Topkids Inglewood - 25/09/2017

1 Evaluation of Topkids Inglewood

How well placed is Topkids Inglewood 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.


Topkids Inglewood (formerly Rainbow Inglewood) is one of nine early learning services in the Taranaki region, owned and operated by Best Start Educare Limited (BestStart). It provides an all-day service for 65 children, including 25 aged up to two years. Children up to two years of age are cared for in a designated area. The toddlers and preschool areas have recently merged. Both play spaces have their own attractive outdoors area. Fourteen percent of the children enrolled identify as Māori.

This is the first ERO review since the change of ownership. Significant changes in regional leadership and local staffing have occurred since the centre's ownership changed. A business manager and newly-appointed professional services manager oversee the centre. Daily operation and curriculum implementation is delegated to a centre manager who is supported by two head teachers. Most teaching staff are qualified. The new owners have made significant improvements to the external areas.

This review was part of a cluster of five reviews in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children are encouraged to be independent, respectful learners. A range of experiences are provided to support them to progress. Teachers treat them as competent learners and encourage them to express their feelings and ideas. They are well supported in their play and to make their own decisions.

Babies and toddlers are offered and supported to make choices and decisions about their participation. Children confidently interact with adults and others in a family-like atmosphere. The learning environment is well designed to support interactions and is suitably resourced to encourage exploration.

Teachers model expected behaviours and actively support the development of children's sense of belonging. They encourage them to express their ideas and to build relationships with others. Teachers work with external agencies to plan programmes for children requiring additional learning support. The progress of these children is regularly monitored.

Children are well supported in their transition into and within the centre, through thoughtful and sensitive transition processes. The centre has strengthened its relationship with local schools and support agencies through an increased exchange of information and membership of the local Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

The curriculum is responsive to the needs and interests of children. It acknowledges the cultures of centre families and places of significance in the local community. A next step is for teachers to deliberately plan learning opportunities that integrate literacy and numeracy into the curriculum and provide more deliberate support for the development of children's oral language.

Interactions and relationships are positive and supportive of children and their families. Teachers are strengthening their relationships with parents and whānau to develop partnerships for learning. They have worked to develop their understanding of te ao Māori and use of te reo Māori. Families from other cultures provide rich opportunities for other centre families to be involved in events of significance to them. These events are highly valued within the centre. Teachers should continue to grow their confidence and competence in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori and in working with other cultures and to enrich the learning experiences for children.

The introduction of a digital assessment tool has promoted and enabled parents to give greater feedback and contribution to children's learning records. Leaders and teachers have identified a need to continue to develop their assessment, planning and evaluation processes. ERO's evaluation affirms this decision. Professional leaders should continue to support teachers to widen the range of teaching strategies and inquire into their effectiveness in adding depth and complexity to individual children’s learning. In particular they should:

  • plan specific, challenging teaching strategies to support individuals

  • monitor children's progress over time

  • explicitly address parent aspirations for their children's learning.

Useful frameworks guide mentoring and appraisal. Professional leaders have indicated that these systems are currently under review. This review should include consideration of how to strengthen:

  • individual goals and critical feedback and feed-forward

  • evidence to clearly demonstrate progress

  • individual teacher inquiries into the impact of their teaching practices on outcomes for children.

Self review is currently used for research and development. Leaders agree that they should now make the shift to using internal evaluation to support decisions about improvement. ERO's evaluation affirms this decision.

BestStart managers are supportive and improvement focused. They use knowledge of current best practice to guide and inform change. In 2017, this support has been disrupted while new regional managers have been appointed. This process has been completed. New managers should to resume regular support to individual centres through providing ongoing feedback on centre operation, feedback to teachers and regular professional development based on teacher needs and centre priorities.

Key Next Steps

BestStart management and centre leaders have identified that key next steps are to:

  • continue to strengthen assessment, evaluation and planning processes

  • review and strengthen the appraisal process

  • strengthen understanding and implementation of internal evaluation practices.

ERO agrees with these priorities. In addition ERO identifies the need for teachers to:

  • explore and implement an extended range of teaching strategies

  • integrate meaningful literacy and mathematics learning into the daily programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Topkids Inglewood 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 Topkids Inglewood will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

25 September 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

65 children, including up to 25 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 59, Boys 41

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


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2017

Date of this report

25 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

This is the first review of this centre

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.