Fetu-I-Sasa'e Aoga Amata - 22/12/2016

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 a full immersion Samoan education and care service for up to 38 children from birth to school age. The centre is affiliated with the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa in East Tamaki. It provides full day care with a strong emphasis on aganu'u Samoa and a Christian perspective. The children mostly play as one group, but a small separated space enables infants to be withdrawn from the larger group as needed.

A management committee has representatives of the church, community, parents and staff, and oversees aoga operations. Daily responsibility is delegated to the centre manager and the supervisor. They lead a team of nine staff including five registered teachers. The manager, who was appointed in early 2016, leads teacher professional development and guides ongoing improvement.

In 2013 ERO affirmed the progress teachers had made in improving the quality of the programme and children's confidence in gagana and aganu'u Samoa. Teachers were supporting literacy and numeracy well. These good practices continue to be evident and teachers have improved their focus on planning for children's individual learning. Managers have responded well to ERO's recommendation to improve links between self review, strategic goals and annual planning.

The Review Findings

Children are very settled and show a sense of belonging in the aoga. They have positive relationships with teachers and are responsive to questions and prompts for their play. Children engage well in activities and competently take leadership roles in lotu and mat times. They enjoy participating in projects such as recycling and gardening and opportunities to develop computer skills. Older children are supported well in their transition to school and they enthusiastically model cultural traditions for younger children. Children up to the age of two enjoy a balance of focused infant play and being integrated into the general programme.

Teachers consistently encourage children to engage with resources. They use gagana Samoa in their interactions with children and frequently ask questions to help children with their ideas and interests. Teachers could now reflect on ways to increase children's contributions to discussions and to interact independently with each other. Teachers regularly include cultural activities in the programme. They maintain a focus on bicultural practices, often including te reo Māori and waiata in the programme. The aoga philosophy is evident in the programme.

Teachers continue to improve their planning, assessment and evaluation processes. They regularly observe and discuss children’s interests and plan resources and activities to support related topics. Teachers also develop individual plans for each child that include consultation with parents and identifying learning outcomes. Children's assessment portfolios clearly show how their interests are supported over time and increasingly include parents' feedback as they access learning stories electronically. Regular talanoa discussions with parents ensure that their aspirations are included in children's individual plans.

As part of their ongoing professional development teachers could review how well their planning guides daily teaching practices. It would be useful to develop a shared understanding of the key strengths of an effective teacher and develop these skills through the teacher appraisal processes.

As a result of self review, managers have significantly improved the outdoor environment. New safe-fall surfacing and shade sails have addressed identified safety concerns and provided a designated track for children to use bikes. Teachers have also established a computer suite to support their transition to school programme. Leaders are aware that children will benefit most when they use computers to support their individual investigations and project work rather than for formal group learning.

The aoga is well managed. The committee has established sound policy and internal review frameworks and is kept well informed about aoga practices. The manager provides effective leadership for staff. She encourages their participation in professional development and involves teachers in spontaneous and planned internal review. Parents are included in decision making through their involvement on the committee and an active PTA, and through their contributions to policy review.

Key Next Steps

Aoga leaders agree that the key next steps for development should include:

  • identifying and implementing strategies to extend children's learning

  • continuing to develop programme planning and evaluation to more effectively guide teaching practices

  • ensuring that the teachers’ appraisal process includes links to Tataiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners

  • continuing to strengthen internal evaluation, with an emphasis on the effectiveness of teaching practices in providing better outcomes for children. 

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.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

22 December 2016 

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 


Otara, 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 8

Ethnic composition




Cook Islands Māori





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


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2016

Date of this report

22 December 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2013

Supplementary Review

November 2010

Supplementary Review

August 2009

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.