Sprouts Manawatu 27 - 13/12/2016

1 Evaluation of Sprouts Manawatu 27

How well placed is Sprouts Manawatu 27 to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Governance and management roles are not sufficiently defined to support clear understanding of expectations and a sustained approach to operation. Systems that support coordinators' growth as teachers, quality assurance, consistent practice and continuous improvement need further development.

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


Sprouts Manawatu 27 is one of six home-based networks operated by Scallywaggs 2007 Ltd in the Central North Island. This network is one of two Sprouts home-based services operating in Manawatu. It is licensed to provide care and education for 80 children, including up to 80 aged under two years.

An advisory board and chief executive officer are responsible for the business aspects of the Scallywaggs organisation. A general manager maintains oversight of all Scallywaggs services. She is supported by three regional managers who oversee the work of a number of registered teachers (coordinators) working in the Sprouts' home-based services. In this network, one coordinator is employed to support in-home educators to provide suitable care and learning programmes for children.

In 2014, a new Scallywaggs general manager was appointed from within the existing staff. Since the August 2013 ERO review, Manawatu network coordinators have moved to new premises with better work and meeting spaces. Staffing for this network has been restructured resulting in coordinators being reduced from two to one.

The philosophy emphases the importance of building responsive, reciprocal relationships with children and whānau, and the provision of warm, nurturing environments, and choices for children in their learning.

The previous 2013 ERO report identified the need for managers and coordinators to support educators to evaluate children’s learning, identify and address hazards in the environment and strengthen the use of te reo Māori across the network. Some progress is evident. Development in these areas continues.

This review was part of a cluster of six home-based education and care reviews in the Sprouts' organisation.

The Review Findings

Children in this network have opportunities to participate in a wide range of learning experiences. Many attend Sprouts' playgroups and organised trips, gym and music sessions in the local community. A range of resources is provided to support educators to provide meaningful experiences for children, linked to their interests and essential learning areas.

Management and coordinators work hard to remove barriers to children’s participation in the service. They are aware of local agencies and resources to assist those who need additional support.

Children’s transitions into and out of the service are carefully considered by the Sprouts' coordinators. Care is taken to match families with educators when children enrol. While some information and advice is provided to families when children move on to school, coordinators should use up-to-date research and best practice to strengthen Sprout's approach.

Coordinators should continue to work on developing their own and educators' understanding of high quality provision for infants and toddlers. Additional up-to-date readings about best practice would be a useful addition to supporting documentation.

Educators are supported by coordinators to be intentional when providing learning opportunities for children. Their contact is mostly focused on promoting the learning of individual children. Documentation supporting practice provides good examples of ways to analyse and respond to children’s learning, and information about the values of play.

Children's learning journals celebrate their daily participation and engagement in the home-based programme. Extensive use of photographs helps children to reflect on and revisit special moments. There now needs to be a shift of emphasis from noticing and responding to the activities children participate in, to identifying their significant learning and strategies that should promote their progress. While the strands and goals of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are evident in network documentation, an increased emphasis on the principles should help educators to articulate and evaluate children's learning.

Playgroups could be used more effectively to support educators' understanding of planning for learning and to follow up on children's interests and developing dispositions for learning.

Sprouts coordinators and managers express commitment to the development of a more culturally responsive approach. Key policy and operational guidelines that outline expectations for acknowledgement of te ao Māori across the Sprouts networks are not yet in place. Development of a more bicultural curriculum has been identified as a priority. Some resources have been provided to support educators to use te reo Māori and understand aspects of tikanga. Managers should continue to seek connections with local iwi and access key Ministry of Education resources to inform decision making about next development steps.

Development of responsive, reciprocal relationships with families and whānau is a priority. Use of the Sprouts website has improved communication. Coordinators acknowledge the importance of identifying and responding to the aspirations parents have for their children’s learning. This is a focus for development in 2016.

Coordinators and the general manager work well together as a team, supporting each other in their roles. A culture characterised by warmth and care for others is evident. Opportunities for leadership are encouraged. Regular meetings are focused on professional growth at coordinator and educator levels. Professional development is budgeted for and provided. A suitable appraisal process for coordinators has yet to be established.

A performance development process to support the general manager in her role as service leader is required. She has identified the need to strengthen professional dialogue and the quality of discussion at regional management level. Appraisal and focussed professional support linked to her leadership and teaching roles should be priorities.

Guidelines and expectations for key aspects of operation and practice need further development. Governance and management roles and responsibilities need to be further clarified and documented to ensure key tasks are identified and completed, and operation is sustainable in terms of teaching and learning. Expectations for the in-home curriculum are not yet clearly defined to support consistent and shared understanding of requirements by educators and coordinators.

Through their regular contact, coordinators monitor aspects of educators’ practice. Educators and coordinators have a range of documentation to support their understanding of requirements. Management should develop and implement a systematic process that provides assurance that all legislative and Sprouts' requirements are being met by coordinators and educators, and that consistent monitoring of practice is evident at all levels.

Strategic direction has not yet been effectively identified. Priorities and plans for the development of the Sprouts' organisation are not well established. A clear, carefully considered strategy outlining direction and actions defined by outcomes for children, is needed. Once direction is clearly defined, regular reporting strongly aligned to priorities should be put in place to support decision making at all levels. Desired outcomes should be identified in key operational documents to enable the quality of practices and progress in meeting goals to be monitored. There is not yet an established process of internal evaluation in place to effectively inform decision making about improvement.

Key Next Steps

The general manager, chief executive officer and ERO agree that priorities for this service are to:

  • identify priorities and plans for development

  • clarify governance and management roles and responsibilities

  • review/develop guidelines and expectations for operation and practice

  • develop and implement suitable individual development planning processes for coordinators and the general manager

  • develop and implement internal evaluation

  • support understanding of te ao Māori and implementation of a bicultural curriculum

  • develop and implement a systematic and comprehensive quality assurance process.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Sprouts Manawatu 27 completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements, the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • implement a process of regular appraisal for the general manager

  • put in place an ongoing process of review and evaluation that helps maintain and improve the quality of its education and care

  • staff in teaching positions must be appraised using a process that meets Education Council requirements for the issue and renewal of practising certificates
    Licensing Criteria for Home-based Education and Care Services 2008 Regulations, GMA6, GMA5, Part 31 Education Act 1989

In order to improve current practice management should:

  • develop and implement a systematic process that provides assurance that all legislative requirements for homebased-education and care are being met by coordinators and educators

  • ensure policy documentation and guidelines accurately reflect current legislative requirements

  • review excursion guidelines and permission processes to support consistent practice and understanding.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Sprouts Manawatu 27 will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

13 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 Home-based Education and Care Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 22, Boys 18

Ethnic composition




Other ethnic groups





Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

October 2016

Date of this report

13 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2008

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.