Barnardos Early Learning Centre Otara - 22/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Barnardos Early Learning Centre Otara

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Barnardos Early Learning Centre Otara caters for 55 children, including 16 up to two years of age. Three-quarters of children enrolled have Pacific heritage and most of the remainder are Māori. The staff are all qualified early childhood teachers. An internally appointed acting manager is currently leading the teaching team.

Staff have made good progress in response to the recommendations of the 2015 ERO report. The centre's philosophy has been reviewed and clearly specifies the centre's vision for learning, relationships and inclusion. Teachers have increased the ways they gather parents' ideas about children's learning. 

The centre is part of Barnardos New Zealand, a longstanding organisation with a clear strategic focus on social services and advocacy for tamariki, and whānau, and excellence in early childhood care and education. The Barnardos board works with a national executive leadership team. Two Upper North Regional managers and a practice adviser work alongside centre-based and home-based managers in Auckland. The appointment of a second practice adviser is imminent.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in Barnardos New Zealand Early Learning Services.

The Review Findings

Children are valued and respected as individuals who, with their families, actively contribute to the programme. They are confident and independent, and trust that teachers will support them. Children settle easily into the centre and are familiar with the centre's routines. As a result of teachers' inclusive approaches, children have a strong sense of belonging.

Infants and toddlers have a separate area for uninterrupted play and confidently explore their environment. These children experience a calm environment where their needs are responded to. Tuakana/teina relationships where older and younger children interact together, are a natural part of this centre.

Children are keen explorers who test and develop their skills and confidence as they play and learn. They have the ability to move freely into the large outdoor area throughout the session. Children happily engage for sustained periods in activities. They converse enthusiastically with adults, who encourage their language development.

Children lead their own learning and are given opportunities to make decisions about their play. They regularly interact with the variety of activities that promote literacy, mathematics, technology and science in the programme. Identifying curriculum leadership roles would help teachers to strengthen learning outcomes for children in the clearly defined learning areas.

Teachers build relationships and cultural connections that support everyone to feel that they have a place. Te reo and tikanga Māori are valued and woven through the programme. Whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are strongly evident. The curriculum is responsive to the cultures and languages of Pacific learners. Teachers agree that they need to increase Pacific resources to further support these children's play and learning.

Collaborative leadership enables teachers to extend and share their knowledge and skills. Teachers have made a good start documenting children's learning and development. They use this information to plan programmes for children. They are now aware of the importance of having a variety of perspectives about children's learning in their individual portfolios.

Barnardos has aligned organisational strategic priorities with its vision, philosophy and valued outcomes for children. The organisation has recently introduced a number of new initiatives and improved systems for accountability and quality assurance, to support increasing capability and consistency across Barnardos. Managers make purposeful use of a quality assurance framework, and progress towards strategic goals is systematically monitored and reported. The impact of new developments on outcomes for children is not yet evident. The appointment of a second practice adviser should support a shift in focus from compliance to quality improvement.

Barnardos leaders have developed a strategic approach to strengthening understandings of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori and culturally responsive practices. Specific Barnardos initiatives respond to the diverse needs of children and their families. In this service, teachers' commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi is very evident in the environment and in practice. Teachers implement useful strategies that support all children with diverse needs.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that next steps for ongoing improvement include:

  • developing assessment and planning processes that document the emergent curriculum, and help teachers to enrich programmes for children
  • building consistency and capability in using children's records of learning to show progress and continuity of learning over time
  •  strengthening the evaluation of programme planning and teaching strategies.

During ERO’s September 2018 cluster, Barnardos leaders identified relevant ongoing next steps relating to:

  • embedding and evaluating the impact of new initiatives
  • the establishment of systems for monitoring and evaluating progress towards strategic goals
  • strengthening internal evaluation, including ‘teaching as inquiry’.

This review also identified the need for the practice advisers to continue providing close support for teaching teams to improve culturally responsive practices, curriculum quality and the implementation of Te Whāriki 2017.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Barnardos Early Learning Centre Otara 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.

Steve Tanner
Director Review and Improvement Services Northern
Northern Region

22 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 


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

55 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      35
Girls       22

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2018

Date of this report

22 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Previously known as: Barnardos KidStart Childcare Otara Early Learning Centre

Education Review




October 2015

Education Review

October 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.