Richmond Playcentre - 10/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Richmond Playcentre

How well placed is Richmond Playcentre 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.


Richmond Playcentre is located in central Invercargill. It is parent led and operates three morning sessions each week, for children up to school age.

Two of the three sessions are led by an experienced, paid educator with the support of members. Playcentre parents are gaining Playcentre qualifications by being involved in the adult-education training programme provided by the Southland Playcentre Association (SPA). Due to the high number of parents participating in the training, Richmond Playcentre has won the SPA training award for the past two years.

The October 2013 ERO report, identified that the centre philosophy should be reviewed and members continue their focus on including a Māori dimension in the programme. In addition, parents should continue to strengthen assessment, planning and evaluation to support children's learning. Members have continued to progress and appropriately address these key next steps.

The SPA is experiencing a time of change as all playcentre associations throughout New Zealand merge with the New Zealand Playcentre Federation (NZPF) to reduce duplication and make cost savings. This restructure will mean significant changes at the local association level. An interim board has been established at SPA to support playcentres through this transitional period.

This review was part of a cluster of 13 in the Southland Playcentre Association.

The Review Findings

Children engage enthusiastically in a play-based programme. Adults acknowledge children's strengths and needs and work positively to provide new experiences and challenges for them. Children up to the age of two learn confidently alongside their friends. They engage in an environment that facilitates their exploration. The playcentre philosophy is highly evident in practice. Members regularly review the philosophy to reflect changing family needs.

Assessment, planning and evaluation practices effectively respond to children's interests and previous learning. Since the previous ERO review, these have been refined to foster greater participation by all parents. Their input is encouraged and valued. Adults are reflective and constantly thinking of ways to make the best use of time to be more responsive to children.

Systems and processes that support the smooth running of the playcentre are known to all parents. These are well established and consistently implemented. Team work is a strength and adults are highly focused on what is happening for children.

Over time, members have focused on sustainability of the centre. Parents are well supported to make progress through the Playcentre training courses. A strength at Richmond Playcentre is the buddy system for new parents. They are acknowledged and supported as the primary educators of their children. Expectations are clear through good communication and consultation processes. Growing emergent leadership is an ongoing focus for members.

Effective use is made of local resources to enhance children's learning experiences. New experiences through excursions and visitors to the centre extend children's play and learning.

Self review is established and has led to improved practice. Members continue to strengthen their understanding of internal evaluation for improvement with an emphasis on quality.

Members acknowledge that continuing to strengthen the bicultural curriculum is an ongoing priority. ERO's external evaluation affirms this focus.

The board has been proactive in developing processes to assist in the smooth transition for playcentres to work under the NZPF. Opportunities have been offered to playcentre members to engage with the SPA to consider how the board could best provide support to services through the impending restructure.

The board has identified a number of systems and processes have lapsed and need improvement. Immediate attention is required to review policies that guide the appointments procedure and health and safety practices. The appraisal process has also lapsed or not been robustly implemented. These improvements are a priority to meet licensing criteria, and for monitoring the quality of centre practices.

More consistent, timely and evaluative reporting should be provided to the board to assure them that accountabilities are met and to better inform their decision making. 

Key Next Steps

The playcentre team leader and members agree that areas for strengthening include:

  • continuing to grow emergent leadership
  • the bicultural curriculum.

Key next steps for the association are to:

  • review SPA policies, giving priority to those related to appointments and health and safety practices
  • re-establish the appraisal process
  • facilitate the evaluative reporting to the board.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Richmond Playcentre 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. 

ERO also identified areas of non-compliance for the Southland Playcentre Association in relation to governance and management. To meet requirements the association needs to:

  • implement a system of regular appraisal.
    [Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA7]

To improve practice the Southland Playcentre Association should:

  • ensure policies and procedures for travel by a motor vehicle clearly specify the person responsible for excursion approvals, has verified all drivers have a current full New Zealand driver licence and each vehicle is registered and has a current warrant of fitness.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Richmond Playcentre will be in three years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

10 May 2017 

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


Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 10, Girls 5

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Reported ratios of adults to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

February 2017

Date of this report

10 May 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

October 2013

Supplementary Review

June 2011

Education Review

March 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 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.