Punavai o le Gagana Samoa - 06/05/2016

1 Evaluation of Punavai o le Gagana Samoa

How well placed is Punavai o le Gagana Samoa to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The board, supervisor and staff of Punavai o le Gagana Samoa require support to help them develop governance, management and teaching practices that promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Punavai o le Gagana Samoa is affiliated to the Hastings Samoan parish of the Methodist Church of New Zealand. The centre is governed and managed by the Punavai o le Gagana Samoa Trust. Staff and trustees are mostly members of the parish. The board employs five permanent staff including four qualified teachers, and two part-time staff. A number of volunteers are regularly present at the centre.

The centre is licensed to provide for 30 children, including a maximum of eight up to the age of two years. Children attending the centre are predominantly Samoan. The board has focused on increasing enrolments by providing a pick up/drop off service for children. Several children from outside the church community have recently enrolled at the centre.

The centre’s philosophy promotes children’s self-determination through Samoan culture, language and values. It emphasises children as competent learners with a sense of belonging in the centre. Staff would benefit from external professional support to help them to put this philosophy into practice.

The 2012 ERO report acknowledged good management practices and recommended that managers and staff improve self review to support centre development. The 2015 review notes a lack of progress in these areas. There is limited evidence of sustained centre-wide improvement. Progress is hindered by a poor understanding between the board, centre leaders and staff; weak governance and management practices; and a lack of curriculum leadership.

The Review Findings

Children have fun participating in action songs together. They particularly enjoy pese and lotu during mat sessions. During this time children have the opportunity to mix with other age groups and to use their Samoan language. Teachers should build on these early beginnings by encouraging children’s individual interests, curiosity and exploration. They should provide a programme that engages and sustains children in learning through play. Such a programme should reflect the centre philosophy and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Infants and toddlers experience nurturing care from teachers. Children in this age group have a separate indoor play area but are still unable to independently access outdoor play. The board is yet to prioritise a purpose-built outdoor area for the children under two years of age. Teachers need external professional development to strengthen the provision for the specific learning needs of this age group.

Teachers are not implementing a cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation that supports children to become confident and competent learners. There is a lack of evidence in planning documentation to show how children’s Samoan language, culture and values are supported through the programme. Curriculum leadership, as well as programme planning, implementation, and evaluation require improvement.

Governance and management are not improving the quality of provision for children. Concerns that affect the viability and sustainability of the service include:

  • a lack of evidence that the Trust is meeting licensing requirements or providing adequate support for the supervisor and teaching team to fulfil their roles

  • the need to implement rigorous performance management processes for the supervisor and teachers that align with Education Council requirements

  • inadequate financial management and staffing levels.

Key Next Steps

Trustees, the supervisor and teachers should work collaboratively with external professional advisers to improve outcomes for children by:

  • establishing ongoing self-review processes

  • developing annual and strategic planning that is guided by self review

  • building the teachers’ professional capability

  • ensuring that the service provider and staff keep updated about developments in early childhood education and legal requirements.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Punavai o le Gagana Samoa 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.

To improve current practice the service provider and supervisor should:

  • review centre policies and practices in consultation with staff and parents to meet the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and the Education Council
  • take all practicable precautions to ensure that children do not come in contact with people suffering from a disease or condition likely to be passed on to children
  • maintain an annual budget guiding financial expenditure, including staffing and professional development costs, leave entitlements, and the ongoing purchase of new equipment and maintenance of the premises.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance. To meet requirements the service provider must ensure that:

  • the service is effectively managed and governed in accordance with good management and employment practices, including ongoing self-review processes to maintain and improve the quality of education and care for children

  • programmes provided for children are informed by well-documented planning, assessment and evaluation

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, GMA 6, 7, 8.

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 Punavai o le Gagana Samoa will be within two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

6 May 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


Flaxmere, Hastings

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 8 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 19 Girls 10

Ethnic composition





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

December 2015

Date of this report

6 May 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

March 2012

Education Review

October 2007

Education Review

May 2003

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.