Gore Playcentre - 04/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Gore Playcentre

How well placed is Gore Playcentre 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.


Gore Playcentre is parent led and provides five sessions each week for children up to school age. One of these sessions is an Explorer programme focused on children learning in the outdoors environment.  

At the time of the review there was 46 on the roll and three identify as Māori. The playcentre has recently extended its licence to respond to the increasing numbers of infants on the roll.

In 2016, Gore Playcentre moved into a purpose-built premise, part of Kids Hub. This facility also hosts the Parents' Centre and the Toy Library. The three groups raised funds for this community initiative.

Sessions are led by an experienced, paid educator with the help of members. Playcentre parents are gaining Playcentre qualifications by being involved in the adult-education training programme provided by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA).

The SPA is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level. An interim board has been established at SPA to support playcentres through this transitional period.

The April 2014 ERO report identified planning, assessment and evaluation, self review and strengthening the Māori dimension, as areas for development. Progress is evident and ongoing in these areas.

This review was part of a cluster of 13 in the Southland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

The Gore Playcentre philosophy advocates for a stimulating environment, a range of experiences, a sense of belonging and parents taking an active role in supporting learning. This is reflected well in practice. A play-based curriculum is evident.

Members notice and respond to children's interests well. A range of strategies is used to engage children and for adults to gain an understanding of how to better support their emerging interests. Exploration of the environment is promoted. Parents play alongside their own and other children, promoting and engaging them in sustained play.

Infants are provided a safe space to explore. Members are mindful of and responsive to children's and adults' needs. Inclusive practice is apparent.

The bicultural curriculum is an area for continued development. A range of resources and practices are evident. Increased parent confidence in the knowledge and use of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori should enhance culturally responsive practice. Members agree they need to extend their knowledge and understanding of educational success for Māori learners in the playcentre. 

Group planning is based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and provides an appropriate shared direction. Regular, formal evaluation of the programme in action should enable members to know the impact of learning experiences over time.

Children's portfolios highlight the rich and varied curriculum provided for children. Individual learning goals are established and strategies identified to support success. These are evaluated over time. Members have identified, and ERO's evaluation affirms, a next step is to purposefully record narratives that link to the achievements in learning in relation to the child's goal.

Members have been proactive in accessing professional learning and development related to self review. A focused evaluative review was undertaken with support and guidance. This has provided members with a useful framework to support and guide ongoing improvements. Continuing to build on and embed this practice is a natural further step to improving practice and operation.

Leadership is actively promoted and emerging leaders are well supported to take on key roles and responsibilities. Considered and clear guidelines support members to fully understand Gore Playcentre expectations for parents in supporting children to learn.

The board has been proactive in developing processes to assist in the smooth transition for playcentres to work under the NZPF. Opportunities have been offered to playcentre members to engage with the SPA to consider how the board could best provide support to services through the impending restructure.

The board has identified a number of systems and processes have lapsed and need improvement. Immediate attention is required to review policies that guide the appointments procedure and health and safety practices. The appraisal process has also lapsed or not been robustly implemented. These improvements are a priority to meet licensing criteria, and for monitoring the quality of centre practices. 

More consistent, timely and evaluative reporting should be provided to the board to assure them that accountabilities are met and to better inform their decision making.

Key Next Steps

The playcentre educator and members agree areas to strengthen include:

  • the bicultural curriculum
  • evaluation of the programme in action
  • recording the progression of learning over time
  • building on and embedding review and evaluation.

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • review SPA policies, giving priority to those related to appointments and health and safety practices
  • re-establish the appraisal process
  • facilitate the evaluative reporting to the board.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Gore Playcentre 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.

ERO also identified an area of non-compliance for the Southland Playcentre Association in relation to governance and management. To meet requirements the association needs to:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

To improve practice the Southland Playcentre Association should:

  • ensure policies and procedures for travel by a motor vehicle clearly specify the person responsible for excursion approvals, has verified all drivers have a current full New Zealand driver licence and each vehicle is registered and has a current warrant of fitness.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Gore Playcentre will be in three years. 

Pat Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

4 May 2017 

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


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 28, Girls 16

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

4 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

May 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.