ABC New Plymouth - 15/02/2018

1 Evaluation of ABC New Plymouth

How well placed is ABC New Plymouth 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 New Plymouth is an all-day education and care centre close to the city's central business district. The service is licensed for up to 50 children, including 16 aged up to two years. Approximately a third of children enrolled are Māori.

BestStart Educare Ltd (BestStart) provides overall strategic direction and systems to guide centre operation. A professional services manager and business manager regularly liaise with teaching staff. The centre manager is supported by two team leaders.

The centre consists of two separate learning spaces, which cater for infants and toddlers, and for preschool children.

The service philosophy is underpinned by values of respect, creativity, love, enthusiasm, honesty and fairness. 

Areas for development identified in the July 2014 ERO report have been progressed.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from opportunities to make meaningful choices, challenge themselves and work collaboratively with others in an environment that reflects the cultural diversity of the centre.  They confidently engage in a stimulating play-based curriculum. A wide range of resources promote creativity and active exploration. 

Teachers are respectful and responsive, working alongside children to support their play. Teaching interactions are warm and support children to develop a sense of belonging. Strategies are used to effectively build social competence. Teachers liaise with parents and outside agencies, as appropriate, to support the learning and wellbeing of those with diverse needs.

Infant and toddler learning is well supported through a responsive curriculum and skilful teaching. Natural resources, sensory exploration and real-life experiences are a strong feature of the environment and provide learning opportunities for these children.  Care routines are flexible to individual needs and preferences. These are maximised as ways to build relationships. Teachers maintain a calm, slow pace in their interactions, and encourage the free movement and exploration of very young learners.

Teachers demonstrate high levels of commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.  Opportunities for children to experience waiata, te reo Māori, and karakia are authentically integrated throughout the day. Strong relationships have been established with local iwi and marae, which is supporting the development of a curriculum that is responsive to its community.  

Teachers and BestStart have identified that assessment, planning and evaluation practices need strengthening. Improvements are underway. These improvements should include consideration of:

  • planning that is purposeful, individualised, and incorporates challenging teaching strategies to build children's identities as successful learners
  • parent aspirations informing strategies, planning and assessment.

Relationships with parents and whānau are prioritised by teachers. Teachers acknowledge the need to strengthen their understanding of fostering educational success for Māori and for children of Pacific heritage. Growing learning partnerships, where families effectively contribute to the curriculum, should allow teachers to better respond to children’s culture, language and identity.

Flexible, well-considered processes promote children’s wellbeing when transitioning into the centre and between age groups. Teachers have built purposeful relationships with local schools. A number of useful transition-to-school strategies are in place that are well-aligned with current research.

The service and BestStart are currently redeveloping their internal evaluation practices. ERO affirms this direction. Future evaluations should be more strongly focused on measuring and monitoring the impact of practices on outcomes for children.

Distributed leadership is evident. Leaders and teachers regularly share and discuss professional learning. Leaders have successfully built a positive team culture.

Robust systems are in place to mentor, develop and appraise staff. They have regular opportunities to participate in professional learning. Leaders and ERO agree that appraisals should include more targeted appraisal goals and teacher inquiries, focused on the impact of teaching practices on specific children’s learning outcomes.

BestStart policies, guiding documents and monitoring systems promote consistent practice. Regional managers are responsive and effective. They regularly liaise with centre managers and teaching staff, with a clear focus on teaching and learning. Teachers are well supported, and appropriately challenged, to continually strengthen their practice.

Key Next Steps

BestStart managers, the service and ERO agree its priorities are to:

  • strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation
  • strengthening responsiveness to children’s culture, language and identity, including Māori and Pacific learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC New Plymouth 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 New Plymouth will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

15 February 2018

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 


New Plymouth

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 33, Girls 33

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


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

December 2017

Date of this report

15 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

December 2004

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.