Manchester Kindergarten - 01/09/2016

1 Evaluation of Manchester Kindergarten

How well placed is Manchester Kindergarten 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.


Manchester Kindergarten is one of 25 early childhood services administered by the Ruahine Kindergarten Association Incorporated (the association). It is licensed for 40 children aged over two years. Of the 59 children enrolled, 11 are Māori. At the time of this review three children were receiving additional learning support from the Ministry of Education’s early intervention service.

All five teachers are qualified and registered. Four have been at the kindergarten for a number of years. In 2016, the kindergarten’s licensed hours increased to 30 per week and staffing increased accordingly.

The kindergarten philosophy emphasises the importance of: developing genuine relationships with parents and whānau; engaging with bicultural values and practices; celebrating diversity; promoting children’s active movement; recognising Papatūānuku; and high quality teaching to support children’s learning.

The October 2012 ERO report, supported the teaching team’s finding that evaluation should be more focused on the effectiveness of the programme fostering children’s learning. Progress is evident.

Day-to-day management of the association's affairs is the responsibility of the general manager. A governing board sets the overall strategic direction. The senior teacher provides professional leadership for teaching and learning. An operations manager supports services’ compliance, policy development and leadership. A management restructure has been undertaken since the previous ERO review.

This review is one of a cluster of eight reviews of Ruahine Kindergarten Association early learning services. 

The Review Findings

The values articulated in the kindergarten's philosophy statement are highly evident in practice.

The high quality environment effectively engages children's interest in learning. The wide range of resources is freely accessible and carefully organised to invite investigation. A variety of physically challenging and constructive learning experiences is enjoyed in the outdoor area. Children's respect for Papatūāunku (Mother Earth) and roles as kaitiaki (guardians) of their kindergarten are successfully encouraged.

Teachers are nurturing, responsive and affirming, working well together to settle children and families and promote participation in the programme. They regularly engage children in learning conversations which extend their ideas and promote problem solving, oral language and social skills. Their consistent and positive approach to managing behaviour sustains the calm tone of sessions. Child-driven routines support the development of self-management skills. Children enjoy kindergarten showing confidence as learners and cooperation, respect and friendliness to peers and teachers.

The programme effectively responds to children's interests, strengths and needs. Literacy, mathematics, the arts, science and physical activity are well integrated in play-based ways. Planning includes reference to the early childhood curriculum outcomes, children's developing learning dispositions and the centre's philosophical values. This process results in the identification of specific teaching strategies to support individuals' learning. A developing part of teachers' approach is the collection and sharing of assessment information with families through e-portfolios. Teachers recognise that to better support children's learning over time, they should continue to work on strengthening parents' and whānau participation in planning for learning and extend evaluation.

With increasing numbers of children aged under three years enrolling, teachers are aware of the need to continue to develop routines and strategies that best support their learning and full participation in the programme.

Teachers' practice is highly inclusive. The team's approach is well considered with effective use being made of teaching and Ministry of Education resourcing to support equitable access to the kindergarten curriculum for all learners. Diversity is celebrated.

A commitment to implementing culturally responsive practice is highly evident. Teachers recognise the importance of continuing to develop their understanding of Pacific cultures to sustain and improve provision for families of Pacific heritage.

The programme strongly acknowledges the importance and place of te ao Māori. This is evident in the environmental focus, respect for tikanga, and some teacher development goals. Ongoing links with mana whenua (local Māori with customary rights) are sought and valued. The emphasis on pepeha (sharing identity with others) has strengthened relationships with families and whānau and understanding of success for Māori as Māori. Association leaders are strongly committed to implementing a bicultural curriculum and promoting success for Māori. The revised Te Tiriti o Waitangi policy, Wise Practice document and bicultural exemplars should support development of these practices.

Children and their families' transitions to primary school are well supported. Ongoing review and development, together with regular liaison with other early childhood services and schools to discuss practice, is informing a sound approach. The team should further consider ways of making children's achievement and progress visible, and sharing that information with new entrant teachers to support continuity of learning for individuals.

Teachers work cohesively and collaboratively. Team work is well established. The head teacher provides strong leadership focused on improvement and positive outcomes for children.

The association is providing good support for teachers to use a more evaluative approach to review for improvement. The head teacher has a well-developed understanding of evaluation and provides good leadership for the team. Teachers should continue to build their shared understanding to support decision making that improves and sustains positive outcomes for children. The association agrees the continued development of its Wise Practice indicators should occur, to support understanding about the quality and effectiveness of practice and operation at kindergarten through to board level.

The kindergarten's annual plan outlines priorities for the year, linked to the association's strategic goals of having high quality staff, coordinated services, effective partnerships and operation. Progress is recorded and reflected upon in collaboration with the senior teacher and operations manager. Quality indicators linked to outcomes for children are a useful addition to the annual plan. These should be further defined to enable more effective monitoring of progress.

The association provides effective governance and management support for this service. This includes:

  • constructive and improvement-focused support from the senior teacher
  • suitable quality assurance processes and guidelines linked to compliance with regulations and association expectations
  • a variety of operational and administrative support
  • effective and targeted support for teacher and leadership development through appraisal and wide-ranging professional learning opportunities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and association leaders agree that teachers should continue to strengthen:

  • assessment for learning, particularly in relation to promoting continuity of learning with primary school
  • the team's approach to internal evaluation. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Manchester Kindergarten 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 Manchester Kindergarten will be in four years. 

Joyce Gebbie
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

1 September 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 36, Girls 23

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2016

Date of this report

1 September 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2012

Education Review

June 2009

Education Review

March 2005

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.