Community Kindy Portage Road - 28/11/2017

1 Evaluation of Community Kindy Portage Road

How well placed is Community Kindy Portage Road 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.


Community Kindy Portage Road provides full-day education and care for children. Most children come from the local Otahuhu community. The centre opened in November 2015, and this is its first ERO review. More than half of the teaching staff started at the centre during 2017 as a result of roll growth.

The centre has recently been relicensed for 90 children from two to five years. Three rooms provide for the different age groups and a fourth room is available to use as the roll increases. Younger and older children have access to their own outside learning areas.

The centre is led by a centre manager and two head teachers.The diversity of teachers' cultural backgrounds reflects that of the children enrolled and their families. The centre's recently reviewed philosophy celebrates the importance of relationships with children and their families/whānau.

The centre is owned by BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation, which provides an overarching governance and management framework, as well as personnel to support individual centres. BestStart provides vans to transport children to and from this centre.

This review was part of a cluster of eight reviews of centres in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are welcomed into the centre. Some children only stay for short periods of time, and staff are very sensitive to the needs of newly enrolled children. The centre places a high priority on building relationships with whānau.

Children's safety is prioritised. They have a secure physical environment, and are familiar with the structured routines for their day. Children have access to a wide range of resources to support their play.

Children have opportunities to feel proud of their cultural heritage. Cultural diversity is celebrated and interwoven through programmes and events. Teachers integrate basic te reo and tikanga Māori into the programme and daily routines. They are continuing to develop bicultural practices. Children who identify as Pacific or Indian benefit from staff who are able to talk with children in their home languages as well as English.

Children have easy access through the centre and to the spacious outdoor play areas. Centre leaders have identified that it is timely to review the outdoor learning area. The aim is to enhance children's learning challenges, expand opportunities for exploration, and further promote their engagement in learning within the context of play.

Children's learning is captured through photos and wall displays. These provide useful learning links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum for parents/whānau.Teachers work alongside children. They should further develop programme planning that is responsive to children's interests, and that engages, extends and deepens children's knowledge, skills and dispositions.

Children's individual learning records document their participation in the programme. These are valued record of children's learning journeys, and include whānau comments on children's learning. There are some good examples of children's learning being extended over time. The centre manager agrees that effective processes need to be put in place to ensure these teaching practices are consistent across the centre.

The centre manager and BestStart professional services manager (PSM) know the community they serve. They work collaboratively to provide early interventions that are culturally responsive, regularly acting as advocates for children and whānau at risk. They access outside specialist agencies where necessary. Some teachers have made good use of external professional development to give them strategies for supporting children with challenging behaviour. Managers agree that all teaching staff would benefit from professional support to consistently implement strategies to help children develop skills for positive social interaction.

The centre manager has a clear vision for the centre's future direction, and is focused on continuous improvement. She is supported by BestStart managers, who are appropriately prioritising their planning to build teacher capability. As new teaching teams come together, there needs to be a continuing emphasis on building frameworks and guidance for teachers.

BestStart supports teachers’ professional growth. Teachers benefit from relevant and ongoing professional learning. The organisation continues to refine its appraisal system, which encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. Leaders recognise they could further build teacher capability by guiding teachers to collaboratively inquire into the impact that their teaching practice has on outcomes for children.

Relevant governance systems guide centre operations. The PSM and the business manager conduct internal audits and regularly share quality assurance reports, which identify centre strengths and any improvements needed. Centre staff use internal evaluation to review aspects of centre operations, and they would benefit from support to strengthen their evaluation practices.

The centre’s strategic plan is linked to the BestStart vision and its strategic plan, which is currently under review. Centre goals will be aligned with BestStart strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

BestStart and centre managers agree that key next steps for the centre include:

  • reviewing programmes to ensure that there are sufficient activities to provoke children's critical thinking

  • refining assessment practices, and supporting children to contribute to decisions about their learning

  • building teacher capability through effective coaching and mentoring

  • embedding effective teaching practices so that they can be sustained as the centre's roll grows.

BestStart managers have worked with the centre manager, teachers and the Ministry of Education to develop a plan for teacher recruitment and professional development. This is designed to guide improvements in teaching and learning that will result in positive outcomes for children. Ongoing monitoring should assure BestStart managers of continuing progress.

BestStart managers have identified the need to:

  • continue developing BestStart strategic intentions and goals to provide a clearer guide for centre development

  • refining the appraisal system to embed a focus on professional collaboration and 'teaching as inquiry'.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Community Kindy Portage Road 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 Community Kindy Portage Road will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 November 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


Otahuhu, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

90 children over 2 years old

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 53 Girls 31

Ethnic composition

other Pacific


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

28 November 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.