Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc - 23/07/2014

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

The service needs support to further develop the quality of governance and management practices and aspects of the curriculum.

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


Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc trades as Southern Stars Early Learning Centre. The community-owned centre provides education and care for 35 children up to the age of five.

The 2011 ERO review was a supplementary review. Recommendations included developing guidelines for improving the learning environment, teaching practice, appraisals and self review. Progress has been made in addressing these issues, but slowed down due to committee and staffing changes.

Since 2011 there have been changes to staff and in the way the centre operates. The president is aware of the ongoing improvements in governance and management that need to be made. Planning for the centre's redevelopment is underway and stage one is due to begin shortly.

The Review Findings

Teaching and learning

Children and their families are supported by the positive, caring relationships they have with the teachers at the centre. Children are learning some te reo and waiata Māori in an environment that reflects New Zealand's bicultural heritage. Teachers provide resources and equipment that encourage children to build their physical skills and abilities. Children have access to a range of natural resources within the centre and have regular opportunities to visit and explore a variety of local surroundings.

Other aspects of the centre's operation that are supporting children's learning include:

  • teachers' involvement in regular professional development
  • children's involvement in a wide range of activities and experiences
  • the opportunity for some older children to participate in an outdoor exploration programme that builds their knowledge of the natural world.

The infant area provides a calm and settled space for young children to learn and develop. Recent professional development has resulted in a programme for the children that is responsive to their needs. Teachers are focussed on supporting the development of positive and nurturing relationships based on trust and respect.


Planning for learning shows that children are provided with a range of activities and experiences. The teachers gather information about children’s interests, strengths and abilities. Programme planning could be strengthened by including links to identified learning priorities. This would support teachers in focusing their assessment and planning on children’s actual learning and next learning steps, and allow them to show the progress in each child’s learning records.

Teachers need to be more specific about what could be done next to promote further learning.

Best practice examples include the aspirations parents have for their children, show evidence of intentional teaching, and evaluate the impact the experience had on learning.

Teachers should review how well they recognise and acknowledge the language, culture and identity of children from diverse background and circumstances.


At the time of the review the head teacher was unwell and could not be fully involved in the review. The teachers have individual strengths and abilities that are used to provide leadership in specific areas. The staff appraisal system is new and it is too early to say whether it has the rigour to affirm good practice and support teacher development.

Teachers would benefit from having clear direction or expectations to guide self review, assessment, planning and the quality of teaching. It is likely that ongoing mentoring and support is required to support leadership development within the centre. The management group is prepared to resource this support.

Self review

Self-review processes and practices at the centre are in the early stages. These need further development so that they can provide valid assurance about how well service goals and outcomes are being achieved. Establishing effective practices and a schedule for self review will help to ensure that all aspects of the operation of the service are having a positive impact on children.

Governance and management

The committee is receiving training to revise the constitution and better understand members’ roles and responsibilities. It has recently developed a useful strategic plan and annual plan. Within this planning the committee identifies a need for training to improve leadership within the centre. As this planning is developed and modified it should provide useful guidance for the governance and management and be an effective basis for ongoing self review.

The committee needs to receive regular reports that provide evidence of compliance with all licensing requirements, and in particular aspects of health and safety. Reports need to show how children are learning in response to high quality teaching and the provision of appropriate learning programmes. The head teacher could further support the committee by reporting progress against the strategic goals and progress with implementing the annual plan. This reporting will be very useful if it is based on effective monitoring and robust self-review practices.

The committee expressed a willingness to engage external support to help it make these improvements.

Key Next Steps

The priority areas for review and development include:

  • governance and management practices
  • ongoing and planned self review that supports continuous improvement
  • meeting the compliance requirements noted in this report

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.

Actions for compliance

ERO found aspects of non-compliance in the service related to:

  • curriculum planning and assessment
  • self review
  • management of health and safety, especially for excursions.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, C6, GMA6, HS17, HS12, HS8.

Since the on-site stage of the review the committee and staff have taken a range of steps to improve the management and documentation of these areas of non compliance. There has been a particular focus on aspects of health and safety raised in this review. This information has been provided to ERO as evidence of recently changed practices.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service, in consultation with the Ministry of Education, develops a 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 Te Anau Childcare Centre Inc will be within two years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

23 July 2014

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: 45

Girls: 28

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā







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

May 2014

Date of this report

23 July 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)


Supplementary Review

June 2011


Education Review

November 2009


Education Review

October 2006

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.