Lumsden Playcentre - 04/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Lumsden Playcentre

How well placed is Lumsden 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.


Lumsden Playcentre is parent led and provides two sessions each week for children up to school age. The sessions are led by a team of session coordinators.

The Southland Playcentre Association (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. A committed, interim board has been established at SPA to support playcentres through this transitional period.

The April 2014 ERO report identified the need to strengthen internal evaluation, including developing a schedule of review to ensure that all aspects of the centre's operations are evaluated over time. While some progress has been made this remains and area for improvement.

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

The Review Findings

The playcentre philosophy is strongly evident in practice. Children are supported to lead and evaluate their own learning. They show a strong sense of belonging. Parents continually notice, recognise and respond to children's learning. They view children as confident and capable learners.

The playcentre is highly inclusive. Infants and toddlers play and learn alongside their older friends.  Accessible resources cater for their growing needs. The requirements of children with English as a second language are successfully supported. Children and families lead celebrations that reflect their home cultures. On-line tools regularly inform parents about activities in the centre and external events of interest.

New children and families are warmly welcomed into the playcentre. There is an appropriate focus on strengthening the skills and dispositions that will support older children as they prepare for their move to school. 

Māori families lead te reo me ngā tikanga Māori. Resources and routines support children's learning about te ao Māori. 

Self review is ongoing and has led to some positive changes in curriculum practice. Members should continue to strengthen evaluation practice to ensure they focus on how well the curriculum and teaching practices are supporting improved outcomes for children. The schedule of review of playcentre operations, especially those relating to regulatory requirements, is in need of urgent strengthening. This was an area for review and development in the previous report. Adults should ensure their practice is guided by the most recent SPA policies and procedures.

Sustainability is an ongoing concern. Membership has decreased significantly since the previous ERO review and on a number of occasions the playcentre has been unable to operate. Recent initiatives to increase membership have had limited success.

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 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 session coordinators agree areas for strengthening include:

  • internal evaluation
  • adults' knowledge of, and adherence to, current SPA policies and procedures.

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 Lumsden 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 found an area of non-compliance related to:

  • a record of excursions that includes evidence of appropriate assessment and management of risk.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS17]

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 Lumsden Playcentre will be in three years.

Patricia 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

25 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10, Girls 4

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

February 2017

Date of this report

4 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

April 2014

Education Review

August 2011

Education Review

November 2006

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.