Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata - 03/03/2016

1 Evaluation of Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata

How well placed is Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The 2012 ERO report recommended external professional support to help centre management to improve self-review in all areas of centre operations and to raise the quality of teaching and learning. This ERO review notes a lack of progress in these areas. Where progress has been identified, it has been recent and is not yet well embedded.

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


Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata is a full immersion Samoan early childhood centre. The centre is licensed to provide education and care for 30 children over two years of age.

The aoga continues to promote Samoan language and culture, Christian values and a family friendly environment in alignment with its philosophy. It is governed by a board of trustees from the Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata Trust which is associated with the Samoan Mangere Central Methodist Parish.

The board has a memorandum of understanding with a not-for-profit community agency that was established by the Methodist Church of New Zealand. The intent of this agreement is to provide professional development, governance advice and guidance to the board, aoga manager and teaching team. Staff from this community agency also hold the contact person role and oversee financial management. The community agency’s EC service manager was new to this role in early 2015.

The aoga is led by an experienced manager and long serving supervisor. Teachers value children’s cultural and family backgrounds. Three of the four qualified staff have held provisional practising certificates for a number of years. They are yet to commence a mentoring programme to achieve full endorsement of their practising certificates.

ERO’s 2012 review acknowledged that the aoga had undergone significant changes to the governance and management teams. Progress was noted in the programme for children and in developing more robust management systems. At that time professional support from the community agency was helping the management committee to manage the centre.

The Review Findings

Children have a strong sense of identity and belonging in the aoga. Children have many opportunities to hear Samoan language and to experience Samoan culture throughout the day. They are confident and happy in their interactions and are nurturing and caring towards one another. Children participate enthusiastically in mat times that include prayers, song and dance. Teachers could further develop children’s independence, leadership and self-management skills through play.

Teachers continue to provide a caring environment that supports children’s participation and enjoyment of the programme. Teachers have a good knowledge of children and their families. Parents are supportive of aoga events and contribute to children’s learning by participating in the programme and providing feedback in children’s portfolios. Teachers share programme planning and learning stories in displays.

Aoga leaders agree that further external professional support is needed for teachers to develop their understanding of current professional practice and ERO’s framework for reviewing early childhood services He Pou Tataki. Teachers should document a regular cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation that strengthens their response to children’s interests. This ongoing process should show how children’s learning is promoted and extended.

The board and management are not effectively implementing improvements to the aoga. They have not made progress in the areas for development and review identified in the 2012 ERO report. Trustees have recently begun to formalise the appointment of the EC service manager as the new contact person.

In preparation for this 2015 ERO review the board contracted another external provider to assist trustees. Improvements resulting from this support include the early stages of developing a strategic plan and a new performance management system that meets Education Council requirements.

There is limited evidence of sustained centre-wide improvement resulting from external support. The board should implement processes that enhance shared understanding, open communication and accountability throughout the service. The board and managers have not prepared for imminent legislative changes related to the Vulnerable Children Act.

Key Next Steps

Leaders and teachers should access professional support to improve curriculum leadership and implementation of an emergent curriculum. This external support should help teachers to:

  • improve assessment, planning and evaluation and the provision for children’s interests, strengths and abilities through play
  • build their professional capability and teaching practice through critical reflection and ongoing self review.

The board and managers require external professional support to strengthen the sustainability of the aoga. This governance support should build the board and leaders’ capacity to make necessary improvements and to keep up to date with developments in early childhood education and legislation.

Priorities for the board and leaders include:

  • clarifying their roles and responsibilities
  • implementing transparent systems and processes of reporting
  • maintaining documented self-review, strategic and annual planning and resourcing that is focused on improving outcomes for children
  • implementing relevant human resource management policies and processes
  • ensuring that aoga policies and processes meet the legislative requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to child protection and human resource management. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • ensure that there is a process for the prevention of child abuse and a procedure for responding to suspected child abuse
  • implement up-to-date job descriptions and a system of regular appraisal and professional development for all staff

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, HS31, GMA7.

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 Samoa Moni I Lana Gagana Aoga Amata will be within two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

3 March 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


Mangere, 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

Girls 16 Boys 8

Ethnic composition


Samoan/Cook Island Māori


Samoan /Tongan





Percentage of qualified teachers

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


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Meets minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2015

Date of this report

3 March 2016

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

June 2012


Supplementary Review

April 2009


Education Review

March 2008

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.