Message to all schools from ERO's Chief Executive Chief Review Officer

12 February 2015

Tēnā koutou

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.

A very Happy New Year to you all. So far, 2015 has got off to a great start and I’m excited about the year ahead.

I’ve seen and learnt a great deal in my first six months at ERO. Much of my time has been spent gaining a better understanding of your world - the priority areas and the opportunities to make a difference. Your dedication and commitment is extraordinary and I know that together we can achieve great things for the children of New Zealand.

Messages and updates from the Education Review Office

As principals, keeping up with email traffic and all the information you receive can be a challenge. I want to keep you connected with what we’re up to without adding to the ‘clutter’. In future, we will use the Ministry’s School Bulletin to notify you when we publish national reports and any other news of significance. There will be times when I will send you an email directly but for the more routine messages, the bulletin will be the main channel.

I know that many of you supported and contributed to the development of this central bulletin. It’s an excellent way to rationalise the flow of important information to you all.

ERO’s purpose

We’ve spent the past few months at ERO making sure we are all very clear on the direction we want to take and what we, as an organisation, want to achieve. Our refreshed purpose statement gives us a powerful direction:

‘Our evaluation insights are a catalyst for change so that every child achieves success as a lifelong learner.’

This statement underpins every review we conduct and every report we publish. The key to achieving our purpose is to ensure that our messages are clear and useful. We will be working hard on this over the next year and look forward to your feedback.

ERO’s priorities

Our purpose statement will drive work on our priority areas. As always, the learner is at the heart of everything we do including our focus on the profession; parents and whānau; communities of learning and our indicators of best practice.

The indicators will replace ERO’s Evaluation Indicators. This has been a significant project skilfully lead by Ro Parsons, our Chief of Profession. The result is best practice indicators that focus on what matters most in improving valued student outcomes. They are based on extensive research, our experiences and input from an Academics Expert Group. Needless to say we are very excited about sharing them with you in the near future.

Self review

While we’ve been working on the indicators, we’ve also collected case studies of effective self review and its relationship to improved student outcomes. We’ve captured some exciting stories which support our indicators work and which we will publish in a good practice report. The case studies will also contribute to the development of a self-review tool for schools, which is the next phase of the project. We will also continue to run self-review workshops by request.

We are working very closely with the Ministry to provide communities of schools with the best possible information to help them set their achievement challenge. We’ve talked to the Ministry about how our evaluation insights tell the story behind a school’s data and that the story is an important part of the information package for communities of schools to consider. We will later be offering workshops for communities of schools on how to best use this information when planning for achievement.

National evaluations

As well as the self-review good practice report, we have national evaluations about transitions (from an early childhood and a primary school perspective) and student wellbeing (primary and secondary) to publish in Term 1.

With the transition report, we are trying something different to communicate our insights in a way that is both meaningful and useful, and captures a wider audience. To do this, we’ve consolidated the most important findings from the evaluations into an eight page leaflet for all schools and early childhood services. The leaflet will be printed in March and distributed with the opportunity to provide feedback on its usefulness. Please take this opportunity to help us improve the way we communicate our evaluation insights.

All the best for the year ahead.

Nāku noa, nā

Iona Holsted

Chief Executive/Chief Review Officer