How ERO reviews early childhood services

This section explains what reviews we do and how we review your early childhood service.

It explains the changes we have made to early childhood reviews, starting from 2019. We will continue to make changes through into 2023.


What early childhood services we review

ERO reviews all early childhood services that are:

  • Centre based
  • Home based
  • Hospital based


We review using different approaches

Governing organisations

ERO has defined a governing organisation as an early childhood education provider that has oversight of 15 or more services. These can include services that are centre-based, home-based and those with mixed centre and home-based provision.

ERO has developed a specific review approach for governing organisations and their services.

Governing organisation reviews focus on:

  • what the governing organisation knows about its services’ performance
  • the role the organisation plays in supporting each services' continuous improvement journey
  • evaluating system-wide approaches that the governing organisation has in place.

Through these reviews, ERO will work with governing organisations to develop a collective, system-wide positive contribution to high quality education and care for all children.

ERO will work with governing organisations in the following ways: 

  • building closer ties between review officers and governing organisations
  • increasing the contact ERO has with organisations, relative to their size
  • undertaking review sampling, where ERO samples a number of the organisation’s individual services to be assured that the organisation’s policies, systems and practices are effectively implemented. 

ERO reports publicly on its findings of each governing organisation. Governing organisation reports include findings from the services sampled.

During the process of a governing organisation review, ERO may undertake Assurance Reviews of individual services within the governing organisation.


Centre and Home based 

Ngā Ara Whai Hua: Quality Framework for Evaluation and Improvement in Early Childhood Services.

This framework includes Te Ara Poutama – indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most.

In this framework there are three review approaches, introduced between 2019 and 2023.


Akanuku | Assurance Reviews

We assess whether the early childhood service is meeting the regulatory standards and licensing criteria.

How we decide to do an Akanuku | Assurance Review                         

We do an Akanuku | Assurance Review of your centre-based or home-based early childhood service when:

  • This is the service's first ERO review.
  • We previously identified the service as ‘not well placed’ or ‘requiring further development’.
  • The service has moved from a provisional licence to a full licence.
  • The service has been relicensed due to a change of ownership.
  • We are already doing a review and our reviewers find that an Akanuku | Assurance Review is needed.
  • We decide with the service that an Akanuku | Assurance Review is appropriate.


Akarangi | Quality Evaluations

We evaluate the extent to which the early childhood service has the learning and organisational conditions to support equitable and excellent outcomes for learners.

How we decide to do an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation                      

We do an Akarangi | Quality Evaluation of your early childhood service when:

  • We previously identified the service as ‘well placed’ or ‘very well placed’; or
  • The service has completed a satisfactory Akanuku | Assurance Review and is meeting the regulatory standards.


Akamatua | Evaluating Excellence and Innovation

This is a case study approach. We will identify, investigate and evaluate cases of excellence and innovation in early childhood services.

We are developing this approach in 2023. 


Hospital based

He Pou Tātaki

In this framework we do Education Reviews of hospital-based early childhood services.



All services need the Handbook 

The Handbook for Early Childhood Services describes some of the existing legislation and legal requirements for early childhood services.

Read the Handbook for Early Childhood Services.


How we work with the Ministry of Education

ERO works with services to ensure they are meeting regulatory standards and licensing criteria. We work with the Ministry of Education where serious breaches of compliance have occurred. 

Read more about how we work with the Ministry of Education


How we review using the different approaches

For more information on how we review using the different of approaches see the following pages on this website: