BestStart Wattle Downs - 25/09/2019

1 Evaluation of BestStart Wattle Downs

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


BestStart Wattle Downs operates in two separate buildings on the same site. Children are catered for in age-related groups. They have diverse cultural backgrounds, with Māori making up nearly half of the roll.

The centre's recently reviewed philosophy promotes learning through play, respectful and trusting relationships, and working in partnership with parents and whānau. The centre endeavours to support children to become independent and confident, and to transition positively through the centre and to primary school.

The service has experienced significant staff turnover since ERO's 2015 report. There is a new centre manager and new teachers.

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 the 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 learners. They settle quickly on arrival and have a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing. Children lead their play and choose activities based on their interests.

Teachers promote independence and encourage children to be responsible. They know children and whānau well and respond positively to their aspirations. Teachers talk with children about decisions that affect them and genuinely listen to children. Trusting and respectful relationships between children and teachers are highly evident.

Children under the age of two experience nurturing, calm interactions with teachers who know them well, in an environment that promotes exploration and supports their development. Children with additional needs are well supported and experience a caring and inclusive environment.

Teachers continue to strengthen planning and assessment practices. BestStart and centre managers are working with teachers to develop a curriculum that is increasingly responsive to children's individual strengths and interests. Teachers recognise the importance of children learning through play. They plan collaboratively and have regular professional discussions about children's learning and wellbeing.

The centre is well led. The manager promotes quality teaching practices. She builds and supports professional practice. She has developed strong respectful relationships with teachers, parents and whānau. Parents and whānau are warmly welcomed into the centre. Teachers actively support the language and cultural identity of the children and families. Children are well supported to transition to the local primary schools.

Teachers' and leaders' commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is highly evident. Children respond positively to the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori in the centre. Teachers and leaders are increasingly reflective and evaluative. They build on good practice to improve 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 develop teaching strategies that promote children's engagement in more complex play

  • continuing to develop emergent leadership and build teachers' capability.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Wattle Downs 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


Manurewa, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

70 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39 Girls 32

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Cook Island Māori
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

June 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

May 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.