Learning Links Horowhenua - 11/11/2016

1 Evaluation of Horowhenua Educare

How well placed is Horowhenua Educare 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.


Horowhenua Educare is a privately owned service located close to Levin's central business area. The centre is licensed to provide education and care for 38 children, including 15 up to two years of age. Currently there are 18 Māori children on the roll. Separate areas are provided for children aged under two (Whānau Teina) and those aged over two (Whānau Tuakana). Recently, team leaders have been appointed to these two spaces.

In April 2015, the centre experienced a change of ownership. The owner is responsible for governance and a new centre manager oversees the day-to-day running of the service. All teachers have an early childhood qualification and three have full teacher certification. Three staff have provisional certification and are receiving a coaching programme.

Since the November 2013 ERO report, teachers have accessed professional learning and development to increase their understanding of internal evaluation and implemented a new appraisal process. Further improvement of assessment, planning and evaluation is required to enhance teaching and learning.

Recent improvements to the Whānau Tuakana learning environment provide children and teachers with a more inviting area for play and work. A van to transport children to and from the centre supports increased accessibly for a greater number of children to early childhood experiences.

The Review Findings

The manager's and owner's clear vision sets direction for the centre. The philosophy is being reviewed to reflect the shared values and beliefs of teachers, whānau and children. Parents are frequently in the centre and are welcomed. The manager, team leaders and staff understand the importance of relationships. They show a readiness to work collaboratively to determine parents' aspirations and expectations and responsively achieve them. There is an unobtrusive approach to supporting families with particular needs.

Children engage in a range of child-initiated, play-based experiences for the majority of their time at the centre. Teachers introduce a variety of learning opportunities that are planned by adults as part of the group programme planning. Observations of children in everyday activities help to build a picture of what they know, understand, feel and can do. Leaders have identified that continued support and guidance is required to build teachers' capability in assessment, planning and evaluation to support positive outcomes for children.

Adults demonstrate respectful and affirming relationships with children. They are supportive and play alongside children. Mathematical and literacy learning features meaningfully, at times, throughout the curriculum. Teachers promote and model positive values and behaviours. Children’s interactions with each other are generally friendly and amicable. Staff respond promptly to children’s requests, and their physical and emotional needs.

Infants and toddlers are nurtured to become active communicators and explorers. Programme provision for these very young learners focuses on fostering their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Care routines are unhurried and an enjoyable part of children’s learning opportunities.

Teachers' thoughtful actions and responses encourage the participation, attendance and engagement of Māori and Pacific children and their families. Aroha, kotahitanga, whanaungatanga and tikanga Māori continue to be successfully embedded within teaching and learning. Te reo Māori is naturally used in conversations with children. Teachers are investigating further ways to promote te ao Māori in a more local, place-based context.

Transitions into the centre are flexible and responsive to the needs of individual children and families. Staff continue to develop increasingly supportive processes for children as they move to school. Teachers and parents share information so that children’s confidence and capability at the centre transfers to the new entrant classrooms.

Leadership is increasingly supportive. Clear expectations for centre operation are provided through a recently developed strategic planning. Following professional training, the manager and teachers are introducing new internal evaluation processes. A new appraisal system includes stronger use of evidence and clearer next steps for teachers’ development. These practices are likely to contribute to professional growth, decision-making and enhanced outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

Managers and teachers should continue to:

  • improve consistency of practice through clear expectations and understanding of assessment, planning and evaluation practices that highlight individual children’s progress over time

  • develop a shared philosophy for teaching and learning

  • use developing internal evaluation processes to inquire into the effectiveness of teaching to improve outcomes for children

  • fully implement current strategic planning, including developing an annual plan to better guide future development.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Horowhenua Educare 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.

To improve current practice, the early childhood service management should strengthen systems to include consistent practice in documenting:

  • fire and earthquake trial evaluations

  • risk assessment and management for children's excursions.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Horowhenua Educare will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

11 November 2016

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

38 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 25, Boys 22

Ethnic composition






Cook Island









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 2016

Date of this report

11 November 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

November 2013

Education Review

June 2010

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.