Mairehau First Learners - 25/08/2015

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

Mairehau First Learners are well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Mairehau First Learners is one of three private centres owned and administered by First Learners Limited. The centre provides education and care for children from birth to six years.

The centre has three separate areas within the one building. There is a nursery for children under two years, the  middle room is a transitional room for children aged approximately from two to three years and a third room for three-year to six-year olds depending on the readiness of the individual child. The preschool has its own outdoor area. The nursery and the two to three-year-old children share an outdoor space.

Leadership of the centre includes the owner/manager and a newly established Education Service Manager (ESM). The ESM is also the supervisor of Mairehau First Learners who is supported by a team leader from each area of the centre.

The First Learners managers have made good progress in meeting most of the recommendations identified in the 2013 ERO review. The appointment of an ESM, and professional development in 2014 has helped teachers at the three centres to develop a shared philosophy and vision, and a better understanding of strategic planning.  Improvement of self-review practice including staff appraisal is at an early stage of development.

This review was part of a cluster of three education and care service reviews in the First Learners Limited organisation.

The Review Findings

The centre has a positive culture. Teachers are welcoming, inclusive and very supportive of children’s diverse learning needs. Children are well supported to be independent learners. Children’s ideas are valued and responded to respectfully. Older children have good opportunities to extend their interests and talents.

Teachers work well together. They use successful practices that engage most children in independent, group and free play.

Literacy, mathematics and Māori culture are well integrated into the programme and children’s play activities.

Children respond well to a flexible and well-planned transition programme that meets individual children’s needs. The supervisor and the teachers have established good relationships with local primary schools.

Infants show confidence and a good sense of belonging in the nursery. The environment is calm with unhurried routines. Teachers are caring and nurturing.

Teachers make useful observations that contribute to programme planning for individual and groups of children. Children’s profile books clearly show their individual learning and development over time.  Teachers seek whānau and family feedback on a range of issues. This information enables them to have good knowledge of children to plan for their next steps in learning.

The supervisors and teachers have a shared understanding of the First Learners philosophy. They are reflective and have a strong focus on improving outcomes for children.

The supervisor has high expectations for teaching and learning. Leadership across the team is shared. Individual teacher strengths and interests are effectively used to support children’s learning.

The licensee, supervisor and teachers have responded well to professional development. They are developing useful systems to help them review their practices, programme and the operation of the centre. The recently reviewed philosophy is highly visible in the environment and is effectively integrated into teacher practices and in the programme.

Key Next Steps

ERO, the licensee and supervisor agree that recent initiatives need to be embedded and evaluated. This includes:

  • Improving the way self review is understood and used to ensure increasingly positive outcomes for the learning and wellbeing of all children
  • implementing the newly-developed teacher appraisal system  across all teaching staff
  • continuing to strengthen partnerships with parents and whānau in children’s learning
  • further integration of the Māori culture in practices and in the programme.

ERO identified that the ESM role and responsibilities needs to be clearly defined. This includes the promotion of positive relationships across the centres.

ERO is requesting a report on the effectiveness of the leadership structure, and progress towards the next steps outlined above within a year of confirmation of this report.

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.

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 Mairehau First Learners will be in three years. 

Chris Rowe
Acting Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

25 August 2015 

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

Girls 44; Boys 33

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

June 2015

Date of this report

25 August 2015

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2013

Education Review

May 2011

Supplementary Review

June 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 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.