Au Pair Link Christchurch 1

Education institution number:
Service type:
Homebased Network
Not Applicable
Total roll:

6 Glasgow Street, Philipstown, Christchurch

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Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 - 02/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Au Pair Link Christchurch 1

How well placed is Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 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.


Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 is one of two networks in Christchurch, operated by the national early childhood organisation Au Pair Link. There are 14 licensed networks across New Zealand. The organisation recruits au pairs (educators) from overseas to work with young children in their home, usually for a maximum term of one year. Through the recruitment process, families choose an educator who they think will meet the needs of their children. Building strong, secure relationships between families and educators is a high priority for the organisation.

This network is licensed for 80 children, including 80 aged up to two years. The roll at the time of the review was 44.

Family and programme managers are all fully qualified and registered teachers. They support educators to provide high quality education and care for children.

Au Pair Link has responded positively to the areas for development and review identified in the January 2012 ERO report.

This review was part of a cluster of two reviews in the Au Pair Link organisation.

The Review Findings

Au Pair Link provides high quality education and care for children. Well aligned, robust systems and processes, for quality assurance, monitoring of practice, effective leadership and systematic internal evaluation are in place. These contribute to improvement, sustainability and positive outcomes for all children.

There is a strong commitment to the service philosophy at all levels of the organisation. A focus on high quality care and education in children's homes and positive learning outcomes is clearly evident. Strong, responsive and respectful partnerships supports a sense of belonging and wellbeing for children, whānau and educators.

The importance of children learning through play is valued. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, strongly underpins the service's curriculum. Children engage in a wide range of learning experiences within and outside the home. Well-considered, high quality resources, regular excursions and special events further enhance learning.

Educators participate in a comprehensive orientation process. This includes support to develop an understanding of Te Whāriki, children's learning dispositions and bicultural practices.

The programme managers provide comprehensive support for educators in homes and at regular service playgroups. This includes coaching and guidance to effectively model ways to plan for and extend children's learning. Parents' contribution to the programme is highly valued. Children's progress is captured and celebrated by educators in photos and stories. Assessment practices successfully support continuity in learning and demonstrate children's progress in a range of contexts.

The placement of educators is well considered and responsive to the needs of individual children and their families. Many children in the service are infants and toddlers. The programme managers work positively alongside educators to provide a curriculum that effectively supports these youngest children.

Provision for children with additional learning needs is carefully considered. The programme managers effectively work alongside educators, families and external agencies to promote the participation and engagement of these children in the learning programme.

A review of te reo me ngā tikanga Māori practices has strengthened programme managers' and educators' knowledge and understanding of te ao Māori. A wide range of resources has been developed to support educators' implementation of a bicultural curriculum. Managers and leaders have identified that it is timely to evaluate the effectiveness of this initiative on positive outcomes for children.

Collaborative ways of working are fostered at all levels of the organisation. Emergent leadership is actively promoted.

The strategic plan effectively guides direction for the service. Goals are clearly linked to outcomes for children. Internal evaluation is embedded across all levels of the organisation and effectively informs change and improvement. Managers and leaders have acknowledged the need to continue to refine the use of internal evaluation for improvement.

Au Pair Link has identified that increasing the participation of Māori and Pacific families is a priority.

Key Next Steps

Management and leaders should continue to refine their use of internal evaluation to maintain ongoing improvement and positive outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 completed an ERO Home-based Education and Care 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 Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 will be in four years.

Patricia Davey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

2 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 Home-based Education and Care Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Institution type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

80 children, including up to 80 aged under 2

Service roll


Standard or Quality funded


Gender composition

Boys 23, Girls 21

Ethnic composition


Other ethnic groups



Number of qualified coordinators in the network


Required ratios of educators to children

Under 2


Over 2


Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

2 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

January 2012

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 the draft methodology for ERO reviews in Home-based Education and Care Services: July 2014

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.

Au Pair Link Christchurch 1 - 30/01/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Au Pair Link Christchurch is a home-based care service that provides early childhood education and care for children from birth to school age across the central Canterbury area.

The service is owned by Au Pair Link Limited which maintains a number of home-based care licences across the country. Au Pair Link Christchurch began operating in 2008. This is the first ERO review of the service.

The service recruits au pairs from overseas and arranges their placement in children’s homes, where they live in with the families. Au pairs provide care and education for children, supported by a programme manager who is a qualified early childhood teacher.

Particular strengths of the service identified in this review are the:

  • caring and nurturing relationships between children and au pairs
  • effective relationships and useful communication between au pairs, parents and programme managers
  • well-managed processes for supporting au pairs when entering the service and on exit from the homes
  • high level of support provided to au pairs and families from programme managers
  • effective management systems, including self review, that help put the service in a good position to sustain ongoing development.

