Early learning to get $321m in Budget including a pay increase for some ECE teachers

The Government is putting $321 million into early learning in this year's Budget. 

Source: Breakfast

That includes:

- $151.1m for minimum ECE teacher pay increase
- Rate subsidy increase of early learning services is $122.7m
- $36.2m for improvement in home-based early learning services 
- $3.1 million over four years for playcentres
- $7.8 for early childhood education services to meet quality and safety standards

Almost $151 million will go into early learning services to increase the pay of an estimated 17,000 early childhood education (ECE) teachers. 

The pre-Budget announcement by Education Minister Chris Hipkins will bring the minimum pay for ECE teachers up to $49,862 on July 1, from between $45,491 to $46,832. 

It brings their pay in line with kindergarten teachers. 

"This funding boost goes some way towards levelling the playing field for ECE centres looking to employ qualified teachers but I do acknowledge that fully closing the gap between education and care services and kindergartens will be a challenge to be addressed over a number of Budgets," Mr Hipkins said. 

Education and care services will get a subsidy to their rates, costing $123m over four years. 

Home-based early learning services will get $36m. 

"Home-based early childhood education has been the fastest growing part of the early learning sector," Mr Hipkins said. 

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin also announced $3 million for playcentres. 

Almost $8m will go to the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Education Provider Assessment Group "to continue its work to ensure that early childhood education services meet quality and safety standards"," Mr Hipkins said.