Annual ECE Census Summary Report 2015

Publication Details

This report provides a statistical summary of key aspects of the early childhood education (ECE) sector me ngā kōhanga reo in 2015 and trends over the previous ten years. It summarises the results from the June 2015 annual census of ECE services, and includes data from other sources. ECE census results and the other data are published on Education Counts.

Author(s): Education Data and Knowledge, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: January 2016


Highlights 2015


  • There were 198,887 enrolments/attendances in licensed ECE services and kōhanga reo in June 2015, and the enrolment/attendance rate for 0–4 year olds was 63.8%.
  • The enrolment/attendance rate for four year olds was 96.5%, and 16.5% for children aged less than one year.
  • Education and care services had the largest proportion of enrolments/attendances in 2015 (63.1%). Kindergartens had 15.6%, home-based services 10.3%, playcentres 6.3%, and kōhanga reo 4.5% of enrolments/attendances.
  • The average weekly hours of attendance in 2015 was 20.0 over all service types. It was 23.8 hours at home-based services, 22.0 hours at education and care services, 15.7 hours at kindergartens, and 4.5 hours at playcentres.
  • The percentage of new-entrants starting school during the year ending 30 June 2015 who had attended ECE was 96.2%, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from 95.9% for the year ending 30 June 2014.
  • There were 5,272 licensed and certificated ECE services at June 2015. This number (adjusted for mergers) was up 2.3% from 2014. Of these, 4,385 were licensed services (86 services more than in 2014) and 887 playgroups (30 services more than in 2014).
  • In 2015, the proportion of services with waiting times of more than a month was 26.5%, down from 30.5% in 2014. The proportion of kindergartens with waiting times of more than a month remained relatively high at 41.0%.
  • In the year to June 2015 180 new licensed services opened and 54 services closed, a net gain of 126 services. This was the highest gain since 2011.
  • In 2015 te reo Māori was reported as a language of communication in 3,653 centre-based ECE services, 13 services fewer than in 2014.
  • In 2015 Pasifika languages were reported as a language of communication in 527 centre-based ECE services, 32 services more than in 2014.
  • In 2015 Chinese languages were reported as a language of communication in 396 centre-based ECE services, 5 services more than in 2014.
Teaching Staff
  • In 2015 teacher-led services had a total of 28,230 teaching staff. Of these, 15,361 (54.4%) were full time, while 12,869 (45.6%) were part time. 
Government Expenditure
  • Annual public expenditure on ECE in the 2014/15 fiscal year was $1,804 million. This was an increase of 4.8% over the 2013/14 fiscal year, or 4.4% after adjusting for inflation.
  • Education and care services accounted for the majority (68.6%) of funded child hours (FCHs) in 2015. Kindergartens accounted for 13.4%, and home-based services for 10.6%. All of these service types had increased their share of FCHs over 2014 levels. The proportions of FCHs accounted for by kōhanga reo and playcentres declined to 5.8% and 1.4% respectively.
  • A measure of the affordability of ECE compares changes in the ECE fees consumer price index with changes in the average household income index (both indices compiled by Statistics New Zealand). By this measure, ECE was 32% more affordable in June 2015 than in June 2007 (before 20 Hours ECE was introduced). This was the same level as in June 2014.
  • Public spending on ECE was 0.75% of GDP in 2015. The combined total of public and private expenditure on ECE in New Zealand as a proportion of GDP ranks highly when compared with other OECD countries and is above the OECD average of 0.84%.
  • Indicative annual ECE subsidy expenditure per enrolled child varied significantly by service type, ranging from $1,065 for children at playcentres to $9,187 for children at education and care services.

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