City Childrens Centre - 27/10/2017

1 Evaluation of City Childrens Centre

How well placed is City Childrens Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Limited progress has been made in relation to all key next steps identified in ERO's October 2014 report. Stronger systems, processes and leadership that support a collaborative centre-wide approach to improving teaching practice and learning outcomes for children are needed.

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


The City Children's Centre is a community-based, not-for-profit service. It is one of two early childhood centres which are governed by the Napier Community Childcare Trust Incorporated. A board of trustees sets strategic direction and the managing supervisor oversees the day-to-day management of both centres. Together with the assistant supervisor, she is responsible for curriculum, teacher development and compliance.

The centre offers care and education for children from birth to five years of age. It is licensed for 50 children, including 15 aged up to two years. Approximately half of the children currently attending the service identify as Māori. For much of the day children are separated into three age-defined groups.

The October 2014 report identified key next steps to develop knowledge and implementation of assessment, planning and evaluation and self review. In addition, systems to support improvement in leadership and teaching required development. Limited progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children readily participate in a play-based curriculum. They freely explore and investigate a wide range of easily accessible resources. Teachers carefully organise the rooms to support their ongoing interests. Children appear settled and engaged.

The environment is designed to cater for the needs and capabilities of infants, toddlers and young children. Infants are cared for by teachers who encourage their developing learning characteristics. Responsive relationships promote their security and sense of belonging.

A bicultural curriculum is emerging. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are apparent but have yet to be fully embedded in practice. Curriculum that maintains individual children's connection to their culture, language and identity requires further development. This should encompass:

  • strengthening staff understanding of educational success for Māori

  • consideration of how the other cultures in the centre are represented within the programme

  • the identification of effective strategies to support those with English as a second language.

A variable approach to assessment, planning and evaluation is evident. Teachers regularly notice children's interests and participation in the program and identify the learning taking place. Some rooms undertake group planning. However, deliberate planning for, and evaluation of, individual learning is limited. Creating a co-ordinated approach to assessment, planning and evaluation that is responsive to individual children, is a key next step.

Relationships with families continue to develop. Parents are regularly informed about centre activities and children's learning. Their feedback, as part of self review and participation in celebrations is encouraged. Opportunities for parents to contribute to curriculum and co-construct children's learning pathways are not yet sufficiently in place.

Further support is necessary for teachers to develop their practice. Recent changes to the appraisal process have provided clearer job descriptions and more opportunities for teachers to be involved in discussions. Managers should establish guidelines that support high quality teaching and learning for children, aligned to the centre philosophy. Targeted, centre-wide professional learning is needed to promote consistent and current practice.

Leadership requires development in order to strengthen organisational culture and professional practice. Recent changes to the leadership structure have resulted in improved communication and collegial support. Key next steps are to promote collaborative ways of working, and improve monitoring and evaluation of the quality of care and education.

Clearer guidelines and expectations are required to strengthen governance of the centre. A recently completed strategic plan provides aspirational objectives. Monitoring of progress towards these should be aided by:

  • creating relevant, achievable actions and indicators to achieve strategic objectives that encompass the centre's areas for improvement

  • reporting from the centre supervisor that focuses on the quality of teaching and outcomes for children.

Trustees and managers are committed to centre improvement and strengthening viability. Regular self review that leads to change is established. Managers recognise that developing internal evaluation processes and practice to measure the quality and value of programmes and operation is necessary to facilitate improvement.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified that key next steps are to further develop:

  • a curriculum that maintains individual children's connection to their culture, language and identity

  • consistent assessment, planning and evaluation practices that respond to the learning needs of individuals

  • leadership that supports professional practice and promotes quality education and care

  • shared understanding and use of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of City Childrens 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.

To improve current practice, the service provider should ensure clear guidance and training is put in place for teachers to support their response to challenging behaviours.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of City Childrens Centre will be within two years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

27 October 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

50 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26, Girls 20

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


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site


Date of this report

27 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

October 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

September 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.