Otara Community Preschool - 14/10/2015

1 Evaluation of Otara Community Preschool

How well placed is Otara Community Preschool to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The Otara Community Preschool requires ongoing support to establish effective governance and management practice and good quality programmes for children.

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


Otara Community Preschool is located in Otara, South Auckland. It promotes bilingual education for its multicultural community and is licensed for 50 children over two years. The preschool operates under the Multicultural Christian Educational and Sporting Trust. The trust has accessed Ministry of Education (MoE) Targeted Assistance for Participation funding to extend and upgrade its facilities. Building work is expected to be completed before the end of 2015. The board will then seek to extend the preschool’s licence to cater for children up to the age of two.

The preschool has had a varied reporting history with ERO identifying some good progress in 2007 and 2010. In 2013 ERO reported that insufficient progress had been made in programme planning, the quality of teaching and centre self review. ERO continues to have concerns about the lack of progress in these areas.

The preschool was placed on a provisional license in 2013 and provided with support from the MoE to meet licensing requirements. The preschool regained a full licence in November 2013. The manager has recently contracted an external provider to support the new teaching team to address areas for development identified in ERO’s 2013 report and build teachers’ capability. Many improvements resulting from external support are at beginning stages. There is limited evidence of sustained centre-wide improvement. Trustees were not available to meet with ERO during this review. Neither was governance documentation made available.

Progress is not only hindered by poor governance and management practices but also by continuing high staff turnover. The preschool is led by a long serving manager and a head teacher who is very new to leadership. All of the teachers are new since the time of the 2013 ERO review. Four staff are provisionally registered teachers and two are in training. They are supported by an administrator.

The Review Findings

Teachers continue to provide a warm and caring environment that supports children’s participation in the programme. Children are happy and confident as they play. Interactions in the preschool are friendly and respectful. Parents appreciate teachers’ open communication with them.

Families’ home languages are encouraged and valued, and integrated in songs, prayers and conversations. Teachers have improved the learning environment so that it now reflects the preschool’s multicultural community.

Children’s individual portfolios align well with aspects of the early childhood curriculum and show children’s participation in the programme. With external support, teachers have begun to:

  • provide a good range of activities and play scenarios for children to explore
  • implement programmes that are more responsive to children’s interests
  • establish self-review processes.

Teachers should continue to work with external advisers to improve curriculum leadership, as well as programme planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Governance and management are ineffective. Concerns that affect the viability and sustainability of the service include:

  • lack of evidence that the Trust is meeting licensing requirements or providing adequate support for the manager and teaching team to fulfil their roles
  • the need to implement the recently developed teacher appraisal process and to appraise the performance of the manager
  • financial management and reporting issues identified by the service’s auditor.

Trustees, the manager and head teacher should work with external professional advisers to:

  • develop annual and strategic plans that are pertinent to the specific needs of the preschool
  • build the professional capacity and capability of all staff
  • ensure that the board is accountable and effectively fulfilling its governance role
  • establish self review that leads to improved outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Otara Community 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.

To improve current practice the trustees and manager should:

  • review and rationalise centre policies and procedures in consultation with staff and parents
  • ensure that staff adhere to the administration of medication policy and procedures.

Actions for compliance

ERO found significant areas of non-compliance in the service that must be addressed. The service provider must ensure that:

  • the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management and employment practices, including financial management and an ongoing process for self review that help maintain and improve the quality of education and care
  • programmes provided for children are informed by well documented planning, assessment and evaluation

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, 7, 8, 9, C2.

Recommendation to Ministry of Education

ERO recommends that the Ministry reassess the licence of Otara Community Preschool. 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 Otara Community Preschool will be in consultation with the Ministry of Education.

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

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


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26
Boys 19

Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori


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

August 2015

Date of this report

14 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2013

Education Review

February 2010

Supplementary Review

June 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.