Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood - 28/06/2018

1 Evaluation of Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood

How well placed is Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood 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.


Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood is a punanga reo located in Ranui, West Auckland. Its governing body is Nor Western Cook Islands Taokotai Incorporated Society. The philosophy of the punanga promotes the culture and language of Kuki Airani (Cook Islands Māori). It is licensed for 30 children over two years of age. At the time of the ERO review, there were 12 children on the roll.

The punanga has a stable staff with a supervisor, two teachers and a part-time kitchen hand. Two of the staff are fully certificated teachers. The chairperson of the management committee has contracted a new administrator. An employee has been appointed as the new Ministry of Education (MoE) contact person and assists with administration tasks.

The punanga has had a complex reporting history. In 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 ERO reported concerns regarding governance and management that impacted on the day-to-day operation of the punanga. In 2015 the MoE put the punanga on a provisional licence, and provided ongoing professional development and support to address the areas for development identified by ERO. The punanga regained a full licence in 2017.

The Review Findings

This ERO review finds that conflict between staff and the committee continues to hinder progress towards sustained improvements at all levels of operations. Although a useful governance manual was developed in 2014, it has not been utilised to establish effective governance and management practices. Risks related to conflict of interest are not well managed by the committee or punanga leaders. Constant change of personnel in key roles, coupled with poor systems and processes to support sustainable practice, also hinders progress. The committee, contact person and staff require ongoing training, support and monitoring to help them develop a better understanding of their roles and to work together to actively support punanga improvement.

External professional development for the committee has not yet resulted in improved governance practice. The committee, contact person and supervisor must improve public accountability, financial management and transparent decision-making through meeting minutes and reports. The committee does not have sufficient evidence of regular monthly meetings or an annual general meeting. Punanga leaders need to improve and update centre policies and procedures to reflect good practice and licensing requirements. This should strengthen accountability for public funds and assure parents that centre operations are being guided by relevant policy frameworks.

There is a lack of evidence at all levels of centre operations to verify that children are benefitting from ongoing improvement. A collaborative team culture and a shared commitment to the punanga philosophy will be key to improving the quality of governance, management, leadership, curriculum, teaching and learning. The committee and staff need external support to develop a shared understanding of internal evaluation as a tool for improvement.

External professional development for teachers has not resulted in improved curriculum or teaching practice. Teachers have not been well supported to develop a good understanding of Te Whāriki, the revised early childhood curriculum. Teachers are not well supported by the committee to grow their professional capability. Their appraisals do not align with Education Council requirements.

The committee and supervisor need to update human resource management systems and processes to ensure that they are meeting legal requirements and demonstrating good employer practice. There is an urgent need to improve both accountability and practice to ensure robust information is available about how the service is performing and keeping up-to-date with legal requirements.

The current chairperson expresses a commitment to addressing the areas of concern identified in this ERO review and recognises that ongoing external support and sufficient time are needed to make required improvements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood 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

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • systematic self review, the philosophy statement and planning to guide the centre's operation

  • programmes that reflect an understanding of learning and development, relevant theories and practices, and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum

  • an up-to-date policy framework that meets licensing and legal requirements, including for curriculum, excursions, human resource management, child protection, notification, safety checking and police vetting

  • records, systems and processes to show that licensing criteria are met and regularly monitored

  • information provided to parents and parent involvement

  • annual appraisals for all staff and appraisal for teachers that meets the requirements of the Education Council.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1-4,C7-9,C11-13,HS31-34, GMA3-9,GMA12;Vulnerable Children Act, 2014; Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 47(1)(d),(1)(b)(i&ii).

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood. ERO will not undertake a further education review of this service until the Ministry of Education is satisfied that the service meets licensing requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Nor Western Cook Islands Early Childhood will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting) Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

28 June 2018

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


Ranui, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children over the age of 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 7 Boys 5

Ethnic composition

Cook Islands Māori


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2018

Date of this report

28 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2015

Supplementary Review

April 2012

Supplementary Review

April 2011

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.