St Marks Preschool - 19/06/2018

1 Evaluation of St Marks Preschool

How well placed is St Marks 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 Marks Preschool is located within the grounds of St Mark’s Church School (Mt Victoria), Wellington, and is governed by the St Mark's Church School (Mt Victoria) board. It is licensed for 50 children over the age of two. The preschool's philosophy emphasises children as agents of their own learning. It is respectful of the special character of the St Mark’s community and seeks to uphold Christian values.

Day-to-day management is overseen by the principal and is the responsibility of the dean of the preschool. A new dean was appointed in 2016. She works closely with the principal and other members of the senior management team on all aspects of operation of the preschool and provides regular reports to the school board.

The centre comprises two spaces, the Preschool and Foundation rooms, catering for younger and older children. The programme incorporates Te Whāriki, New Zealand's early childhood curriculum, and follows an inquiry-led model that is part of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme.

The areas requiring development identified in the August 2015 ERO report have been addressed.

The Review Findings

Children learn in a calm, ordered environment. Interactions with children are warm and highly responsive. Teachers know the children well and respond effectively to their strengths, interests and capabilities. They are intentional in the way they recognise and respond to opportunities to engage in, and extend, children in self-directed learning.

Leaders and teachers encourage and invite parents and whānau to actively participate in the programme to benefit their children’s learning. Events and local excursions extend the curriculum. All children’s cultures, languages and identities are highly valued and celebrated in a meaningful way.

Teachers use appropriate teaching strategies and resources to support ongoing development. A child-initiated, inquiry-based approach, linked to the school's focus, deepens children’s knowledge and understanding of learning. Teachers respect children’s ideas for learning and skilfully support their growing social and emotional competence and development.

The preschool's physical environment offers an appropriate range of challenges and opportunities for children to explore and become fully involved in a wide range of activities. Children practise environmental sustainability.

Group and individual planning support children’s engagement in the programme. Oral and written language, mathematics and science are promoted. Children actively participate in and share their learning. Assessment records link purposefully with parents' aspirations and the centre’s inquiry focus. Leaders agree that teachers should continue to reflect on and strengthen the documentation of evaluation of teacher strategies to support learning and show how these have supported children’s progress over time.

The bicultural curriculum is an integral part of the programme. Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are evident in the environment, and children enthusiastically participate in karakia and waiata. They are familiar with te reo Māori and respond to it, at times in te reo.

Children with additional learning needs are well supported in their learning with individual education plans, purposeful teaching strategies and outside agency involvement when appropriate. Sign language is promoted through waiata. Transition processes are sensitively managed and well considered into, through and from the preschool.

A sound, systematic approach to meaningful internal evaluation is in place. This leads to positive learning outcomes for children. Teachers make use of indicators of success to measure the effectiveness of their practice and implement centre-wide improvements. Leaders and teachers are well equipped to identify and address areas for improvement.

A useful appraisal system with clear timelines and expectations supports teacher professional growth and development. The school has agreed to embed the summary page from the Education Council to assist in clarifying teachers' strengths, areas for development and setting goals. Critical feedback and reflections should also be more clearly focused on learning outcomes for children.

Policies and procedures align with school requirements and practices, and appropriately guide high quality practice in the service. The school principal effectively supports the preschool dean in her leadership role.

Key Next Steps

ERO has confidence in the service’s capacity to continue to strengthen and evaluate improvement in:

  • the documentation of teacher strategies to show children's learning and progress over time

  • linking teacher inquiry and appraisal more strongly to learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

19 June 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



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 two

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 22, Girls 13

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2018

Date of this report

19 June 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

August 2015

Supplementary Review

October 2012

Education Review

May 2011

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.