Halswell Learning Tree - 22/01/2019

1 Evaluation of Halswell Learning Tree

How well placed is Halswell Learning Tree to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Halswell Learning Tree is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Halswell Learning Tree is a family owned centre which provides full-day education and care for 50 children, including up to 20 children under two years.

The management team consists of the two owners and the centre manager. Most of the staff are qualified and registered early childhood teachers. The centre supports teachers in training.

The centre's philosophy emphasises the importance of collaborative relationships between the child, parents/whānau and teachers, and encouraging children's learning, confidence and creativity.

Centre leaders have addressed some of the areas for improvement identified in the 2015 ERO review, particularly the strengthening of systems and procedures to guide practices. Areas identified in this review that still require some strengthening include internal evaluation, appraisal, assessment and planning.

Since the last review, an area for infants and toddlers has been established and the Ministry of Education has re-licensed the centre.

The Review Findings

Children learn in calm, well-organised environments. They benefit from the teachers' focused planning. The learning priorities of respect, reciprocal relationships and social competencies are clearly evident.

Infants and toddlers benefit from responsive interactions and secure attachments with a small number of adults. They are well supported to actively explore a range of appropriately challenging play spaces and learning activities. Teachers adjust routines to meet children's individual needs.

Learning portfolios explain and celebrate a child's participation in the programme. Teachers have implemented a new approach to their assessment and planning for individuals. The stories show how teachers' strategies are supporting children's learning. Parents and whānau are invited to contribute to the portfolios.

Children are well supported as they transition into and through the centre. Decisions are made in consultation with parents and whānau. Leaders and teachers have connections with local schools to support transitions for children and their families. They also make good use of their local community to extend the learning experiences for children.

Leaders value their relationships with families to support children's learning. They use a range of strategies to communicate and regularly seek information through newsletters, informal conversations, surveys and a daily diary. Leaders are aware of the need to strengthen the use of parent feedback in assessment, planning and evaluation.

Leaders model clear expectations and encourage a collaborative team approach. Teachers are well supported through targeted professional development to keep up-to-date with current education and teaching practices. Teachers are encouraged to take on leadership roles and to share their interests and expertise.

There have been some positive changes as a result of internal evaluation and policy reviews. Leaders agree that they need to build a shared understanding of how internal evaluation could show the difference they are making to children's learning.

Key Next Steps

ERO has identified, and the centre leaders agree, that the next steps for the centre are to:

  • make the centre's appraisal process compliant with Education Council requirements regarding observations and summary statements attesting that standards have been met
  • develop capability and knowledge of internal evaluation
  • review and embed the centre's philosophy in line with parents' aspirations and current practices
  • develop practices for building learning-centred partnerships with parents
  • investigate ways for teachers to share and evaluate their teaching strategies and planning in more formal ways.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Halswell Learning Tree 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 Halswell Learning Tree will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

22 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

50 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26 ; Girls 29

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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

October 2018

Date of this report

22 January 2019

Most recent ERO report

Education Review

October 2015

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.