The Ministry of Education has released early childhood education complaints data for 2017 and Whanganui has returned low figures.
The Ministry received 339 complaints nationwide, 297 of those complaints were investigated and 166 were upheld.
Only three of those complaints were made in Whanganui, one of which was upheld.
The Ministry also received 137 incident reports and just one of those came from Whanganui.
Operations manager at the Whanganui Kindergarten Association, Rachel Cronin, said a key factor in the low figures was having fully trained teachers.
“This involves meeting the required standard of full-time study for three to four years and gaining teacher registration through a rigorous process,” Cronin said.
“It includes maintaining that registration throughout a teaching career and this goes a long way to ensuring the teaching staff are competent and capable teachers.”
Fifteen kindergartens and centres make up the Whanganui Kindergarten Association, which is a part of the New Zealand Kindergarten Association.
Cronin said that all 15 were staffed by teachers who have great empathy for tamariki and whānau.
“They manage to balance the needs of the children and their caregivers and deliver a programme that reflects and supports the early childhood curriculum.
“They are committed to ongoing professional development and teaching practices and this is evident in the amazing guidance and learning they give to the children in their care.”
In the report, Whanganui’s data was included with that of Taranaki and Manawatu – the combined figures showed total 15 complaints received and nine upheld.
The nationwide numbers for complaints received, investigated and upheld all increased by small margins on data from 2016.
Cronin did not believe there was any cause for concern, despite the rising numbers.
“However, if an upward trend were established over a number of years it would be wise for the Ministry to look more closely at its criteria,” she said.
“The complaints upheld involved only 2.6 per cent of all the ECE services in New Zealand which, while we acknowledge no complaints would be optimal, is acceptable.”
The Ministry started releasing information on complaints received in 2014 to give parents and the sector confidence that they would take all complaints seriously and act upon them.
Cronin said it is a good thing that the Ministry provides this data and that it is important that the process is transparent and ensures complaints are reviewed and taken seriously.
“I would suggest most teaching and management staff in any educational setting would have to deal with these types of issues,” she said.
“It is never easy for anyone involved, however, usually there is a satisfactory outcome for all concerned, particularly the children, and that is after all, why we are here.”
Source: Wanganui Chronicle