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School Readiness, Adversities in Childhood Experience and Access to Government Services: A Scoping Study on Potential Protective Factors

School readiness refers to the seven school readiness assessments administered during the 54-month GUiNZ survey wave: Affective Knowledge Score, Hand Clapping Test, Counting Up, Counting Down, DIBELs Letter Naming, Name Writing, and Number Writing.

The researchers (from AUT’s Centre for Social Data Analytics and Oranga Tamariki) explored the extent to which government services across three domains: Healthcare, Early Childhood Education and Social Services, might offset negative impacts of ACEs and improve school readiness.


  • For children who had experienced multiple ACEs, four factors had the largest potential effect on school readiness, all related to a child’s access to a General Practitioner.
  • For the subset of children who had experienced the ACE of childhood physical abuse two factors had the largest potential effects related to school readiness: contact with social support agencies when needed, and the use of paid Early Childhood Education (ECE).

The researchers argue that the finding that access to a General Practitioner potentially has a strong effect on school readiness suggests that improving general access to healthcare for children at risk of experiencing multiple ACEs could potentially improve school readiness.

The researchers also note their findings suggest access to good quality, paid ECE may have a role to play in closing the gaps in school readiness for children who experience ACEs.

For enquiries about this research please email research@msd.govt.nz

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