BestStart Balclutha

Education institution number:
80044
Service type:
Education and Care Service
Definition:
Not Applicable
Total roll:
48
Telephone:
Address:

83 Charlotte Street, Balclutha

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BestStart Balclutha - 07/08/2019

1 Evaluation of BestStart Balclutha

How well placed is BestStart Balclutha to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

BestStart Balclutha is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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

Background

BestStart Balclutha provides all-day education and care from 7.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday. It is located in the Balclutha township. It is licensed for 50 children including 10 under-two-year olds. Children from birth to school age learn and play in two rooms (Poumahaka for infants and toddlers; Mata-au for two to six year olds).

The service is governed by the BestStart organisation with a centre manager running day-to-day operations and two head teachers having oversight of the two rooms. A professional services manager and a local business manager support the centre.

Children attend from a wide geographical area around Balclutha. The roll is increasingly representing families from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The philosophy includes valued outcomes such as for children to:

  • develop a sense of whanaungatanga

  • know their identity and that it is valued

  • develop a strong sense of 'paying it forward'

  • know about and honour New Zealand's bicultural heritage

  • develop tuakana-teina and ako relationships.

The centre has made good progress in addressing the recommendations from the 2016 ERO report. The recommendation relating to assessment, planning and evaluation of learning and teaching is work in progress.

BestStart Balclutha is a member of the Big River Kāhui Ako| Community of Learning.

The Review Findings

Children benefit from respectful interactions and caring relationships with their teachers. Teachers have a collegial and collaborative approach that supports good teamwork. The centre has a culture of caring. This is demonstrated by the 'paying it forward' philosophy which benefits the centre and community. The curriculum has a strong focus on children learning to care for and serve others.

The curriculum is responsive to children's needs strengths and interests. This includes:

  • opportunities for early literacy and numeracy learning

  • a programme for four-year-old children in readiness for school

  • a focus on sustaining a healthy environment and reducing waste

  • children transitioning confidently into, through, and out of, the centre

  • developing children's' awareness of te ao Māori and ensuring Māori perspectives are well integrated into the programme and teaching practices.

Te Wheke (a multifaceted curriculum model) provides a framework that interlinks the local curriculum with the principles and strands of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Māori children and children from diverse cultural backgrounds are well supported in their learning and language.

Children with additional needs are well supported to be involved in learning and in the life of the centre. The manager and teachers advocate for these children and their families to access appropriate funding and support.

Infants and toddlers have close relationships with their teachers. Teachers provide a warm, caring environment which fosters trust and security in children. The daily care routines are carried out in a responsive and respectful manner.

Teachers know children and their families/whānau well. Records of planning for individuals incorporates children's interests and parents' wishes. The best examples show the strategies teachers intend to use to extend children's learning. Such examples now need to become common practice.

BestStart has effective systems to monitor physical and emotional health and safety for all involved in the service. A robust appraisal system supports teachers to improve their practice in an ongoing way. Professional development is provided to build teachers' capability and to establish shared understandings.

A useful model for internal evaluation supports ongoing positive improvements. This could become even stronger by ensuring the focus is evaluative rather than descriptive. This should help leaders and teachers to better know how well aspects are impacting on outcomes for children.

Key Next Steps

ERO's evaluation has confirmed, and the leaders agree, that useful next steps are:

  • to strengthen internal evaluation by ensuring a consistent focus on evaluation rather than description

  • to clarify head teachers' roles and responsibilities

  • for guidelines to be developed so that teachers are supported to consistently show in assessment records how they intend to extend children's learning

  • for leaders to continue to develop a system that makes children's learning goals visible so that all teachers can contribute support for the learning.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of BestStart Balclutha 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.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

Southern Region

7 August 2019

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

Balclutha

Ministry of Education profile number

80044

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

59

Gender composition

Boys 34, Girls 25

Ethnic composition

Māori
NZ European/Pākehā
Other ethnicities

4
45
10

Percentage of qualified teachers

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:5

Meets minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

June 2019

Date of this report

7 August 2019

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

May 2016

Education Review

May 2014

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.

ABC Balclutha Central - 19/05/2016

1 Evaluation of ABC Balclutha Central

How well placed is ABC Balclutha Central 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

ABC Balclutha Central is part of the Best Start Early Childhood group. It provides full-day care and education for up to 50 children from birth-to-school age. Children play and learn in two areas. A play space named Poumahaka is for infants and toddlers. The Māta āu area is for older children.

