Oxford Kindergarten - 04/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Oxford Kindergarten

How well placed is Oxford Kindergarten to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Oxford Kindergarten is Very Well Placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Oxford Kindergarten provides early childhood education for children over two years of age. The kindergarten is licensed for up to 40 children. Children participate in half or whole-day learning programmes running from 8.30am to 2.30pm. The day-to-day operation of the kindergarten is managed by a head teacher and supported by two qualified early childhood teachers.

The philosophy of the kindergarten states that children will:

  • further develop their learning in a fun environment

  • embrace and treasure whanaungatanga and whakamana

  • be welcoming to all children and whānau

  • show kindness, empathy and respect for people, places and things across time.

Oxford Kindergarten is one of 23 kindergartens administered by Kindergartens South (KS). A general manager oversees the association under the governance of a board. Senior teachers provide ongoing professional advice and guidance to each kindergarten on teaching and learning.

The effective practices noted in ERO's 2013 report have been sustained, and the team continue to make good progress with curriculum assessment, planning and evaluation practices, teacher appraisal and internal-evaluation systems.

This review was part of a cluster of seven reviews in Kindergartens South.

The Review Findings

Children at Oxford Kindergarten are very well supported in their learning. Effective leadership, a rich and culturally responsive programme and intentional teaching practices promote positive learning outcomes for children. Children experience well-planned and resourced learning programmes and environments that promote their engagement, exploration and developing competencies across a broad range of learning experiences.

Children are viewed as confident and competent leaders of their own learning and are trusted to know how they learn best. Teachers skilfully support children to make choices and be involved in decision making about their learning. Children experience calm, unhurried routines and interactions with their teachers. Their learning is supported by respectful relationships with each other and their teachers.

The kindergarten's localised curriculum is well linked to teaching and learning. Children and adults are knowledgeable about their local history and are proud of their surrounding area. Valued learning outcomes for children are meaningfully woven through the programme and the environment.

Teachers use a wide range of relevant and appropriate intentional teaching strategies to support children's learning, development and wellbeing. They integrate early literacy and mathematics learning into the programme well. Teachers listen carefully to the verbal and non-verbal cues of children and respond appropriately to extend language learning and ideas in meaningful ways.

There are strong reciprocal learning partnerships between children, parents, whānau, teachers and the wider community. The experienced teaching team has strengthened assessment, planning and evaluation processes by making clear links to the association's strategic priorities and goals.

Parents are kept very well informed about their child's learning and development. Teachers value parents' views and seek their contributions to continually improve outcomes for children's learning and improve kindergarten practices. Parents are actively involved in the programme and their contributions are valued and meaningfully integrated into the programme.

There is a strong, purposeful and ongoing commitment from the association and the kindergarten to deepen teachers' understandings and implementation of te ao Māori. Bicultural practices that reflect the dual heritage of Aotearoa are consistently reflected in teacher practices. There is a very strong and shared commitment to provide many opportunities for children to learn te reo and tikanga Māori.

Internal evaluation is used well by teachers to assess, plan and evaluate children's learning. The process is well understood and is used to identify what is going well and where improvements can be made. Teachers systematically plan for individuals and groups as part of their regular staff meetings. Diverse learners are well supported by teachers to be actively engaged in their learning. Teachers use action plans to carefully evaluate children's learning and progression, and to critically reflect on their teaching practices.

Transitions into and from the centre are very well managed and appropriately meet the needs of children and their families/whānau. The kindergarten is involved in the Eastern Southland 'Positive Start' programme. Its aims are to improve the experience of children who need additional learning support, and their families, as they move from early childhood education to primary school. This has supported children to be independent, develop social and emotional competence and prepare for a positive transition to school.

The experienced head teacher models a culture of positive, responsive and collaborative teaching. Teachers benefit from a shared leadership approach which supports professional practice and grows their capability. The senior teacher provides ongoing professional mentoring and coaching for all teachers to continue to improve and strengthen practice. Teachers respond very well to regular feedback and recommendations from the senior teacher that help to shift and lift teaching practice.

Since ERO’s 2017 reviews of KS kindergartens, there have been significant changes within the association management and leadership team. Many of the good practices in place to support the kindergartens have been sustained. However ERO found that the board needs better information to know how well kindergartens are improving outcomes for children. The board also needs to review its own performance and review the roles and responsibilities within the association leadership and management team.

Key Next Steps

The association and board have clearly identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next steps (for KS) to further improve outcomes for children are to:

  • further develop the vision, values, philosophy and goals to better reflect the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and te ao Māori perspectives

  • ensure reporting and monitoring at all levels are evaluative and show how outcomes for children have been improved, especially for priority learners, and in relation to the association’s valued outcomes, vision and philosophy

  • ensure there is a clear process for consulting with all parents and whānau Māori within the association

  • monitor the effectiveness of new initiatives

  • review the roles and responsibilities of leadership positions within the association and review the performance and effectiveness of the board

  • review and update the complaints policy and procedure.

Teachers at Oxford Kindergarten have clearly identified, and ERO agrees, that the key next step to further improve outcomes for children is to:

  • continue to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation documentation to better reflect the intentional teaching occurring in the programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Oxford Kindergarten 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 Oxford Kindergarten will be in four years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

4 March 2019

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

Free Kindergarten

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children aged over 2 years

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls: 20

Boys: 17

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


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

November 2018

Date of this report

4 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2013

Education Review

August 2010

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 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.