2008 Survey of Operational Costs of ECE Services

Publication Details

This report provides the summary results of the 2008 Survey of Operating Costs for early childhood education (ECE) services.

Author(s): Education Information and Analysis, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2009

Please consider the environment before printing the contents of this report.

This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Executive Summary

In June and July 2008 the Ministry of Education conducted the survey of operational costs of early childhood education providers. Surveys were sent to all licensed early childhood education services requesting information about expenditure on a range of categories over the most recent fiscal year for which they have audited annual accounts.

The summary below may be useful for early childhood education services that wish to compare their costs to other services, or to understand how the Ministry of Education interprets the data. The full report provides more technical information for services that want more detail about the survey and results. This report analyses some key aspects of the data collected, covering response rates, average cost per hour and the proportion of expenditure spent on major cost categories.  For more information on early childhood education funding, visit the Education Govt website.

The average cost by service type is shown in Table 1. This shows that education and care services have the highest average cost followed home-based networks, kindergartens, Te Kōhanga Reo, and playcentres. For education and care services there is a clear pattern that the cost per enrolled hour increases with the percentage of registered teachers. The report also includes analysis of average costs between regions.

Table 1: Average services cost per hour ($) by service type and age group
ECE Type Under Two Over Two
Low Estimate High Estimate Low Estimate High Estimate
Education and Care 13.43 15.09 7.54 7.90
Kindergartens - - 6.28 6.28
Playcentres 8.33 9.16 4.58 4.90
Homebased Networks 10.89 11.88 5.94 6.40
Te Kohanga Reo 9.02 10.02 5.01 5.31
Total 11.32 12.85 6.66 6.43

The overall response rate from services was 48.2%. A response rate of 25%, given suitable coverage of service types, is considered adequate to provide a reliable indication of costs. The response rate for this 2008 survey compares with the 2005 response rate of 48% and the 2006 rate of 56%. As in 2005 and 2006, responses have good coverage of all services types, rates and regions.

Table 2: Response rate by ECE service type
ECE Type No. of Responses No. of ECEs Response Rate
Education and Care 607 2,100 28.9%
Kindergartens 567 623 91.0%
Playcentres 159 468 34.0%
Homebased Networks 105 260 40.4%
Te Kohanga Reo 459 484 94.8%
Total 1,897 3,935 48.2%


  1. Service numbers as at the 1st of July 2008.

Contact Us

Education Data Requests
If you have any questions about education data then please contact us at:
Email: Requests EDK
Phone: +64 4 463 8065