Cuts see increased fees for parents

ADAM ROBERTS
Last updated 12:30 02/07/2011

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Victory Kindergarten children, parents and staff were not afraid to get their hands dirty yesterday, as they protested Government funding cuts to early childhood education.

The latest cuts mean early childhood centres, which have more than 80 per cent registered staff will no longer get a grant of about $4000 for every qualified teacher they hire who is working towards becoming registered. Teacher registration requires extra study and practical work, and centres use the funding to pay for things such as relief teachers and resources so new teachers can have time during work hours to meet criteria to become registered.

Kindergarten teacher and Nelson New Zealand Educational Institute representative Virginia Stark said the funding cuts had meant parents had to pay increased fees, as well as help with fundraising.

Some parents had reduced the hours they used the service as a result, she said.

Kindergarten treasurer and mother Sally Shaw said the cuts did not make much sense. "It's well known that early education is some of the most important years. If they cut now, it will cost more in the long run."

Parent Drake Chamberlain-Marks, whose son Nate Innes-Walker, 3, attends the kindergarten, said the funding shortfall was ultimately passed on to parents.

"Most of us are having a hard enough time as it is," he said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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