Carol White Family Centre - 16/07/2015

1 Evaluation of Carol White Family Centre

How well placed is Carol White Family Centre 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.


Carol White Family Centre (formerly known as the Selwyn College Family Centre) is a well established service in Kohimarama. It provides full day education and care largely for the children of refugee families. The centre is located alongside Selwyn College classrooms where children's parents participate in the REAF (Refugee Education and Families) programme. The centre is licensed for 41 children, including up to 12 less than two years old. Infants and toddlers have a separate area but also often mix with the older children.

The centre is administered by a committee of representatives from the centre, the school and parents. Daily management is delegated to a centre director and a supervisor oversees the programme for children. The 2014 relicensing process resulted in extensive revision of the centre’s documentation, management planning and self-review processes.

The multilingual staff reflects the centre’s culturally diverse community. The four qualified teachers are supported by several part-time staff and volunteers who provide children and their families with pastoral care and language support. They work collaboratively to build the ‘deep, respectful and trusting relationships with children’ aspired to in the centre philosophy.

In 2012 ERO noted positive aspects of the service that included the quality of relationships, leadership and the programme for children. ERO encouraged the committee to extend parent consultation and to seek further sources of funding to enhance the sustainability of the centre. The committee has responded well to these challenges and continues to plan to sustain the quality of the service.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and confident in the centre. They are welcomed on arrival and respond well to caring teachers who understand their languages and cultures. Children often work cooperatively with other children, learning from each other. They particularly enjoy imaginative and creative play. Music is an important feature of the programme and children also benefit from frequent trips to the library and the park. Infants and toddlers are encouraged to explore resources and the environment. They enjoy close adult attention and show a sense of independence as they play alongside older children.

Teachers support children's play well. They talk with children about their interests and ask questions that prompt them to explore new ideas. Teachers encourage children to work cooperatively and consider the needs of others. Teachers value New Zealand’s cultural heritage and continue to grow their understanding of tikanga and their use of te reo Māori. Children are supported to become competent learners and communicators in English and often in several other languages.

Programme planning is informal. Teachers use their reflective journals to discuss the programme and children's interests. They share ideas for resources and activities to extend children’s interests but have yet to document planning to guide teachers’ work with children. Teachers keep good records of children's progress through learning stories. They encourage parents to make comments and share their aspirations for children's learning in their first language.

Parents greatly value the centre. They appreciate the high level of respect for their languages, cultural values and identities. Parents also appreciate the opportunity to join children for meals and play experiences. Parents feel well informed about their children's learning and welcome the opportunities the programme provides them. They acknowledge the important role the centre’s pastoral services have had in helping them to settle, access support and health agencies, and to learn about New Zealand culture.

The centre director and her team provide dedicated leadership to empower staff, parents and families. Together the team is developing significant and helpful knowledge about refugee and immigrant families.

Almost all centre administration is undertaken by the centre director who also guides teachers through extensive professional development, research projects and ongoing self review. The challenge now is for the centre committee to consider ways to better resource administration responsibilities so that the service can continue to be effectively managed.

The management committee supports the centre director and staff. Members are central to financial decision making and regular policy reviews. They could now strengthen their advocacy for the centre by further involvement in strategic planning and self review.

Key Next Steps

The centre director, teachers and committee members agree that they could further use self-review to reflect on and enhance current practices. The focus of reviews could include:

  • the extent to which documented programme planning guides teachers’ practices
  • the management structure, to clarify roles and responsibilities and to plan strategically to ensure the delivery of a high quality service.

In addition, the centre director plans to develop more formal appraisal feedback for teachers. She also recognises that parents would benefit from greater understanding of the expectations and strengths of the New Zealand education system.


ERO recommends that the Ministry of Education provides clarification on the ownership of the premises so that the committee can proceed with plans for property development. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Carol White Family 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 Carol White Family Centre will be in three years.

Dianne Moffitt

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

16 July 2015

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 


Kohimarama, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

41 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 32

Boys 15

Ethnic composition

Sri Lankan


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

April 2015

Date of this report

16 July 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

November 2008

Education Review

September 2005

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.