Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata - 02/12/2013

1 Evaluation of Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata

How well placed is Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata 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.


Fetu-I-Sasa’e Aoga Amata is part of the ministry of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in Clover Park, Manukau. The aoga is governed by the Fetu-i-Sasa’e Aoga Amata Trust Board. A management committee includes Church and parent representatives as well as centre staff. The aoga has a strong foundation of Samoan culture and language, and Christian values. There is a focus on supporting good quality educational outcomes for children.

The aoga provides a total immersion gagana and fa’a Samoa early childhood context for 38 children, including up to eight infants and toddlers. It operates in spacious, purpose-built premises adjacent to the Church. The board employs a manager, supervisor, administrator and other staff to support aoga operations. The teaching team includes five qualified teachers.

ERO’s 2010 review found that good progress had been made in improving the quality of programmes for children and in developing management systems. ERO identified the need to establish strategic planning and strengthen self-review processes, including systems for performance appraisal. Considering ways to extend children’s learning was a key area for review and development.

The Review Findings

Children at the aoga amata are confident in their language, culture and identity. Many children use the gagana Samoa to respond to adults who are fluent in the language. Children play in mixed-age groups and enjoy cooperative and individual play activities. The indoor environment is vibrant and attractive. Cultural symbols and displays acknowledge and celebrate children’s identity and their work. Children can choose to play with equipment in a covered outdoor space. There are other play resources and a climbing structure in the outdoor area.

Teachers support children in literacy and numeracy learning by encouraging children to experiment with drawing, recording their stories and regularly visiting the neighbouring library. They support children to work together in cooperative groups. The aoga amata has links with the bilingual units of local schools. This helps children to transition smoothly to school.

Teachers know their children and families well. Their programme planning includes group activities and whole centre outings. Teachers record their reflections on children’s learning in well presented portfolios. Parents are invited to include their comments in these portfolios and some use this opportunity to support their children’s learning.

Many of the older children show care and support for the younger children. The Samoan model of leadership through service, ‘tautua’, provides children with many opportunities for leadership in lotu, pese and serving food. These opportunities help children to become confident in leadership roles.

The Trust board regularly meets with and maintains strong links with the church board. There are many opportunities for parents to be involved in making decisions about the direction and policies of the aoga. Parents are represented on the Trust board, and are invited to be involved in regular policy review. Many parents actively participate in aoga and church activities. These connections help to create the strong sense of belonging, family and community in the aoga amata.

The managers and teachers have a growing understanding of the purpose of self review and are increasingly using self review to reflect on their practice. Managers have sought parent perspectives through surveys and newsletters. The community and parents are encouraged to be more involved reviewing practices in the aoga. The parents’ representative on the Trust communicates parents’ aspirations at board meetings.

Leaders base their relationships on respect, trust and the principle of reciprocity. The Samoan language, culture and identity, and Christian values, underpin the aoga amata philosophy, values and goals. Managers have a clear vision and direction for the ongoing development of the aoga amata. They discuss specific goals at regular meetings. Good systems and clear communication ensure that parents and the wider church community are well informed of aoga amata operations and activities.

Key Next Steps

ERO and the aoga amata managers agree that next steps for development include:

  • ensuring that planning and evaluation records show how teachers use children’s individual interests and abilities to settle and engage children in the programme, support more complex play, and extend their learning
  • strengthening teachers’ and managers’ self-review by deepening understandings about best practice in early childhood education
  • showing clearer links between self review, strategic planning and annual plans, and regularly reporting to the board about progress towards strategic goals.


ERO recommends and aoga amata managers agree that it is important for the teaching team to work with an external professional development adviser to refine their planning and teaching practices so that they are more responsive to children’s individual and emerging interests.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata 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 Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata will be in three years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

2 December 2013

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


Flat Bush, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

38 children, including up to 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23

Girls 14

Ethnic composition







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Meets minimum requirements


Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2013

Date of this report

2 December 2013

Most recent ERO report(s)

Supplementary Review

November 2010


Supplementary Review

August 2009


Education Review

May 2008

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.