Annual ECE Return Reminder

Your Annual early childhood education (ECE) Return needs to be submitted by 11 July 2018.

The information submitted in the Annual ECE Return is important and contributes to a comprehensive information base on ECE in New Zealand. This information is used by the Ministry to monitor and forecast ECE expenditure and design new policies.

Before submitting your Annual ECE Return:

  • Ensure you are using the latest version of the software for your student management system (SMS). Please check with your SMS provider if you are unsure.
  • Ensure that you have completed your Annual ECE Return correctly. 
    • All children must be allocated a National Student Number (NSN).
    • All enrolment, attendance and staff details must be up to date. 
    • Services need to ensure their staff qualification and certification information is up to date for each staff member.

More information about completing the Annual ECE Return can be found on the Annual ECE Return Questions & Answers page.

Not Connected to ELI

Early learning services not connected to ELI can complete the RS61 ECE Return digitally instead of filling out paper forms. You can submit the digital RS61 through email to the Ministry.

A copy of the digital 2018 RS61 ECE Return form is available for download from the Education Counts website. We have also emailed a link to the RS61 ECE Return form to services that are not connected to ELI.

If you prefer using paper-based RS61 Returns, we can post the return to you. You can request a paper copy by emailing us at

Completing the Annual ECE Return or RS61 is a mandatory requirement of the ELI Principles of Use. If you do not submit a complete and accurate Annual ECE Return or RS61 on time, your funding may be withheld.

For any questions about this information please contact the Ministry at: or call (04) 4389 5390.