Annual Early Childhood Education Child and Staff Return

This is the main index page for the Annual Early Childhood Education Child and Staff Return. From here you can access the annual return collection forms, guidelines for completing the return, and code tables relevant to the return.

Early Learning Information System (ELI)

ELI is a Ministry information system for ECE. It will collect and store information on participating children's enrolment and attendance in ECE. Information will also be collected on staff working in each ECE service.

ELI will be available to all ECE services progressively from March 2014. Services will be able to use ELI online via ELI Web or through their SMS.

ELI will allow ECE services to submit data to the Ministry electronically
 Services using ELI by the end of May 2014 will not need to complete a paper-based RS61. You can find more information on the Early Learning Information System website.

The best way to communicate your questions re ELI is by contacting the Ministry at: or by calling 0800 ECE ECE (0800 323 323).


The Annual ECE Child and Staff Return is completed by early childhood education services and gives the Ministry of Education a 'snapshot' of the number of enrolled children and staff at licensed services. This information contributes to a comprehensive information base on early childhood education in New Zealand and is used in the development of policy and monitoring in early childhood education.

Key Findings

The latest Annual ECE Child and Staff Return, including a summary of the return and data tables, can be found in the ECE Statistics page.


The Annual ECE Child and Staff Return data are used as the basis for a significant amount of analysis and many publications about early childhood education in New Zealand. ECE return data can be found on the Publications and Indicators containing ECE Return Data:

Data Collection

  • Collection Forms
    Copies of the collection forms used for the ECE Child and Staff Return are available as either MS Word documents or Adobe PDFs.
  • Code Sets
    Copies of the code sets used in roll return.
  • Reducing Iwi Coding ProblemsProvides guidance on how to reduce the number of Iwi coding errors by highlighting the problem areas and providing the recommended code to use.
  • Ethnic Group Code
    The ethnic group code includes a section on how to convert multiple ethnic groups into a single ethnic group (prioritisation).

Related Pages

Contact Us

For questions about: reporting, publications and use of data please email :

For questions about: collection and coding of Annual ECE Child and Staff Returns data please email :