BestStart Karaka

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

71 Hingaia Rd, Karaka, Auckland

View on map

1 Evaluation of Topkids Karaka

How well placed is Topkids Karaka 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.


Topkids Karaka is a purpose-built facility that opened in December 2015. The centre is licensed for 110 children including 20 up to two years of age. It provides full day education and care for children from the local community. Rapid growth has led to the appointment of many new teaching staff throughout 2017.

The centre is organised into four rooms that provide for different age groups. A fifth space is available, but at the time of the ERO review was not yet in use. Infants, toddlers and pre-schoolers all have access to outside play areas.

The centre is led by a capable centre manager, head teachers and a team of teachers. Teachers' diverse cultural backgrounds reflect those of the children and families/whānau in the centre.

The centre's recently reviewed philosophy promotes relationships based on responsiveness, respect and trust. Programmes focus on providing children with learning through meaningful play.

The centre is part of the national BestStart Education and Care Centres organisation, which provides an overarching governance and management framework as well as personnel to support individual centres.

This is the first ERO review of the centre, and was part of a cluster of eight centres in the BestStart organisation.

The Review Findings

Children and their families are greeted warmly and made to feel welcome in the centre. Strong partnerships with families/whānau characterise the centre. Respectful, responsive relationships and interactions help to create a strong sense of belonging and wellbeing for children. Teachers support families and children to experience positive transitioning into and through the centre.

Children are settled and confidently make choices about their play. They play cooperatively. Children are recognised as capable and confident individuals. Teachers work alongside children and use play-based practices that reflect the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. This helps them to facilitate effective teaching and learning with children. Teachers are strengthening their knowledge of bicultural practices and use of te reo Māori to support children's learning.

Infants and toddlers each have a designated primary caregiver, and this helps to ensure that their needs are met. They are cared for in separate rooms with a shared outdoor learning area, which provide opportunities for them to explore. Teachers' respectful practice allows children to explore and learn at their own pace. Parents and teachers regularly share information to foster children's sense of security and wellbeing.

Each child's record of learning outlines their participation in the programme. These are valued records of children's learning journeys, and are well used by their families. There are some high quality examples of children's learning being extended over time. As new teaching teams become established, the centre manager will continue to build consistency across the centre. She plans to ensure each child's learning journey reflects their unique cultural identity.

The centre environment is well presented. Wall displays reflect programme activities, and demonstrate children's participation in ongoing explorations and interests. Children have easy access through the centre and to the spacious outdoor play areas. Centre managers have identified that it is timely to review the outdoor area so that it reflects the depth and breadth of the curriculum, and better supports children's learning.

The centre is capably led by the centre manager. With many new staff and new teaching teams, there has been a considerable emphasis on providing effective frameworks and guidance for teachers. This is helping them to work collaboratively and have a shared focus on continuously improving their practice.

BestStart supports teachers’ professional growth. Teachers benefit from relevant and ongoing professional learning and development. The organisation continues to refine its appraisal system, which encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. BestStart leaders recognise that a key strategy to further build teacher capability, will be collaborative inquiry into the impact that teaching practice has on outcomes for children.

Relevant governance systems guide centre operations. The professional services manager and the business manager conduct internal audits and regularly share quality assurance reports that identify strengths and any improvements needed. Centre staff also use internal evaluation to review aspects of centre operations. They would benefit from support to strengthen their evaluation practices.

The centre’s strategic plan is linked to the BestStart vision and its strategic plan, which is currently under review. Centres' goals will be aligned with BestStart’s strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps include:

  • reviewing learning environments to ensure children have sufficient challenge and opportunities for creativity

  • building teacher capability in questioning techniques that extend children's thinking and problem solving.

BestStart managers have identified the need to:

  • continue developing BestStart's strategic intentions and goals to provide clearer guidance for centre development

  • refine the appraisal system to embed a focus on professional collaboration and teaching as inquiry.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Topkids Karaka 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 Topkids Karaka will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

1 December 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 Early Childhood Service 



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

110 children, including up to 20 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 60 Girls 48

Ethnic composition

other European


Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2017

Date of this report

1 December 2017

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.