First Years Richmond - 05/12/2016

1 Evaluation of First Years Richmond

How well placed is First Years Richmond to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

First Years Richmond Early Learning Service is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

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


This early learning service is a community-based non-profit service. It has been operating for almost thirty years and is governed by a board made up of parents of currently enrolled children.

The service has a long-serving manager and a range of full-time and part-time staff, most of whom are registered teachers.

Aspects of the service's programme and its facilities are tailored to meet the needs of children of different ages, including infants and toddlers.

The board and staff have continued to make improvements to the service's environment and facilities. The centre has an extensive outdoor play area.

The service's programme and practices have continued to evolve since the 2013 ERO review. The manager and teachers have maintained many of the strengths evident at that time. Improvements include the successful integration of Māori perspectives into the centre's curriculum.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is clearly evident in its programmes and practices. This is particularly apparent in the:

  • varied curriculum
  • quality of relationships with children and their whānau
  • way children are highly engaged in exploratory play.

Teachers actively promote children's sense of wellbeing and belonging. They develop positive, responsive and inclusive relationships with children. Teachers boost children's confidence and foster children's creative play through their interactions and by actively promoting centre virtues and a sense of whanungatanga.

Teachers of the youngest children, in particular, are nurturing and flexible in responding to their immediate needs. Children's transitions within and beyond the centre are well managed.

The high importance staff give to promoting positive partnerships is reflected in the quality of relationships between teachers, parents and whānau. Teachers make good use of what they know about children and their families to provide a range of support. A strong sense of community exists within the centre.

The service's curriculum provides children with appropriate opportunities to exercise choice, extend their interests and learn through play. These opportunities include a wide variety of experiences both within and beyond the centre.

The programme continues to incorporate an extensive range of physical and exploratory activities that motivate children. Teachers place particular emphasis on promoting children's literacy learning, including oral language, environmental education, healthy living and social competence.

Teachers successfully integrate aspects of children's culture and heritage into the service's curriculum. They also give appropriate emphasis to fostering bicultural understanding.

Teachers interact with children in ways that support their play and foster both their language development and curiosity. They are responsive to children's interests and strengths and to children who require additional learning support.

The board actively promotes and supports the work of the centre. They work in partnership with the manager and other staff to achieve common goals.

The manager and other centre leaders have a shared vision for the centre and a strong commitment to realising this. Leadership and management practices help to promote a cohesive teaching team, collaborative practices and a commitment to ongoing centre improvement.

Regular internal evaluation is supporting ongoing centre improvement. The manager and centre leaders demonstrate a willingness to critically reflect on programmes and practices.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager, leaders and teachers should now focus on:

  • improving assessment practices to make clearer the next learning steps for children and identify how teachers intend to promote this learning

  • building on recent initiatives to improve the quality of group planning

  • refining internal evaluation to better evaluate outcomes for children and the quality of teaching

  • completing their current revision of the leadership structure.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of First Years Richmond 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.

The board has not always made sure that the service manager is appraised annually.


The board must implement a system of regular appraisal. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centre 2008 GMA7]


The board and centre leaders should:

  • update the service's appraisal policy and procedures to better reflect Education Council requirements
  • ensure the service's policies and procedures better incorporate provisions for meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children's Act.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of First Years Richmond will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Te Waipounamu Southern

5 December 2016

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


Richmond, Nelson

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

37 children, including up to 7 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 35; Girls 30

Ethnic composition



Other ethnicities




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

October 2016

Date of this report

5 December 2016

Most recent ERO reports 

Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

June 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.