Portobelo Avonhead - 10/06/2020

1 Evaluation of Portobelo Avonhead

How well placed is Portobelo Avonhead to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Portobelo Avonhead is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Portobelo Avonhead is one of three centres privately owned by Portobelo Preschools Limited. They all share a common vision and values that set the direction for Portobelo services. The philosophy states 'whāngaia ka tupu, ka puawai, that which is nurtured grows and blossoms'. There is an emphasis on relationships, inclusion, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga, uninterrupted play and a focus on primary care in the nursery.

It is a full-day service and is licensed for 64 children including 24 children aged under two years. A separate nursery building caters for children aged under two years on an adjoining property. Portobelo Avonhead serves a culturally diverse community.

A director is part of the management team that includes a recently appointed principal leader and centre manager. Most staff are fully qualified, experienced early childhood teachers.

Since ERO's July 2016 review, centre leaders and teachers have made good progress in meeting the key next steps for development. They have strengthened internal evaluation practices, improved group planning and increased their understanding of bicultural practices.

The Review Findings

Children follow their interests in a child-initiated programme. They experience extended periods of uninterrupted play. Teachers focus on the individual needs of the child. They respond well to children's interests and strengths and effectively identify how they can support and extend their learning through the programme.

Children experience a natural outdoor environment which is attractive and spacious and provides opportunities for appropriate physical challenges. They are actively involved caring for the garden.

There is a strong focus on developing learning partnerships with whānau and teachers highly value whānau aspirations for their child's learning. Whānau aspirations for their child's learning are increasing evident in the assessment records.

Children are well supported in their transitions. Transitions into, within and out of the service are well managed and flexible. These focus on the needs of each child and whānau, supporting their wellbeing. Leaders and teachers have established positive relationships with the local primary schools.

Children under two years benefit from responsive teachers who know the them well. They experience a calm environment and unhurried routines to meet their specific learning and developmental needs. This supports a sense of belonging and wellbeing. Children are viewed as confident, capable learners. They have choice from a wide range of learning experiences, including sensory play.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported. They benefit from an inclusive learning environment. Teachers work collaboratively with whānau and with community agencies to best meet their needs.

Manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga are well-established centre values. The newly established leadership and teaching team is committed to the service's philosophy and values. Teachers work together collaboratively and demonstrate respectful, reciprocal relationships with one another and with the children. Children have opportunities learn some te reo and tikanga Māori. A next step is for teachers to grow their knowledge and understanding in these areas to fully implement a curriculum that acknowledges the unique place of Māori as tangata whenua and supports Māori children to know their language culture and identity are valued.

There are useful systems for assessment, planning and evaluation. Documentation could be further strengthened by more consistently focusing on learning outcomes for children and making children’s language culture and identity more visible.

Leaders and teachers are improvement focused. They have developed clear strategic and annual planning to guide the development and operation of the service. There are useful systems that assist in the effective monitoring of centre operations and processes. Leaders and teachers engage in a robust appraisal process and an appropriate range of professional learning and development to support teaching and learning. Internal evaluation is collaborative and aligned to service priorities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and centre leaders agree that the service's key next steps are to continue to:

  • further strengthen teachers' knowledge and understanding of tikanga and te reo Māori knowledge and practices
  • embed assessment, planning and evaluation practices so that teachers are consistent in focusing on learning outcomes for children
  • respond to its Māori and diverse multicultural community, by reflecting children's language, culture and identity more visibly in assessment documentation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Portobelo Avonhead 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)

Southern Region - Te Tai Tini

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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

64 children, including up to 24 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 34, Boys 27

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities


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

January 2020

Date of this report

10 June 2020

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

July 2016

Education Review

February 2013

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.