Blue School

Education institution number:
46128
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
39
Telephone:
Address:

23-25 Wood Street, Greytown

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1 ERO’s Judgements

Akarangi | Quality Evaluation evaluates the extent to which this early childhood service has the learning and organisational conditions to support equitable and excellent outcomes for all learners. Te Ara Poutama- indicators of quality for early childhood education: what matters most (PDF 3.01MB) are the basis for making judgements about the effectiveness of the service in achieving equity and excellence for all learners. The Akarangi Quality Evaluation Judgement Rubric (PDF 91.30KB) derived from the indicators, is used to inform the ERO’s judgements about this service’s performance in promoting equity and excellence.

ERO’s judgements for Blue School are as follows:

Outcome Indicators

ERO’s judgement

What the service knows about outcomes for learners

Whāngai Establishing

Ngā Akatoro Domains

ERO’s judgement

He Whāriki Motuhake

The learner and their learning

Whāngai Establishing

Whakangungu Ngaio

Collaborative professional learning builds knowledge and capability

Whakaū Embedding

Ngā Aronga Whai Hua

Evaluation for improvement

Whāngai Establishing

Kaihautū

Leaders foster collaboration and improvement

Whakaū Embedding

Te Whakaruruhau

Stewardship through effective governance and management

Whāngai Establishing

2 Context of the Service

Blue School is a privately-owned early childhood service. The owner takes responsibility for governance and management. A curriculum leader has been recently appointed. Children attending are aged between three and six years. Inquiry and project-based approaches support teaching and learning.

 

3 Summary of findings

A rich curriculum, based on children’s interests, provides opportunities for their learning. Authentic experiences promote collaboration, creativity and curiosity. Regular opportunities to visit a nature reserve and interact with intergenerational members of the local community extend the learning programme. Te āo Māori is valued and meaningfully implemented into the programme. Te reo Māori is not yet consistently integrated in kaiako daily practice. Children with additional needs are well supported to access the curriculum. Children are seen as confident and competent learners. They demonstrate a strong sense of belonging at the service.

Reciprocal relationships with parents and whānau are evident. Their perspectives inform policy review, and decisions about curriculum provision and improvement to practice and operation. Family input is valued and celebrated. The project approach encourages children to take responsibility for their learning, based on their interests and community engagement. Leaders and teachers deliberately draw upon children’s voice to extend and deepen children’s learning over time.

Effective assessment practices enhance children’s mana. The learning outcomes from Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, are evident in planning documentation. Kaiako are suitably responsive to parents’ aspirations in their approach. While children’s cultures are visible in project-based folders and the environment, they have yet to be evident in individual portfolios. 

Leaders and kaiako are collaborative and improvement focused. They have opportunities to engage in relevant professional learning and regularly reflect on their practice. Ongoing review of aspects of the curriculum informs improvements. Understanding and use of internal evaluation to effectively support decisions about change and improvement are not yet well developed. Better monitoring of aspects of health and safety documentation is required.

4 Improvement actions

Blue School will include the following actions in its Quality Improvement Planning. These are to:

  • reflect children’s languages, cultures and identities in documented assessment
  • build kaiako capability to use te reo Māori in their everyday practice  
  • continue to build the capability of leaders and teachers to effectively use internal evaluation for sustained improvement. 

5 Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Blue School 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.

6 Actions for Compliance

ERO found areas of non-compliance in the service relating to:

  • parents/caregivers have been notified of the proposed ratio for regular excursions
  • recording of injuries, illnesses and incidents that occur at the service.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education & Care Services 2008, HS17, HS27.

Dr Lesley Patterson
Director Review and Improvement Services (Southern)
Southern Region | Te Tai Tini

15 December 2021 

7 About the Early Childhood Service

Early Childhood Service Name Blue School
Profile Number 46128
Location Greytown

Service type

Education and care service

Number licensed for

40 children aged over two years

Percentage of qualified teachers

80-99%

Service roll

38

Ethnic composition

NZ European/Pākehā 26, Other ethnic groups 12.

Review team on site

September 2021

Date of this report

15 December 2021

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review, March 2018; Education Review, February 2015.

1 Evaluation of Blue School

How well placed is Blue School 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

Blue School is a privately owned, all-day early learning service in Greytown. It is licensed for 30 children over two years old. Children attending are aged between three and six years.

The preschool's philosophy emphasises the 'four Cs' of collaboration, communication, creativity and confidence. This approach is underpinned by the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Collaborative inquiries and projects guide the group programme.

A centre manager oversees operation. A curriculum leader position has been created to guide teaching and learning. Most teachers are fully registered. The priorities for development outlined in the February 2015 ERO report have been suitably progressed.

The Review Findings

Children are affirmed as confident, capable investigators. They are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. Teachers plan a rich range of experiences, based on children’s interests, to engage and challenge the group. Children enjoy close connections with the local community. Weekly excursions into the neighbourhood are usefully linked to inquiry topics. Family and community members are invited to the centre to share their knowledge, further enhancing the localised curriculum.

Warm and respectful relationships between teachers and children are evident. Nature exploration and environmental sustainability are well embedded in the curriculum. Many play resources are designed and constructed by the group, from recycled materials. Teachers effectively promote children's sense of connection and contribution.

Teachers regularly discuss and plan targeted teaching strategies for individuals, focusing on their interests, strengths and needs. Leaders acknowledge the need to better align assessment documentation with these plans, to clearly show how individualised teaching has resulted in children's progress.

Teachers are actively growing their relationships with local marae, iwi and community groups. They have developed some very useful initiatives to engage whānau Māori. Staff are thoughtfully building their bicultural curriculum. As this develops, teachers should ensure that assessments show how children’s learning in this area has been enriched, and how Māori children’s cultural identity is prioritised and affirmed.

Children with diverse learning needs are very well supported. Teachers liaise effectively with parents and outside agencies, as appropriate, to plan next learning steps.

Parents are kept well informed about the group curriculum through online assessments, daily photographs and notes, and effective wall displays. A very well-considered range of information is shared between parents and teachers upon induction.

The centre has developed a range of highly effective, innovative transition-to-school processes. Children and families are very well supported. Teachers are knowledgeable about current school readiness research and practices. Social competence and fine motor skills are effectively promoted, in play-based contexts. Teachers are members of a local network focused on transitions. They have purposefully built close relationships with local schools and teaching staff. Cohort transitioning and reciprocal school visits support children's confidence.

Teachers are committed to continual growth of their practices for the benefit of children. They draw on research and targeted observations to inform ongoing changes. Leaders agree that a more systematic internal evaluation approach, using a guiding question and measurable indicators of success, should better equip teachers to measure the impact of changes on children's learning outcomes.

Leadership successfully promotes collaboration and consistent practice. Teachers are reflective and improvement focused. However, the documentation of appraisals is variable. Leaders should support teachers in their understanding of the use of evidence to demonstrate improved outcomes for children. Incorporating formal, targeted observations, and stronger use of Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners, are also next steps.

Key Next Steps

ERO's findings reflect the service's self-identified next steps outlined in their strategic plan. ERO’s evaluation has also highlighted as areas for improvement:

  • depth of assessment documentation

  • specific, evidence-based monitoring and evaluation of children’s learning outcomes

  • quality of appraisal.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Blue School 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.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Blue School will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Deputy Chief Review Officer Central (Acting)

Te Tai Pokapū - Central Region

6 March 2018

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

Greytown

Ministry of Education profile number

46128

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, aged over two

Service roll

32

Gender composition

Girls 18, Boys 14

Ethnic composition

Māori Pākehā

1 31

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

1:5

Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2017

Date of this report

6 March 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2015

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.