Tiny Nation

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

303 Karamu Road North, Hastings

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Au Pair Link Waikato 1 - 24/05/2017

1 Evaluation of Au Pair Link Waikato 1

How well placed is Au Pair Link Waikato 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 Waikato 1 is one of three networks in the central North Island, operated by the national early childhood organisation Au Pair Link. There are 14 licensed networks across New Zealand. In 2015 Au Pair Link changed ownership to the Evolve Company.

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 25, with four identifying as Māori.

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 November 2012 ERO report.

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

The Review Findings

The service values the importance of children learning through play. Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, strongly underpins the service's curriculum.

Children regularly play alongside others at playgroups and planned or spontaneous outings. These provide positive opportunities for learning for them and educators. Children's interests are well catered for. Playgroup planning successfully focuses on extending their experiences.

Educators participate in a comprehensive orientation and induction process. During their placement with families they are supported by programme managers to develop an understanding of Te Whāriki, children's learning dispositions and bicultural practices.

Children's progress is captured and celebrated by educators in photographs and stories. The programme managers provide good support and purposeful resourcing for educators. This includes coaching and guidance to model ways to plan for and effectively extend children's learning. Parents' contribution to the programme is highly valued. Sound assessment practices show children's interests and progress in a range of contexts.

Many children in the service are infants and toddlers. The placement of educators is well considered and responsive to the needs of individual children and their families. 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. Programme managers effectively work with educators, families and external agencies to promote the participation and engagement of these children in the learning programme.

Well aligned, robust systems and processes contribute to improvement, sustainability, meeting accountabilities and promoting positive outcomes for children.

Over time Au Pair Link has developed some good self-review processes. An agreed next step is to further deepen these processes and continue to refine the use of internal evaluation for improvement.

The 2016 revised appraisal process incorporates the Practising Teacher Criteria. Continuing to strengthen aspects of the process should further assist teachers and leaders to grow and extend their practice.

Au Pair Link has made good gains in increasing the number of Māori children enrolled and developing a bicultural curriculum. This is supported through appropriate resources. The service is well positioned to consider what educational success for Māori looks like in the context of Au Pair Link.

Key Next Steps

Managers are focused on improvement and should continue to:

  • refine internal evaluation for improvement
  • strengthen the focus on Māori children achieving educational success.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Au Pair Link Waikato 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 Waikato 1 will be in four years. 

Patricia Davey
Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

24 May 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

Girls 16, Boys 9


Ethnic composition

Cook Island Māori



Number of qualified coordinators in the network



Required ratios of educators to children

Under 2



Over 2



Review team on site

March 2017


Date of this report

24 May 2017


Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

November 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 Waikato 1 - 26/11/2012

1 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

Au Pair Link Waikato 1 is a home-based care service that provides early childhood education and care for children from birth to school age in the Waikato. It is part of a growing New Zealand-wide organisation owned by Au Pair Link Limited and has services across the country.

The service recruits au pairs from overseas and facilitates their training and live-in placement in children’s homes. Au pairs provide care and education for children, and are supported by programme managers who are experienced and qualified early childhood teachers. The service encourages au pairs and families to establish warm and lasting relationships and exchange experiences from their own cultures.

The organisation is governed by a board and run by a team of capable owners and managers. Due to the rapid growth in numbers of licenses, new area managers are currently being appointed to oversee the programme managers in the different regions.

The service is well placed to sustain its ongoing development and improvement. Strengths of the Waikato Link 1 network are:

  • positive and trusting relationships amongst children, families, au pairs, programme managers and managers
  • comprehensive and high-quality guidelines, documents and procedures that support all aspects of the service
  • the knowledge and experience of the Educational Services Manager(ESM) and programme managers in supporting the au pairs
  • the rich range of well-documented learning experiences for children based on Te Whāriki (The NZ Early Childhood Curriculum)

The ESM and Programme Managers (PM) have identified that important next steps for the service are to continue to review and further improve the quality of assessment, professional development, and the inclusion of bicultural perspectives.

