Barnardos Early Learning Home Based Auckland Toru - 19/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Auckland Central South Kowhai Home-based Service

How well placed is Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Auckland Central South Kowhai Home-based Service 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.


Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Auckland Central South Kowhai Home-based Service is one of nine home-based education and care networks included in this review. The networks are owned and administered by Barnardos New Zealand. The service operates under the brand name KidStart Childcare.

The network is licensed to cater for 60 children from local communities between birth and five years of age. At present the network has 45 children receiving education and care in educators' homes. Whānau/families and children reflect a significant number of cultures.

Educators are supported by regular visits from the visiting teacher assigned to this network, quality assurance audits and professional development opportunities. The philosophy for the service has recently been reviewed and is in the final stages of consultation to include the views of new employees. The philosophy expresses values and beliefs that promote the wellbeing, learning, health and safety of children.

Since 2013 Barnardos New Zealand has undergone a significant restructure, changing from a regional to a nationally-based organisation. The restructure of Barnardos included the appointment of new personnel and the creation of new roles and responsibilities. An acting general manager now maintains oversight of all Barnardos early childhood services. She is supported by a national operations manager responsible for home-based education and care, a practice team and assistant managers.

The 2011 ERO review of this network identified good practices and noted areas for development. These included continuing work on transition to school processes, implementing the appraisal system, and documenting annual and strategic planning. ERO supported these ambitions.

ERO noted that links between assessment stories would more clearly show children's learning over time. The report recommended including parent/whānau comments in children's books, and reflecting children's cultures and ethnicity. A further recommendation was for service managers to continue to refine self-review practices and planning frameworks.

This review was part of a cluster of nine home-based education and care service reviews in the Barnardos Auckland Central South and North West services.

The Review Findings

A priority for Barnardos is to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment for whānau and their children. Parents were recently surveyed to determine their satisfaction with the service. The majority of parents/whānau reported that their children are settled and happy in the care of educators and that in-home routines give children a sense of security and wellbeing. Children's pukapuka (records of learning) indicate the affection and care they receive from educators and the scope of the activities and experiences provided for them.

The restructure of KidStart and changes to expectations about the visiting teacher role have resulted in stronger support for educators. The redistribution of tasks within Barnardos allows visiting teachers to focus entirely on supporting educators to improve curriculum programmes for children. As a result, educators are better placed to talk about programmes and to learn from the visiting teachers.

The increase in the quality of support and guidance is visible in the improving standard of educators' assessment and programme planning. Educators are also starting to reflect on their work with children. The visiting teachers monthly reports generally include constructive feedback to educators to enable them to improve learning outcomes for children. There has been a particular focus on ensuring that programmes include appropriate activities for infants and toddlers. Older children often play a supportive role for younger children.

The KidStart restructure has placed a much stronger focus on increasing overall understanding of New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Documentation and actions show managers' recognition of the importance of including a bicultural component in all aspects of their work. It is evident, through management planning, the presentation of professional development programmes and the focus on upskilling visiting teachers and educators in the use of te reo Māori, that this focus is ongoing and developing further.

The visiting teachers coach and support educators to recognise and respond to opportunities to engage children and extend their learning. Many educators are developing the confidence to allow children to initiate their own play and are better able to recognise children's individual dispositions as learners. Educators provide opportunities for children to be creative and encourage them to explore in ways that are meaningful, challenging and enjoyable. Visiting teachers support educators to include literacy, mathematics and science concepts and activities as part of play. Some educators could be encouraged to make better use of these less formal opportunities.

The visiting teachers use the principles, goals and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and current research about early childhood education when they model good practice for educators. Most educators attend playgroups provided by KidStart. Visiting teachers make good use of opportunities to encourage leadership from educators. Leadership opportunities are often linked to what visiting teachers know about educators' strengths and development needs.

Whānau/family relationships with educators and visiting teachers are generally based on acceptance and respect. The parent survey highlighted the need for closer partnerships. Managers responded to the survey data by providing extensive and appropriate professional development for all staff and educators. KidStart managers continue to investigate new ways to strengthen communication and consultation with whānau. Transitions into, through and out of the service are carefully and sensitively managed.

Managers provide support services for all aspects of home-based education and care. Professional learning and development for both visiting teachers and educators reflects service priorities and learning needs and visiting teachers appraisal goals. Policies and procedures are well developed and regularly reviewed. The induction process for visiting teachers has been a strengthened, and regular cluster meetings enable good practice to be shared. Visiting teachers ensure that educators are also kept up to date with any changes to expectations or regulations.

Internal evaluation is ongoing, detailed and responsive to identified priorities. Self review and reflection are regular features of visiting teachers work and are deeply focused on providing quality education and care for children. Evaluation across the service links to annual and strategic planning. Appraisal processes have been redeveloped to place a stronger emphasis on regulatory requirements for certification as practising teachers. A practice leader has been appointed to undertake regular health and safety audits in educators' homes, and of visiting teachers' paperwork to ensure the quality of programmes for children.

Key Next Steps

The next key steps for KidStart to enhance positive learning outcomes for children are to continue to:

  • build educators' knowledge and capacity to recognise and respond to the cultural strengths of Māori, Pacific and other ethnicities, in their work with children and families
  • ensure that all visiting teachers' files clearly indicate the support and mentoring they provide for educators and their programmes
  • strengthen educators' acknowledgement of whānau aspirations for their children and value the skills and expertise of whānau Māori
  • strengthen educators' understanding about early learning and their ability to provide meaningful literacy and mathematical experiences in the context of play.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Auckland Central South Kowhai Home-based Service completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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.

In order to improve current practice, visiting teachers should ensure that educators consider adult safety when assessing and developing strategies for managing risk in homes and on excursions.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Auckland Central South Kowhai Home-based Service will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

19 May 2016 

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 Home-based Education and Care Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

60 children, including up to 60 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Boys      29
Girls       16

Ethnic composition



Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

19 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

June 2008

Education Review

May 2005

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.