ABC Waikanae - 22/02/2017

1 Evaluation of ABC Waikanae

How well placed is ABC Waikanae to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


ABC Waikanae is owned and operated by BestStart Educare Ltd. BestStart (previously known as Kidicorp Ltd) is a large national organisation that owns a number of early childhood services across New Zealand.

Full time education and care is provided for 40 children including 15 from two years of age. Of the 67 children on the roll, 14 identify as Māori.

A centre manager has responsibility for the day-to-day running of the centre. She is supported by a business and professional services manager.

The 2014 ERO supplementary review identified that progress had been made in addressing concerns outlined in the 2010 and 2011 ERO reports. However, further work was needed in: strengthening assessment practice; understanding of success for Māori children; providing for children aged over two; and self review. Progress in some areas is evident.

This review was part of a cluster of three in BestStart Educare Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a play-based programme that encourages their exploration. They play independently or in groups of their own choosing for sustained periods. Literacy, mathematics and science are valued and promoted in the centre. Teachers know children well within the context of their families. The outdoor environment is equipped to promote children's physical skills and understanding of the natural world. Excursions to the local park provide extension to the programme.

The environment for infants and toddlers is calm and unhurried. Teachers' responsive caregiving and verbal communication supports their strong sense of belonging and oral language development.

Children with additional learning needs are identified, supported and monitored by teachers. The centre liaises with external agencies when required. 

Children's transitions into and through the centre are thoughtfully undertaken in collaboration with families and whānau. This approach supports children to settle quickly.

Strong relationships between the centre and local schools enhances the transition process to school for children and families. A recent development, in response to parent feedback, has been the implementation of a school readiness programme. Teachers and leaders should identify the purpose and intended outcomes of this programme then evaluate to determine how well it supports children's transition to school.

Profile books record children's participation in the programme, developing relationships and ongoing interests. Leaders acknowledge that a next step is using these profile books to show clearly:

  • how parents' aspirations are used to inform their child's programme

  • children's progress in learning over time

  • how children's languages, cultures and identities are acknowledged and celebrated.

A next step is to more effectively integrate a bicultural perspective in the environment. Aspects of tikanga Māori are integrated throughout the curriculum. Te reo Māori is used well at routine times.

Leaders and teachers show commitment to promoting educational success for Māori and Pacific children and further developing their understanding of these learners. A next step is to determine what educational success looks like for Māori children in this centre through engaging with whānau. Such resources as the Ministry of Education's Pasifika Education Plan 2017 should assist staff in their work with Pacific parents and families to strengthen practice.

Teachers' implementation of self review is guided by BestStart's collaborative and reflective process. Leaders and teachers have identified that developing a robust set of indicators and more in-depth analysis of evidence are next steps for improving this process and making a shift to internal evaluation. ERO's evaluation affirms these findings.

A clear framework guides the appraisal process. This includes self and appraiser assessment and has a developmental focus. Formal observations of practice are providing useful information about the quality of teaching. BestStart provides opportunities to participate in a wide range of professional learning and development.

Professional service managers provide regular feedback, support and guidance about the curriculum in action. This feedback clearly identifies strengths and areas for development. The professional service manager, in partnership with the teaching team, should monitor the effective implementation of the areas identified for ongoing improvement in this evaluation. 

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree that key next steps are to continue to:

  • strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation

  • further develop understandings of ways to promote educational success for Māori and Pacific children

  • incorporate acknowledgement of children's cultures, languages and identities in the programme

  • implement effective internal evaluation.

Previous ERO reviews have identified that assessment and review and evaluation are areas for improvement. Some urgency is now required to raise the quality of assessment and implement effective internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Waikanae completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to: 

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration. 

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of ABC Waikanae will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

22 February 2017

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning.

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 40, Girls 27

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

22 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Supplementary Review

April 2014

Supplementary Review

July 2012

Education Review

April 2011

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children

Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children

Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children

Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.