Mairehau First Learners - 25/06/2013

1 Evaluation of Mairehau First Learners

How well placed is Mairehau First Learners to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

First Learners Limited does not have a well-developed management framework that provides direction for ongoing improvement and ensures that high-quality outcomes occur for all children. There are few systems for accountability of practice beyond health and safety. Systems that are in place for monitoring teachers' performance are not well used to improve learning and teaching.

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


Mairehau First Learners is one of four centres owned and administered by First Learners Ltd. The centre cares for children in three separate groups. The nursery caters for children up two years old. Another group caters for children aged between two and three years. The third group caters for children aged from three years to school age. The preschool has its own outdoor area. The nursery and the two to three-year-old children share an outdoor space.

The teachers are qualified early childhood teachers or in training to be early childhood teachers. The manager maintains high staff ratios to the numbers of children.

The centre has made some progress in meeting the recommendations in the 2011 ERO report. Teachers have more useful assessment processes to help them plan for children’s learning. The supervisor has begun to develop a centre plan to provide direction for the ongoing improvement of the centre.

The Review Findings

Children are happy and settled in the preschool. They have positive relationships with their teachers and each other. Older children often negotiate and problem solve in group play that they have initiated.

The infants, toddlers and two year olds are active explorers, particularly in their shared outdoor area. Their teachers are attentive. They successfully help these young children share resources and take turns.

Parents are made welcome. Teachers regularly seek parent opinions and keep them well informed about their child’s day.

The teachers are inclusive of children with special needs and children from other cultures. They sometimes use te reo Māori in the programme. They have recently begun a review to find out how they can strengthen bicultural aspects of the programme and help Māori children succeed as Māori.

Child assessment often clearly identifies the learning that is happening for children. Teachers often identify well-defined next steps for learning and teaching. Learning is frequently revisited in the learning assessment stories to show children’s progress.

Children have access to a good range of resources in all areas of the centre.

The supervisor has established well-organised management systems for the day to-day operation of the centre.

Key Next Steps

To improve sustainability and to build capability and capacity the manager needs to:

  • define and actively promote the leadership roles and responsibilities of the manager and supervisors
  • develop a shared philosophy and vision that clearly states the organisation’s values and beliefs for children’s education and care
  • identify the organisation’s priorities and associated goals towards achieving its vision
  • establish an effective process of self review for all aspects of the organisation’s operations
  • increase the robustness of staff appraisal process.

The manager, supervisor and ERO agree that the next steps for this centre to improve learning and teaching include:

  • developing a better understanding of the purpose of self review and the processes, particularly the focus on learning and teaching
  • reviewing structured teacher-led group times and the management of meal times in the preschool due to a recent increase in centre numbers in this area
  • making closer links to Māori parents’ goals for their children and their culture in the assessment records and the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Mairehau First Learners 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance and management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas by ensuring:

  • the philosophy statement guides the centre operations
  • future plans guide the organisation and individual centre’s operations
  • an ongoing programme of self review helps the organisation maintain and improve the quality of education
  • suitable human resource management practices are implemented.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, Regulation 47 (GMA5, GMA8, GMA6, GMAS7)

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the service provider take advice from the Ministry of Education in developing an action 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 Mairehau First Learners will be in two years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

25 June 2013

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

65 children, including up to 11 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 41; Girls 27

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā



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

May 2013

Date of this report

25 June 2013

Most recent ERO reports


Education Review

May 2011


Supplementary Review

June 2008


Education Review

April 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.