Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care - 06/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care

How well placed is Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care 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

Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care is a not-for-profit, full-day early learning service set up primarily to cater for the staff and students at the polytechnic. It is licensed to cater for 30 children, including 10 aged up to two years. Of the 29 children enrolled, 10 are Māori and six identify as being of Pacific descent. Many enrolled families have long-term generational links with the service Five of the six teachers have full practising certificates.

Operation of the service is subsidised by Whitireia Polytechnic (the service provider) and overseen by assigned department and management personnel. A head teacher has responsibility for the dayto-day management of the service.

The philosophy guiding learning and teaching emphasises: the importance of fostering an environment that values children’s capability; diversity; te ao Māori; family and whānau; and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

At the time of this ERO review, significant changes were occurring at governance and management level due to the restructuring of polytechnic operation, including organisation of shared services with Weltec. There are planned changes to the management support offered by Whitireia to the centre.

The service has a good reporting history with ERO. The December 2013 ERO review identified the need for management to: document guidelines to support children’s transitions to primary school; and develop the appraisal process, strategic planning, and a more evaluative approach to review. Progress is evident.

The Review Findings

Operation reflects the intent of the philosophy. Curriculum priorities are relevant and responsive to children's and their families' needs. Promoting children's wellbeing and sense of belonging are priorities. Children show high levels of trust in their teachers and the centre environment. 

The daily programme is strongly child led, giving effect to teachers’ belief in children as competent leaders of their own learning. Literacy, mathematics, science, physical activity and the arts are woven throughout daily activities in play-based ways. Children are empowered as learners.

The learning environment is rich and challenging. Resources reflect a focus on real things and the natural environment. Displays and documentation celebrate children’s work and the diversity of the community. Children enjoy the opportunities to freely investigate materials, work with others and make choices about their participation. The quiet, calm tone reflects their high levels of engagement in learning.

Teachers communicate a real enthusiasm for learning, following children’s leads and skilfully supporting their developing confidence and independence as learners. They know individuals well and are highly responsive and respectful in their approach.

Provision for infants and toddlers is well developed. Close connections, supported by high levels of communication and trust between parents and key staff, are evident. Children are respectfully supported to make choices, manage themselves and work with and alongside others in positive ways.

A carefully considered, individualised approach effectively supports children’s transitions into the centre. This is informed by ongoing communication and collaboration between teachers and parents.

The development of close, reciprocal relationships with families and whānau is prioritised. Parents’ views about operation are sought and valued to inform decisions about improvement.

A strong commitment to understanding the local Māori context and te ao Māori is evident. Links have been made with Ngāti Toa to support the team's approach. The kaupapa of the centre actively promotes te reo me ngā tikanga Māori that are incorporated into daily rituals and protocols. Teachers have plans to continue strengthening the bicultural perspective in the programme and their understanding of effective ways to work with Māori learners.

The team's approach to supporting children's transition to primary school is being redefined through the participation of key staff in a local cluster group. Teachers should continue to develop purposeful links with primary schools to share ways of working and consider how best to support continuity of children's learning at school entry.

Teachers’ approach to planning for learning is carefully considered and well led. Programme evaluation is used well to support decision making about next planning steps for the group. Children's individual learning portfolios record how teachers are noticing, recognising and responding to some of their learning. Rich narrative documents learning outcomes, linked to Te Whāriki and theories of learning. 

Teachers agree they need to continue to support parents’ understanding of, and input into, their children's learning programme. They should also consider showing how they support individuals to make progress in relation to their parents’ aspirations, dispositions for learning and interests. Reflecting families' cultures, languages and identities in planning needs to be a priority. Shared participation of all teachers in programme planning should be facilitated.

The teaching team is well established. Positive relationships and a cohesive team approach are in place. Teachers demonstrate high levels of support for each other.

Although teachers are benefitting from a range of professional learning opportunities (PLD), the implementation of the appraisal process needs strengthening to better support their development needs. Improvement is needed in relation to goal setting, the quality of feedback and alignment of PLD with the needs of individuals.

A good framework is in place to support review for improvement. This includes consideration of best practice outcomes and collection of a range of evidence to support decision making about change. Shared leadership of reviews/internal evaluation is a next step.

Systems that support sustainability of practice and operation at governance and centre management levels are in need of further development. These include:

  • a strategic plan, linked to the service provider's long-term planning, that outlines collaboratively developed goals linked to teaching, learning and operation, and a defined budget to progress priorities

  • improved communication, including formalised reporting from the centre to the service provider, linked to development priorities

  • clarity around roles and responsibilities at governance and management level

  • an up-to-date policy framework that clearly outlines expectations linked to Whitireia Polytechnic and centre operation and practice

  • a system that provides assurance to the service provider that its expectations in relation to centre management are being met.

Key Next Steps

The head teacher agrees she should continue to focus on strengthening systems that sustain good practice and promote improvement, including:

  • strategic planning

  • implementation of the teacher appraisal process

  • development of guiding documents

  • shared leadership of review/internal evaluation focused on improvement

  • collective responsibility for planning for learning.

The service provider should further develop systems that support improved communication, collaboration and planning for the operation of the centre. 

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care 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.

In order to improve current practice, the head teacher should ensure that a hazard register linked to centre operation is developed, displayed and regularly updated. 

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Whitireia Community Polytechnic Ch-Care will be in three years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

6 June 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

Porirua

Ministry of Education profile number

60200

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

29

Gender composition

Boys 15, Girls 14

Ethnic composition

Māori

Pākehā

Pacific

Other ethnic groups

10

12

6

1

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates

80%

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:7

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

6 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

February 2014

Education Review

September 2010

Education Review

May 2007

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.