Active Explorers Central City - 19/11/2018

1 Evaluation of Active Explorers Central City

How well placed is Active Explorers Central City 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.


Active Explorers Central City is part of the Evolve Education Group (EEG). It provides full-day education and care for up to 67 children, including 22 under two year olds. Children play and learn in three areas, according to their age and readiness for the next area.

Since ERO's 2015 review, the service has been purchased by the EEG and a new centre manager appointed in mid 2017. The centre manager oversees the day to day running of the service and is supported by a leadership team and a team of teachers. Most of the staff are qualified early childhood teachers.

The Evolve Education Group area manager and curriculum leaders provide ongoing support and have oversight of the service.

Leaders, teachers and whānau have developed a guiding vision and philosophy for the service that is consistent with the Evolve Education Group's values and vision and the Active Explorers brand. They aim to 'excel in providing equitable learning experiences and opportunities for each child and family'.

Good progress has been made in addressing the recommendations in the 2015 ERO report. This includes having a greater focus on learning and child-centred practices in the service.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Evolve Education Group.

The Review Findings

Children's learning and wellbeing are consistently promoted through leaders' and teachers' high expectations and ongoing commitment to improving the quality of programmes and practices.

Children's learning is well supported through programmes where they:

  • learn about their community and the wider world

  • are able to be independent and make choices about their learning

  • learn the skills of friendship and cooperation

  • know teachers value their diverse cultures

  • are well prepared when they transition to school.

Leaders take deliberate actions to reduce barriers to participation. They know their families well and respond sensitively to their needs. They seek and make good use of external expertise to ensure that children with additional needs are well supported in their learning.

Collaborative and respectful leadership recognises and uses the strengths of teachers, parents and whānau to bring about improvements. This includes the following:

  • teachers effectively use new knowledge from professional learning to improve aspects of the curriculum, for example; infants and toddlers benefit from a primary-caregiving approach that is more responsive to their individual requirements and needs

  • parents and whānau are regularly asked for their views about important matters relating to the service's programmes and practices

  • leaders and teachers have worked together to develop and implement useful systems for guiding the direction and daily operations of the service, including improved systems for planning and assessment, and internal evaluation

  • leaders and teachers are growing their knowledge, and seeking and responding to the contributions of whānau of Māori children in order to develop a more bicultural curriculum and better support Māori children to succeed as Māori.

Active Explorers Central City is well supported by the area manager and leaders of the EEG. The EEG have developed a more coherent structure and strategic direction for the company. A strategic focus is to lift the quality of teaching and learning. Many new initiatives have been introduced to improve the effectiveness and monitor the quality of the services within the company.

Key next steps for the EEG southern region are to ensure:

  • that the company vision, values, philosophy, goals and systems reflect and enact the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and are underpinned by te ao Māori perspectives

  • reporting and monitoring at all levels is evaluative and shows how outcomes for all children have been improved, especially in relation to the organisation’s vision, philosophy and valued outcomes

  • ongoing monitoring of the new initiatives and roles and responsibilities of personnel in positions of leadership.

Key next steps for Active Explorers Central City:

ERO's evaluation has identified, and centre leaders agree, that the key next steps are to:

  • continue to develop all teachers' knowledge and understanding of Te Whariki (2017), the early childhood curriculum, to design a rich, local bicultural curriculum aligned to their priorities for children's learning and the company's Active Explorers' philosophy.

  • embed and sustain the many positive initiatives underway that are contributing to improved outcomes for children, including further developing all teachers' confidence and capability in using internal evaluation processes

  • ensure that reporting at all levels of the service is evaluative and focuses on how well the service is promoting and improving outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Active Explorers Central City 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 Active Explorers Central City will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

19 November 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

67 children, including up to 22 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 54

Boys: 36

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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

August 2018

Date of this report

19 November 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2015

Education Review

March 2012

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.