Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc - 23/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc

How well placed is Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc 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.


Te Anau Childcare Centre operates as Southern Stars Early Learning Centre. This community-owned service provides full-day education and care for 56 children up to school age in a mixed-age setting. An increasing number of children come from diverse backgrounds.

The 2014 ERO evaluation report indicated that the service required further development before it could be considered well placed to sustain and improve its performance. In response to ERO's report, the service, with the support of the Ministry of Education, produced a development plan to address the issues identified by ERO. The aspects requiring work were:

  • governance and management practices

  • self review

  • aspects of compliance.

The service has made good progress in making improvements in these three areas.

Since 2014 there have been staffing changes, including a new head teacher and a full-time centre manager. Most of the staff are qualified teachers, with a mix of experienced and recently trained. At the time of this review in early 2017, work was under way to complete the redevelopment and extension of the building.

The Review Findings

Children show a strong sense of belonging to this service. They learn in a welcoming and supportive environment where respect is modelled by staff to help children's development. Children learn and play independently or alongside one another respectfully.

Children under two years of age benefit from a calm environment and nurturing relationships with their teachers. Teachers take a well-considered approach to educating the whole child within the philosophy of "we care, we respect, we grow".

Teachers make a particular effort to know children as individuals, and ensure children can make choices. Teachers provide a programme that is responsive to children's interests, dispositions and developmental needs. The service continues to celebrate the unique local environment.

The learning programme has a strong focus on supporting learning through real-life experiences that link to the child's home life. Teachers ensure children experience and value local events and celebrations such as Illumination Month and Santa Parade. A group of younger children enjoy a community-run active movement programme in a nearby hall. A group of older children develop knowledge of the living and physical world in the service's own outdoor education programme. As a result, children develop a strong sense of identity and belonging to the local community.

The head teacher and centre manager are fostering a collaborative team culture within the staff. A suitable appraisal process with links to the service's goals supports teachers to show continuous improvement.

Leaders and teachers have asked parents for their suggestions and opinions, and have made changes to their practices as a result. The service's leaders continue to build collaborative relationships with other local education providers.

In response to the 2014 ERO report, the governance group, leaders and teachers have made positive changes that provide a sound basis for ongoing improvement.

The governance group has:

  • established a clear distinction between governance and management

  • reviewed the service's constitution

  • made good use of external support for improved governance practice

  • been well supported and informed by newly-appointed leadership

  • developed a positive approach to succession planning and sustainability.

Leaders and teachers have:

  • worked together to improve planning for children's learning

  • strengthened their understanding of and involvement in internal evaluation (self-review)

  • improved the management and documentation of health and safety.

Key Next Steps

To continue to improve outcomes for children, the service and ERO agree the key next steps are to:

  • clarify and document for teachers the processes expected for assessment, planning and evaluation

  • ensure the expectations for assessment, planning and evaluation are followed and the quality of their implementation monitored

  • clearly show the teaching strategies to be used to make a positive difference to children’s learning

  • make internal evaluation (self-review) more evaluative and document clear guidelines for consistency of expected practice

  • make reports to the governance body more evaluative, with a focus on the impact centre programmes and teaching are having on children’s learning

  • develop a strategic plan that clearly reflects the centre’s key priorities.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc 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 Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc will be in three years.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Te Waipounamu)

23 March 2017 

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 


Te Anau

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 15 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 29

Girls: 27

Ethnic composition









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

February 2017

Date of this report

23 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2014

Supplementary Review

June 2011

Education Review

November 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.