Awatere Early Learning Centre - 25/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Awatere Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Awatere Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Awatere Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Awatere Early Learning Centre, located in Seddon, Marlborough provides all-day education and care for 30 children aged over two years. Of the 48 currently enrolled, a small number identify as Māori. Children attend from a wide rural area.

The not-for-profit service, owned and operated by the community, is governed by a board of parents. Marlborough Kindergarten Association (MKA) provides support and mentoring to the centre in the areas of governance, management and teaching. A new centre manager was appointed in July 2017.

Concerns identified in the March 2016 ERO report include: the need to build relationships across all stakeholders; clarifying roles and responsibilities; developing and strengthening the future direction of the centre; self review; appraisal; and assessment, planning and evaluation. Building practices to ensure Māori succeed as Māori was also a priority.

Leaders and kaiako have engaged in a range of professional learning and development (PLD), initially through a Ministry of Education Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO) contract. From January 2017 the centre has been supported by a MKA Advisor and Senior Teacher.

The Review Findings

Good progress has been made in relation to the areas identified for improvement.

The centre philosophy emphasises the importance of an inclusive, welcoming environment for all children and whānau. Children are positively encouraged to contribute to their own learning and partnerships with parents and whānau are valued. Warm, reciprocal relationships are evident.

There is a suitable focus on the development of assessment, planning and evaluation. A well designed framework supports this, and a new individual planning model has been introduced. Children's learning goals are identified in consultation with whānau, and specific teaching strategies and actions to achieve these are identified. Planning has become more intentional and deliberate. Continuing to implement and strengthen a shared understanding of this process is important to ensure consistent high quality practice across the centre. Further development in planning should:

  • articulate next steps for the child's learning

  • show progress in learning over time

  • evaluate the impact of the programme and teaching strategies on outcomes for children.

A bicultural curriculum is evident in the centre. Te ao Māori is valued and reflected in the daily programme. Kaiako use te reo Māori in hui, karakia and regular interactions with children. Displays and resources support this emphasis. The manager and some staff are involved in learning te reo Māori. A review of how effectively staff are supporting Māori children to succeed as Māori has been undertaken.

Appropriate provision is in place for children with additional learning needs. External agency support, suitable systems and individual plans with agreed strategies are in place to support them and their families.

Progress has been made in the strengthening of relationships between staff. The manager is leading the development of collaborative ways of working and staff are now operating more effectively as a team.

A suitable appraisal process is now in place to promote ongoing teacher development. The MKA Senior Teacher is supporting this process. Teachers reflect on their practice in relation to the Standards for the Teaching Profession (the Standards) and leaders observe teaching and give useful feedback. Fully implementing a quality practice framework should support the development of a shared understanding of evidence in relation to the Standards.

Board systems and processes have been strengthened. The work of the MKA Advising Manager has included the clarification of the roles and responsibilities of the board, leaders and staff. Significant progress has been made in the development of strategic planning. Collaboration between the board, staff and parents has informed the centre’s strategic direction. Strategic priorities for the centre are clearly identified and respond to the areas for development identified in the March 2016 ERO report. These inform the well documented annual plan. Ongoing board training is scheduled for 2019.

Internal evaluation is at the beginning stages of development. The MKA Senior Teacher is working with the manager on the implementation of this process. Developing a shared understanding of evaluation and how to use it to improve outcomes for children is an agreed next step.

The agreed commitment from MKA for support in 2019 is a key factor in promoting ongoing sustained improvement.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the centre agree that their priority next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • assessment for learning practices

  • shared understanding and use of internal evaluation

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Awatere Early Learning Centre 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 Awatere Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

25 February 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 28, Girls 22

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2019

Date of this report

25 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2016

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.