How we do Akarangi | Quality Evaluations

What we focus on

In an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation we evaluate the extent to which your early childhood service has the learning and organisational conditions to support excellent and equitable outcomes for all learners.


We use our indicators of quality and a judgement rubric

In an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation we use our indicators and a judgement rubric to evaluate your service’s performance.

Te Ara Poutama explains the indicators.

Read Te Ara Poutama | Indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most.

The statements in the Judgement Rubric are based on the indicators.

Read the Evaluation Judgement Rubric.

You can use the indicators and the Judgement Rubric as tools for your internal evaluations.


How we work with you during an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation

1.  We email you to tell you we are doing an evaluation              

We send your service a notification email that details:

  • the timing of the evaluation
  • documents we ask your service to share with us
  • the date when we need these documents
  • resources for the evaluation on ERO’s website, including the indicators, the assurance statement and the self-audit checklist
  • any information needed before we visit your service.


2.  You prepare for the evaluation

You’ll need to complete two tasks before the review.

  1. Share a letter to parents, whānau , kaiako and educators telling them about the review.
  2. Send us the documents we need so we can prepare for the review. These documents help us understand the context and practices of your service.

Below are the documents you’ll need to complete these tasks and a document that gives you background information.

For home-based services:

It would be useful for you to send us this information:

  • your service’s philosophy statement
  • your service’s strategic and/or annual plans
  • your process for reviewing and evaluating your service’s operation
  • an example of recent internal evaluation that includes the outcomes from the review process.

You can prepare for two discussions we want to have with your key people at the beginning of our visit to you service.


The first discussion is for a compliance check about things that are important to children’s learning, wellbeing and health and safety. We will ask you to name a person who will work with us to do this check.

Children’s learning

The second discussion is about what you know about children’s learning in your service. For this discussion we are particularly interested in:

  • what you know about children’s learning in relation to the learning outcomes in Te Whāriki
  • what you know about the learning and development of Māori children, children of Pacific heritage, children with additional learning needs, and children up to the age of 3
  • what your priorities are for children’s learning, and why you decided these priorities
  • what you know about how well the learning and organisational conditions in your service are supporting equitable and excellent outcomes for all children
  • what improvement is your focus at this time.


3.  We exchange information to prepare for the evaluation

Before we visit your service for the evaluation, we will exchange information with you.

Our reviewer leading the evaluation will contact and talk with you so that you can:

  • get to know about our evaluation approach and resources
  • ask questions about what will happen during the evaluation process.

We’ll clarify some details including:

  • dates and times when our reviewers will visit your service
  • any protocols we should observe when we are there
  • dates and times for meetings
  • where our reviewers will be based at your service.


4.  We want to know about your internal evaluation

Our reviewers consider information from your service’s internal evaluation to see what you know about:

  • how well your service is doing in terms of achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for learners
  • the extent to which learning and organisational conditions in your service support improvement.


5.  We design the evaluation

Our reviewers use all the available information, including discussions with you, to design the evaluation.


6.  We begin our visit with discussions with your key people

We begin the evaluation visit with the two discussions with key people in your service.

The compliance check

We work with the person you have named from your service to check compliance.

We will check the following items because they have a potentially high impact on children’s learning, wellbeing and health and safety:

  • emotional safety including positive guidance, child protection including safety checking
  • physical safety including supervision, sleeping practices, accidents, medication, hygiene and excursion policies and procedures
  • suitable staffing including qualification levels, safety checking including police vetting, teacher registration and ratios
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

We check that any areas of non-compliance in the previous ERO report have been addressed.

If our checking identifies any non-compliance that is an ‘unacceptable risk’ to children, ERO will shift the focus to an Akanuku | Assurance Review. This means we will do a full assessment of the regulatory standards and licensing criteria.

Children’s learning

We talk with key people in your service to discuss what you know about children’s learning and the conditions in your service that support it.


7.  We confirm the evaluation design with you

These discussions are an opportunity for the ERO reviewers to:

  • share and discuss the proposed evaluation design with you
  • clarify what they have in mind for involving people in your service in the evaluation
  • provide you with more information about the evaluation process.


8.  We gather and discuss evidence with you

We gather information by reading documents, meeting with key people, and observing aspects of your curriculum in action.                      


9.  We use the indicators and the Judgement Rubric to decide what the evidence means

We use Te Ara Poutama indicators of quality when we make judgements about what is happening for the children in your service, and the extent to which you are providing learning and organisational conditions that support their learning.

Read Te Ara Poutama | Indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most.

We use the four-point quality improvement continuum in the Evaluation Judgement Rubric to judge where your service is at on its improvement journey.

Read the Evaluation Judgement Rubric.


10.  We discuss what we are finding with you

At the conclusion of the evaluation visit to your service, the reviewers will meet with key people in your service to share and discuss what the findings look like at that point.


11.  We write our draft report

The Akarangi | Quality Evaluation report includes:

  • our judgements under Ngā Akatoro - learning and organisational conditions
  • our judgement about what your service knows about outcomes for children
  • a short context section
  • a summary of findings
  • improvement actions
  • any actions for compliance.


12.  You give feedback about the draft report

We email you the draft report about 20 working days after we finish the evaluation visit at your service.

You have 15 working days from the date we email the report to:

  • ask about the evidence we based our findings on
  • tell us in writing about any errors of fact or anything that is missing
  • provide extra documents or evidence.

We’ll consider your response. If the evidence justifies a change, we’ll update the report.


13.  We publish the report

We confirm the report and email a copy to you within 2 weeks.

We publish the report on our website 2 weeks after we email you the confirmed report.

The audience for ERO reports includes the public, parents and whānau, the Government and people in the early childhood education sector.


What happens after the evaluation

We want you to use the evaluation indicators in Te Ara Poutama and the Judgement Rubric in your internal evaluation. This will help you to decide and focus on where you need to improve.

You decide how you will address the improvement actions for your service in your planning.

Read Te Ara Poutama | Indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most.

Read the Evaluation Judgement Rubric.


You can give us feedback about your review

We’re interested in your experience of the review. Please take the time to complete our Akarangi questionnaire online.