Preparing for the June 2019 ECE Return (Census)

Submission date

The Early Childhood Education (ECE) Return week this year is 24 to 30 June 2019.  All early learning services need to submit their ECE Return by 12 July 2019.  The information is crucial for monitoring and policy development for ECE in New Zealand.  Please remember to submit a fully completed and accurate return by the due date.  Your funding may be withheld if we do not receive your submission on time.

Services connected to ELI

All early learning services connected to ELI need to submit an electronic ECE Return through their Student Management System (SMS) or ELI Web.

Services not connected to ELI

Early learning services that are not eligible to connect to ELI,  or are currently exempt from connecting to ELI,  will need to complete the digital RS61 form this year.  There are 2 types of digital RS61 forms available:

  • one for playgroups,  and
  • one for casual and hospital-based services.

The link to the digital RS61 form will be available for download from the Education Counts website in due course.

Education Counts website

A link will also be sent to the appropriate services by 7 June 2019.  To receive this,  please ensure the email address held by the Ministry is accurate by contacting your local Ministry office.

Local Ministry offices

If you prefer using paper RS61 Returns,  they will be available for printing from the Education Counts website in due course.

For common questions and answers about the ECE Return please see the Questions and Answers page on the ELI homepage.

Questions and Answers Page

For further queries please contact the Ministry at or call 0800 323 323.

Information collected in the ECE Return

Some information collected in the ECE Return (such as child enrolment, attendance, staff qualifications and certification information) can be checked by services in their SMS now and updated if necessary.  Other information is more specific to the ECE Return week.

Child data

For early learning services connected to ELI,  child data (eg, enrolments and attendance) are sent regularly to the Ministry from your SMS or ELI Web.

Please make sure that the following child details are up to date:

  • National Student Numbers – ensure all enrolled children have these
  • Child details –
    • name, date of birth and gender match official records
    • ethnicity, iwi and home language
    • home address, which is the primary residential address and not a PO Box
  • Enrolment – provide end dates for children who are no longer attending your service
  • Attendance and absence.

Staff data

Staff and teacher information must be provided for those working during the ECE Return week.  This includes educators,  coordinators and relieving staff.  Depending on the SMS you use,  you may be able to update this information prior to the ECE Return week.

Please ensure the following staff details are up to date:

  • Qualifications – check staff and teachers’ highest qualifications.  Please note that there will be new qualification codes available in June 2019.  You can read more about the update to the qualification codes in the news article on the ELI homepage or in this Bulletin
  • Certification – check staff and teachers’ certification status
  • Ethnicity and gender – up to 3 ethnicities may be recorded for each staff member
  • Contact hours are amended – all staff in teaching roles who had child contact hours during the ECE Return week (24 to 30 June 2019),  including relievers,  must be accounted for.

News article on the ELI homepage

Service data

During the ECE Return week you will be asked to report on your service’s:

  • Teaching languages – the teaching languages spoken and the percentage of time the language is used
  • Wait-listed children numbers – the number of children waiting for a place.