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He Pānui Kōhungahunga the early learning bulletin


Message from Iona Holsted

Kia ora koutou 
Just as we were getting used to Alert Level 2, the Government will consider on Monday when we will go to Alert Level 1. While the constraints in Level 1 are even fewer than Level 2, the Bulletin will provide the official advice as soon as a decision has been made. Today we have included the Prime Minister’s Golden Rules for Level 1, which I think may be Golden Rules for a healthy life!

While I know there is still work to be done to bring some families back to services, overall the percentages attending across the country are good and provide a really strong basis to reset the expectation that children attend regularly (except when they are unwell). 

Our regional staff are able to work with you if you need support with some families and would also be pleased to hear of actions you have taken that have been really effective.  

Staying fit and well helps with both child and staff attendance. Remember the flu vaccine is available to the education workforce until 30 June 2020.  Check in the 14 May Bulletin

For children’s health, the best information source is the Ministry of Health website. Early detection of any illness is important so it might be useful to advise families and whānau that they can call Healthline 0800 611 116 any time they suspect symptoms of any condition but are not sure what to do.

Thank you all who have sent fantastic video and YouTube clips showing off your creativity and sense of fun to encourage your community back.  Very impressive.

Ngā mihi

Secretary for Education

In today’s bulletin:

  • Alert Level 1 for the early learning sector
  • 2020 ECE Census Reminder
  • Talanoa Ako app
  • Financial reporting deadline extended to 31 August 2020
  • Childcare Assistance payments
  • Staff flu vouchers still available
  • ‘Keep it Real Online’ campaign

Alert Level 1 for the early learning sector

Next Monday the Prime Minister will announce when the country will move into Alert Level 1 (we will be able to send you updated guidance after a decision has been made). 

Yesterday the Prime Minister gave some information about what Alert Level 1 will look like.  For the most part Alert Level 1 is very much a return to business as usual for you with good hygiene practises and people who are unwell staying away remaining a priority. 

At this stage, your service will have:

  • no specific public health requirements, so services will no longer have to maintain an indoor temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (although this remains a good practice)
  • no restrictions on personal movement, so all children and staff continue to be safe to go to their service
  • no requirement to keep a contact tracing register – just continue with the usual practice of having visitor and attendance registers
  • no physical distancing requirements (though it is encouraged between strangers)
  • no restrictions on numbers at gatherings or on physical activities including cultural and sporting activities, practices and events.

Your service will also have to follow the nationwide Alert Level 1 key public health measures. This means your service should continue to:

  • Ask sick people to stay home (and to phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 or their GP to get tested if they have cold or flu symptoms).
  • Regularly wash and dry hands, and to sneeze / cough into elbows.
  • Provide soap, water and the ability to dry hands.
  • Regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  • Support contact tracing efforts by displaying QR Code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App.
  • Help ensure that those who display relevant symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, or have been overseas in the last 14 days keep self-isolated – Ministry of Health information for self-isolation

At any alert levels, a local medical officer of health can direct any service connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 to close. It will close for 72 hours to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

2020 ECE Census reminder 

The 2020 ECE Return week is from 22 - 28 June. The information from your returns helps us monitor services and develop policies. You can find the latest published results on Education Counts:

Annual ECE Census 2019: Fact Sheets - Education Counts

When completing your ECE Return:

  • Make sure you’re using the latest version of SMS software, which you’ll need to complete the 2020 ECE Return. Contact your SMS provider if you’re unsure.
  • Make sure that all children in your return have a National Student Number (NSN) and that all enrolment, attendance and staff details (including qualifications and certifications) are up to date.

Submit your return to us by 15 July 2020:

  • Through your Student Management System (SMS) or ELI Web


  • Casual and hospital-based services and playgroups need to complete and submit their ECE Returns digitally. A copy of the digital 2020 ECE Return excel is available for download from the Education Counts website. We will also email the link to the digital file to you by 12 June.

Education Counts website

Some additional data we’re collecting in this year’s return are below.

Staff age band 
The age (as at Monday 22 June 2020) of your staff – ECE teachers, homebased coordinators, homebased educators and specialist staff.
Total hours worked 
Total hours worked by staff members during the ECE Return week. This will give us more information than just full-time / part-time.
New Playcentre qualification codes 
Playcentre Aotearoa has created additional qualifications for Playcentre educators which are now selectable for this year’s ECE Return.

