Conductive Education Waikato Unit - 07/11/2013

1 Evaluation of Conductive Education Waikato Unit

How well placed is Conductive Education Waikato Unit 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.


Conductive Education Preschool is an accredited early intervention provider. It is situated in the grounds of Woodstock School in Hamilton, adjacent to the Conductive Education Primary School Unit. It provides non-medical intervention for children up to six years of age with motor disorders. Hungarian trained conductors and qualified early childhood teachers plan and implement programmes that integrate the physical therapy principles of Conductive Education with Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. The unit currently has a roll of 22, including six Māori children. Children attend full day sessions up to three days a week in small groups with others of similar physical capability. The unit caters for culturally diverse families from the greater Waikato area.

The service is governed by the Conductive Education Waikato Trust, which is affiliated to the New Zealand Foundation for Conductive Education. The experienced trustees, who include parent representatives, are guided by extensive strategic and business plans. They delegate day-to-day management of the service to the centre manager, who provides detailed reports at regular trust meetings.

Three experienced conductors are assisted by seven support staff in the unit. They work with specialist health and education agencies to provide holistic care and education for children. A qualified Early Intervention Teacher advocates for families and liaises between parties when children transition into mainstream early childhood centres and schools. Two staff are registered early childhood teachers.

The service has responded positively to areas for development identified in the 2010 ERO report. Trustees have strengthened the appraisal process and developed an operations manual to document the roles of the trust and staff. The manager and staff continue to review and improve systems for recording children’s learning and communicating with families.

The Review Findings

High quality teaching practices promote children's learning, physical development and independence. A focus on meaningful partnerships with families underpins collaborative decision making. Programmes are based on children's interests, planned topics and integrated therapeutic activities. Conductive Education Plans (CEP's) for each child guide their learning and incorporate parents’ aspirations for their child’s education and development. Staff respect family cultures and include aspects of te reo and tikanga Māori in programmes. Children benefit in terms of their interests being supported, their physical capabilities being extended, and their enhanced socialisation.

Conductors and teachers prioritise strategies that will enable children to become independent citizens, capable communicators and engaged life-long learners. They modify programmes to match the capabilities of each group and provide opportunities for children to make choices from traditional early childhood play options in accordance with their abilities. Adults’ affirm children to encourage them to work hard at often difficult tasks. They enthusiastically celebrate successes and have high expectations that children can and will achieve their goals. In this environment children are happy and engage positively in their learning.

Children's preparation for attending mainstream early childhood centres and school is an important aspect of the service. As children approach school age their learning includes a greater focus on early literacy and numeracy skills and knowledge. Staff keep attractive records of children’s learning using a range of assessment tools to measure progress. Conductors’ and teachers’ analysis of children’s experiences provide teachers in early childhood centres and schools with rich evidence of children’s achievements.

The service is a strong advocate for children, parents and whānau. The unit also supports parents/whānau in their dealings with health professionals and accessing appropriate funding and resources. Parents spoke very highly of the emotional, practical and professional care and assistance the service provides.

The service is very well placed to build the capacity of teachers and conductors. They are well supported to participate in high level professional development both within New Zealand and overseas. Appraisal processes encourage staff to reflect on their own goals and practices. The centre manager and staff engage in ongoing self review that is focused on improving practices and outcomes for children. Conductors and teachers share their skills and knowledge with visiting teachers, conductors, students and health professionals. All parties have a strong commitment to promoting the benefits of conductive education throughout New Zealand.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders and ERO agree that ongoing development for the service should include:

  • strengthening strategic goals for succession planning and te reo and tikanga Māori in the new strategic plan
  • continuing to use self review to further engage families in planning programmes and to promote te reo and tikanga Māori in learning experiences and documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Conductive Education Waikato Unit 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 Conductive Education Waikato Unit will be in four years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

7 November 2013

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

24 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 14 Girls 8

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā





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

September 2013

Date of this report

7 November 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2010


Education Review

September 2007


Education Review

May 2004

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.