Government causing chaos in early learning sector

The Prime Minister’s ill-considered announcement yesterday claiming more children could return to early learning centres in Auckland from tomorrow has caused chaos in the sector, National’s Early Childhood Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.

“Clearly the Government hasn’t been consulting with the early learning sector. The majority of early learning centres are already operating at capacity looking after the children of essential workers, under the Government’s new restrictions.

“Yesterday’s rushed and incoherent announcement shows the Government has no clue about what’s happening on the ground. Rules are being made up on the fly and even the Ministry of Education was blindsided by the announcement that children could go back to early learning centres.

“The Government has been negligent in its failure to plan and put the mechanisms in place to keep New Zealanders safe. It’s feeling the pressure as Kiwis start to get restless at the lack of any strategy going forward and now it’s making new rules up as it goes.

“Huge pressure is now on providers who are taking thousands of calls from parents keen to re-enrol their children back into centres. These parents have had their expectations unfairly raised at the possibility of their children returning to early learning centres.

“Unfortunately they’re being turned away because the majority of centres are already full. Centres are now overwhelmed and parents are incredibly frustrated.

“The Prime Minister’s request for teachers to get tested for Covid-19 has also left many confused. No details were provided on how often or when teachers should get tested.

“A lack of details isn’t confined to the Prime Minister’s rushed comments on early learning centres, it extends to the entirety of yesterday’s confusing mess of an announcement.

“New Zealanders want a Government that is planning for the future and has a strategy to lead us through Covid-19 and out the other side.

“Unfortunately what yesterday showed was a Government bereft of details, ideas or targets. It has only left Kiwis more confused and early learning centres are now bearing the brunt.”