St Mary's Early Childhood Education Centre - 10/02/2016

1 Evaluation of St Mary's Early Childhood Education Centre

How well placed is St Mary's Early Childhood Education Centre to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Systems to guide centre direction and teaching and learning require strengthening.

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


St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre is a well-established early childhood service located in suburban Karori, Wellington. A parent committee, members of the Anglican Church and the head teacher work cooperatively to organise operation of the service. Full day education and care is offered for 30 children, including five aged up to two years of age. Most children attend a few days each week.

Of the seven staff, six are fully or provisionally registered teachers. Day-to-day management of the service is delegated to the head teacher who is supported by a part-time administrator.

ERO reviewed the centre in March 2013. Areas to be given priority for development were internal evaluation of the service’s philosophy, appraisal and aspects of the programme. Although progress has been made some processes have lapsed.

The Review Findings

At St Mary’s Early Childhood Education Centre the philosophy is underpinned by shared Christian values and beliefs. Positive, child-teacher-family relationships successfully support the development of children's identity. During times of child initiated, play-based activity, the curriculum, environment and resources provide children with a range of activities and learning experiences. Teachers should consider ways to ensure that the programme and routines are always flexible and designed to meet children’s needs.

Narratives and photographs show children's engagement and progress. Observations of learning are reflected in profile books and a variety of visual displays within the centre. Documentation shows some evidence of teachers’ analysis of observations. At times their understanding of individual children’s learning pathways support how they plan to add complexity and strengthen outcomes for these children.

Teachers mostly have positive and responsive relationships with children and actively promote peer interactions. Young children and toddlers welcome opportunities to enthusiastically explore, talk about and engage in these experiences. Mathematical learning features meaningfully within a variety of experiences throughout the curriculum.

Programme provision for infants focuses on nurturing their wellbeing through responsive caregiving. Play is increasingly viewed as an occasion for learning and providing opportunities for young learners to become active communicators and explorers.

Staff demonstrate inclusive practices and positively include children with identified learning needs.

Waiata, pepeha and the use of basic te reo Māori are developing as part of children’s programme experiences. Teachers are beginning to improve their understanding of ways of teaching that reflect and respond to Māori learners. They should make use of Ka Hikitia: Accelerating Success 2013-2017 and Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners to further develop culturally responsive practices.

Professional leadership requires strengthening. The head teacher is not appraised. Leaders have reviewed the appraisal system. This process is yet to be implemented with all staff. Supporting staff to strengthen their knowledge of high quality practice should be a key next step.

Internal evaluation is in the early stages of development. Strategic planning is not robust. The focus of the plan is on centre operations and identifies limited teaching and learning objectives. Consideration should be given to collaboratively developing a plan that identifies priorities and associated goals to strengthen centre operations and the quality of teaching and learning.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and managers should seek support to:

  • continue to develop teachers’ capacity for evaluation and internal review to promote inquiry into the impact of teaching practice on outcomes for children
  • further align the centre’s Christian philosophy to teaching and learning for children
  • develop assessment practices that more effectively highlight individual children’s progress over time
  • review current strategic and annual planning to better guide future development
  • implement robust systems and processes that build leaders’ and teachers’ capabilities
  • build effective and sustainable governance and management practices that promote long-term high quality education and care for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Mary's Early Childhood Education 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to appraisal. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • ensuring that the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices, including review practices and appraisal of all staff[Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6, GMA7]

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of St Mary's Early Childhood Education Centre will be within two years.

Joyce Gebbie

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central

10 February 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

30 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 23, Boys 21

Ethnic composition





Other ethnic groups






Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

10 February 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2013


Education Review

April 2010


Education Review

March 2007

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.