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.

ERO's findings in these areas are set out below.

The Quality of Education


Au Pair Link Waikato 1 is a home-based care service that provides early childhood education and care for children from birth to school age in the Waikato. Programme managers oversee the work done by the au pairs in providing education and care of babies and children in the family’s home. The programme managers report to the Educational Services Manager [ESM] who co-ordinates the care and education provided by au pairs nationwide. The service philosophy states that ‘home-based care provides the best environment for early childhood development and learning.’

Areas of good performance

Management and leadership: A clear strategic direction and philosophy underpins all aspects of the service’s operations and practices. There are comprehensive, high-quality guidelines and procedures, based on current good practices in early childhood, that support staff, au pairs and their families. A knowledgeable and experienced ESM has established effective leadership of professional practice. She co-ordinates and supports the work of the programme managers and is focused on building a professional learning community that builds the capabilities of the au pairs and provides positive outcomes for children and their families.

Self Review: Self review and reflection are being used purposefully to improve the quality of care and education for children and monitor the effectiveness of health and safety practices. Staff have implemented a formalised, planned approach to self review that uses multiple perspectives and includes current theory and research. Feedback is frequently sought from families, au pairs and programme managers, and this information is used to explore ways to improve outcomes for children. Recent reviews have focused on the quality of the learning stories, and the understanding and implementation of the curriculum, Te Whāriki.

Communication and relationships: Managers have established open and transparent communication systems that support ongoing professional dialogue and positive relationships amongst programme managers, au pairs and families. The use of a wide range of information and communication technologies (ICT), ensure that practices such as recruiting, police vetting, training, establishing roles and responsibilities, seeking feedback, monitoring health and safety, and recording children’s learning experiences are carried out locally, nationally and internationally. Relationships of trust and mutual respect are evident throughout the organisation and acknowledged by the business community. Programme managers know families and au pairs well, and communicate regularly with them. Au pairs are also encouraged to communicate and establish relationships with each other in their local areas. Establishing links with local early childhood providers, schools and other agencies is proving to be beneficial for children, au pairs and families.

Support provided by the programme managers: Programme managers have high standards of professional practice in their support of curriculum and assessment for children. They quickly establish positive and trusting relationships with the au pairs, families and children, and model effective teaching strategies, learning interactions and conversations. They empower the au pairs to learn about and implement Te Whāriki and monitor their progress and wellbeing. Programme managers report regularly to the ESM and engage actively in regular meetings, self review, professional development, health and safety checks, and organising playgroups and outings.

Learning experiences for children: Children are provided with a rich range of contextually relevant learning experiences based on Te Whāriki. Within the home, children develop social competencies and trusting relationships in a one-to-one or small family group setting. Resources and equipment for play are provided by the family and supplemented by the programme managers. Outside the home, play and learning experiences, such as playgroups and outings, are organised by programme managers. The service funds trips and excursions to enrich the learning experiences of children and their au pairs. Children observed by ERO were confident and capable, and welcomed visitors into their homes.

3 Management Assurance on Compliance Areas


Before the review, the management and staff of Au Pair Link Waikato 1 completed an ERO Home-Based Education and Care Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum standard
  • premises and facilities standard
  • health and safety practices standard
  • governance management and administration standard.

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.

All early childhood services are required to promote children’s health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements. ERO and the service managers discussed aspects of health and safety and agreed that improving risk assessment documentation and procedures within the family home, and while children are being transported by au pairs during outings, is an ongoing priority.

4 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.

Makere Smith

National Manager Review Services Northern Region (Acting)

26 November 2012

About the Service



Ministry of Education profile number


Service type

Homebased Network

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 37

Girls 30

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā

NZ Māori

Other European




Review team on site

October 2012

Date of this report

26 November 2012

Most recent ERO report(s)

No previous ERO reports