WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako - 06/09/2017

1 Evaluation of WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako

How well placed is WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako 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.

Background

WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako is a not-for-profit, full-day service set up primarily to cater for the staff and students at the Wellington Institute of Technology (WELTEC) and the wider community. It is licenced to cater for 42 children, including eight aged up to two years. Of the 47 children enrolled, 16 are Māori and three identify as being of Pacific heritage.

Operation of the service is subsidised by WELTEC (the service provider) and overseen by assigned department and management personnel. A recently-appointed centre manager has responsibility for the day-to-day management of the service and the curriculum. She is supported by a team leader. Most members of the teaching team are qualified and registered.

Since the March 2015 ERO report, WELTEC and Whitirea Polytechnics are in Strategic Partnership. A director, from the umbrella organisation, is the service provider and has responsibility for the governance and management of both centres. A review of WELTEC in late 2015 resulted in changes to the teaching team.

The centre philosophy was reviewed in May 2017 in consultation with parents and whānau. It draws on concepts of te ao Māori and the Pacific and is based on the characteristics of Māui. The vision statement is currently under review.

The March 2015 ERO evaluation found significant areas of non-compliance related to curriculum, management of risk for excursions, the appraisal process, leadership and governance. Considerable progress has been made in all areas.

The Review Findings

Curriculum priorities are relevant and responsive to children's and families' needs. Promoting wellbeing and a sense of belonging are priorities.

Children freely investigate the range of materials available, work with others and make choices about their participation. Resources reflect a focus on real things and the natural environment. A quiet, calm tone is promoted to engage them in learning. Displays and documentation celebrate children's work and reflects the diversity of the community.

Infants and toddlers experience a curriculum influenced by the RIE/Pickler philosophy where children are respectfully supported to make choices, encouraged to manage themselves and work with and alongside others in positive ways. Care routines are closely aligned to parents' wishes and teachers recognise these as opportunities for learning.

Teachers' approach to planning is well developed. Programme evaluation is used to support decisions for next planning steps. Ongoing observations of children participating in everyday activities builds a picture of them as learners.

A range of assessment data provides opportunities for parents and whānau to contribute to their child's learning. Children's individual profile books effectively record how teachers are noticing, recognising and responding to their learning. Descriptive narratives often include parent and child voice with learning outcomes linked to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Monitoring and review of assessment practice indicates further development is required.

Te reo me ngā tikanga Māori are highly evident. Natural resources and artefacts acknowledge many different cultures. Teachers value Māori children's identities. Their cultural knowledge is recognised and their learning achievements celebrated. A kaumatua supports the centre in the development of teachers' knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori.

Teachers ensure that interactions with the Pacific community are culturally responsive.

Diverse learners are well supported. Teachers work closely with parents/whānau and external agencies. Individual education plans support children's learning goals.

A carefully considered, individualised approach supports children's transitions into the centre. The recently-developed parent aspiration form promotes discussion about what parents' value for their children and how the centre can maintain its connection to their cultural identity.

Relationships with local schools have been purposefully established. Resources have been developed for parents use to support their child to become familiar with their next new learning environment. A voluntary, structured group time focuses on school readiness. Leaders have indicated this will be reviewed to determine alignment with both Te Whāriki and The New Zealand Curriculum.

The centre manager has recently strengthened the appraisal process to better support teachers' development needs and improve performance. Meaningful conversations and goal setting have been established to support teachers to improve their practice. They participate in a range of professional learning opportunities linked to teacher and centre goals.

A useful framework is in place to support review for improvement. Reviews are linked to strategic intentions, are collaboratively undertaken with parents/whānau and result in positive changes. A recent shift in practice is measuring and monitoring the impact of changes to teachers' practice to improved outcomes for children. Continuing to strengthen teachers understanding and practice for effective internal evaluation is a next step.

Leaders and teachers have worked to establish a positive team culture. A distributed leadership model utilises staff strengths to continue the development of the curriculum.

Key Next Steps

ERO and leader's agree that the next steps are to continue to strengthen:

  • systems that support sustainability of practice and operation at governance and management level

  • internal evaluation

  • improved planning for children's transition to school.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako 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 WELTEC Early Learning Ctr - Te Whare Ako will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

6 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

Location

Petone, Lower Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number

60369

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

42 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll

47

Gender composition

Boys 29, Girls 18

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific
Other ethnicities

16
14
3
14

Percentage of qualified teachers

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:3

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2017

Date of this report

6 September 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

March 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

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.