Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre - 04/12/2017

1 Evaluation of Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre

How well placed is Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

With ongoing support from the Les Mills service providers and the Ministry of Education, World Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Service will be well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

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


Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre, known as Kids World, is owned and operated by the Les Mills gym in central Dunedin. It provides education and care for up to 25 children from infants to school age. The centre is open to the children of gym members. It provides two sessions a day. Each session runs for one and a half hours. Most children are there while their parents attend the gym.

The service operates within a spacious room. Teachers set up and pack away the equipment daily. There is no outdoor area.

The service manager is one of four trained teachers. One unqualified teacher supports the teaching team. The service manager is responsible for the daily operations of the service.

The 2015 ERO report identified that the Les Mills gym owner/service provider was not actively exercising his responsibilities. He needed to support aspects of governance and management to assist the service manager. There has been little change in this recommendation and this must now be urgently addressed to lift the quality of the service.

The service manager has made some progress in addressing the recommendations of the 2015 ERO report, but needs ongoing support to fully implement these.

The Review Findings

Infants, toddlers and young children benefit from caring and nurturing relationships with key teachers. Teachers engage in respectful and responsive interactions with infants and toddlers. They have established a positive environment that provides choice, challenge and exploration. Teachers build positive relationships with parents to support children’s settling into the centre. These aspects are promoting positive outcomes for children.

Teachers plan a broad range of learning experiences for children to participate in. These experiences reflect the centre philosophy for taha tinana - physical health, taha wairua - spiritual health, taha whānau - family health and taha hinengaro - mental health. Teachers effectively integrate and use te reo and tikanga Māori in the course of the day. Children are well supported to develop their physical skills.

The philosophy based on teachers' shared values and beliefs, is evident in practice and regularly reviewed. Teachers are clear about the desired outcomes for children's learning. When the philosophy is next reviewed these outcomes should be included.

Teachers make good use of learning stories to capture children’s interests, set learning goals and to describe and plan learning experiences. These are regularly shared with parents. Teachers seek parents' aspirations for their children’s well-being and learning, and their planning and activities reflect this. A useful process is in place for group planning. However, there needs to be clearer guidelines for planning, assessment and evaluation for groups and individual children to ensure consistency of practice. Learning stories need to reflect children’s language, culture and identity.

Teachers are beginning to use an effective internal evaluation model to improve programmes and practices. This needs to be continued and teachers need to ensure they evaluate and monitor the impact of any improvements made.

There is a newly developed strategic plan that identifies goals and centre priorities. This needs to be further developed with indicators that are measurable. The centre managers and teachers then need to monitor the centre's progress against these indicators. The annual plan that identifies policy and health and safety review, also needs to align with the strategic priorities.


Since the onsite phase of the review, ERO has requested that an action plan from the governing authority be developed in consultation with the Ministry of Education that shows how the priorities for improvement will be addressed. ERO will request updates against the plan.

Key Next Steps

The Les Mills owner must ensure that the service manager is provided with ongoing assistance to support her in her role.

The owner and service manager need to strengthen and improve the strategic plan by:

  • developing action planning and allocating resources to meet the goals

  • aligning the action plan with the strategic priorities

  • monitoring progress against the goals.

The owner and manager need to ensure the appraisal system is robust and meets Education Council requirements. This includes:

  • ensuring evidence is collected against the Practising Teacher Criteria

  • developing goals to improve teaching and learning and regularly reviewed against these

  • ensuring formal observations of teaching practice are undertaken and written feedback is provided.

To provide consistency and sustainability of practice, the owner and service manager, need to develop policies and procedures to guide teaching and learning expectations, planning and assessment, and evaluation.

The manager and teachers need to continue to embed internal evaluation processes and ensure they use internal evaluation to measure the impact of initiatives and developments and to identify next steps for improvement. They also need to develop a review schedule to ensure coverage of key aspects of the service's operations over time.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have not 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.

ERO identified two areas of non-compliance.

  • aspects of the appraisal system do not comply with the requirements of the Education Council

  • processes and policies for appointments and selection of staff need to comply with the Vulnerable Children's Act 2014.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Les Mills (Dn) Early Childhood Centre will be in three years.

Jane Lee

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

4 December 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

25 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

54 Boys

41 Girls

Ethnic composition



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


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

4 December 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

Education Review

December 2012

Education Review

June 2009

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.