Springbank Headstart - 13/02/2018

1 Evaluation of Springbank Headstart

How well placed is Springbank Headstart 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.


Springbank Headstart near Kerikeri, provides education and care for up to 20 children from four-and-a-half to six years of age. The centre has daily sessions from 8.30am to 3pm and operates in a converted bungalow. It shares a large rural site with, and is governed by the same board as, Springbank School and Springbank Pre School.

The school principal oversees the management of the centre. Day-to-day operations are led by the head teacher, who works collaboratively with one other teacher to deliver the curriculum. A recent change in staffing has meant that the centre is in a transitional phase.

The service's philosophy encourages children to work at their own pace, build their knowledge and develop their personal skills. A priority is for children to develop a love of learning and a strong academic foundation.

The 2013 ERO report was highly affirming of children's learning, as well as centre governance and bicultural practices. Some of these strengths continue to be evident. This review finds that more work is needed to improve the programme, curriculum management and internal evaluation so that provision and outcomes for children better reflect the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The Review Findings

Children are well supported to be good readers and writers, and to develop sound understandings about mathematics. Children’s science learning is promoted well through interesting excursions and regular explorations of the large school site and local community. Children enjoy respectful relationships with their teachers and peers. Good promotion of tuakana/teina relationships is evident and supports children to develop a strong sense of belonging.

Children work together capably in small groups, communicate well with each other, and make suggestions about problems they are trying to solve. Most willingly participate in the daily structured group times, but are not always engaged in learning through these activities. Teachers should reflect on the extent to which this long structured session interrupts children's independent investigations, and whether the principles of the early childhood curriculum are sufficiently reflected in the programme.

Teachers work alongside children and support them to find solutions as part of their play. Children respond well to this attention and want adults to be part of their play. Teachers converse enthusiastically with children and use questions well to encourage their ideas and help them to solve problems. Teachers could now think about the impact of the frequent use of worksheets on children's creativity, and the extent to which the structured programme supports children to lead their own learning.

Teachers' planning, assessment and evaluation lack coherence. Planning for the structured part of the day is detailed, with very little opportunity for children's spontaneous learning through play. Learning stories do not provide parents with information about the strengths and interests of the individual child, but focus more on group experiences. Evaluation is mostly informal and not well documented.

Using Te Whāriki, teachers could evaluate current programme planning and assessment practices, which should contribute to greater cohesion in curriculum management. Some development is evident in implementing teaching practices that promote bicultural understandings and a greater familiarity with the dual heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand. These good teaching practices should continue to be strenghtened.

The head teacher provides sound leadership on a day-to-day basis. An evaluation of this position should include consideration of the role of the head teacher in curriculum management. Managers could use appropriately qualified early childhood practitioners to appraise personnel in this role and further grow professional learning. These actions are likely to bring about sustained improvement in the programme and in the quality of the service this centre provides.

Centre staff have strong relationships with parents and whānau, and acknowledge their role as primary caregivers and partners in children's learning. There are many ways for parents to be part of their children's learning including sharing their expertise and interests. Managers regularly seek feedback from parents.

Strengthening internal evaluation would enable the board to gain a wider perspective and ensure that policy review reflects changes in legal requirements. The board should develop a strategic plan to guide and help them to monitor centre development and effectiveness. Evaluating the service's current philosophy would help the board to gauge the extent to which it is enacted in practice.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that the key next steps for development should include:

  • continue to strengthen bicultural practices

  • further developing leadership by supporting the head teacher role through professional mentoring

  • strengthening internal evaluation by widening its scope and documenting the evaluation process

  • developing a strategic plan that reflects the board's focus on ongoing improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Springbank Headstart 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 identified areas of non-compliance relating to the centre's curriculum. To meet requirements teachers must plan, implement and evaluate programmes based on Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, which:

  • respond to the learning interests, strengths and capabilities of enrolled children

  • reflect an understanding of learning and development that is consistent with current research, theory, and practices in early childhood education.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C1,4; Education (ECS) Regulations 2008, 43 (1a (i, iii).

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Springbank Headstart will be in three years.

Julie Foley Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

13 February 2018

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


Kerikeri, Northland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

20 children

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 11 Boys 9

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

13 February 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2013

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.