Punavai o le Gagana Samoa - 19/02/2019

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

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

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


Punavai o le Gagana Samoa is governed by the Punavai o le Gagana Samoa Trust and affiliated to the Hastings Samoan Parish of the Methodist Church of New Zealand. The staff and trustees include both long-serving and new members from the parish and community. Many have long-standing connections to the aoga, and the local community.

The aoga is licensed to provide for 30 children, including a maximum of eight up to the age of two years. Infants and toddlers have separate indoor and outdoor play areas. All children are of Samoan heritage and a small number identify as Māori. Most children speak Samoan as their home language.

The purpose of the aoga is to maintain and grow children's use of the Samoan language, and knowledge of spiritual, cultural and social values and beliefs. The aoga philosophy promotes children being confident and proud of their Samoan heritage and identity. Four pou underpin the purpose and vision: faaleagaga, tautua, alofa and fa'aaloalo.

The aoga employs five qualified teachers, three unqualified teacher assistants, an administrator and a driver. Since the 2016 ERO evaluation the board has contracted an interim centre manager, promoted a teacher to team leader and employed an administrator. The board continues to seek a suitably qualified permanent centre manager.

The board and staff have responded well to addressing the next steps noted in the 2016 ERO report. These development areas included strengthening governance, management, and the quality of teaching, curriculum, internal evaluation and compliance. Very good progress has been made.

The Review Findings

Children's sense of belonging and wellbeing is strongly affirmed through their language and culture. They have many opportunities to hear and speak Samoan and te reo Māori through conversation, routines and play. During mat times, teachers support children to participate and lead their learning. Children experience meaningful learning through play that is enjoyable and fun. They freely explore the indoor and outdoor learning environments. Children also have opportunities to develop their interests, friendships and sense of curiosity. The aoga philosophy is strongly evident in practice.

Children under the age of two explore their environment as they play. They independently access outdoor play and age appropriate resources and equipment. Infants and toddlers are generally calm, quick to settle and receive responsive caregiving.

Teachers have made good progress towards implementing a curriculum that reflects the aoga purpose, vision and pou. There are good models of teaching practice that show clear links between planning and assessment for individual and groups of children. Teachers should continue to develop a shared understanding of effective programme planning, assessment and evaluation, and Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Teachers know children and their families well. They are implementing a range of initiatives to enhance children's health and wellbeing and to strengthen parent partnerships. Children are well supported to transition into the aoga and on to school.

Key appointments of an interim centre manager, team leader and administrator are supporting a new culture of improvement. Staff value the collaborative teamwork, increased relational trust, and opportunity to develop their own leadership. They are keen to participate in robust appraisal to support their professional practice and ongoing development. Professional learning should include Tapasā, Cultural competencies framework for teachers of Pacific learners. Leaders agree that staff should continue to build a shared understanding of internal evaluation and its impact on outcomes for children.

The new board has benefited from external professional support to improve aoga governance and management. Improvements include a restructuring of the board, updating the trust deed and formalising governance roles and responsibilities.

The interim manager has worked with staff and the board to develop good administrative systems, strategic planning, financial management and policy review. The board has reviewed the aoga vision 'Fafauina ta'ita'i ole lumana'i - Growing future leaders', and aligned it to the strategic plan and key aoga documents. The board agrees that it is well positioned to continue developing internal evaluation to monitor the board's progress against the aoga's strategic goals.

Key Next Steps

The board and aoga leaders agree that priorities to continue sustainable improvement include:

  • appointing a permanent centre manager

  • further developing and embedding distributed leadership and internal evaluation at all levels of the aoga

  • implementing a robust appraisal process that meets Teaching Council requirements for all teachers and supports their professional learning and development

  • teachers strengthening the programme to reflect Tapasā, and Te Whāriki the early childhood curriculum.

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.

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 Punavai o le Gagana Samoa will be in three years.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

19 February 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


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 15 Girls 14

Ethnic composition



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

November 2018

Date of this report

19 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2016

Education Review

March 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 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.