Update 27 May 2020

Tēnā koutou katoa

I am pleased to be able to tell you that our meeting with Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin was very constructive. The Minister, who is very familiar with Playcentre, having been a Playcentre parent, is very supportive of ensuring Playcentre continues to be part of the early learning landscape for the long term. We now have to wait, hopefully not for too long, for an outcome to our meeting, and of course I will share that information with you.

At that meeting we also gave Minister Martin a document with all the comments that have been collected so far on the Save Playcentre petition, most of which contain some very heartfelt and genuine tributes to Playcentre. The petition which has been running for only six days has not yet been closed. Federated Farmers is keen to circulate a link to the petition, given the number of rural Centres.

Information about funding from 1 June 2020. There have been a number of changes to usual funding rules over this period in order to respond to the challenges of COVID-19, the lockdown period and restricted attendance.

It is important to note that from the start of next week the funding rules return to what was in place pre lockdown but with a few exceptions. Now that our Centres are open we are expected to note the attendance of tamariki at our Centres and can no longer claim extended absence or emergency closure as we were able to up until the end of May. With this in mind it is important that we now move to encouraging our whānau and tamariki back to sessions and that we welcome visitors now that we have had time to work out how our Centres can operate in this new environment. It is likely that there will be new parents and caregivers eager to visit Centres given changes to their employment and the public support we have received over the last few weeks.

I know our Playcentre whānau will welcome these visitors to our village as they have done in the past with care and support. The Ministry of Education has confirmed that we will be able to claim projected funding based on enrolments rather than attendance, and that the increase from 70 to 90 per cent advance funding paid in July will not be clawed back in November in the case of a negative wash-up. It is important however to note that future projected funding will be based on our attendance numbers so while we will maintain our funding in this round it is important for future funding that we have as many of our tamariki back attending sessions. Centre Administrators will be provided details of what needs to be entered into Discover in order to ensure we receive all funding we are able to claim.

Ka kite anō au i a koutou.

Sean McKinley