For common questions and answers about the ECE Return, including the new updates, please see the ECE Return section on the ELI homepage.

Questions and Answers page

For any questions about the returns, please contact or phone 04 439 5390.

Talanoa Ako app

Launched this week, the Talanoa Ako app provides Pacific parents with ongoing access to education and learning information. The content is in plain English and 10 Pacific languages. Each language is also available in audio with visually impaired functionality. The app provides core information for Pacific parents and families to build their knowledge and confidence about education in their own time and in their first language.   

Free to download from on both Android and iOS devices, the app is part of the Talanoa Ako programme that will be delivered in Ako Centres later in the year. 

You might like to share details for the Talanoa Ako App with your Pacific parent community.

ECE Financial reporting deadline extended to 31 August 2020

The ECE financial reporting deadline for the financial year ending 2019 has been extended to 31 August 2020 (previously 30 June 2020).

Early learning services that have operated for the full financial year ending 2019 and have received income of over $80,000 (including GST) from the Ministry of Education need to submit audited financial statements along with a copy of the Declaration Form by 31 August 2020 to: 

Resourcing Division, Ministry of Education
PO Box 1666 
Wellington 6140 



A reminder of the financial reporting requirements are outlined on our website.

Financial reporting requirements for early learning services [PDF, 152KB]

Childcare Assistance payments

The Ministry of Social Development has asked us to share this information with you.

Thanks very much for your patience while we work through all of the childcare resumptions. We’re working as hard as we can to get through the rather large volume of work.

If you’ve sent information to us and haven’t heard back yet, there’s no need to re-send it. We’ll be in touch and confirm all of the details as soon as we can.

Please use your weekly provider statements to check your payment details.

The information we need from you - if anything’s changed
If there’s a change in enrolment details after a child has returned (or started) and we’ve restarted payments, you’ll need to email us at team with:

  • service name
  • child’s name
  • MSD SWN (client) number
  • number of hours booked or attended (including any ECE hours), and cost of these
  • if the client starts back mid-week you need to let us know the number of hours booked or attended (including any ECE hours), and cost of these for the mid-week and also
  • the number of hours booked or attended (including any ECE hours), and cost of these for the full week. 

Email this information to:

Check the Work and Income website if you’d like more information. 

Childcare centres and OSCAR programmes re-opening during COVID-19 Work and Income website

Flu vaccination vouchers and reimbursements still available

Flu vaccination vouchers are still available for the early learning workforce. We are covering the cost of these vouchers and will be billed directly. 

Apply for and use your voucher by 30 June 2020:

  • Go to   
  • Follow the instructions to create a log in, using your work or personal email to register. When prompted enter the following access code: edworkforce2020.
  • Read the information provided on the webpage and enter the details requested in the online form. This includes name, email address, educational facility and role.  
  • You will receive an email with the voucher. The voucher can be redeemed at a participating Life or Unichem Pharmacy.
  • At the pharmacy present your voucher (print or show on device) to the pharmacist alongside photo ID.
  • You will also be required to fill in a consent form on arrival.

If you have already organised a flu vaccination programme or you do not have a Unichem or Life pharmacy in your area, you can still apply for the reimbursement of the cost until 30 June 2020. We will reimburse $32 for each vaccination claimed.

The application can only be made by services, not individuals. Please make only one application to cover all your education workforce staff.

Reimbursement applications (using this form) must be submitted by 30 June 2020. 

Individual staff
If a staff member has already personally paid for a vaccination, you can reimburse them first, and then seek reimbursement from us through the above process. 

If you have any questions about the vouchers or the reimbursement process, please contact

‘Keep it Real Online’ campaign

The Department of Internal Affairs with Netsafe and the Office of Film and Literature Classification, is about to launch a ‘Keep it Real Online’ campaign. The campaign will support parents and caregivers to reduce the risks of online harm such as cyber-bullying, inappropriate content, pornography and grooming. 

Parents and caregivers can find information including tips on how to have conversations with their kids at

TV, radio and print ads will commence from Monday 8 June and will run through to the end of July. Printed and online adverts will be produced in English, Te Reo Māori, Samoan, Mandarin and Hindi. 


He Pānui Kōhungahunga the early learning bulletin


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