Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Lower Hutt Early Learning Centre - 23/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Barnardos Kidstart Childcare - Lower Hutt Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Barnardos Kidstart Childcare - Lower Hutt Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

With significant support from Barnardos KidStart Childcare management, this service should be well placed to sustain and improve practice.

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


Barnardos KidStart Childcare - Lower Hutt Early Learning Centre is one of 23 childcare centres owned and operated by Barnardos New Zealand, a national provider of community services for children and families. It is licensed for 63 children over two years. Of the 87 children enrolled, 13 are Māori. Seven of the nine teachers are qualified and registered. The community is ethnically diverse.

The centre's philosophy emphasises the importance of respectful relationships, parents’ contribution and valuing cultural identity, diversity and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in supporting children’s learning.

The March 2013 ERO report identified the need to: improve assessment practices to add continuity and complexity in children’s learning; and to evaluate how Māori children’s language, culture and identity was supported. Bicultural practice has been a major developmental focus in the centre.

Day-to-day responsibility for the management of the centre is the role of the head teacher. The regionally-based practice leader supports curriculum. An early learning manager, yet to be appointed, will have oversight of the operation of a cluster of Wellington centres, including this one. Responsibility for all the centre-based services is delegated to a national operations manager who reports to a general manager and the Barnardos board through the Chief Executive Officer.

Since the 2012-2013 ERO reviews of Barnardos early learning centres, significant restructuring of the national organisation has been undertaken. In 2014, this service merged with the adjacent Barnardos Childcare Centre under one licence. A recent influx of children from another local service that has closed has significantly increased the roll.

This review is one of a cluster of five reviews of Barnardos KidStart Childcare early learning centres.

The Review Findings

Teachers are caring and respectful in their interactions with children. The programme is mostly childinitiated and responsive to children’s individual interests and needs. Routines support children’s independence in self-care and decision-making. Children enjoy the opportunities and experiences offered. They are enthusiastic, friendly, and confident.

The centre is suitably resourced for a range of learning experiences. The outdoor area provides challenging physical learning experiences. Literacy and mathematics are well integrated into the programme and evident in learning records. Opportunities for children to participate in science should be better resourced and facilitated.

Provision for younger children needs development. There should be increased opportunities for teachers to engage purposefully with children to strengthen and progress their learning.

Teachers regularly share information about individual children and identify strategies to inform planning for their learning. Planning is made visible and links to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are evident. Evaluation of group plans is well considered. Best examples show teachers’ collaborative reflection on outcomes for children and agreed next steps for the development of the programme. Educators should keep working on strengthening evaluation to support their approach to planning.

Portfolios record children’s participation in the life of the centre and aspects of their learning. Children show strong ownership of these records. Some examples show linked narratives, revisiting of strong interests, and how teachers are supporting children’s achievement.

Teachers’ assessment of learning continues to require development. There is a need for a more consistent focus on the significant learning of individuals linked to the development of particular dispositions or working theories. A stronger focus on identifying next learning steps should demonstrate teachers' use of strategies to add complexity to children's learning. The introduction of an online programme has the potential to increase parents’ participation in their children’s learning.

Inclusive practice is evident. Families’ cultures are valued and positive relationships developed between staff and parents. Parents’ aspirations for their children are sought and valued. Throughout 2015, the centre had a useful focus on developing the bicultural curriculum and understanding te ao Māori. This focus effectively supported teachers' confidence and brought about positive changes to practice. ERO's evaluation affirms the decision of service personnel to maintain this focus. Revisiting Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners should support teachers as they continue to focus on building success for Māori children.

The head teacher provides experienced professional leadership with a strong improvement focus and a high level of commitment to the centre philosophy. She facilitates teachers’ understanding of expectations. She effectively leads ongoing development and promotes the value of professional reading and research to inform the team’s approach to change.

The appraisal process requires improvement to support teacher development and meet requirements. The documented system should be fully implemented. Performance management processes for the head teacher and practice leader need to be consistently undertaken.

Understanding and use of internal evaluation continues to need development at centre and management level.

Barnardos provides a range of carefully considered support for the service. This includes constructive, improvement-focused visits and reports from the practice leader, quality assurance through the annual audit and a range of operational and administrative support.

Strategic initiatives at management level have recently been identified to support improved outcomes under the new operational framework. Identification of strategic goals and development plans at local and centre level should be a focus for management. Further work needs to be done to support understanding and embedding of Barnardos operational changes. Guidelines and policies, although comprehensive, continue to need updating to reflect new ways of working.

Key Next Steps

Barnardos KidStart Childcare Management will develop an action plan for ERO that shows how they will address the key next steps to improve teaching and learning practices across this cluster of services, and include:

  • developing the quality of teaching
  • implementing improvement-focused appraisal for all staff
  • ensuring quality assurance processes are consistent
  • strengthening assessment for learning practices
  • increasing the understanding and use of internal evaluation
  • improving the alignment between strategic planning at management level with centre operations.

ERO will monitor progress made in relation to the action plan.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Barnardos Kidstart Childcare - Lower Hutt 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 Barnardos Kidstart Childcare - Lower Hutt Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

23 March 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 Early Childhood Service


Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

63 children over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 48, Girls 39

Ethnic composition






Other ethnic groups







Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

January 2016

Date of this report

23 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2013


Education Review

February 2011


Education Review

December 2006

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.