Annual Early Childhood Education (ECE) Return for the Return Week 24 to 30 June 2019

Please note: The 2019 ECE Return is due on the 12th July 2019.

From here you can access the RS61 ECE return collection forms, definitions for completing the return, and code tables relevant to the return.

On this page


The Annual ECE Return is completed by early childhood education services and gives the Ministry of Education a 'snapshot' of the number of attended children and staff at ECE services during the return week. 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.

2019 ECE Return Changes

From 2019, Licensed Playcentre Association and Licensed Kindergarten Association are no longer required to file RS61 returns.  Therefore the RS61SP Playcentre Senior Management Staff Form and RS61Sk Kindergarten Liaison & Support Staff Form have been removed from this page.

There have been a few changes to the education teaching qualification codes and home-based educator qualification codes in the 2019 ECE Return:

These qualification codes are no longer available for the 2019 ECE Return:

Education teaching qualification code

  • E16 'Does not have an ECE teaching qualification or any other teaching qualification that enables certification with the Education council'

Home-based educator qualification code

  • H03 'has completed a Level 3 or higher ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications'

These qualification codes are new for the 2019 ECE Return:

Education teaching qualification code

  • E17 'Is enrolled in an ECE teaching qualification that directly leads to certification by the Teaching Council'
  • E18 'Is not enrolled in an ECE teaching qualification leading to certification by the Teaching Council and does not have any other ECE qualification or certification'

Home-based educator qualification code

  • H04 'Has completed a level 3 ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications'
  • H05 'Has completed a level 4 ECE qualification listed on the New Zealand Register of Quality Assured Qualifications'.

Services Not Using ELI (RS61 Return Forms)

For the casual and hospital-based services and playgroups which are not connected to ELI you can complete your return digitally and submit the form via Email to by the 12th July 2019. Please note: As of 2019 there are two RS61 forms available:

  1. RS61 ECE Return for Casual and Hospital–based Services
  2. RS61 ECE Return for Playgroups

All licensed ECE services (except casual and hospital-based services) should now be connected to ELI and can complete the form electronically. If you are unable to do this, please send an email to for assistance.

For assistance in completing the RS61 form, please refer to

  1. RS61 ECE Return Guidelines and Definitions for Casual and Hospital-based Services.
  2. RS61 ECE Return Guidelines and Definitions for Playgroups.

2019 ECE Return Forms

Collection Forms


Annual ECE Return Data Quality Report:

Services Using Early Learning Information System (ELI)

ELI is an information system for licensed ECE services. It collects and stores information on participating children's enrolment and attendance in licensed ECE services. Information is also collected on staff working in each licensed ECE service.

  • ELI is now available to all licensed ECE services to complete the ECE Return. This is the replacement of the paper-based RS61 form services used to complete.
  • ELI allows licensed ECE services to submit data to the Ministry electronically. If any licensed ECE services don’t already have a student management system, you could submit the return through ELI Web which is a free student management system for all licensed ECE services. Please contact the ministry for more information on ELI Web.
  • More information on ELI can be found on the ELI website. If you have further queries, you can contact the Ministry at: ELI Queries Mailbox or by calling 0800 ECE ECE (0800 323 323).

Contact Us

Early Learning Information System (ELI)
For more information or assistance with ELI survey please contact:
Phone: 0800 323 323
Email:ELI Queries Mailbox

Annual ECE Child & Staff Return
For questions about the July 2019 Annual ECE Child and Staff Return please contact:
Phone: +64 4 439 5390
Email:ECE Statistics Mailbox