Wyndham Playcentre - 05/04/2017

1 Evaluation of Wyndham Playcentre

How well placed is Wyndham Playcentre 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.


Wyndham Playcentre is parent led and provides two morning sessions each week for children up to school age. It is a small, rural centre.

Parents are gaining Playcentre qualifications by being involved in the adult-education training programme provided by the Southland Playcentres Association (SPA).

Southland Playcentre Association (SPA) is experiencing a time of change, as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level. An interim board has been established at SPA to support playcentres through this transitional period.

The September 2013 ERO report identified a number of areas that required strengthening. These included assessment, planning and evaluation, self review and strategic planning. Limited progress in these areas is evident.

This review was part of a cluster of 13 Playcentre in the Southland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children participate in a play-based programme. A wide range of activities are available for children to freely choose. They engage in sustained play and work collaboratively. Their independence skills are promoted.

Parents work alongside children noticing their interests and responding by providing additional resources. Exploration of the learning environment is actively promoted and parents encourage children's thinking skills through questioning. Adults are aware of the mixed-age range of children and provide resources to meet their needs.

Recording of the daily planning discussions now occurs. Children's interests are highlighted and possible next steps identified. This process requires strengthening to show how opportunities have been enacted and the impact on children's learning. 

Members have identified that documentation of children's learning requires further development. ERO's evaluation affirms this and priority should be given to developing members' understanding of the purpose and use of assessment and identifying the most effective way of meeting this requirement. This requires urgent attention. Once achieved this information can be used to guide planning for children's learning over time.

There is limited reflection of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori within the programme. The bicultural programme requires development to align with the expectations of the SPA. Once established, this should provide a foundation for considering how well this playcentre promotes educational success for Māori children.

An ongoing process of review and internal evaluation to maintain and improve the quality of education and care, is not evident. The strategic plan requires improvement. Developing clear indicators of success should enable more effective evaluation of the plan.

Parents meet regularly to discuss the operation of the playcentre. Further developing their understanding of SPA policies and effective implementation should promote more effective leadership. During the onsite phase of this review, a number of hazards in the outside play area were identified by ERO. These require urgent attention to ensure all reasonable steps are taken to provide a safe environment. Sufficient checking and appropriate management of hazards should be a priority. Since the onsite phase of the review the Playcentre has addressed some of the hazards identified by ERO.

The board has been proactive in developing processes to assist in the smooth transition for playcentres to work under the NZPF. Opportunities have been offered to playcentre members to engage with the SPA to consider how the board could best provide support to services through the impending restructure.

The board has identified a number of systems and processes have lapsed and need improvement. Immediate attention is required to review policies that guide the appointments procedure and health and safety practices. The appraisal process has also lapsed, or not been robustly implemented. These improvements are a priority to meet licensing criteria and for monitoring the quality of centre practices.

More consistent, timely and evaluative reporting should be provided to the board to assure them that accountabilities are met and to better inform their decision making.

Priorities for improvement

To improve outcomes for children, playcentre members should:

  • improve their understanding of assessment for learning

  • further develop their bicultural practice and consider how educational success for Māori children can be promoted

  • revisit SPA policies and procedures and ensure they are implemented consistently

  • strengthen strategic planning

  • build their knowledge of review and internal evaluation. 

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • review SPA policies, giving priority to those related to appointments and health and safety practices

  • re-establish the appraisal process

  • facilitate the evaluative reporting to the board.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Wyndham Playcentre 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

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • the process and implementation of regular review and evaluation of the centre's operation and the recording of outcomes from this process

  • appropriate assessment of and addressing of environmental hazards. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, HS12]

ERO also identified areas of non-compliance for the Southland Playcentre Association in relation to governance and management. To meet requirements the association needs to:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal. [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

To improve practice the Southland Playcentre Association should:

ensure policies and procedures for travel by a motor vehicle clearly specify the person responsible for excursion approvals has verified all drivers have a current full New Zealand driver licence and each vehicle is registered and has a current warrant of fitness.

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Wyndham Playcentre. ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Wyndham Playcentre will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

5 April 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


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 7, Girls 5

Ethnic composition







Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

5 April 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

September 2013

Education Review

June 2010

Education Review

April 2006

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.