Maxwell and Districts Kindergarten - 11/09/2014

1 Evaluation of Maxwell and Districts Preschool

How well placed is Maxwell and Districts Preschool 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.


Maxwell and Districts Preschool is located in a rural community near Whanganui. It is community owned and operated, and governed by an elected committee of parents. The service offers all-day education and care to children aged over two years, for four days a week during school terms.

Since the September 2011 ERO report a significant drop in roll has led to staffing changes and impacted on the level of resourcing. Following a period of instability in governance, a new committee was elected at the end of 2013. The new members have identified areas for improvement and are seeking to build their capability to effectively address them. The roll has recently increased and returned to previous levels.

The previous ERO report identified several areas for improvement, however little progress has been made towards addressing these and they continue to require urgent development.

The Review Findings

Some areas of good practice identified in ERO’s previous review have been maintained.

Children are eager participants in spontaneous learning activities. They are involved in a wide range of activities that promote interest and curiosity. Children have opportunities to increase their literacy and mathematical skills.

Teachers contribute to children’s learning through adult-initiated and child-led activities. Interactions are positive and caring. There is a suitable focus on building relationships and growing children’s confidence.

The involvement of parents and whānau in their children’s learning is valued and encouraged. Several parents stay for sessions to support their own and others’ children. A sense of community and belonging is promoted.

Portfolios provide a record of varied learning experiences. These are shared with children and families.

Systems to monitor and improve teachers' performance have not been fully implemented. Appraisal has not taken place since 2011.

The framework that supports teachers to improve their practice needs considerable development. It should include clear guidelines for teaching and learning, and professional discussions that challenge and inform development. Teachers need to know more about how effective their practices and strategies are in promoting positive learning outcomes for all children.

Teachers and leaders have established connections to iwi, hapū and the local marae. Continuing to strengthen these should support their desire to gain a better understanding of te ao Māori. However, these connections have yet to result in changes to the centre curriculum or teaching practices.

Self review and evaluative practices need significant improvement. Leaders and teachers need to develop a better understanding of evidence-based self review and how it can be used effectively to improve children’s learning.

New committee members are committed to improvement and see that ensuring the long-term future of the centre is a priority.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers need to develop a rigorous process for self review and evidence-based evaluation. Fully implemented it should assist to:

  • establish what the centre priorities are for children’s learning
  • set a strategic direction for the centre
  • include parents', whānau and community aspirations in planning
  • design and implement a curriculum that embraces the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
  • improve curriculum planning and assessment.

Committee members require external support to better understand their roles and responsibilities and to establish systems and processes that will improve and sustain future practice.

Processes that support staff to build their capability and improve their practice need significant improvement and development. A robust and fully implemented appraisal process should support teachers to:

  • reflect on the effectiveness of their performance
  • improve their use of observations and learning information to inform next steps for teaching
  • inform leaders' decisions about professional development to build teachers' knowledge and understanding of best practice in early childhood education.

Teachers and leaders require external support to build their understanding of te ao Māori and what it means in the context of this centre. Consideration of Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013 – 2017 would assist teachers and leaders in the review and development of a curriculum that better responds to the language, culture and identity of Māori learners.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Maxwell and Districts Preschool 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
  • health and safety.

To meet requirements, the service needs to improve its performance in development and implementation of:

  • a performance management system that provides evidence for attestation of teachers in relation to the Registered Teacher Criteria
  • an appraisal process that focuses on improving teacher effectiveness
  • a process for risk assessment and management for when children leave the premises to go on an outing or excursion.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7, HS17]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and 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 Maxwell and Districts Preschool will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services

Central Region

11 September 2014

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


Maxwell, Whanganui

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 12

Girls 9

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

11 September 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Supplementary Review

February 2008


Education Review

March 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.