Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service - 06/04/2018

1 Evaluation of Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service

How well placed is Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service 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.


Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service, is situated in Kelburn near the university. The service provides education and care for children aged from three months to five years. Both part and full-time sessions are offered, five days a week. At the time of this evaluation six Māori and three children of Pacific heritage were enrolled.

Most teachers are fully qualified and represent a diverse range of cultures. The centre, along with the nearby Clermont Terrace service, is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. An associate director of campus and student living, is employed by the university to provide strategic management, curriculum support and guidance for three head teachers and the teaching team.

The March 2015 ERO report identified areas requiring further improvement. These included: developing teacher practice to fully respond to the complex nature of individual children; strengthening assessment, planning and evaluation; and including te reo and te ao Māori experiences for children into the curriculum. Good progress has been made in addressing these areas.

The centre is divided into three adjacent learning areas. Te Whare Mokopuna caters for infants from three months to approximately 24 months of age. Toddlers then move across to Te Whare Mākaro, which cater for children aged from 24 months to three years. From here, children aged three to five years transition to Te Whare Matiu until they begin school.

The Review Findings

Children confidently engage in an inspiring play-based curriculum. Teachers work closely alongside individuals and groups, supporting their learning. Interactions are highly respectful, responsive and fun. Growing children's independence and social competence is well supported. They have opportunities to challenge themselves and take risks. The creative arts and nature-based learning opportunities are centre strengths. 

Infants and toddlers benefit from highly responsive interactions. They are respectfully offered space, time and choices. Teachers know children and their families very well, and tailor their practice accordingly. A well-considered range of open-ended, inviting sensory resources are offered for children to explore at their own pace.

Leaders and teachers continue to build their knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori, to assist them in developing a meaningful everyday bicultural curriculum. Aspects of kaupapa Māori are promoted in the centre, including children's pepeha, wall displays and artefacts. Leaders should continue to encourage teachers’ use of te reo Māori in conversations with children.

Whānau expertise and the university resources are used to extend and enhance children’s learning experiences. Children, teachers and whānau are provided opportunities to engage with te ao Māori and tikanga practices in meaningful ways.

The service is in the process of defining and unpacking its valued outcomes. As this process unfolds, they should consider ways to develop an overarching philosophy to support all three learning spaces. Indicators of good practice related to this philosophy should include specific strategies for working alongside whānau, targeting the educational success of Māori and Pacific children.

Assessment documentation highlights teachers’ close, positive relationships with children and their families. They draw on strong pedagogical knowledge to build valuable assessments that celebrate children’s skills, interests, dispositions and development. Leaders agree that their next step is to use these assessments, along with whānau aspirations and cultural information, to plan and evaluate specific teaching strategies that enhance children’s learning. This should be clearly evident in documentation.

Comprehensive, flexible processes are highly supportive of children and families as they transition into and through the centre. Useful settling strategies are sensitively tailored to individual children. It is timely for the teaching team to explore how a wider range of tailored strategies could better promote children’s confident transition to school. 

Teachers collaborate on useful, child-focused reviews of their practice. Good quality information from discussion, reflection, research and observation, along with whānau and community consultation, informs improvements to the programme. Leaders should consider ways they can continue to build on teachers' knowledge and capability to use internal evaluation. This should assist them to better measure how their practices impact on children's learning.

An effective appraisal system is in place. Leaders and teachers use an inquiry and
knowledge-building approach to meet appraisal goals. Aligning goals to strategic plans will further enhance the process.

A highly effective, collaborative leadership model is in place. Leaders have high professional expectations, and have purposefully built a cohesive, positive team culture. There is a clear sense of purpose and commitment to enacting the philosophy in practice. Teachers have many opportunities to engage in professional development and debate, and to grow their leadership skills. 

Key Next Steps

ERO, leaders and teachers agree that the next steps for improvement are:

  • developing specific strategies that support children's transitions to school
  • further strengthening aspects of assessment, planning and evaluation
  • building on the use of te reo Māori in the programme
  • developing an overarching philosophy to support all three learning spaces
  • continuing to strengthen teachers' capability and understanding of internal evaluation.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service 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 Victoria University of Wellington Fairlie Terrace Early Childhood Service will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

6 April 2018 

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

77 children, including up to 37 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 29, Boys 46

Ethnic composition

Other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

6 April 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Education Review

March 2015

June 2010

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.