St Margaret's Pre-school

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

12 Winchester Street, Merivale, Christchurch

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1 Evaluation of St Margaret's Pre-school

How well placed is St Margaret's Pre-school to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The centre is well placed to promote positive outcomes for children.

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


St Margaret's Pre-school is part of the St Margaret's College learning community in Merivale. The purpose built pre-school enables regular and easy access to the college facilities, equipment, personnel and students.

The service provides all-day education and care for up to 50 children from 2 years of age. At the time of this ERO review, there were 43 children enrolled. This is the first ERO review of the service since it was established in 2015.

The executive principal of St Margaret's College is the licensee and, with the St Margaret's trust board, takes responsibility for governance oversight. A director manages the pre-school and takes overall responsibility for day-to-day operations and professional support for teachers and staff. There are currently five qualified teachers, and three other teaching staff. Staffing has been stable and consistent.

The service aims to encourage children to be curious about their world, develop inquiring minds, be creative and confident communicators, responsible citizens and love learning.

The Review Findings

The pre-school's philosophy, clear vision and the Anglican Christian values that the St Margaret's College learning community share, are meaningfully reflected in centre programmes and practices.

The pre-school is a welcoming and inclusive environment. Teachers actively foster positive relationships with children, parents, whānau and community. Children and families transitioning into the centre are welcomed and supported to develop a strong sense of wellbeing and belonging. A number of ways are used to communicate, inform, and encourage engagement with families. Parents are well informed of their child’s learning interests and participation through informative wall displays individual learning records and a learning diary that is sent to parents 2-3 times per week. Parents are also invited to participate in regular meetings, interviews and events.

Teachers are sensitive and responsive to the individual interests, strengths and capabilities of children. They actively engage with children in their play. Children are effectively supported to develop social competencies, initiate relationships and maintain friendships. Children's language development is well supported. Teachers engage children in meaningful conversations to develop and extend their language and conversation skills.

Children benefit from spacious, well-resourced and presented learning areas which promote their curiosity and inspire exploration. There are a wide range of learning opportunities and easily accessible resources for children. Literacy and numeracy are prioritised and evident in programmes in ways that are meaningful to children. The pre-school makes good use of the St Margaret's College specialist facilities, resources, students, and personnel to extend children and enhance their learning opportunities and enrich the curriculum. Technology is thoughtfully integrated into the learning programme.

Teachers foster a collaborative learning and work environment. They work in a professional and collegial teaching team. They are reflective in their practice, and information from assessments is effectively used to inform planning. Teachers' individual strengths are well utilised. The strengths of each teacher are valued and used to support the provision of a rich and varied curriculum and the successful operation of the centre.

The pre-school has a clear framework for self review that is focused on improving outcomes for children and is responsive to identified priorities. Self review ensures ways to seek multiple voices. There is an ongoing focus on building reflective and evaluative practices. A next step would be to strengthen understanding and consistency in the use of evaluative questioning in self review.

The pre-school leadership prioritises positive outcomes for children and seeks ongoing improvement in practices. Leaders encourage teachers’ professional development, and provide opportunities for teachers to grow leadership capability. Teachers participate in a robust appraisal process which is aligned with the St Margaret's College appraisal system. The appraisal system enhances teaching practices and supports ongoing reflection and wellbeing.

The pre-school is well led and managed. The executive principal of St Margaret's College, the director of the pre-school and teachers communicate effectively and work collaboratively together. Those responsible for governing and managing the service have a good understanding of, and capability to carry out, their roles and responsibilities.

Key Next Steps

The pre-school has identified, and ERO agrees, that the next steps for the pre-school's development should include:

  • continuing to embed consistent assessment practice across the teaching team
  • continuing to expand bicultural practice and ensuring a commitment to the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand is reflected in the centre philosophy
  • continuing to review the transition-to-school programme as part of the centre's ongoing internal evaluation programme.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of St Margaret's Pre-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 St Margaret's Pre-school will be in three years.

Alan Wynyard

Director Review & Improvement Services

Te Waipounamu - Southern Region

27 November 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys: 22

Girls: 21

Ethnic composition

Other ethnicities


Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2018

Date of this report

27 November 2018

Most recent ERO report

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.