BestStart Burnside - 31/10/2019

1 Evaluation of BestStart Burnside

How well placed is BestStart Burnside to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

BestStart Burnside is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


BestStart Burnside operates under the BestStart Educare Ltd management structure. This large national organisation owns early childhood education centres across New Zealand. A professional services manager and business manager work with the centre manager to support the day-to-day operation of the service.

The service is located in Christchurch and is licensed for 85 children, including a maximum of 18 children aged under two years. Three separate learning areas and programmes cater for the specific care and education needs of children from birth to school age.

The centre vision has a focus on building a love of lifelong learning. The philosophy is based on relationships, primary care and the whole child approach to learning. Each classroom has identified learning priorities based on the services philosophy. These form the basis of the curriculum design across the service.

Most staff are qualified and registered early childhood teachers. Senior management is experienced and has provided continuity in centre practices during a period of staff changes. There is a newly-appointed centre manager.

Since the 2016 ERO review, the centre has made progress towards improving the following areas: to promote children's language, culture and identity; assessment practices, and further developing staff capacity to undertake internal evaluation.

This review was part of a cluster of four centre reviews in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

The philosophy is clearly evident in practice. Children benefit from a primary care giving system which is well integrated across the three programmes. They enjoy warm, responsive relationships with teachers and each other. This provides children with a sense of wellbeing and belonging at the centre.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported. Teachers provide an inclusive learning environment to ensure that they participate fully in the programmes alongside their peers. Teachers know children well and celebrate successes and milestones with family and whānau.

Teachers maintain a calm, peaceful environment in the nursery. They engage in positive teacher-whānau relationships. They are respectful of children's specific learning needs, providing predictable routines, listening carefully and responding to their cues.

Children benefit from the way teachers provide considerable care and thought that supports them and their whānau as they transition into and through the centre, and on to school.

Teachers are respectful of te ao Māori. They naturally incorporate te reo into their conversations with children.

Children's interests, strengths and capabilities are well responded to by teachers. They encourage children to lead their own learning by supporting them to make decisions and take responsibility for themselves, others and the environment. Children have time to make discoveries and investigate their ideas during uninterrupted play. Both the indoor and outdoor areas offer challenges and opportunities to extend their learning.

The BestStart organisation provides professional support to ensure the quality operation of the service. They have effective systems to monitor physical and emotional health and safety for all involved in the service. An appraisal process supports teachers to improve their practice in an ongoing way. Professional development is provided to build teachers' and leaders' capability and to establish shared understandings. There is a strong, ongoing commitment to improvement of teaching and learning outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

BestStart managers and ERO agree that the key next steps are to embed and refine the new assessment, planning and evaluation process to ensure that there is:

  • evidence of a deeper understanding of children's languages cultures and identities

  • consistency of teaching strategies, and that the impact of these strategies on children's learning is evaluated and documented

  • ongoing strengthening of internal evaluation to more clearly identify what is best supporting positive outcomes for children's learning and wellbeing, and what needs to be changed.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Burnside 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Te Tai Tini

Southern Region

31 October 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

85 children, including up to 18 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 53, Girls 50

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other European
Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2019

Date of this report

31 October 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.