applies for the November, March and July funding periods (October 2021 to September 2022).

Protection of Funding Bands for teacher-led centre-based services

For the Feb-May period: For teacher-led centre-based early learning services we have guaranteed the funding band for the March funding period. This means that the funding band that you were on for your March advance funding will be used to calculate your March wash-up in July 2022. This rate will also be used to calculate your July advance funding amount. This protection applies to all funding bands, including 100%.

If you dropped from 80-99%, or 50-79% band in Oct-Jan period: For teacher-led centre-based early learning services that fell from the 80-99% funding bands and below, we will put you back onto the funding band you were on for the last funding period for the March advance payment calculation. This will be used to recalculate your March advance funding and an additional payment will be made on 1 May 2022. The wash-up we paid will not be recalculated and remains at the actual funding band you dropped to as the negative wash-up reimbursement was in place for that period.

Teacher-led centre-based early learning services include kindergartens, education and care services and hospital-based services.

Protection of Funding Bands for quality-rate services and Kōhanga reo

Funding band protection has been guaranteed for all quality-funded home-based education and care services, Kōhanga reo and playcentres. Services that were on the quality rate before 1 February 2022 will remain on the quality rate for the February - May period.

From 1 June 2022 a new funding period will start and the usual rules will apply.

Playgroup funding

We are introducing a Notional Roll scheme to help playgroups manage low attendance and sustainability while we are under the Red and Orange setting.

Where a playgroup has an average number of children attending that is less than the previous funding period average, this can be increased to the previous period’s average number of children attending for the 1 January to 30 June funding period.

You should contact your local Te Mahau office to discuss your playgroup funding.

A guide for funding protections for the November 2021 - July 2022 funding periods

We have prepared a table showing the current funding protections we ­­­have in place to help early learning services.