Southbrook Early Learning Centre - 14/01/2016

1 Evaluation of Southbrook Early Learning Centre

How well placed is Southbrook Early Learning Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Southbrook Early Learning Centre is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Southbrook Early Learning Centre is one of four centres owned and administered by Canterbury Early Learning Centres Limited (CELC). The centre provides for babies to children of school age in three separate rooms. The Kiwi Room provides for infants and toddlers up to two and half years of age. The Tui room provides for children from two and half to three and half years and the Pukeko Room for children from three and half years to school age. The Tui and Pukeko rooms share an outdoor area. The Kiwi Room has a separate outdoor play space.

The centre leader and the head teachers in the three classrooms have been appointed since the 2012 ERO review. Nearly all the staff are qualified early childhood teachers. Many teachers are experienced and have worked at the centre for a number of years.

The centre is making good progress in meeting the recommendations from the previous ERO review. Support from CELC leaders is helping the centre leaders and teachers improve self review, child assessment and programme planning. Routines and programmes have also improved, particularly in the Kiwi Room.

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

The Review Findings

Children benefit from a wide range of learning experiences within the centre and the wider community. The classrooms and outdoor areas are well equipped and presented. Resources are easy for children to access. Literacy, mathematics, science, the arts and physical activity are well integrated into the programmes. Members of the wider community regularly visit the centre and share their skills and interests. The children are also very involved in community events, including exhibiting at the local agricultural show.

Transitions into the centre, between rooms and to school are well established and managed. Teachers have developed close relationships with local primary schools. They regularly visit and share information about children’s learning and wellbeing. The transition-to-school programme is carefully organised and includes children building their social and self-management skills, and gaining confidence in a range of new situations. Parents receive regular information about their child’s transition and the ways the centre is supporting their child during this process.

Children are well supported in their learning and play by their teachers. Children make good use of their interests to confidently choose their learning and organise their play. Teachers use a range of effective strategies to help children develop their ideas, increase their skills and knowledge, and use their imagination. Children, with support from teachers, willingly involve others in their play and share resources.

The Kiwi Room staff provide a nurturing environment for infants and toddlers. They are responsive and flexible to meet the needs of these young children. Oral language is actively promoted and home routines well integrated.

Children with diverse needs are well supported within the programme and external agencies provide additional support to ensure these children have many opportunities to play alongside and with their peers.

Systems and procedures for child assessment and programme planning are well established. Teachers have been effectively supported by the curriculum leader to improve the quality and usefulness of the learning stories. Most stories provide good information about children’s learning, the way teachers support the learning and next steps for learning and teaching. Children’s individual learning plans also help to ensure all teachers have a good knowledge of each child and the ways that they can best support their learning.

Parents are kept well informed about their children’s learning in the child profile books, wall displays and planned meetings with teachers.

The organisation and centre leaders have made good use of professional development provided to other centres within the CELC to establish more useful self review and strategic planning. Teachers have a shared understanding of self review and its importance in improving learning outcomes for children. The strategic plan provides clear direction for further development of the centre, and learning and teaching.

The managers, leaders and teachers have established effective systems and practices for health and safety and care routines. These systems and practices are efficiently implemented by staff and regularly monitored by leaders and managers.

Key Next Steps

The managers and ERO agree that the key next steps for the centre include:

  • embedding and extending self review, strategic planning and staff appraisal processes and practices
  • aligning group planning to the child assessment and planning processes and practices
  • making use of staff expertise to develop, implement, monitor and review an action plan to promote better integration of te ao Māori in the centre.

Canterbury Early Learning Centres Limited (CELC)

CELC is making a number of improvements to the operation of the organisation at centre and management levels. These include:

  • appointing a curriculum leader and providing the curriculum leader and business manager with clear roles and responsibilities
  • making effective use of professional development initiated by the MoE for two centres to establish useful self review and strategic planning models across the four centres
  • establishing effective systems and practices for child assessment and programme planning
  • developing an operations manual for the organisation to provide policy and direction
  • building collaborative approaches by involving staff in the operations and decision making for their centre.

Key Next Steps

The CELC managers and ERO agree that the next key steps for the organisation should include:

  • establishing and embedding strategic planning and self review at the organisational level that is closely linked to the centre’s strategic planning, self review, staff appraisal and professional development
  • a planned approach for building bicultural capacity within the centres and at an organisational level
  • extending ways that parents and children can be involved in decision making for the organisation, centres and learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Southbrook Early Learning Centre 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 Southbrook Early Learning Centre will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

14 January 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

70 children, including up to 20 aged under two

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 51%; Boys 47%

Ethnic composition




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

November 2015

Date of this report

14 January 2016

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

July 2012


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.