Alphabet Academy Cloverlea - 28/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Alphabet Academy Cloverlea

How well placed is Alphabet Academy Cloverlea to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Alphabet Academy Cloverlea is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.

Background

Alphabet Academy Cloverlea is one of two early learning services under the Vision Community Trust umbrella. They are governed by a trust board. Day-to-day management of the centres is the responsibility of the manager. The centre is currently in the process of appointing a head teacher. This person will work with staff to design and implement the centre’s curriculum. Currently, three teachers hold full practising certificates, one is provisionally certified and the remaining teacher is in training.

The centre is licensed for 50 children, including 16 up to two years of age, who can attend the purpose-built centre at any one time. The roll includes 17 Māori children and three of Pacific heritage.

The centre philosophy is strongly underpinned by Christian values and virtues. Children are encouraged to show manaakitanga with their peers and teachers, reflect their individuality and respecting their God-given talents. The kawa of respect, aligns the centre's Christian values to Māori concepts.

The April 2016 ERO evaluation identified staff needed to improve and develop: understanding and practices in effective internal evaluation; assessing and supporting children’s ongoing learning; and fostering opportunities for Māori children to experience educational success. Centre leaders developed an improvement plan to address these issues and provided ERO with ongoing evidence of their progress. Governors and leaders responded positively to this requirement and evidence shows some steady progress has been achieved.

This review was part of two reviews in the Alphabet Academy Centres.

The Review Findings

Children's holistic development and learning is supported through their active engagement in well-considered planned and spontaneous learning experiences. The curriculum is underpinned by the principles of Te Whāriki.

Strong links to home learning occurs between staff, parents and whānau. Teachers know children well. Narrative assessment learning stories show that children's interests and developing dispositions are responded to through appropriate teaching strategies and more challenging experiences.

Māori, and all, children experience an increasingly culturally responsive curriculum. Te ao Māori and te reo Māori are an integral part of children's daily experience. Planned professional learning in the Tapasā, Cultural Competencies Framework for Teachers of Pacific learners, is likely to further strengthen the curriculum and practice in support of Pacific learners and fanau.

Teachers are respectful and responsive to the needs and preferences of infants and toddlers. These very young children actively explore and learn in a nurturing, calm and secure environment. Teachers follow their lead as they promote their active engagement in well-designed experiences and activities. Children's social and emotional competence is nurtured through meaningful interactions with adults.

A positive tone and settled environment enables children to feel secure in their learning and confident in their response with adults and their peers. They know the rituals and routines of the environment and are able to follow their own rhythms. Children listen and respond well to their peers showing respect for each other.

Transition practices are well considered, supporting children entering and leaving the service. Centre leaders are continuing to strengthen their relationships with local schools to further develop these practices.

Self-review for accountability purposes and improvement is suitably implemented. Strategic goals reflect centre priorities. Annual goals are informed by relevant action plans. Regular monitoring of centre systems and processes is increasingly contributing to consistency of practice across the centres.

Centre leaders effectively manage daily operation and promote the agreed goals of the service. Involvement of staff in professional learning and development is well aligned to their identified priorities. Collaborative practice between staff ensures a cohesive response in meeting the needs of learners. Trustees are continuing to build their professional capability in systems and processes to improve sustainable governance practice.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders, management and ERO agree on the following priorities for ongoing improvement:

  • as part of the planned philosophy review, teachers should evaluate how effectively valued outcomes are enacted and contribute to improved outcomes for children and their families

  • further develop governance practice to build collective knowledge and capability to undertake the roles and responsibilities

  • continue to develop teacher inquiry so that staff look into the effectiveness of their practice and consistently identify significant learning and the desired outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Alphabet Academy Cloverlea 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.

Phil Cowie

Director Review and Improvement Services

Central Region

28 March 2019

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

Location

Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number

45868

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

41

Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 18

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Other ethnic groups

17
12
3
9

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

28 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2016

Education Review

March 2014

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.