ERO and the service agree that priorities for review and development are continuing to strengthen assessment practices and the use te reo and tikanga Māori.

Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

2 The Focus of the Review

All ERO education reviews in early childhood focus on the quality of education. For ERO this includes the quality of:

  • the programme provided for children
  • the learning environment
  • the interactions between children and adults.

The Quality of Education


The service’s philosophy focuses on the importance of building and maintaining effective relationships to support children’s learning. The focus is on family involvement, and au pairs taking an interest in each child and their ongoing development.

Areas of good performance


Children benefit from the emphasis the service places on building and maintaining effective relationships between children, parents, au pairs and programme managers. This includes:

  • caring and nurturing relationships, and unhurried interactions between children and their au pairs
  • au pairs working with children in ways that foster children’s sense of well-being and confidence
  • au pairs noticing and responding well to the children’s interests and needs
  • effective relationships between au pairs, parents, families and programme managers.


Programme managers have developed a range of useful approaches to support communication between au pairs, families and service managers. They also provide good opportunities for regular social activities among the children and au pairs. Effective communication approaches include:

  • focused monthly visits to homes including regular contact with parents before and after visits
  • the use of phone, email, and blogs to maintain contact with au pairs and parents
  • the use of au pair and parent surveys to inform future planning.


The service has well-managed practices for supporting au pairs when entering the service and when leaving homes. Opportunities are provided for the au pair to establish relationships with families and children prior to their arrival in New Zealand and into the homes. There is a consistent focus on matching the most suitable au pair to suit the needs of the children and each family. The service continues to provide additional support for au pairs through regular events and outings.


Au pairs receive a high level of support from programme managers which is individualised to the needs of the au pair. This includes:

  • ensuring visits focus on the well-being and the learning of the individual children
  • leading and guiding learning conversations with parents and the au pair about recognising and responding to children’s learning
  • modelling ways of working with children to support their learning
  • taking a collaborative approach to writing learning stories and sharing knowledge about the children
  • encouraging au pairs to share their skills and strengths with other au pairs and children at playgroup
  • regular training opportunities.

Children are benefiting from programmes that:

  • include weekly playgroups and monthly outings to provide additional learning and social opportunities for them, their au pairs and families
  • provide them with a range of educational resources and information
  • support their listening, communication and language skills.


The service has useful policies and procedures to help guide au pair practices, including good information about bicultural practices. Service and programme managers make good use of their individual strengths, are highly reflective and focused on improvement. Self review is well developed and provides useful information to make improvements to the service.

Areas for development and review

The service has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next step is to continue strengthening assessment practices and processes. This includes:

  • developing further ways of working with au pairs that build on their strengths
  • making planning for children’s learning clearer
  • making children’s learning progress clearer in evaluations.

In addition, managers are aware that the service’s policies and procedures for supporting biculturalism could be more evident in au pairs’ practices. The next step is to extend the use of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in the regular conversations and learning experiences provided for children.

3 National Evaluation Topic


ERO provides information about the education system as a whole through its national reports. This information will be used as the basis for long term and systemic educational improvement.

Inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs

As part of this review ERO evaluated the extent to which:

  • transitions ensure the continuing wellbeing, learning, and development of children with moderate to severe special needs
  • children with moderate to severe special needs supported to be confident and capable learners
  • the service is inclusive of children with moderate to severe special needs.

The service has clear policies and procedures to guide the inclusion and transition of children with moderate to severe special needs. Key aspects that also support inclusion of children with moderate to severe special needs in this service are:

  • the focus on partnerships with parents in all decisions, including careful placement of the most appropriate au pair for the child and family circumstances
  • effective systems for ongoing communication with parents to discuss the child’s well-being, learning and development
  • specific support from programme managers and the use of their skills in supporting these children
  • opportunities for attending playgroups and social activities with other au pairs and children.

The live-in nature of the au pair situation also allows for the au pair to be closely involved in the child’s transition to other services or school.

4 Management Assurance on Compliance Areas


During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on outcomes for children:

  • emotional safety (including behaviour management, prevention of bullying and abuse)
  • physical safety (including behaviour management, sleeping and supervision practices; accidents and medication; hygiene and routines; travel and excursion policies and procedures)
  • staff qualifications and organisation
  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

During visits to homes, ERO noticed that some items of furniture had been moved or repositioned since the home checks had been completed. As a result, in some homes there were some earthquake risks such as unsecured televisions and cabinets. Service managers responded promptly to eliminate the hazards that were identified.

5 Future Action

ERO is confident that the service is being managed in the interest of the children. Therefore ERO will review the service again within three years.

Graham Randell

National Manager Review Services Southern Region

30 January 2012

About the Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Home-Based Early Childhood Education and Care Service

Licensed under

Licensed under Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 21

Girls 17

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā


Review team on site

November 2011

Date of this report

30 January 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

First Report for this Service