MoE Update – 7 April 2020

Information supplied from Ministry of Education on Tuesday 7 April 2020.

Children starting school

You may have some children at your service who might have been preparing to start school during this Alert Level 4 lockdown period.

We encourage you to talk to parents about transition for these children and what their preferences at this time may be.

Parents may prefer to keep their children enrolled with your service for longer, rather than enrolling in school at this time. This would help reduce any stress that some children and parents might be experiencing about starting school.

Legally, a child can start school from age 5, but must be enrolled from age 6. There are two likely scenarios that schools will need to manage during the lockdown period:

A child turns 5 during the lockdown period
A child has a legal right to enrol and “attend” school from age 5 (taking into account any cohort entry provisions a school has put in place). Services can let parents know they have the option to delay enrolment, having the next 12 months (until their child’s 6th birthday) to meet their legal obligations.

A child that hasn’t started school turns 6 during the lockdown period.

From the age of 6 there is a legal requirement for every child to be enrolled and to attend a registered school. There are no provisions in the emergency legislation that suspends that requirement, so if a child turns 6 during the lockdown they need to be enrolled in a school.

Where parents choose to delay their child’s enrolment at school, the Ministry will continue to fund services and ngā kohānga reo while they remain enrolled in early learning until their 6th birthday.

Parents who want to enrol their children in school, and those with children about to turn 6, should have a discussion with their intended schools about any transition and support available at this time.

For parents who choose to enrol their children in school at this time, schools usually ask to sight evidence such as birth certificates to facilitate the enrolment process. Sighting documentation such as a birth certificate isn’t practicable at this time. However a photograph of the document or provision of the child’s NSN number could support their enrolment. It would be helpful if you could let the parents of these children know the NSN for their child. This can be passed on to the school to support enrolment during the lockdown period. The school will either complete the enrolment remotely or maintain a manual record until the child starts to attend in person.

Parents will make the final decision about what is best for their children at this time, however it would be beneficial for parents to know that the option to keep them at their service is available.