Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata - 18/02/2019

1 Evaluation of Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata

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

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

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

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


Samoa Taumafai Aoga Amata is a well-established Samoan bilingual service. It is located on the grounds of the Samoa Community Welfare building in Tokoroa. The licence has recently been increased to provide all-day care and education for 34 children, including up to 12 aged under two years of age. Samoan children make up 40 percent of the roll. A further 40 percent are Māori or from other Pacific groups.

The aoga philosophy promotes Samoan culture, language and beliefs. It emphasises respectful practices, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the principles of Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum.

Infants and toddlers have dedicated learning spaces, resources and teaching staff. The different age groups regularly spend time together in mixed play and during routines.

The aoga is governed by an executive committee, with support from a parent committee. They oversee management of the aoga. A centre manager has responsibility for day-to-day operations and professional teaching practice. She is supported by an administrator and two head teachers. Most teachers are qualified.

The 2015 ERO report identified next steps for improvement. These related to the philosophy, annual and strategic planning, appraisal, self review, programme quality and teacher practice. Good progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children engage confidently in a varied, play-based programme. A richly resourced environment extends children's interests and invites their exploration. Teachers play alongside children and encourage them to make choices. Excursions and events, linked to children's interests, extend the curriculum.

Teachers promote children's self-management, independence and oral language effectively. They actively promote children's confidence and resilience. Teachers agree that they should continue to focus on using interactions that encourage deep thinking and help children to develop positive dispositions for learning.

The Samoan context of the aoga is valued and promoted. Children enjoy group times, as well as more informal interactions that model fa'a Samoa and gagana Samoa. Continuing to increase these experiences will enhance children's learning outcomes.

Infants and toddlers are respected as competent learners. Teachers nurture their sense of security, and sensitively encourage their growing independence. Teachers are attuned to the interests and preferences of these very young learners and follow their lead. Care moments are warm and unhurried. Toddlers are well supported to develop social and emotional competence.

Teachers build respectful, trusting relationships with families, promoting a strong sense of belonging. Parents' involvement with their children's learning is welcomed. Aoga events and cultural celebrations are well attended by the community. Teachers should consult with families about their aspirations for their children's learning. They could use professional learning resources related to the 2017 revised Te Whāriki, to help with these discussions.

Leaders and teachers are involved in a range of community and education networks. Teachers engage in well-considered professional learning to support improvements to teaching practice.

Managers, leaders and teachers work as a cohesive team. Trust, collaboration, shared accountability and mutual respect are promoted well. Teachers are encouraged to take on leadership roles. A shared commitment to continual professional learning is evident. Improving internal evaluation, that focuses more strongly on the effectiveness of aoga practices and outcomes for children, would support targeted improvements.

The executive committee and parent committee work effectively in their support roles. Good systems and processes are in place to guide ongoing developments.

Key Next Steps

Aoga leaders agree that key next steps include:

  • improving the programme to increase challenge, and extend children's thinking and learning dispositions

  • further developing the cycle of assessment, planning and evaluation

  • increasing opportunities for children to hear and experience gagana and fa'a Samoa

  • ensuring internal evaluation focuses on learning outcomes for children.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Samoa Taumafai 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 practice, managers should:

  • ensure that the appraisal system meets the requirements of the Teaching Council

  • distinguish between policies and procedures to facilitate review, and guide practice.

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

18 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



Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

34 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 17

Ethnic composition

other Pacific


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

November 2018

Date of this report

18 February 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2015

Education Review

March 2012

Supplementary Review

October 2010

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.