AUCKLAND, April 12 - In another complaint, contained in a Ministry of Education report released on Thursday, a teacher was alleged to have eaten a student's lunch.

In total, the ministry received 331 complaints against early learning services in 2016, down from 342 a year earlier.

Of those, 245 were investigated with 163 being upheld, "meaning that standards had not been met or the investigation found something that the service was required to improve", the ministry's Katrina Casey said.

Eighty-six complaints did not require investigation because they were resolved by the early learning service concerned or were withdrawn.

In one complaint upheld by investigators, a child told a teacher they were being sexually abused by another person, but the teacher failed to pass this on to the child's parent.

The parent later learnt of the abuse from another source, leading to the offender's arrest, with the early learning service also subsequently accepting it should have acted quickly once told by the child.

In another complaint, a child was "very distressed" after falling from a monkey bar and breaking their leg, but staff did not seek medical help and only told the parent of the incident when they came to pick up the child.

After an investigation, the service accepted it had failed to identify the seriousness of the injury.

Another complaint alleged a teacher ate a child's lunch and asked personal questions about their family situation. The complaint was resolved by the early learning service the child attended.

Despite the ministry upholding more complaints than in past years, it said licensing standards in New Zealand were among the best in the world.

It said 90 per cent of the 4609 licensed centres met or exceeded standards in 2016, meaning 200,000 children received quality early childhood learning.