Rata - 22/04/2015

Evaluation of Rata

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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


The Dunedin Community Childcare Association (DCCA) offers centre and home-based care and education aged birth to five years. The Rata scheme is one of 3 home-based care schemes administered by the DCCA. Most of the educators in this scheme are experienced. They all have some qualifications for working with children. Many of them are working towards furthering these qualifications. They work from home and provide high-quality education and care for children The DCCA employs four visiting teachers who oversee the three schemes.

Since the 2011 ERO review there have been changes within the association. A new director has been appointed. The DCCA director is the service provider for the home-based care schemes. A new role of team leader has been created within the visiting teacher team to oversee their work.

The many good practices identified in the previous report have been maintained and the visiting teachers have continued to improve their own practices and that of the educators.

This review was part of a cluster of three reviews in the DCCA.

The Review Findings

This DCCA home-based care service philosophy is to provide care and education that is fun and exciting where everyone participates in teaching and learning. The visiting teachers give careful thought to helping parents choose the best educator for their children. Families benefit from the flexible arrangements and the close relationships they develop with their educator.

The small group sizes and family environment are particularly well suited to children under the age of two. Through knowing the children and their families well the educators effectively manage the children’s daily routines and transitions to school and other settings.

Children‘s records of learning and visiting teacher notes show many interesting opportunities for learning in the homes and in the wider community. The visiting teachers have developed strong relationships with educators and work closely with them to recognise children’s learning and plan programmes based on everyday experiences and in the local surroundings. This includes early-literacy and mathematical learning and following children’s play ideas. Children benefit from many planned outings that help them develop an appreciation of the community and natural world so that they have “more green time, less screen time”.

The visiting teachers provide regular play groups to extend and support children’s learning. For example, music, gym, physical movement and gaining a knowledge of Te Ao Māori. They have developed learning goals and purpose statements for these experiences and have shared these with educators. To further support educators in their work they could consider developing these for other key learning areas such as literacy and mathematics.

The visiting teachers work collaboratively with external agencies to support children and their families with individual needs. They effectively support educators to develop and use strategies to deal with challenging situations.

There are very effective systems for ensuring that the day-to-day health and safety in the homes is well managed. The educators and the visiting teachers carry out rigorous checks four times a year.

The visiting teachers have developed and share with educators a strong philosophy for home-based education that values what the educator and her family contribute to children’s learning. The visiting teachers regularly review the current practices so that it reflects the philosophy. Educators are also encouraged to develop their own philosophy that shows what matters to them about children’s learning.

A strength of the service is the way the visiting teachers work together across the three schemes to provide consistency of practice for educators and reduce professional isolation for themselves and for the educators. They have a very rigorous recruitment, selection and induction process for new educators. They effectively:

  • provide useful feedback and guidance to educators as they plan and assess children’s learning

  • grow educators’ knowledge to recognise and extend learning

  • model their high expectations for care and education and follow through to ensure educators meet these expectations.

The visiting teachers take an individualised approach to working with educators providing additional and timely support where required. They provide regular opportunities for educators to meet, share practice and support one another to continue to improve. Each year the visiting teachers help the educators to set goals for improvement. These goals are used as the basis for setting the service’s professional development programme for the year. The next step is for the visiting teachers to help the educators develop action plans to achieve the goals.

The visiting teachers are experienced and are very aware of the requirements of their role. When they next review their job descriptions they should more clearly define exactly what they do and what the role requires of them. Guidance notes for educators could state more clearly what they expect from the visiting teachers.

There is an improved appraisal system underway across the association for all trained teachers. The visiting teachers’ appraisal goals could better show how they will support the association’s and the educators’ goals.

The association has a useful model for self review. The visiting teachers have been working with an external provider to refine their use and understanding of this. They agree they are working towards being more evaluative and strengthening the action plans arising from review.

The visiting teachers are well supported by the director who meets with them regularly and consults them about the interests of the whole DCCA.

There are very good systems overall for managing the day-to-day operations and requirements of the service. The home-based care schemes are well resourced and funded.

Governance and Management.

The association is committed to providing high-quality home-based care and education, that is affordable and community based. The board has redefined the role of the director to be more focused on the strategic direction of the association.

At the time of this review the board and director were still developing and consulting about the strategic and annual plans for 2015. To give greater prominence to home-based care at board level they should consider creating a designated home-based position on the board.

The board members and the director have identified that they require better reporting to assure themselves that all the requirements have been met. Reporting would be improved by:

  • ensuring that useful evaluative questions are answered
  • giving assurance by the use of analysed information that all these requirements are met
  • ensuring that recommendations made for improvements are followed through
  • tracking and monitoring emerging trends and patterns.

Key Next Step

The key next step for the DCCA Home-based Care - Kauri is to make the improvements outlined in the findings of this report.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Rata 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.

To improve current practice the service provider and visiting teachers must:

  • appoint a privacy office in order to be compliant with the Privacy Act 1993

  • ensure there is a written expectation for educators to obtain first aid certificates prior to commencing work with children

  • develop written procedures to show how the visiting teachers will meet visit requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Rata will be in four years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern

22 April 2015

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

Home-based Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality Funded


Gender composition

Girls 42

Boys 37

Ethnic composition









Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Reported ratios of staff educators to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2015

Date of this report

22 April 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2011


Education Review

April 2008


Education Review

April 2005

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.