In the previous evaluation ERO found that inquiry typically took two forms - teaching and learning inquiry, and professional learning inquiry. In this section we report on the features of each of these inquiry frameworks, and broadly on how schools were using these. In later sections we report on the findings in relation to school-level support and guidance, and the practices teachers used in their classrooms.
In the most effective schools, teaching and learning inquiry, and professional learning inquiry were happening at the same time. Overall, however, much more teaching and learning inquiry was happening than professional learning focused inquiry.
The primary purpose of teaching and learning inquiry, as described in The New Zealand Curriculum, is to bring about improved outcomes for students through a cyclical process that is guided by the following questions:
As Figure 1  indicates, depending on the impact on student outcomes, some phases are given less emphasis and others are revisited on several occasions.
A second and similar inquiry approach framework, which is closely aligned to the previous inquiry model, relates to building teachers’ capacities to respond appropriately to learners’ needs.  Leaders and teachers can use the framework to make astute assessments about the gaps in teachers’ practices and to identify future development areas for staff. Professional learning inquiry intentionally focuses teachers on the learning that will bring about improved outcomes for students. Any gaps and future development areas for teachers should be closely referenced to learners’ needs.
While this framework is not that different conceptually from the previous model, its inclusion in this report draws attention to the significant role which leaders can play in using inquiry for self review and school improvement.