Royal Road Pre-School - 20/06/2014

1 Evaluation of Royal Road Pre-School

How well placed is Royal Road Pre-School to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Teachers are making good progress establishing programmes and practices that promote positive learning outcomes for children. Effective governance and management systems are not yet well established.

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


Royal Road Pre-school closed in December 2012 and re-opened in January 2013 under the management and governance of the Lifewise Trust. This Methodist Church trust offers a range of community services, including a new service that provides support for a small number of licensed early childhood centres. Plans are being made to extend the Royal Road building and increase the licence to 30 children.

The pre-school provides education and care programmes for up to 24 children over two years of age. Families can choose to send children for either half days or school-length days. The centre is open during the school holidays. The children are representative of their multicultural community. Some children are learning to speak English in addition to their home languages.

The new teaching team is made up of a team leader, an additional registered teacher, and an untrained teacher. They are committed to establishing meaningful and consultative relationships with families, Royal Road School and the community. Learning environments have been reorganised and some operation systems have been implemented. There have been ongoing personnel changes at governance and management levels. This may have delayed the development of sound organisational systems.

The Review Findings

Children are well supported by teachers to transition smoothly into the centre. Currently most of the children enrolled are under four years of age. Teachers are focused on supporting them to develop basic language and social skills and how to manage routines.

Teachers maintain a positive and unrushed programme. They monitor children’s engagement in activities and their exploration of the learning environment. Teachers use open-ended questioning and comments to stimulate thinking and problem solving. They affirm children as capable learners by listening patiently to their responses and ideas, and by consistently reinforcing appropriate behaviour.

Good programme planning systems are in place, based on a ‘notice, recognise and respond’ framework. Teachers plan for individual and group learning experiences and are working towards a better balance of child-led and teacher-led planning. They use self-review well and could strengthen the impact of self review by making links to indicators of high quality practice.

Practices that support teachers’ professional growth include peer mentoring, which helps teachers to learn from one another’s practice and to trial ideas. Changes in centre management mean that newly introduced Lifewise appraisal systems and professional development approaches are still at the beginning stages of implementation. These systems and approaches should be used to prioritise support for teachers to reflect on their practice, lift individual teaching skills and stimulate critical thinking.

Some crucial governance and management systems are yet to be fully developed and implemented. It would be useful for the Trust to now review its systems against indicators of high quality governance and management to evaluate the extent to which these systems are well understood by staff. The review should also help to identify most effective practices and assist centre leaders to further improve daily operations.

Key Next Steps

Teachers have identified, and ERO agrees, that to improve the quality of learning outcomes for children they should:

  • add more depth and extension to children’s learning experiences
  • continue to increase staff knowledge about Māori culture and local histories and to develop increase their knowledge and understanding about children’s diverse cultural backgrounds
  • continue considering ways to improve the quality of toddler programmes and processes for supporting older children’s transition to school.

In order to support staff to raise the quality of teaching programmes and improve centre operations, the role of the Trust’s Professional Services Leader should be made more explicit so that teachers know how best to use her expertise. The Trust should establish and implement:

  • long-term strategic planning to guide the pre-school’s development
  • effective financial management practices, including a regularly monitored budget and more frequent reporting
  • robust personnel management systems including induction, performance appraisal, and an appropriate mentoring programme for provisionally registered teachers
  • more frequent individual and group professional development that aligns with appraisal goals.


ERO recommends that the Lifewise Trust seek external support to help them establish effective governance and management practices.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Royal Road Pre-School 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.

ERO identified two areas of non-compliance. The Lifewise Trust must:

  • ensure the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices [Education (ECS) Regulations 2008, 47(1a)]
  • establish effective management planning and an ongoing process of self review, with a focus on continual improvement [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6,8,9].

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Royal Road Pre-School will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

20 June 2014

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


Massey, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26

Boys 22

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā






Cook Island











Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2014

Date of this report

20 June 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports under new management

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.