Chapel Downs Early Learning Centre - 28/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Chapel Downs Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Chapel Downs Early Learning Centre 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.


Chapel Downs Early Learning centre is a well established not-for-profit service providing education and care for children from three years to school age. The centre is licensed for 40 children and is located on the grounds of Chapel Downs Primary school. Children enrolled at the centre live locally and are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, the largest groups being Asian and Samoan. Pacific children make up more than half of the roll.

Since the 2013 ERO report the centre has undergone significant changes that included new governance personnel and a building upgrade and renovation. The on-site family service centre, which provided a regular health service and courses for adults, has been disestablished.

There are four trustees, including the head teacher, whose role is to govern the centre's operations. The head teacher oversees day to day operations, professional practice and the curriculum. There are four permanent registered teachers, an office administrator and three teacher aides.

The 2013 ERO report highlighted strong parent partnerships and positive relationships between teachers, children and their families. These positive aspects have been sustained. Teachers have improved curriculum and bicultural practices.

The Review Findings

Children are confident to engage in the programme. They participate in sustained play for long periods, either independently or with teachers. Children have a strong sense of belonging in the centre.

The learning environment is attractive, and well maintained. There is good access to a range of open-ended resources and unique play spaces that promote imaginative play. The natural flow of the indoor and outdoor areas engages children in learning experiences that foster creativity, exploration, and challenge. The outdoor space helps children to develop physical skills through a variety of challenging equipment and obstacle course experiences. The flexible use of resources and equipment supports children’s play very well.

Bicultural and inclusive practices are evident in the programme. Children know their cultures are valued. Teachers use te reo me ngā tikanga Māori skilfully and children understand and respond. Parents support bicultural aspects of the programme.

Children of Pacific heritages experience a programme that promotes their wellbeing and values their diverse cultures and languages. This inclusiveness is strengthened by a multi-ethnic teaching team who speak a variety of languages. Teachers often speak to children in their home languages.

The 2013 ERO report noted there are effective processes to supporting children, parents and whanau with transition to school. These aspects remain to be strong at centre level.

Parents appreciate the support they receive from the teaching team. Parents who spoke with ERO have a high sense of trust in teachers and the programme they provide for children. Parents welcome teachers' feedback about their children's learning. They acknowledge the professional expertise and enthusiasm within the teaching team.

The head teacher provides good professional support for teachers. She has developed administration, and management practices to support ongoing improvement. Teachers feel empowered and valued and are loyal to the centre. They work together to improve learning outcomes for children. Teachers are committed to improving their practice. They use internal evaluation and personal teaching reflections well to guide their practice and challenge their thinking.

Teachers have developed a strategic plan to guide centre direction. The centre’s clear philosophy and vision promote children’s learning and are highly evident in practice. Appointed trustees now urgently need to take a more active role in governing the centre and meeting their contractual obligations. They should consider representation from the parent community on the board.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for teachers include:

  • strengthening programme planning, assessment and evaluation processes to clearly and consistently identify children's dispositions for learning and their progress over time

  • continue to use the information and aspirations shared by parents to inform programme planning and assessment practices.

To improve governance practices, trustees should:

  • use internal evaluation to inform future planning, and ensure appropriate financial management practices are implemented

  • streamline policies and procedures to better guide centre operations and professional practices

  • source external professional development about how to govern a not-for-profit community based service and to clearly identify trustees' roles and responsibilities

  • consult with and include teachers in decision making to ensure the programme is resourced appropriately. 


ERO recommends that trustees develop a memorandum of understanding with the school's board of trustees that identifies mutual accountabilities and obligations, and recognises the value of close collaborative relationships in fostering positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Chapel Downs Early Learning Centre 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management. To meet requirements the board of trustees needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • effective governance and management in accordance to good management practices

  • board collaboration with parents and whānau of children enrolled in the service, and the adults responsible for providing education and care

  • development, maintenance and regular review of appropriate documentation and records relating to all aspects of centre operations

  • opportunities for parents, whānau and staff to contribute to the development and ongoing process reviewing of centre's operations and documents such as philosophy, policies and procedures, learning and teaching practices.

Education (ECS) Regulations 2008, (1) a, b, c(i); Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA1, 4, 6. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Chapel Downs Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

28 June 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 


Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, over two years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 30 Boys 18

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

28 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Education Review

August 2010

Education Review

June 2007

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.