Highbury House Early Learning Centre - 03/05/2019

1 Evaluation of Highbury House Early Learning Centre

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Highbury House Early Learning Centre is very well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Highbury House Early Learning Centre is part of the Highbury House Community Centre. It is licensed for 25 children, including 10 under two years of age. All children play together in a mixed-age setting. The hours of operation are similar to those of a school day, but some children attend either morning or afternoon sessions.

The centre operates as an incorporated society. A parent management committee governs the centre. The senior teacher oversees day-to-day centre operations, and a head teacher guides curriculum practices. The majority of teachers hold teaching qualifications.

The centre's philosophy is underpinned by the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Partnerships with parents are highly valued. Children are encouraged to be inquisitive and confident learners.

ERO's 2015 report noted high quality education and care for children. Centre leaders have strengthened bicultural practices since 2015. Teachers have made very good progress in deepening the centre's internal evaluation.

The Review Findings

Children settle quickly and play well alongside each other in a very well resourced and attractively presented centre. They enthusiastically make independent choices about their play. Teachers take time to engage with families in conversations and build partnerships. A strong sense of whānau and belonging is highly evident. The calm, unhurried pace and extended periods of uninterrupted play allow time for children to sustain interest in their self-directed activities.

Younger children are well integrated into the mixed-age group. They move around the centre confidently choosing their own areas of interest. Tuakana/teina relationships are encouraged as older and younger children play alongside each other. Children receive nurturing care and attention. They are well supported as they transition into the centre and on to school.

Experienced teachers nurture respectful relationships and an inclusive culture. Children engage well with their teachers. The programme is responsive and child centred. Teachers support children well to problem solve, learn collaboratively and lead their own learning. They encourage children to be curious and develop their own working theories. Literacy, numeracy and science are integrated into activities and play throughout the day.

The programme is well aligned with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki. Children are viewed as capable and competent learners. Their individual learning progress is evaluated regularly and documented through quality portfolios. The outdoor environment offers opportunities for creative exploration and physical challenge for children of all ages. Children with additional needs are well supported and receive high quality care.

There is a genuine and respectful valuing of tikanga Māori concepts and te reo Māori in the programme and environment. Teachers are committed to providing sound bicultural learning for children and strengthening the partnerships with Māori families attending the centre. Natural resources are highly valued and used creatively in the centre.

Parents are very positive about the education and care their children receive. They are viewed as valued partners in children's learning. An online communication system allows children's learning progress to be shared with families. Teachers have a sound understanding of parents' aspirations for their children. Leaders are currently focused on strengthening their partnerships with families and sharing planning and assessment for individual children's learning.

Purposeful internal evaluation is used effectively to inform ongoing improvement. Using evaluative questions as a guide would help to strengthen current practice. A culture of critical self-reflection and inquiry is evident amongst leaders and teachers. Professional learning programmes continue to extend teachers' practices and capability.

Trusting relationships have been established between the centre leader and the governance committee. Effective systems guide centre operations. Comprehensive policies and practice and clear systems guide professional practice.

The centre is well led. The senior teacher is experienced and capable, and promotes a collaborative culture. Teachers willingly contribute their ideas and knowledge to achieve positive outcomes for children. A clear vision for the centre and the senior teacher's aspirations for high quality early childhood education, are reflected in the learning environment and outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps for the centre are to continue to increase:

  • the visibility of the languages and cultures of children from diverse backgrounds in their portfolios and in the environment.

  • the inclusion of children's thinking and contributions in planning documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Highbury House 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

3 May 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


Birkenhead, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29 Boys 23

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2019

Date of this report

3 May 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

March 2011

Education Review

February 2008

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.