Fotumalama Aoga Amata - 22/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Fotumalama Aoga Amata

How well placed is Fotumalama Aoga Amata to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Fotumalama Aoga Amata is well placed to promote positive learning outcomes for children. 

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Fotumalama Aoga Amata is a purpose-built centre licensed for 50 children from babies to school age. Most children who attend are of Samoan heritage. The centre was established in 2012 on the grounds of the Samoan Methodist Churches of Samoa (Manukau Parish). It is governed by an independent board of trustees. The board includes the newly appointed parish minister as the chairperson, centre manager, supervisor, and two parent representatives.

The trust is responsible for overseeing staff appointments and the development of the centre's strategic direction, policies and procedures. The centre manager oversees the day-to-day operations. A newly appointed supervisor mentors teachers in professional practice, and managing and implementing the curriculum.

The centre’s philosophy aims to provide early childhood education that values children's culture, language and identity. The aoga amata promotes a holistic programme integrated with a Christian based curriculum and underpinned by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Gagana and aganu'u Samoa are an integral part of the daily programme. The service is committed to promoting Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Since the last 2015 ERO report, most of the teachers are new and registered. The report identified some positive outcomes for children in the quality of the programme for children and a strengthening of the management of aoga operations. Good progress has been made to meet the areas identified in the last report for improvements.

The Review Findings

Teachers view children as confident and competent learners. They provide a variety of experiences for children to explore. Children are quick to settle in the programme, participate willingly and make choices in the defined areas of play. Some children are becoming confident to initiate conversations with each other and with adults. Children have fun and enjoy conversations with their friends and family members, which promotes a strong sense of belonging in the centre.

A separate area for infants and toddlers allows them to explore, learn about their environment and find the resources that support their play. Staff are sensitive and affectionate to the needs of infants and toddlers. They know these younger children well. To strengthen the programme, teachers should participate in targeted professional learning to improve their professional practice and develop a curriculum for infants and toddlers.

A focus on children and adults learning together is valued. Positive team work is evident. Teachers are respectful and responsive to children, and their aiga. It is timely for teachers to extend the range of resources available and consider how they could provide more opportunities for children to lead their own play. Children are well supported to develop literacy and mathematics through play. Teachers could now look at strengthening the provision for science and technology learning in programme planning.

Bicultural practices are well modelled by staff. Tuakana/teina relationships are promoted. The use of waiata and te reo Māori is used as a natural part of children’s play, particularly during group times. Music promotes a sense of calmness for children and supports their oral language development.

There is strong evidence of fa'a Samoa and aganu'u Samoa in the programme. Most of the children are of Samoan heritage and their families attend the parish. Teachers are fluent in the gagana Samoa. This supports children's learning, as well as strengthening relationships with families. Teachers’ partnerships with parents are based on acceptance, respect and willingness to listen and make changes in response to aiga aspirations.

The new board has made positive changes to the governance and management of the aoga. Trustees have supported the centre leaders in their role. Sound financial management is strongly evident and places the aoga in a good position to review staff remuneration.

Internal evaluation is leading to centre improvements. To build on this good practice, centre leaders should continue to develop the staff's evaluative capability.

Key Next Steps

Key next steps to improve teachers' professional practice include:

  • developing teachers' understanding of play-based curriculum and related teaching practices

  • improving resources to challenge children's thinking and learning

  • aligning the transition to school programme with Te Whāriki.

  • accessing quality professional learning for staff, including specific support for teachers who work with infants and toddlers.

To improve governance and management practices, the board agrees to:

  • access external professional development to strengthen governance and management roles and responsibilities

  • review personnel policies and procedures to ensure these meet current legal requirements for staff recruitment

  • provide centre leaders with robust appraisal and mentoring processes to support and grow their practice

  • develop a clear vision and philosophy that guides all aspects of operations.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Fotumalama 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.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

22 March 2019

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


Wiri, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 10 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 18 Boys 17

Ethnic composition

other Pacific groups


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

February 2019

Date of this report

22 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2015

Education Review

April 2012

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

The overall judgement that ERO makes will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed

  • Well placed

  • Requires further development

  • Not well placed

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.