Bream Bay Educare - 07/05/2018

1 Evaluation of Bream Bay Educare

How well placed is Bream Bay Educare 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.


Bream Bay Educare provides all day early childhood education and care for a maximum of 50 tamariki, including 16 up to the age of two years. Approximately half of the roll identifies as Māori. Children learn and play in two interconnected, age-related rooms and share the outdoor area. The centre has a well-established partnership with parents and whānau, as well as the wider community.

The centre's philosophy places value on whānaungatanga and manaakitanga. These values underpin relationships, and teaching and learning practices in the centre. The philosophy espouses to nurture children's "self-esteem, independence, confidence and ability to cope with change and to prepare them for future life experiences". Most teaching staff are qualified teachers.

Bream Bay Educare is one of 11 centres owned by the directors of Educare Early Learning Centres. The shared vision across this group is "Learn, Laugh, Play". The group's senior leadership team provides administrative and professional support. They also monitor and evaluate the centre's progress towards achieving the centre-specific strategic goals aligned to the organisation's goals. Educare's focus over the past three years has prioritised professional learning and development (PLD) in leadership and in te ao Māori as underpinning practices. More recently, PLD has included a focus on other aspects of the curriculum, and aspects of performance management.

The centre manager at Bream Bay Educare continues to build a committed teaching team amidst staff changes. The team has responded positively to ERO's 2014 recommendations which included building teachers' leadership skills, improving assessment and planning, and building internal evaluation capability as areas for improvement.

The centre is a member of the Ngā Kura mō te ako o Whangarei (Group 5) Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

This review was part of a cluster of six reviews in the Educare Early Learning Centres organisation.

The Review Findings

Children are at the heart of all decision making in the centre. They are physically active, show respect and care for each other, and manage their behaviours and learning. Children lead their learning in an environment that encourages them to explore and take learning risks. They thrive in the programme that fully reflects their interests and their rural and coastal environment. Children know teachers will listen to them because their contributions matter. They have opportunities to apply their working theories to make sense of the world around them. They actively seek out teachers to write down their thoughts, theories and stories as they occur. This good process strongly promotes early learning and development.

Infants and toddlers have the freedom of movement, and are empowered to make their own choices. They are treated with respect and dignity. Primary caregiving enables consistency in care, and helps infants and toddlers to gain a strong positive sense of self. A newly reviewed environment now has increased space for exploration and discovery. More frequent documentation in learning portfolios would provide families/whānau, and teachers with an additional resource to follow children's development and continuity in learning.

Caring interactions between infants and toddlers, and children over the age of two demonstrate respectful tuakana/teina relationships. These interactions contribute to the shared sense of whānau and belonging. Teachers work closely with external agencies to support the learning and development of children requiring specialist support.

Bicultural practices have continued to be prioritised by staff. Very good practices reflect tikanga Māori and enable all children to gain an understanding of New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Appropriate strategic planning and PLD demonstrate the centre's commitment to enable success for Māori children.

Teachers respond well to children's interests. They deliberately include children's ideas to help enrich the programme. Strong links with the local community further enhance the curriculum. Teachers skilfully provide provocations to extend and challenge children's learning and thinking. Teachers respect the children as capable, confident individuals. Children's transitions into and within the centre, and to school are well managed.

Internal evaluation has greatly improved and contributes to ongoing improvement. One evaluation led teachers to combine the age group areas for children over two years, while still providing a calm and quiet area for reading and resting. Teachers plan to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of this initiative over time.

Assessment of children's learning and programme planning is very well documented. Individual portfolios enable children, their parents and families/whānau to follow their child's interests. They also clearly show the extent of collaboration and decision making amongst groups of children. Teachers continue to consider ways to include parents' aspirations for their children in the programme planning.

The centre manager demonstrates a collaborative and distributive leadership style. Teachers confidently take the lead in aspects of the strategic plan. Challenges around staffing and property changes over the past two years have contributed to the growth of a resilient and positive team, focused on positive outcomes for children. The centre manager is working collaboratively with the kāhui ako.

Teachers are well supported, and held accountable, through the organisation's appraisal system. They are becoming more confident in collating quality evidence to meet the new Education Council requirements. Well-considered internal PLD is helping to promote consistency in teachers' understanding of appraisal expectations for ongoing improvement.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps include:

  • improving internal evaluation to focus on equity for priority learners and all children
  • clarifying the purpose of centre plans, including the strategic plan, setting clear goals to support ongoing development and enable effective evaluation.

Educare Learning Centres managers are focused on improvement. They have identified areas they intend to strengthen across all of their centres. These areas include:

  • strengthening strategic documents by including goals related to valued outcomes for children and using these goals to evaluate centre performance
  • supporting centres to provide high quality service by sharing best practice and strengthening quality assurance processes
  • building on the strong leadership culture that exists across the organisation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Bream Bay Educare 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. 

Bream Bay Educare should ensure that:

  • fire and earthquake drills are carried out with tamariki on at least a three-monthly basis

[Early Childhood Health and Safety Regulations 2008, HS8]

  • teachers follow the centre's procedures for monitoring children's sleep
    [Early Childhood Health and Safety Regulations 2008, HS9]

To improve current practice, centre staff should ensure that:

  • any trip hazards are removed or managed
  • accident sheets are always signed as per centre policy
  • processes for, and documentation of, excursions are improved
  • centre policies and their associated expectations are clearly understood by teachers.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Bream Bay Educare will be in three years.

Julie Foley
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

7 May 2018 

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 


Ruakaka, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 16 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       32
Boys      31

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori


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

February 2018

Date of this report

7 May 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2014

Education Review

May 2011

Education Review

November 2007

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.