A centre manager, with the help of an assistant manager, ensures the smooth daily running of the centre. Most of the staff are qualified early childhood teachers.

At the time of the 2014 ERO review, the centre was undergoing extensive building operations and was in the process of merging with a nearby ABC centre. There was an action plan in place to improve many aspects of the centre operations. This review found that the centre has made significant progress in all areas. The centre roll has grown in that time also.

The Review Findings

A positive feature of ABC Balclutha Central is the concept of "pay it forward". Leaders and teachers use acts of kindness to develop trusting relationships with children, their families and the wider community. Children and their families benefit from a sense of manaakitanga (caring) and belonging to the centre.

Teachers listen carefully to children. They take the time to have meaningful conversations with them and find out about their interests and lives beyond the centre. Infants and toddlers benefit from close, nurturing relationships with their teachers. Teachers are responsive to their verbal and non-verbal cues and encourage them to lead their own learning at this very young age. For example, they are invited rather than required to eat when food is provided.

Teachers work closely with families and agencies to effectively support children with diverse needs. Teachers help other children and their families understand and accept individual children's differences in behaviour and character.

Children are settled and sustain their involvement in play. They play well together and independently. They confidently make choices about what they want to do and where they want to be. The large outdoor area provides many opportunities for older children to explore and develop their physical skills. Children are becoming familiar with the routines and how to care for the indoor space.

The centre philosophy has been developed with significant input from families during the centre rebuild. Teachers have outlined what the philosophy means for their teaching practice. They should now expand the philosophy to make clear what is important or valued learning for children at this centre and use it to guide their planning. In the future they should undertake internal evaluation to know how well they are meeting the philosophy in practice.

Children benefit from a programme where teachers' strengths enrich the range of experiences provided. For example they involve children in:

  • learning about food and early literacy and mathematics through baking

  • science experiments

  • arts and crafts activities

  • many outings into the local community.

Older children enjoy a daily programme as part of being ready for starting school. As the teachers' confidence with internal evaluation grows, they will be better able to evaluate how well the daily programme reflects the aims of their philosophy and supports children's learning.

Teachers are finding ways to build and implement te ao Māori perspectives within the programme. They acknowledge this area is still developing.

Teachers have participated in professional development to improve planning, assessment and evaluation. This has resulted in a useful system for planning for groups and individuals. Teachers now need to consolidate these systems and make their teaching and intended learning evident. They should strengthen evaluations to show children's progress over time.

An online programme is becoming a valuable tool for communicating and collaborating with families. The next step is for teachers to more clearly show how they seek and respond to parents' wishes for their children's learning.

The centre leaders and teachers are well supported by Best Start managers. Best Start managers have set clear expectations and have grown the leadership capabilities of the centre manager and assistant manager.

There is a useful appraisal system aligned to the Education Council requirements and Best Start expectations. The model would be improved by including an observation component. Centre leaders could also consider a shared appraisal goal for all teachers that links to aspects of the strategic plan.

The centre manager has effectively helped two teams join together as one. As a team, they have made changes and improvements to the programme through their internal evaluation process. They agree that internal evaluation is an area they need to strengthen.

This will include using clear indicators to guide the evaluation at all stages and ensuring these are relevant to the evaluation focus.

A strategic plan is in place to guide the centre's direction. This plan has come from needs identified through internal review processes. The workload and focus of the centre would be made more purposeful and efficient by aligning the goals and actions of the plan, internal evaluation and appraisal to the vision and philosophy of the centre.

Key Next Steps

The key next steps for the centre managers and teachers are to:

  • extend the philosophy to make clear what is valued learning for children at the centre

  • continue to build te ao Māori dimensions

  • consolidate and strengthen the effectiveness of planning, assessment and internal evaluation

  • align systems such as appraisal and internal evaluation to the strategic plan and philosophy.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of ABC Balclutha Central 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 ABC Balclutha Central will be in three years.

Chris Rowe

Deputy Chief Review Officer Southern (Acting)

19 May 2016

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

Balclutha

Ministry of Education profile number

80044

Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll

62

Gender composition

Boys: 34

Girls: 28

Ethnic composition

Māori
Pākehā
Other

5
53
4

Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%+

Based on funding rates

80% +

Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2

1:4

Better than minimum requirements

Over 2

1:10

Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

March 2016

Date of this report

19 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

 

Education Review

May 2014

Education Review

February 2013

Education Review

July 2009

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.