Portobelo Avonhead - 19/07/2016

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. All centres share a common vision and values that set the direction for Portobelo services.

A director is part of the management team that includes a professional leader and centre manager. Most staff are fully qualified early childhood teachers. At the time of this review, some team leaders were on leave. Staff moved into these positions to help support the effective operation of the centre.

Since the 2013 ERO review, there have been a number of new developments to improve and extend on management systems and some processes. Centre leaders and teachers have some made progress in meeting the key next steps for development in curriculum areas. More work is needed to consolidate planning for groups of children and to further extend bicultural practices.

A separate nursery building has been established on an adjoining property. The service has extended its license to cater for the education and care of children from birth to school age. The centre roll reflects the many diverse cultures in the community.

The philosophy has a focus on the provision of a 'New Zealand backyard'. Stage one of the development of the outside area has been completed. The vision is increasingly reflected in the interesting learning areas being provided for children.

The Review Findings

The centre is well led and managed. Managers and teachers foster positive and reciprocal relationships with all children and families. Children with additional learning needs are well supported to be part of an inclusive and welcoming learning environment. Managers and teachers establish partnerships in learning with parents and whānau to enhance children's learning and development at the centre and at home.

Teachers involve children in respectful, caring and responsive interactions that help them to develop a good sense of belonging at the centre and confidence to explore and develop as a learner. They enable children to make choices and involve children in conversations that support and extend their oral language and social skills. Children have easy access to a wide range of creative experiences and activities of interest. They are encouraged to take responsibility for themselves and to care for others and the environment.

The wellbeing, learning and development of children in the nursery area is well supported. Teachers provide calm and unhurried interactions. They are responsive to the individual needs and preferences of infants and toddlers. Well-paced routines are child centred. Thoughtful presentation of the environment provides home-like aspects and defined areas to support children’s learning and physical development. Some bicultural perspectives are evident. Teachers also integrate sign language as an additional means to communicate with children.

Children's individual learning journals provide a meaningful record for children and families of the child's individual learning. Parent and whānau aspirations for their child's learning are valued and consistently reflected in the teacher and parent planning for that child. Learning stories clearly show how teachers work to progress learning over time and make close links to the child's home and culture.

The involvement of managers and leaders in the local learning cluster of schools and early childhood centres helps to build professional relationships that support positive transitions to school. Transitions are well planned and documented. Older children are involved in regular visits to the local school. There are opportunities for parents to have a three-way meeting with the early childhood teacher and the new entrant teacher of the school to support specific needs of children.

There is an effective management structure that is focused on continuous improvement. Service leaders are building sustainable processes. Long-term planning reflects the service priorities that are linked to positive outcomes for children. Key management documentation is well aligned to the service goals. There is a strong focus on the provision of targeted professional development to build a reflective, collaborative team culture, and teacher and leadership capability. The positive impact of professional development is purposefully linked to the evidence-based appraisal processes.

Self review occurs at all levels of the organisation is well understood and used by managers and leaders. Leaders are currently further strengthening teachers' knowledge of planned review.

The service provider and professional leader are actively involved in, and contribute professionally to the wider early childhood education community. They have effective systems to monitor the wellbeing and safety of all involved in the service.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders have identified, and ERO's evaluation confirms, that the key next steps are to:

  • strengthen self-review practices

  • further develop group planning and evaluation processes

  • increase bicultural perspectives in documentation and practices.

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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Portobelo Avonhead will be in three years.

Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

19 July 2016

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 two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 39; Girls 35

Ethnic composition




Other European

Other Asian








Percentage of qualified teachers 0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3 under one years old 1:4 one-to-two years

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

19 July 2016

Most recent ERO reports


Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

May 2009

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.