Ngatea Early Learning Centre

Education institution number:
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Not Applicable
Total roll:

65 Hayward Road, Ngatea

View on map

1 Evaluation of Pukekos Educare Ngatea

How well placed is Pukekos Educare Ngatea 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.


Pukekos Educare Ngatea is a new centre located in Ngatea, near Thames. It is licensed to provide all-day education and care for 27 children up to school age, including a maximum of 5 children under two years. At the time of this ERO review 42 children were enrolled, including 1 who was under two years, 4 children who are identified as Māori, and 2 children of Samoan ethnicity. This is the first ERO review of this centre.

The centre is owned by a managing director who also owns and manages Pukekos Educare centres in the towns of Paeroa and Thames. She is assisted by a principal, who is taking increasing responsibility for the overall management of the three centres. Teaching teams from the three centres share professional development opportunities, and meet twice a term as a full team to discuss best practice in early childhood education. The teaching team at Ngatea includes four qualified teachers, one of whom is also a fully registered teacher.

During the 14 months the centre has been operating there have been changes to the teaching staff. The director manages the staffing of the three centres to use the strengths of teachers to best advantage, give teachers opportunities to develop their capabilities and take on leadership roles.

The philosophy of Pukekos Educare centres is to provide a place where children, teachers and families can be themselves. Respect, communication, relationships and working together are highly valued.

The Review Findings

Children experience positive, caring interactions with teachers and each other. Close links are evident between home and centre. Strong communication systems and practices enable ongoing sharing of information about children’s interests, needs, and parent aspirations for their learning.  Children are well settled in an environment that is child centred, encourages them to express their ideas, and offers choice from a variety of activities and experiences. Their contributions to decisions about the daily programme are valued. Excursions into the local area extend children’s knowledge of the local and natural world.

Teachers are increasingly responding to children’s interests as they introduce topical projects. These responses allow children to explore alongside teachers through discussion, exploration and research. Teachers engage in conversations with children as they play, providing many opportunities for them to develop and practice oral language. Aspects of science, mathematics and early literacy are integrated in the programme. The ‘wha’ programme provides opportunities for older children to be members of a group and gain confidence to participate and contribute their ideas.

The centre has a strong commitment to including te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme. The language, culture and identity of Māori children is recognised and valued. Teachers use te reo incidentally with children, and karakia is said at kai times.

Attractively presented e-portfolios record plans for individual children’s learning in response to an identified interest. These plans include narratives about children’s learning experiences and identify the learning and development that has occurred. Portfolio entries are shared digitally with parents and children in the centre and made available for home discussions. Twice-yearly parent interviews provide formal opportunities for parents to discuss their child’s learning and development. These practices are contributing to strong home-centre partnerships, and invite parent voice in programme planning.

Transitions into the centre include a formal induction process, which helps teachers to understand the needs and aspirations of individual children and their families. Centre self review is an inclusive process that stimulates teacher discussion and inquiry. The service has developed a strong process that focuses on improving teaching and learning, and evaluates the effectiveness of consequent changes. 

Leaders are focused on developing a culture of professionalism for teachers, contributing to positive outcomes for children. The principal, in her role as professional leader, acknowledges the importance of providing ongoing support and guidance to fully implement the centre’s philosophy. The teacher appraisal process provides many opportunities for teacher reflection and the sharing of best practice through self and peer evaluation and feedback.

The managing director has a clear vision for the strategic development of this new centre, and makes good use of current theory and best practice in early childhood education. Across all three Pukeko centres there is a cooperative approach to leadership and inclusive self-review processes. This effective leadership practice is contributing to consistent implementation of the Pukeko philosophy. This is particularly important as it assists staff to move comfortably between centres as needed.

Strong management systems, including a robust staff appraisal, reflect the shared understandings, and high expectations of management and teachers. 

Key Next Steps

The managing director and service leader agree that priorities for future development are to:

  • continue to build teacher capability in recognising and responding to children’s learning and play
  • continue with a strategic approach to developing the outdoor area so that it more effectively supports the centre’s philosophy
  • review the rationale for the four-year-old programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pukekos Educare Ngatea 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 Pukekos Educare Ngatea will be in three years. 

Graham Randell
Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

28 October 2015

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 


Ngatea, Thames

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

27 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls       23
Boys      19

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49%       50-79%       80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

28 October 2015

Most recent ERO report(s) 

No previous ERO reports


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.