Topkids St Lukes - 08/03/2017

1 Evaluation of Topkids St Lukes

How well placed is Topkids St Lukes 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 St Lukes is licensed for up to 98 children including 45 up to two years of age. The centre is part of the national BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation, which provides an overarching governance and management framework as well as personnel to support individual centres.

The centre provides for children in four rooms: Nursery for under two year olds, Toddlers for two to three year olds, Preschool 1 for three to four years old and Preschool 2 for children from four years to school age. Nursery and Preschool 2 each have an outdoor play area, which are both separate from that shared by children in the Toddlers and Preschool 1 rooms. Each room is led by a head teacher who supports the room's teaching team.

At the time of the 2015 ERO review a number of staff and managers were new to their roles. Staffing is now stable. Leadership changes in the last year have mostly been internal promotions. A centre manager and assistant manager are supported by the BestStart professional services and business managers. The centre provides a high ratio of adults to children; it employs seven fully certificated teachers, and two provisionally certificated teachers, several teacher aides, a cook and administrators. The staff reflect the ethnic diversity of the community.

The 2015 ERO review identified key areas for development including the quality of the curriculum, leadership and management and non-compliance related to supervision practices and documentation of incidents. Centre managers worked with the Ministry of Education to develop an action plan to address these matters. Very good progress has been made to address the identified areas for improvement and to ensure compliance.

The Review Findings

Teachers' interactions with children provide good opportunities for conversation and children's oral language development. Children are encouraged to participate, think and be independent. They are developing social skills and confidently engage with their peers and with adults. Children are increasingly supported to co-operate and collaborate.

Infants and toddlers up to two years of age receive caring and nurturing support. Each child is delegated a key teacher who takes overall responsibility for their care. Children experience a calm, unhurried pace and opportunities to explore indoor and outdoor environments. Teachers in the Nursery room continue to review the environment and resources to improve provision for children's specific stages of development. Managers agree that professional learning related to provision for infants and toddlers could help teachers to build on these improvements.

Managers have documented expectations for teaching and learning, which help to guide teachers' practice. Teachers have made good progress with how they document teaching strategies and programme planning, assessment and evaluation. Increasingly parents contribute to children's learning records. Teachers are working to enhance parent and whanau partnerships in learning and to respond more specifically to children's individual and group interests and dispositions.

A collaborative, inclusive process of internal evaluation has been established. Head teachers are supporting their teams to reflect on and improve through teaching practice. All teachers have contributed to a review of the environment in their rooms. This has resulted in teachers' better understanding how the philosophy is supported by the physical environment. Managers agree that teachers should continue to strengthen their evaluative practice.

Managers have established a positive team culture that promotes shared understanding and progress. Teachers have improved supervision and health and safety practices. Managers have established transparent communication systems and continue to develop the team's leadership skills and promote a shared vision.

BestStart has useful systems for monitoring centre operations. These include regular management meetings and an internal audit process (QEC), which is used to identify challenges and develop plans for improvement. In addition, the centre has a useful strategic plan that is linked to the BestStart vision and strategic plan, as well as the centre's philosophy statement, an annual management plan and QEC action plans for each room.

A new appraisal system that aligns with Education Council requirements has been implemented. BestStart has organised related professional learning and development for staff in 2017 that will introduce Tataiako - Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Maori Learners. Teachers in this centre need support to improve their bicultural practice.

Key Next Steps

The managers agree that key next steps are to build teacher capability, including:

  • improving the provision for children up two years of age and in all rooms

  • strengthening programme planning to respond to children’s individual interests and ideas

  • use of internal evaluation systems to identify the extent to which change results in improved outcomes for children

  • strengthening teachers' bicultural practice. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

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

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

8 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 


St Lukes, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

98 children, including up to 45 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 53% Boys 47%

Ethnic composition





Middle Eastern


other ethnicities








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

December 2016

Date of this report

8 March 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

March 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.