Ōtātara Children's Centre - 10/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Ōtātara Children's Centre

How well placed is Ōtātara Children's Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Ōtātara Children's Centre requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

Systems, policies and procedures to promote children's health and safety need to be more systematically monitored. Leaders should ensure familiarity with, and application and monitoring, of practice in relation to the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008 and Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008.


Ōtātara Children's Centre is licensed to provide all day education and care for 61 children, including 20 children up to the age of two.

At the time of this ERO review, there are 73 children enrolled and eight identify as Māori. Children progress through the centre's two learning areas based on age and learning readiness.

A supervisor leads the teaching team, assisted by two room leaders. The service is located within the grounds of the Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) whose staff provide administrative and maintenance support.

The philosophy 'emphasises the importance of whanaungatanga, high quality education and care, respect, collaborative professional practice, empowerment of children and a bicultural approach'.

The March 2017 ERO report identified key next steps in relation to: internal evaluation; planning for children's learning; and long-term operational planning. Actions related to children's health and safety were required. An annual plan guides centre operation. Long-term operational planning is currently out for staff consultation. Due to recent change the key next steps are still being progressed.

The Review Findings

The centre's philosophy is evident in respectful teaching practices and in the relationships between parents, whānau and staff. Warm responsive relationships foster children's sense of belonging. Infants and toddlers have time and space to lead their own learning.

The centre's 'statement of cultural intent', Te Kaupapa Ahurea o Ōtātara, is designed to support teaching practice. Children have opportunity to engage with te ao Māori through the bicultural curriculum as part of the daily programme. To continue to grow practice, a next step is to consider how to further foster Māori children's success as Maori.

Teachers collaborate with parents to support children with additional needs and access support from external agencies as appropriate.

An assessment, planning and evaluation process begun in early 2019, is used well by some teachers who identify children's learning and plan responsively. This approach should be monitored to promote consistency across the teaching team and to ensure that all teachers reflect children's cultural backgrounds, their learning, and life contexts.

A newly implemented appraisal process supported by professional learning and development, is in mid-cycle. Full implementation of these new expectations should support ongoing development of teaching practice.

Previous internal evaluation has contributed to some positive improvements in teacher practice. Internal evaluation is in the process of change and this presents opportunity to consider the effectiveness of practice focused on outcomes for children. Improving self review for accountability and ensuring good practice guidelines are met are ongoing areas for the attention of leaders and staff.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Ōtātara Children's Centre 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 areas of non-compliance in the service relating to:

  • completing the safety checking steps for students working in the centre
  • analysis of accidents to inform hazard management
  • securing heavy furniture
  • supervision of children in the entrance area
  • the complaints procedure, with reference to Ministry of Education contact details
  • parents' permission and approval of the ratios for special excursions.

[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS31; GMA7A; HS12; HS6; PF2; GMA1
Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008, 45 (1a ii), 46 (1a) (1b) (1c iii), 47 (1a) (1b) (1c i); Children's Act 2014; Education Act 1989]

During and since the on-site phase of the review, leaders have provided evidence of steps taken to:

  • secure the entrance area
  • include contact details in the complaint's procedure
  • address excursion records
  • analyse accident records from January 2018.

In order to improve, the policies and procedures of EIT and the centre, such as the child protection policy in relation to The Children’s Act 2014, need to be cohesive and ensure the early childhood regulations are fully covered. Centre policies and procedures should be recorded in such a way that parents can readily participate in the review of these.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Darcy Te Hau

Acting Director Review and Improvement Services (Central)

Central Region - Te Tai Pūtahi Nui

10 June 2020

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


Taradale, Napier

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

61 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Male 38, Female 35

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

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

December 2019

Date of this report

10 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2017

Education Review

January 2014

Education Review

January 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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.