Pulotu Aoga Amata - 26/07/2016

1 Evaluation of Pulotu Aoga Amata

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Pulotu Aoga Amata needs support to develop the quality of the curriculum and the effectiveness of centre management and governance.

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


Pulotu Aoga Amata is a Samoan immersion early childhood centre. Its philosophy is based on promoting Gagana Samoa and Aganu’u Samoa, Samoan language, culture and identity. It values diversity and promotes Christian values and beliefs. The aoga also promotes the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

The aoga is governed by a management trust that represents the parent and church community. It is associated with the Ekalesia Fa’apotopotonga Kerisano Samoa (EFKS) church in Takanini. The aoga is licensed for up to 30 children over two years old.

The centre manager works with the Trust Management Committee to govern and lead the centre. A supervisor manages the daily operations of the centre along with a part-time administrator.

Since the 2013 ERO review, leaders and staff have sustained the positive aspects of their performance acknowledged in the last report. However, many of the areas identified for further improvement are yet to be addressed.

The Review Findings

Pulotu Aoga Amata provides a basic curriculum that should now focus more clearly on offering children sufficient challenge in their learning.

A number of good practices are evident in the centre.

  • There are good opportunities for children to hear and use Samoan language, especially in more formal activities such as pese, and lotu, promoting a strong sense of Samoan identity and belonging for children.
  • Children play well in groups and enjoy choosing their equipment and resources in the indoor environment.
  • The indoor environment promotes Pacific cultures and Christian values.
  • The relationships between adults and children are respectful and courteous.

The challenge facing the centre manager is to develop a shared understanding among staff, management and parents about how to provide consistently good quality early childhood education practices.

Teachers have participated in some professional development to strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation. They should build on this knowledge to deepen their observations of children’s interests and strengths to promote richer learning experiences.

Key Next Steps

To improve the quality of the curriculum programme for children, teachers need to:

  • review the philosophy in consultation with parents and reflect on what this means for their teaching practice
  • provide learning experiences that are responsive to children’s individual and group interests
  • strengthen planning, assessment and evaluation practices.
  • Teachers have had external professional development to help them develop their understanding of self review. It would be timely now to implement self review that focuses on improving outcomes for children.

The governance body and centre leaders need to act with urgency to improve governance and management practices. They should:

  • clarify the roles and responsibilities of staff members
  • promote ongoing professional learning to develop leadership and promote effective teaching practice
  • ensure that the strategic plan is linked to indicators of effective practice and outcomes for children
  • keep up to date with legislative changes and renew policies and procedures accordingly
  • build and implement an ongoing process of self-review that includes parents’ perspectives.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Pulotu 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.

To improve current practices, centre leaders need to:

  • introduce an appraisal system that aligns to Education Teachers’ Council requirements
  • develop more comprehensive sleep monitoring records
  • strengthen risk analysis documentation for visits outside the centre
  • update the positive guidance policy to include requirements of the Vulnerable Children’s Act.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to curriculum management and health and safety. To meet legal requirements the service must ensure that:

  • an ongoing process of self review is implemented to improve the quality of education and care for children
  • teaching practices are based on current research about best practice in early childhood education
  • the service is effectively governed in accordance with good practices and suitable human resource management practices are implemented.
    Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA 6, 7.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Pulotu Aoga Amata will be within two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

26 July 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


Takanini, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 11 Girls 7

Ethnic composition









Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2016

Date of this report

26 July 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

June 2013

Supplementary Review

February 2011

Supplementary Review

December 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.