A'oga Amata EFKS Newtown - 24/06/2015

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 Early Childhood Service is a Samoan bilingual centre. It is a purpose-built facility, situated in Wellington. The service is licensed to provide education and care for 40 children, including 10 under two years of age. Children continue to benefit from being immersed in an inclusive and welcoming gagana and aganu’u Samoa context. The programme reflects children’s identity and promotes children’s sense of pride in expressing themselves.

A komiti fa’afoe is responsible for governance and management of the centre on behalf of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa Trust. Komiti members consist of church representatives and centre parents. They meet regularly to review policy, complete administration, allocate resourcing and manage the centre’s finances.

The aoga is well served by a manager, qualified teachers and an experienced administration officer. It is supported by long serving and dedicated staff. The manager and supervisor work collaboratively to lead aoga staff.

The komiti fa’afoe and aoga manager have responded positively to the areas for review and development identified in the 2012 ERO report. Annual and four monthly budgetary targets and regular reporting are strengthening the financial procedures and position of the aoga.

The Review Findings

Children’s emotional and social wellbeing is well supported. Infants and toddlers form strong attachments with staff. Teachers respond well to meet infants’ individual needs. Consistent routines for the youngest children contribute to their sense of security and belonging.

All children receive high levels of care in a nurturing environment. Children play co-operatively and develop strong, meaningful relationships with other children and adults. Interactions are warm and responsive, promoting children’s positive involvement with the programme.

Educators support and encourage children’s play by constantly talking, questioning and interacting with children in both Samoan and English. The older children gather together and participate enthusiastically in lotu and planned group activities. Children have opportunities to lead aspects of these activities. They choose where they play and can select from a range of planned activities and resources. Opportunities for children to develop literacy, numeracy and science skills and understanding are increasingly brought together in learning experiences. Children experience regular trips to the library and community events that promote their positive engagement in learning. Children are confident and enthusiastic learners.

Teachers are continuing to strengthen the quality of the programme to fully embrace Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and Kei Tua o Te Pae, Assessment for learning: Early Childhood Exemplars. Teachers base the yearly programme plan on themes and add in aspects of children’s interests. They have undertaken a comprehensive review of the programme in order to be more responsive to children’s cultural diversity and bilingual skills. Teachers have made good use of research to inform their practice. Teachers should build on these good self review practices to fully embrace an emergent, spontaneous curriculum. This should include developing ways to grow children’s self management, independence and sustained, complex play.

Regular communication between teachers and parents is valued and encouraged. These discussions are increasingly documented in descriptions of learning and contribute to planning for children’s learning. Assessment practices support parents’ contributions to their child’s significant learning moments and highlight children’s involvement in group activities. Learning stories for infants and babies make useful reference to their developmental milestones. This information provides teachers with meaningful contexts to inform a responsive programme.

The manager is purposefully leading ongoing improvement. Staff are well supported to further develop their professional knowledge and qualifications. They network with early childhood professional bodies and make presentations about their research based inquiries at national conferences. To improve the sustainability of the aoga, teachers should continue to grow their leadership capacity.

Self review is underway. Teachers work well together to develop their collective understanding of review practice. They have planned and scheduled self review to help them improve overall centre processes. Some aspects of self review include formal and informal conversations about the impact of centre practices on learning outcomes for children. The next step is for staff to decide how best to document self review so that it is meaningful and useful to them and supports further centre improvement.

The komiti fa’afoe has developed clear roles and responsibilities to support sustainable and effective governance practice. Clear communication and reporting ensures komiti members are well informed to make decisions that support their agreed priorities. A high level of trust between the komiti fa’afoe and centre leaders promotes an environment of professional practice. In order to further strengthen lines of communication the komiti fa’afoe should ensure that they are timely with their responses to any issues or concerns that are raised.

Key Next Steps

ERO suggested and centre managers agree the next steps to further strengthen practice include:

  • developing the centre's emergent curriculum to comprehensively recognise and respond to children’s strengths, interests and individual learning needs
  • extending teachers’ understanding and use of effective strategies to fully respond to the complex nature of children’s learning
  • improving the collective understanding of emergent self review practice and implementing a framework to guide, document and evaluate ongoing improvement
  • increasing teacher capability and curriculum provision for the meaningful inclusion of te ao Māori in centre practices and across the curriculum
  • continuing to build teachers' leadership capability to support sustainable practice and succession planning.

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.

To improve practice centre leaders should cyclically review policies and procedures to ensure they reflect changes in practice.

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.

Dale Bailey

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

24 June 2015

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 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 18

Boys 17

Ethnic composition





other ethnicities






Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

April 2015

Date of this report

24 June 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

March 2012


Education Review

April 2007


Discretionary Review

February 2002

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.