Five Discoveries Educare ECE centres forced to close after failing to meet standards, all but one left

An early childhood education (ECE) centre chain has had all but one of its centres permanently closed after failing to meet Ministry of Education standards.

Discoveries Educare ECE has had to close five centres around Auckland, Katrina Casey, the Ministry of Education's deputy secretary sector enablement and support, confirmed on Friday.

The Te Atatu Peninsula, Highland Park, Kelston and Rata Street centres were shut due to not meeting ministry standards set out in a provisional licence by the specified date, while the licence of the Kolmar Rd centre was cancelled as the centre had permanently closed.

This comes after five other centres were permanently shut in July after having their licences revoked due to not meeting minimum standards, Stuff reported.

Parents were left scrambling to find replacements after only being given three days' notice.

One of those centres included the Discoveries Educare on Newmarket's Gillies Ave, where four children were injured in August 2019 after a giant eucalyptus tree in its playground fell.

"Ten licences were cancelled since June 30 because the services did not comply with the regulations and licensing requirements or they had permanently closed," Casey said.

The closures mean the Papakura centre is the only Discoveries Educare ECE remaining, which Casey confirmed has a full licence.

"Any future licensing action against Discoveries Edubase would only be required if there was a breach of regulations and licensing requirement."

ECE centres are required to hold a license under the Education and Training Act, which prescribes minimum standards each centre must meet.

Casey also confirmed that the Ministry of Education has received four complaints regarding Discoveries Educare ECEs in 2020.

The complaints included allegations of physical or emotional injuries inflicted on children, including verbal abuse, isolation of children and physical harm, poor curriculum quality, a lack of staff and poor learning support.