Samuel Marsden Preschool - 19/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Samuel Marsden Preschool

How well placed is Samuel Marsden Preschool 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.


Samuel Marsden Preschool is an early learning service situated in the grounds of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School. It caters for children aged three and four years. Of the 15 children enrolled, two identify as Māori. The centre serves a diverse ethnic community.

The school's trust and management boards retain oversight of the preschool’s operation in collaboration with the principal. Responsibility for day-to-day management is delegated to the head of preschool who reports to the director of the primary division of the school. Both teachers at the preschool are qualified and registered. One teacher aide supports them to implement the learning programme.

The philosophy guiding teaching and learning emphasises the importance of children learning together, fostering positive relationships and independence and developing school readiness. The multicultural character of the community and importance of New Zealand’s Māori heritage are respected and acknowledged.

Children at the preschool use the grounds and facilities of the school. They also have opportunities to interact with older students.

The 2014 supplementary ERO review identified that progress had been made in strengthening governance and management of the preschool. Next development steps were identified as: refining systems for long-term planning and reporting; teacher development; internal evaluation; and planning for learning. Further progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Teachers are working on embedding their recently revised philosophy into practice. As part of their planned evaluation of progress they should further define the identified values to better support their decision making about changes they may need to make to teaching and learning.

Through the introduction of an inquiry approach, a good start has been made in increasing the focus of the learning programme on children's interests and ideas. Learners' independence and resilience should be further supported by maximising opportunities for children to make choices about their participation, lead their learning and explore open-ended activities on their own terms. Increasing the emphasis on the impact of the learning inquiries on individual children's learning is likely to better facilitate programme evaluation and decisions about next planning steps.

The learning environment is well organised and cared for. It is resourced to support a wide range of children's interests and inquiries. The calm tone is conducive to engagement in sustained concentration. The outdoor area is physically challenging and interesting. Trips, outings, and input from specialists and parents all add richness to the environment.

The major learning areas of literacy, mathematics, science, the arts and physical activity are well integrated into the centre programme. Opportunities for children to use the school's facilities and buddy with older students strengthen their learning experiences. Teachers should ensure that the focus on learning through play and other meaningful contexts continues to be the key driver for all aspects of the children's programme.

Teachers are caring, responsive and respectful in their interactions with children. Positive strategies are used to manage behaviour and promote social competence. Learning conversations and discussions are well used to support and extend children's ideas and working theories linked to their play.

Diversity is positively supported. Children's languages, cultures and identities are valued and celebrated. Those requiring additional learning support are welcomed and receive the help they need to participate well in the programme.

Good progress has been made in integrating a bicultural perspective in the programme. Children are becoming confident and skilled in using te reo Māori. Teachers plan to continue to work on their understanding of te ao Māori to strengthen their approach.

Children's transitions into and out of the service are supported. Teachers settle new children in collaboration with their parents. Relationships with local schools have been developed. Reports are written to support continuity of children's learning between the centre and primary schools. Teachers should continue to strengthen relationships with schools and seek ways to support the purposeful sharing of information about children's learning. 

Teachers keep carefully developed electronic portfolios that record children's participation and learning. They report that this approach has strengthened communication with parents about their children's learning. To further strengthen their assessment practice teachers should continue to work on:

  • finding ways that support children's ownership of, and ready access to, their portfolios to  enable them to regularly reflect on and revisit their learning
  • acknowledging families' cultures, languages and backgrounds in learning records
  • including a bicultural perspective in portfolios
  • showing how they are adding value to children's developing interests, ideas and dispositions to learn.

Strong leadership and teacher teamwork are supporting positive outcomes for children. Trusting relationships are evident. Good support from school managers assists to sustain and improve practice.

Teachers are well supported by the appraisal process. Their development goals are linked to their own and the centre's priorities, and to planning for professional learning. Observations of, and feedback about practice, and input from designated 'critical friends', contribute to successful outcomes.  To add rigour, the quality of feedback should be strengthened to make it more defined and constructive.

Teachers value self review as a tool to promote improvement. Their approach includes reference to research and professional reading and links to centre priorities. A useful review framework is in place. The adoption of a more evaluative approach should better support decision making about improvement.

The roles of governors, managers and teachers are suitably defined. Regular meetings support clear communication, at all levels, about key aspects of practice. A range of up-to-date policies and procedures ensures smooth operation. Guidelines for reporting should be developed to support the sustainability of the practice.

Annual and strategic plans clearly outline priorities for development. The addition of indicators of success, based on best practice and linked to long-term goals, should support the measurement of progress and decisions about next development steps. 

Key Next Steps

ERO and leaders agree teachers should continue to:

  • unpack and embed understandings about teaching and learning, through the planned evaluation of their practice in relation to the philosophy
  • develop their assessment practice
  • build their understanding and use of a more evaluative approach to review.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Samuel Marsden Preschool 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 Samuel Marsden Preschool will be in three years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

19 June 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

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 9, Boys 6

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%

Based on funding rates


Percentage of qualified teachers

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

19 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Supplementary Review

March 2014

Education Review

March 2013

Education Review

December 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.