ACG Sunderland Preschool - 09/10/2015

1 Evaluation of ACG Sunderland Preschool

How well placed is ACG Sunderland Preschool 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.


ACG Sunderland Preschool operates as part of the ACG Sunderland Academic Colleges Group’s complex in West Auckland. The centre is sited on the school and college grounds, and teachers and children are able to use the school’s facilities. Governance for the centre is undertaken by the ACG Sunderland Board, ACG Education Council and the Senior Management team. The day to day management of the centre is delegated to the centre manager, who is a member of the Senior Management team.

This is the first ERO review for the centre which opened in 2013. The centre caters for 24 children over the age of two years. The centre provides full day education and care, and has four registered teachers.

Children participate in a mixed age group for the majority of their week. About half the children are from migrant cultures. The largest group is Chinese. The appointment of a Mandarin speaking teacher is supporting good communication with these families.

The philosophy for the centre was developed in collaboration with the school and parents. It includes reference to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. It also refers to the significance for the programme of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as an expression of New Zealand’s dual cultural heritage. The centre also acts under the ACG educational vision.

The Review Findings

Children are settled and enthusiastic as they engage in the programme provided by teachers. The tone in the centre is quiet and cheerful. Conversations between children and teachers are respectful and friendly. Children know the routines well and play cooperatively.

Children have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing in the centre. General planning for the programme is shared with children and their ideas are respected and acted upon. Teachers plan the topics for projects and then seek children’s ideas. This leads to consistency and interest for children when they engage with activities.

Children are articulate, confident and take opportunities to discuss their play with adults. Teachers’ conversation with children promotes their thinking. Teachers should continue to use open-ended questioning techniques to extend children’s thinking and language.

Teachers respond to the ACG and parent expectations and aspirations for children’s learning. Teachers link these aspirations to what they know about children’s progress, and to Te Whāriki. Assessment and planning procedures are well established and follow clearly organised systems. Children’s portfolios contain a mix of individual and group stories about learning. Child voice is clearly recorded and artwork often shows children’s growing skills over time.

Teachers have placed a focus on strengthening children’s understanding of biculturalism. They use te reo Māori in mat time experiences and celebrate events important for Māori. Relationships with Māori whānau are growing. Teachers plan to continue to use te reo Māori more frequently in conversations with children.

Teachers are highly reflective and use discussion and research to build their knowledge of children’s learning. Teachers could now strengthen their philosophy to more clearly match the expectations outlined in Te Whāriki about children leading their own learning through their interests and strengths. This is a small but important change to the current thinking in the team.

Children benefit from teachers’ involvement in professional development. The leadership focus they have followed has resulted in all teachers taking responsibility for quality programmes. Their additional focus on literacy has provided clarity for the team about the foundational skills they promote for children. Teachers intend to continue using self review to strengthen their programme.

Being part of a larger education facility is positive for teachers and children. As well as the expertise available to them, they have access to the much larger spaces and resources of the school. Children are familiar with the school’s new entrant teacher and are often included in school events. These are positive features that are helping children to transition seamlessly to school when they turn five.

The centre space is limited and, while teachers do their best to use space effectively, they are hampered by the lack of suitable room for the variety of experiences they would like to offer. This issue is under discussion with ACG management and plans are being considered.

Key Next Steps

The centre manager intends working with the teaching team to:

  • more deliberately extend children’s learning through their interests, conversations and the provocations in the environment that encourage children’s exploration and thinking
  • further strengthen appraisal processes, to extend teachers’ understanding of the requirements of the early childhood curriculum
  • continue to strengthen the bicultural focus and relationships with families.

These next steps should help to enrich programmes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ACG Sunderland Preschool 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 ACG Sunderland Preschool will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

9 October 2015

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


Henderson, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 15 Girls 14

Ethnic composition













Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2015

Date of this report

9 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports

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.