ABC Invercargill North - 06/06/2017

1 Evaluation of ABC Invercargill North

How well placed is ABC Invercargill North 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.


ABC Invercargill North is owned and managed by BestStart Educare Ltd. It provides care and education for up to 75 children from birth-to-school age. Children attending the service come from a wide range of nationalities. For some children and their families English is a second language (ESOL). The centre is divided into four classrooms to cater for the different age groups and needs.

Recent developments in the outdoor environment have provided the older children with a natural, unstructured area in which to explore, create and build.

The 2014 ERO review recommended improvements be made in showing how parent aspirations were being responded to; having a greater focus on learning; further developing self review; and strengthening teachers' capability in te reo Māori. These recommendations have been a strategic focus for managers and leaders and have been successfully addressed.

This review was one of four reviews of centres in this region under BestStart Educare Ltd.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy rich learning experiences within and beyond the service. Teachers set up the environment purposefully to engage children through the activities and resources. Children are very settled and well engaged in the daily programme. They show sustained interest in activities.

Children have freedom to make choices and are empowered to take increasing responsibility for themselves. Teachers place an emphasis on promoting early literacy, mathematics and science throughout the day. Māori language and te ao Māori are increasingly valued and used. Flexible routines are followed to suit children. 

Affirming and caring relationships between teachers and children are evident. Teachers know children well as learners and individuals. Overall, there are very effective assessment, planning and evaluation processes for group and individual learning. There are intentional links to parent aspirations and children's interests. Teachers' responsiveness to children's interests, strengths and needs is evident through the individual and group plans and the learning goals.

Teachers respond sensitively to and celebrate children's culture, identity and language. They make good use of the local community and value parents' cultures, knowledge and interests to enrich children's learning.

There are thoughtful, well-planned transitions into and through the service. The 'Be School Ready' programme for four year olds is designed to provide independence, exploration and challenge. The 'In the woods' programme supports this purpose. The head teachers have identified the need to strengthen links with local schools so that children can move confidently from the service when they turn five.

Children under two experience warm, nurturing interactions with adults. They learn and play in a stimulating, attractive environment that is set up with a wide range of sensory and tactile resources. Teachers thoughtfully fit the care routines around the children's needs. They work closely with parents to ensure children's wellbeing and learning aligns with parent expectations.

This service benefits from strong professional leadership. The service manager is building leadership skills within the teaching team. The service leaders have developed a well-considered strategic plan. The service manager monitors progress against the intended outcomes. A sound appraisal process, with a focus on improving teacher practice, is implemented.

There are robust internal evaluation practices. Evaluations are focused on children and lead to well-informed improvements.

The centre is very well supported by BestStart Educare. Support includes regular visits from managers who provide constructive advice and guidance. The organisation has a useful policy and procedure framework, provides targeted professional learning for leaders and teachers, and has very effective regional quality assurance and strategic planning practices.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified that teachers should:

  • state more explicitly the valued outcomes for children in the philosophy

  • further strengthen evaluations of group programmes

  • expand on how ESOL children are supported to learn English.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Invercargill North 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 ABC Invercargill North will be in four years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

6 June 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

75 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 46

Girls: 45

Ethnic composition






Sri Lankan













Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

6 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2014

Supplementary Review

November 2012

Education Review

June 2011

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.