Somerset Early Learning Centre - 01/02/2017

1 Evaluation of Somerset Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Somerset Early Learning Centre 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.


Somerset Early Learning Centre is privately owned and operated. The centre provides all day education and care for children from 3 months to school age in two age group areas. The centre is licensed for 23 children with no more than 8 who are under the age of two years. It operates with a small group of up to eight children in the infant area. The majority of children identify as Māori.

At the time of the 2014 ERO review the following areas were identified as requiring further development, with support from the Ministry of Education. These were in the areas of:

  • internal evaluation

  • professional development to strengthen educational leadership and management

  • improving the accessibility of resources, particularly for young children in the indoor and outdoor environments.

Since the ERO review the centre has made significant progress in all of these areas and are now well placed to sustain ongoing improvement.

The centre manager and teachers, in consultation with whānau, have reviewed and developed a new centre philosophy to provide quality learning experiences for all children. This honours and respects the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi through partnership, protection and participation through working together with parents, whānau, and the wider community.

The Review Findings

Centre leadership has successfully improved the quality of education and care. Children and their whānau demonstrate a strong sense of belonging. They experience an environment that embraces and welcomes who they are, and values the knowledge that they bring to their child's learning. Whanaungatanga practices underpins all aspects of centre culture. 

Teachers value and acknowledge children's cultural identity and language. They know children well and use this knowledge to plan meaningful learning experiences, based on children's interests, strengths and needs. The principles of relationships, empowerment, holistic development, family and community, expressed in Te Whāriki, are now strongly evident in centre practice.

Children are highly engaged in self-initiated learning. They are able to make decisions, to pursue areas of interest and extend their own learning alongside their friends. Teachers support them to take responsibility for their personal wellbeing, one another and the environment. This encourages children to develop social skills and learn strategies where they can confidently express their feelings and show empathy for others. Children are confident and view themselves as capable and successful learners.

Children's learning is celebrated with whānau in individual portfolios that show their learning and progress overtime. Partnerships with whānau are based on a genuine attitude of acceptance and respect. Some parents and whānau contribute their time and strengths by staying and engaging in children's learning. This enriches the curriculum that children experience.

Children, whānau and teachers benefit from leadership that is committed to ensuring all children receve equitable opportunities for education and care. Teachers are continuing to develop intentional strategies that encourage social conversations, sharing ideas, and problem solving among children. The improvements to teaching and learning have contributed to positive outcomes for children and their whānau.

The centre manager and teacher's involvement in professional development with support from the Ministry of Education in internal evaluation, has resulted in systematic, planned and deliberate inquiries into the effectiveness of teaching and learning practices. These practices have resulted in continuous improvement, and the service now has a well-developed process for monitoring, maintaining and building on centre operations over time.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for leadership and teachers is to use internal evaluation processes to further develop:

  • the extension of children's oral language development, using their interests and strengths as the vehicle for learning, particularly for the large group of Māori boys

  • teachers' understanding and knowledge of te reo Māori, as well as local Māori history and significant places of importance

  • and evaluate the environment and children's access to high quality resources.


ERO recommends that the centre manager continues to access regular professional development for teachers to support the learning and development of Māori children who make up the majority of the centre's roll. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Somerset Early Learning Centre 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.

In order to improve, centre leadership needs to:

  • develop clear procedural guidelines for teacher's individual performance appraisal to meet the Education Council Teacher Registration requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Somerset Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer

1 February 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

23 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 10

Ethnic composition







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

1 February 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2011

Education Review

November 2014

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.