BestStart Onehunga - 25/09/2019

1 Evaluation of BestStart Onehunga

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


BestStart Onehunga provides for up to 80 children, including up to 20 children under two years of age. The centre operates in two buildings. There is a separate room for children under the age of two, and a larger space to support a mixed-age environment and tuakana/teina relationships for children aged two to five years. The centre's community is culturally diverse. The roll includes a small group of Māori children, and about one-third have Pacific heritage.

The centre's recently reviewed philosophy and mission statement promote a responsive, inclusive, respectful, sustainable and natural environment for all. The centre staff includes a centre manager, 10 full-time teachers and an administration team.

ERO's 2015 report identified positive practices such as, care for infants and toddlers, and support for children to transition through the centre. Next steps for development included internal evaluation, cultural responsiveness and strategies for supporting complex play.

The centre is part of the BestStart charitable trust. The organisation has re-branded all its early learning services. It provides an overarching governance and management framework to support operations and curriculum delivery in individual centres. Business managers (BM) and professional services managers (PSM) lead staff professional development and provide strategic guidance.

This review was part of a cluster of nine reviews in BestStart's Upper North Island region.

The Review Findings

Children are confident and engaged learners and play well together. Children experience trusting and respectful relationships with staff and have good relationships with each other. They have a strong sense of belonging and their cultural identities are celebrated. Teachers are effective in growing children's confidence and social competencies.

Children learn in an open, spacious and well-considered environment. They move freely between the indoor and outdoor areas. There are high levels of interaction between the younger and older children and their teachers. Children under the age of two years experience nurturing, calm interactions with teachers who know them well that promotes exploration and supports their development.

Planning and assessment processes support teachers to respond to individual children's interests and strengths. Teachers value the contribution that whānau make to children's learning. They are increasing their understanding of their community to promote and provide a high quality local curriculum.

Teachers' commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is evident. They continue to seek out ways to strengthen their knowledge of te reo and tikanga Māori to further embed bicultural practices across the centre.

Teachers' professional knowledge is strengthened through the appraisal system. They participate in good quality professional learning and development and are well supported to improve. Teachers and leaders ensure that their practices reflect the rights of all children to high quality and inclusive early childhood education. The new centre manager and teaching team are implementing good systems and processes to support positive learning outcomes for children.

Centre operations are guided by strategic and annual plans, and a shared vision. These are linked to BestStart strategic goals, which promote a sense of belonging to a wider learning community and support more widespread collaboration amongst teaching teams. Leaders and teachers regularly revisit the centre's strategic goals and annual action plans to monitor quality and promote ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps include:

  • strengthening curriculum planning and assessment systems by focusing on children's individual learning dispositions, interests and strengths

  • continuing to build teaching and learning strategies that promote children's independence and leadership

  • continuing to grow skill and capability in observation and listening in order to promote meaningful learning conversations with children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Onehunga 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

25 September 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


Onehunga, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 38 Boys 32

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other Asian
other Pacific
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2019

Date of this report

25 September 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

Education Review

September 2012

Education Review

November 2009

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.