St Marks Preschool - 12/08/2015

1 Evaluation of St Mark's Preschool

How well placed is St Mark's 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.


St Mark's Preschool is located in the grounds of St Mark’s Church School, Wellington. It provides early childhood education for children aged from three to five years, with a major focus on preparing them for entry into the primary school. The preschool is governed by the St Mark’s Church School board.

Day-to-day management is overseen by the principal and is the responsibility of the dean of preschool. Since the 2012 ERO review, the dean of preschool has become a member of the school’s senior leadership team. She works closely with the principal and assistant principal on operation of the preschool and reports regularly to the school board.

Children in the preschool access the resources and facilities of the school, such as media, music and art rooms, the sports field, and library. The programme follows an inquiry-led model which is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years’ Programme (PYP) within the school and incorporates Te Whāriki, New Zealand’s early childhood curriculum. Te reo Māori and Spanish are a part of the preschool’s curriculum.

The Review Findings

The preschool’s philosophy is evident in practice and guides developments.

The curriculum has evolved and been strengthened through further development in understanding the links between Te Whāriki and the International Baccalaureate framework. This has resulted in an increased focus on children’s interests and experiences.

Children lead their play with teachers supporting their choices. A sense of fun and purpose are evident in interactions between children and teachers. Routines support the development of children’s independence and transition to school. This process is seamless, with children having regular opportunities to interact with school-age peers.

The preschool curriculum has a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and science. Oral language is fostered. Children are introduced to multiple languages that reflect the diverse cultures of children and teachers. Opportunities for children to develop leadership skills are carefully considered and woven into the programme.

Links to tikanga Māori and Anglican church beliefs are highly evident. Ongoing professional learning and access to external expertise on bicultural practices has led to a better understanding of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori by teachers. This new understanding has informed curriculum decisions and enabled teachers to integrate te reo Māori meaningfully into the programme. Teachers acknowledge they need to continue to strengthen their culturally responsive practices.

Appropriate consideration is given to promoting children's language, culture and identity. Good use is made of cultural celebrations and family expertise to provide rich experiences for children. Language acquisition is supported, especially for those children for whom English is a second language. A next step is to extend how learning stories reflect this oral language development.

Teachers are responsive to specific individual needs. Children with additional educational needs are well supported through collaborative relationships with outside agencies. There is an increased focus on children’s health and wellbeing.

Planning and assessment processes have been strengthened. There is a deliberate approach to planning, which promotes inquiries related to children’s interests and links to aspirations families have for their children. Key areas of the curriculum are focused on and differing age groups are appropriately planned for.

Regular digital sharing with parents increases opportunities for their contribution and participation in their child’s learning. Children value revisiting learning recorded in digital and scrapbook formats. A mixture of snapshots, ‘wow moments,’ and learning stories show children’s engagement in a range of learning experiences over time. Teachers identify, and ERO agrees, that continuing to reflect on and improve planning and assessment practices and to seek ways to extend families involvement in the curriculum are key next steps.

Leadership is collaborative, reflective and improvement focused. Since the 2012 ERO review, all aspects of the preschool have been reviewed and deliberately strengthened. Policies and procedures are aligned with school requirements and practices. Strategic and annual plans for the preschool are a part of the overall school’s planning.

Management of change is well considered. Teachers are reflective and work well together. A suitable framework for review has been developed and guides this process.

Well developed systems promote teacher growth. Clear guidelines and expectations for teachers have been formulated. Robust teacher appraisal processes and mentoring of provisionally registered teachers are in place. This is supported by regular professional learning opportunities, a collaborative approach to planning and assessment and regular discussions of practice with other professionals. A focus on building leadership further enhances teacher’s professional development.

Trustees are well informed about preschool operations through regular reports. They monitor and have input into the strategic direction of the preschool.

Key Next Steps

The trustees, management team and ERO agree on the following key next steps, to continue to:

  • strengthen bicultural practices and their integration into the curriculum
  • seek ways to further incorporate whānau aspirations and involvement into the programme
  • focus on capturing children’s interests within assessment and planning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Mark's 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 St Mark's Preschool will be in three years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

12 August 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

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children aged over 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 26

Girls 18

Ethnic composition






Other ethnic groups







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2015

Date of this report

12 August 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

October 2012


Education Review

May 2011


Supplementary Review

July 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 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.