Tēnā koutou katoa
I’m sure we all share the same disappointment about the re-emergence of the COVID-19 transmission in Auckland and the move to Alert Levels 2 and 3. This development really throws into sharp relief the ability we’ve had over the past three months to go about our business as usual. However, I guess we alway knew that community transmission of the infection was a distinct possibility. With all Playcentre sessions and Space programmes in the Auckland region now closed until at least the end of the week, and with the rest of the country at Level-2, we are in quite a fluid situation. Please ensure you check your emails over the next few days for developments.
You can read the latest advice to Early Childhood Learning Services from the Ministry of Education.
We are again in uncertain times. Please stay safe and be kind to yourself and each other.
He waka eke noa – we are all in this together.
I would like to address some of the concerns that have been raised over Playcentre’s migration from Vocus to Spark, and broadband to cellular. I am confident that this is a very good deal for Centres, with a saving of more than $400,000 a year for the organisation.
Some of the questions raised are answered in our very comprehensive FAQs on the website and they are being added to continually as we receive inquiries from Centres. We really appreciate your feedback and we are using that to ensure the new telecommunications are as beneficial for Centres as we are confident they will be.
This was not an exercise done lightly and many, many hours of analysis and negotiation took place between the providers and the Playcentre finance team, who I have to say have done a great job. A really useful feature of this new deal is that we are able to control and adjust Centre data limits (one of the main issues at the moment seems to be over Centre’s data limits) instantly (via an online portal) as required, at minimal cost to Centres. I would point out in the matter of the 2GB limit, that our anaysis showed that the majority of our Centre were well under the 2GB data cap over the last six months.
The whole point of the exercise is that through bulk-buying we are able to reduce costs for our Centres as costs can be spread over the whole organisation.
If you are not able to find answers to your queries on the website, please email [email protected]. Accounts Manager Karen Flattery has had a busy day already answering inquires and says she’s more than happy to help.
This is another issue that continues to attract concern and in some cases unfounded criticism and disinformation about the role of Playcentre Aotearoa. There has also been criticism of how the Ministry’s clarification of the rules for Playcentre and home-schooled children was communicated to Playcentre whānau. The Update and post on Facebook two weeks ago were by no means the first time this issue was raised. It first came up in May last year, when Playcentre parents needed to take their school age children to Centres during teacher strikes. It was at that time, more than a year ago, that clarity was sought about licensing and how it was affected by the attendance of school-age children. Playcentre Aotearoa has always supported the needs of whānau and made genuine attempts to make this work for our members. However, as I explained in February, and before that, we are bound by Government regulations.
Again, the latest update was by no means the first time this subject has been broached. This has been an ongoing issue for more than a year, and we have communicated that to Centres. And again, I want to make it clear that Playcentre Aotearoa has raised this repeatedly with Ministry officials. The last Update was that we had again sought clarification from the Ministry. It was then that the Ministry confirmed its stance.
This has brought us to the present situation(, which I know is upsetting for some members, especially those Centres with home-schooling families.
However, what I can say is that this is something that is being revisited as we work with the Ministry over the next year on how Playcentre, with its distinct differences, should fit into the overall ECE landscape.
Ka kite anō au i a koutou.