Back 2 Basics - 17/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Back 2 Basics

How well placed is Back 2 Basics 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.


Back 2 Basics is a privately owned, purpose-built early childhood centre in Maungatapere, Northland. It opened in 2013 and provides full day and sessional education and care. The centre licence has increased to cater for a maximum of 50 children up to five years of age, including a maximum of 10 children under two. Māori children make up 17 percent of the current roll of 77.

Infants and toddlers, and children over two, learn and play in separate, but adjacent areas. The teaching team of qualified and trainee teachers is led by two team leaders and the centre manager.

The centre's philosophy indicates a commitment to children learning through fun and exploration in a natural learning environment. The philosophy also focuses on respectful and caring relationships in a family/whānau setting.

Over the past three years, the owners have made significant improvements to the outdoor area. Teachers have focused on improving internal evaluation, programme planning and assessment, as suggested in ERO's 2014 report.

The Review Findings

Children and teachers have fun as part of the learning process. Children show respect for each other. They confidently explore their learning environments and make decisions about how and where they play. Teachers respect children's opinions and respond to their interests.

Children initiate activities that develop their leadership skills in meaningful ways. Some effective teacher questioning techniques encourage children to engage in sustained conversations and engagement in activities.

Nurturing caregiving supports infants' and toddlers' need for strong and secure attachments. Teachers respond to these children's cues and respect their preferences. Infants and toddlers benefit from the calm pace, in which they have space and time to lead their own learning. Through internal evaluation, teachers have identified the need for a greater variety of equipment to encourage climbing and more complicated physical movement.

The spacious environment offers numerous challenges and invites children to explore and become fully involved in a wide variety of activities. It is well planned and enables ongoing interactions between children of all ages. Children are frequently engaged in activities that promote an interest in science and mathematics.

Partnerships with children and whānau are based on genuine attitudes of inclusion, respect and willingness to listen and adapt. Children know that teachers listen to their point of view and involve them in decisions that affect them. Parents appreciate the warm and welcoming tone of the centre, which helps children to develop a strong sense of belonging. Staff want to grow parents' knowledge of how the early childhood curriculum forms a sound foundation for children's future learning.

Teachers are committed to integrating te ao Māori into the curriculum. Teachers now need to ensure that bicultural awareness and recognition is evident in all children's portfolios. Some teachers use te reo Māori confidently when talking with children. They continue to look for ways to strengthen relationships with local Māori and the marae.

Teachers are improving their knowledge of good quality planning and assessment. They observe children in their everyday activities to build a picture of each child. Teachers are increasingly using information from group and individual assessment to plan the curriculum. They appreciate families' knowledge of their own children, and see them as an integral part of the centre's learning community. They are working on including parents' aspirations for their children in planning responsive programmes for individual children.

Teachers agree that they now need to extend and evaluate child-led learning, and to show continuity of learning in assessment documentation. They are well placed to ensure that internal evaluation that is based on outcomes for children becomes a consistent practice throughout the centre.

Well established relationships with external facilitators and specialists provide extra support for children with additional learning needs. Transitions into and through the centre and on to school are responsive to each child's readiness and very well managed. Leaders are keen to become involved in the local Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako to build meaningful pathways of learning for their children as they progress to school.

Leaders and teachers have a focus on accountability and improvement. The recently reviewed appraisal process provides clear expectations and processes to support ongoing improvements in teacher practice. A comprehensive policy framework guides centre operations and policies are regularly reviewed. Strengthening strategic planning and internal evaluation should further promote continuous improvement.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers agree that to enhance provision for children, priority should be given to:

  • developing a shared understanding of high quality assessment and planning processes that supports equity and excellence for all children
  • strengthening the integration of te ao Māori
  • focusing internal evaluation on positive outcomes for children
  • refining the centre's strategic plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Back 2 Basics 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.

ERO identified an area of non-compliance. Centre managers and staff must:

  • ensure that fire and earthquake drills are carried out and documented at least every three months
    Licensing Criteria for Education and Care Services 2008, HS8.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Back 2 Basics will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

17 April 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

50 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      43
Girls       34

Ethnic composition

other Asian
other European


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2018

Date of this report

17 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 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 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.