Castor Bay Infant Care Centre - 31/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Castor Bay Infant Care Centre

How well placed is Castor Bay Infant Care 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.


Castor Bay Infant Care Centre, in Castor Bay offers all day care for up to 20 infants and toddlers. The centre was bought by new owners in 2014. A new teaching team has been employed in the small centre. The centre has operated from the ground floor of a residential property for over 25 years.

The owners are in the process of creating better links with the local primary schools and kindergartens. They continue to promote the value of relationships and family values in the programme. A philosophy of respect and empowerment where children are competent and capable in a safe environment underpins the centre's programme.

The recently appointed centre manager has led improvements in the centre, and strengthened parent involvement in their child's learning.

The Review Findings

Children enjoy high quality care. They are respected and treated as capable learners who enjoy making choices about their play. They enjoy positive relationships with each other and adults. Teachers respond with care to the needs of infants and toddlers and support them to explore. Toddlers and older babies often play well alongside each other.

Teachers are responsive to children's exploration and interests. The spacious environment invites children to access resources and equipment. Children respond well to routines and expectations. Self-‑help is strongly promoted through the programme and centre routines.

Teachers work well together and respect each other's strengths and talents. They demonstrate a strong commitment to the care of babies and toddlers. They are patient and talk gently to children about their play and learning.

The head teacher leads the teaching team effectively and her approach is underpinned by current educational research. Teachers' practice reflects a commitment to a pedagogy of care and education. The new head teacher has worked to build a cohesive and dedicated team of teachers. Small group sizes allow good quality supervision of children.

Teachers are strengthening relationships with families as partners in their children’s learning. Parents are welcomed into the centre. They are invited to contribute to the programme and are well informed about the centre's activities. Good systems have been established to consult with parents as part of internal evaluation for ongoing improvement. The recently formed parent committee has supported the centre to liaise with other parents and to review its policies and procedures.

The curriculum is highly responsive to children’s interest and learning development. Teachers use parents' aspirations and feedback from home to enhance teachers’ knowledge of the children and their strengths and interests. Learning stories are attractive and focus on children’s learning over time.

The owner has placed priority on reviewing all centre policies and procedures. This process has enabled significant improvements to occur in the centre's systems and demonstrates her strong commitment to providing high quality and responsive practices.

The review of the performance management system should help to ensure that teachers are appraised against the Practising Teacher Criteria as required by the Education Council. This newly introduced system is personalised for each teacher, as well as being aligned with the centre’s strategic direction. The owner now needs to make specific provision for the head teacher's appraisal.

The owner, centre manager and teachers are working thoughtfully to achieve alignment between documentation, systems and practices. The current focus on sustainable practices and sharing good practice across other centres owned by the owner are promoting positive outcomes for children in their care.

Key Next Steps

The centre owner and manager have appropriately identified that their future focus is to continue developing:

  • effective and sustainable leadership and management practices
  • a whole centre understanding of internal evaluation that focuses on positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Castor Bay Infant Care 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 Castor Bay Infant Care Centre will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

31 March 2016 

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


Castor Bay, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys      12
Girls       12

Ethnic composition

other European


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

January 2016

Date of this report

31 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2013

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.