Māori and the Out of School Services Sector

2. Findings

2.1 Māori Want Out of School Services in Their Areas and More Choice of Services

The research highlights that there are some places that do not have out of school services, and as a result presents difficulties for parents and caregivers in making arrangements for their children while they work.

There are many Māori who live in rural areas and face numerous challenges in accessing out of school services. Because these services do not exist locally, children often have to travel considerable distances to access a service. Similar issues arise in places like Auckland and urban areas, where Māori are not able to access their service provider of choice who may be located in another part of the city, which can be some distance away.

In these situations, parents and caregivers make decisions about whether to invest what can be considerable time and effort to transport children, or whether to find alternative care arrangements such as whānau care. In cities, towns and urban areas, where other out of school services are available, they may decide to enrol their children with a service provider that is close by even though the service and programme may not meet all their priorities.

Māori also want more choice of out of school services, particularly for those who want their children to attend tikanga-based programmes. There were very few of these services within the research but many parents and caregivers indicated that they want more of these programmes to be available and easily accessible in all areas.

2.2 Māori Want Out of School Services That Accommodate Their Different Working Circumstances

Māori want out of school services to reflect the flexible nature of the workforce and to keep pace with the changing working environment. The research indicates that there are many Māori who work shifts, are seasonal workers and some who commute significant distances to get to and from work. Because of the hours they work, the distances they travel, or the time of year they work, they have difficulty in accessing out of school services that accommodate their circumstances.

2.3 Māori Want Out of School Services They Can Afford

The research highlights that many parents and caregivers have difficulty paying the cost of out of school services. This applies to parents and caregivers who access OSCAR-approved service providers but do not qualify for Work and Income subsidies because their incomes are above the threshold.

There were also at least 15% of the parents and caregivers interviewed who expressed concern that while they do receive these subsidies, they still struggle to afford the reduced fees. They are on low incomes often with multiple whānau priorities for each dollar, including the cost of petrol and food.

Māori who access non-OSCAR funded service providers are not Work and Income subsidised also have difficulty in affording the fees.

There are many Māori and mainstream service providers (both OSCAR-approved funded and non-OSCAR funded), who admit children to their programmes when they know that parents and caregivers are not able to pay or may have difficulty with paying fees. These decisions have an ongoing impact on the viability of their businesses.

2.4 Māori Want Quality Programmes with Māori Content

Māori want their out of school services to connect to and reflect te ao Māori so that their children have familiar and recognisable cultural signposts within the programmes. They want programmes to contain Māori content. The level differs according to the specific needs of parents and caregivers:

  • Some want a high level of Māori content generally with children who attend Kura Kaupapa Māori or Māori immersion classes. To complement home and school learning, they prefer programmes that are based in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori
  • Some want content to be integrated into the programme, where te reo Māori may be spoken and where tikanga Māori is practiced as a natural part a programme
  • Others consider that the level of content provided by mainstream service providers is satisfactory where they have Māori specific activities in their programmes from time to time.

Providing Māori content within programmes presents a challenge for some OSCAR-approved service providers. The research suggests that a core aspect of training for these service providers and staff is to build and increase their understanding and awareness of tikanga Māori and te reo Māori and identify how these can be appropriately reflected into their programmes and their delivery.

2.5 Māori Want Secure Service Provider Funding

The research indicates that funding out of school services is a concern for all research participants. Security of funding is a specific priority for non-OSCAR funded service providers if their programmes are to continue to operate. Without certainty of funding these service providers and their programmes are at risk and will result in further limiting the choices available to parents and caregivers particularly those who seek more depth of Māori content through tikanga-based programmes.

2.6 Whānau Have a Significant Role in Enabling Māori to Participate in the Workforce

The research highlights that for Māori, whānau play a significant role in caring for children before and after school and during school holidays. They enable parents and caregivers to work and accommodate their varied working arrangements. They may be the first choice of care or the only resort when out of school services are not available or accessible. Many research participants consider that whānau carers should be financially recognised for their contribution to the out of school services sector and to the economy by making it possible for members of their whānau to work.

2.7 Māori Want More Information About Out of School Services

Māori want accessible information about the out of school services in their locations. They seek general information about OSCAR and Work and Income subsidies. They also want local information about all service providers in their areas, both OSCAR-approved and non-OSCAR funded, their programmes and costs.

In terms of OSCAR information, Māori want this information on all relevant websites to be clear and transparent. While information is there, some parents and caregivers say they struggled to navigate their way around the Work and Income website in particular to find out key information about fees and subsidies. They also want staff on 0800 numbers to provide correct information consistent with that posted on the websites.

2.8 Māori Want to Extend OSCAR Criteria/Work and Income Subsidies

Research participants suggest that children above the age of 13 should continue in out of school services and that Work and Income subsidies be extended to parents and caregivers with children in this age group. Stopping these subsidies at 13 ignores the reality that parents and caregivers still want their children to participate in structured programmes that are age appropriate and safe.

Many research participants, (parents and caregivers and service providers) consider that older children make a valuable contribution to developing a whānau environment within the programmes. Older children support and encourage younger children through the tuakana/teina relationships and also take on positive leadership responsibility within the programme.

Māori also want subsides to be accessible to all parents and caregivers who have caring responsibilities, regardless of their financial situation and circumstances and irrespective of whether their children attend OSCAR-approved or non-OSCAR funded service providers.

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