A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown - 11/10/2018

1 Evaluation of A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown

How well placed is A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown 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.


A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown is a Samoan bilingual education and care service located in a purpose built facility with a distinctive Samoan fale design. The fale is one of a three fale complex on the EFKS Newtown Church property.

The a'oga amata is a full day service licensed for 40 children including up to 11 children under two years of age. Children are mainly of Samoan heritage with an increasingly diverse roll that includes Pākehā, Tongan and children of other cultural backgrounds. Children play in separate areas for those under two years and those over two years of age. They also have opportunities to mix together throughout the day and for special events.

A komiti fa'afoe governs and manages the a'oga amata on behalf of Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Trust. Komiti members consist of church and parent representatives. The contact person and supervisor lead the day-to-day operations at the a'oga amata with the support of the administrator. Eight qualified teachers are fluent speakers of gagana Samoa.

The a'oga amata's philosophy espouses good quality and relevant curriculum delivered through the medium of gagana Samoa, English and te reo Māori. Fa'a Samoa and Christian values are incorporated. The philosophy promotes learning experiences for children underpinned by the principles of Te Whariki, the New Zealand early childhood curriculum.

The ERO 2015 report commented favourably about the service's continued positive reporting history, nurturing care and supportive environment. It further noted children as confident and enthusiastic learners. These characteristics continue within the a'oga amata.

The Review Findings

Children experience a programme that makes good use of parent aspirations, Te Whariki, and Ta'iala, mo le Gagana Samoa I Niu Sila. The curriculum is increasingly providing a holistic approach where there is a focus on developing the whole child. Children have good opportunities for leadership, and thrive in a learning environment where their identity, language and culture is enhanced and their interests are developed. Children's cultural heritages are affirmed.

Children view themselves as capable and competent learners. They have good opportunities to develop confidence in learning through play. Children develop their early literacy, numeracy and science knowledge. They have a strong sense of belonging and show good social skills as they interact with one another and with adults.

Teachers are committed, experienced and reflective. They use a variety of practices that enable children to observe, listen and play with language. Teachers have established warm, positive and trusting relationships with children. Their interactions with children strongly promote the values of alofa (love) and fa'alo'alo (respect). Children are settled and have good opportunities to follow their strengths and interests. Sensitive nurturing care is provided for children under two years of age.

Excursions are used well to extend children's interests and make links with the community, including performing arts. Children are empowered to be leaders and to take increasing responsibility for their own wellbeing.

Teachers have a good understanding of children's language acquisition. They use gagana Samoa to support and maintain children's Samoan speaking capability. Teachers' practices promote oral language development including the use of lullabies, hymns and songs. They take time to listen to children. Teachers frequently use te reo Māori as well as English language so that all children are included in the curriculum. Good transition practices that focus on developing children's confidence as learners operate within the a'oga amata.

Leaders have extensive experience in early learning, and use good professional networks to build staff capability. Teachers benefit from engaging in and leading professional networks. Leaders have effective communication with parents, and enjoy two-way and high levels of relational trust. Partnerships with parents effectively support children and contribute positively to their learning outcomes.

Key Next Steps

Managers and leaders agree that key next steps include:

  • improving teachers' planning, assessment and evaluation practices to promote challenge and creativity in the programme

  • ensuring quality assurance processes promote assessment practices that capture children's significant learning and their next steps for further development

  • rationalising the strategic plan to better support effective implementation

  • strengthening internal evaluation processes by including indicators of effective practice, and identifying findings and next steps for improvement.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown 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 A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown will be in three years.

Julie Foley

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

11 October 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


Newtown, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

40 children, including up to 11 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 18 Boys 18

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

July 2018

Date of this report

11 October 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

April 2007

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.