Home About Out and About Events

What is happening now?

Section B The problems we are trying to solve and how we propose to do this

Home-based ECE is delivered by educators every day without the presence of another adult.  There are no minimum ECE qualification requirements for educators, although they must hold a current first aid certificate.  In 2017, 70% of home-based educators had no ECE qualification.[3]

Home-based services can receive a higher rate of subsidy funding if all of their educators hold at least 5 credits of a level 4[4] ECE qualification, or completed level 3 or higher qualification. 

What is the problem?

Evidence suggests that teacher qualification requirements are linked to quality interactions and better educational outcomes for children.  Because educators deliver education and care without another adult present, without qualifications they may not be able to provide a quality learning environment.

The quality rate was intended to encourage home-based services to increase the number of qualified educators, but this has not happened.  In fact, the proportion of home-based services on the quality rate has dropped from 37% in 2005 to 26% in 2017. 

What changes are we proposing and why?

  • Introduce a level 4 ECE qualification as the minimum requirement for educators. 

Level 3 and level 4 certificates prepare graduates to work in early learning environments.  Level 4 and level 3 certificates can be completed in the same timeframe, but level 4 has a stronger focus on effective communication with children.  It is expected that this will improve the quality of interactions between educators and children.

If this change were introduced, we would allow a transition period of two to three years for all educators to obtain a level 4 ECE qualification.  After the transition period, those who haven’t achieved a level 4 ECE qualification could no longer work as educators, and all new educators would be required to hold a level 4 ECE qualification before they start working as educators.

A level 4 qualification can be completed online and costs in the region of $950 for an online course to $3000 for an attend-in-person course.

  • Introduce a quality rate for children attending a home-based service where educators have a level 5 ECE qualification or higher.

The level 5 ECE qualification requirement would mean educators on the quality rate would have specialised and technical ECE knowledge that would better support quality and improved outcomes for children.

  • Introduce a separate, lower funding rate for au pairs as they will not be able to meet the qualification requirement.

Au pairs are not likely to be able to meet the qualification requirements.  The majority of au pairs are only in New Zealand temporarily, usually one year or less, and completing a level 4 certificate takes at least six months. 

  • Require service providers to provide ongoing professional development to educators.

In centre-based ECE services, participation in professional development is linked to greater quality.  This suggests that similar effects would likely be seen in home-based ECE services.

  • Create a register of home-based educators.

Currently, the Government does not collect information about educators.  A register of educators will give the Government greater oversight, and provide information about educator qualifications.  The Ministry of Education would keep and maintain the register.

What we would like from you

We would like your views on whether qualification requirements should be introduced.  In particular, we are interested in finding out:


What sort of qualifications would you like your child’s educator to have?

What do you see as important when you are choosing education and care for your child?


Would you still continue to work as an educator and provide home-based ECE if you needed to hold a level 4 ECE qualification?

What might prevent you from completing a level 4 qualification?

Service providers
How would your service adapt to the proposed changes to qualification requirements?


[3] Data from the Annual ECE Census 2017.

[4] Certificate levels 1 to 6 explained: https://www.nzqa.govt.nz/studying-in-new-zealand/understand-nz-quals/certificate/