Gumdrops Early Learning Centre - 18/01/2019

1 Evaluation of Gumdrops Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Gumdrops Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The February 2017 ERO report identified that significant improvements were required to lift the quality of education at Gumdrops Early Learning Centre. Since that time the director and leaders and teachers have made considerable progress in addressing the recommendations of that report. They now need time to embed, sustain and extend the improvements to further promote positive outcomes for all children. For this reason ERO has identified this service as requiring further development.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Gumdrops Early Learning Centre is a family-owned and operated service, providing care and education in a mixed-age setting for up to 30 children including eight children aged under two years.

The centre director is the owner and oversees the governance and management aspects of the service. An experienced curriculum leader and a team of qualified teachers, with the help of support staff, plan and implement the learning programmes.

The February 2017 ERO report recommended the service receive support from the Ministry of Education to develop a number of aspects of the centre’s operation and address identified compliance requirements.

These recommendations included implementing and embedding:

  • the centre philosophy and valued learning

  • assessment, planning and evaluation

  • roles and responsibilities, the appraisal process

  • internal evaluation

  • bicultural practices.

Over the last two years the leaders have developed a number of useful systems and processes to support ongoing improvement. The compliance actions identified in ERO's 2017 report have been satisfactorily addressed. This work positions the service well to undertake further development to build good practice.

The Review Findings

The philosophy has been reviewed and aligns with the team’s values/learning priorities. Each of the values have been unpacked so that the teachers have a shared understanding about how best practice should look and what it means for children. The next step is to simplify the philosophy and the values to provide more direction for curriculum planning and intentional teaching.

The leaders and teachers have made good progress establishing and maintaining a system for planning and assessment that is used by all teachers. This system ensures all children are planned for over time. Parents’ aspirations for their children’s learning are gathered and referred to by teachers. The curriculum leader has oversight of all assessments prior to putting them out to parents. Group planning is in place and arises from the children’s interests. Teachers meet regularly to discuss the needs of children. They develop a shared approach to providing support for those in need.

The next step is for teachers to place a greater focus on learning and fully integrate the service's values/ learning priorities once these have been more specifically identified. The leaders need to further develop teachers’ knowledge of 'rich curriculum' to implement high quality teaching and learning for all children and build a deeper understanding of Te Whāriki (2017) The Early Childhood Curriculum.

The teaching team have trialled an approach to teaching which is designed to build collective responsibility for curriculum provision and implementation. Leaders agree that the approach needs to be refined to ensure accountability and give teachers greater clarity about their roles and responsibilities.

The centre owner has reviewed and updated teachers’ job descriptions and aligned the staff code of conduct with the centre values. Good progress has been made in developing and implementing a robust appraisal process for the director and teachers. The director attended Education Council training and designed an appraisal process aligned with current expectations. The appraisal system has not been fully implemented for all staff or evaluated for effectiveness as yet, however it is evident the process is already contributing to improving outcomes for children and lifting teaching practice.

Internal evaluation practice has led to a range of developments and improvements across the service. The director monitors progress to ensure improvements are maintained over time. The next step is to widen the use of internal evaluation to have a greater focus on learning, curriculum development and the quality of teaching and how well these aspects promote and extend children’s learning.

The centre completed a review of bicultural practice to help identify current good practice and next steps. The review supported the development of a group focus on children’s cultures and sense of identity and belonging as a starting point. Teachers also integrate Māori concepts in documentation and include some te reo Māori in the programme and in the children’s profile books.

Teachers have identified the need to continue to build children’s knowledge of their own culture, and their familiarity with New Zealand’s bicultural heritage. They have also identified the need to build on the use of Tātāiako in the appraisal process and explore what it means to have and use Treaty-based practice.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the leaders of Gumdrops Early Learning Centre agree that the next steps to continue to improve outcomes for children, are to consolidate the changes and sustain the momentum of improvement since ERO's 2017 review. They also need to:

  • simplify the philosophy and the values to provide more direction for curriculum planning and intentional teaching

  • further develop teachers’ knowledge of 'rich curriculum' for all children, and build a deeper understanding of the early childhood curriculum document Te Whāriki (2017)

  • embed the appraisal system

  • widen the scope of internal evaluation to have a greater focus on learning, curriculum development and the quality of teaching

  • continue to build children’s knowledge around their own culture, and their familiarity with New Zealand’s bicultural heritage.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Gumdrops Early Learning 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. In order to improve current practice in the service, ERO recommends strengthening the following aspects of practice:

  • documenting a witness when staff are administering medications

  • updating the nappy changing procedure to reflect the service's current practice

  • more fully documenting injuries to better analyse trends and patterns to make improvement actions, and developing shared understandings amongst staff of what constitutes an injury or incident

  • using a timing device to alert staff as to when checks on sleeping children are due.

Since the onsite stage of the review, the service has strengthened the areas of practice relating to medication, documenting injuries and nappy changing procedures, as recommended.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Gumdrops Early Learning Centre will be within two years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services Southern

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

18 January 2019

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

30 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 18

Girls: 16

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2018

Date of this report

18 January 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2017

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

May 2010

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.