We are The Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga (ERO), the New Zealand government’s external evaluation agency that informs and facilitates improvement in early learning services, kōhanga reo, puna kōhungahunga, kura and schools.
How ERO operates
Our impartial and objective monitoring and evaluation is critical to the integrity of the New Zealand education system to ensure New Zealanders can have confidence in the delivery of pre-tertiary education in its institutions.
The Chief Executive, who is also the Chief Review Officer (CRO), assigns approximately 135 review officers to undertake reviews across the country.
The Act gives the CRO the power to initiate reviews, investigate, report and publish findings on the provision of education and the care for children and young people in Aotearoa.
This takes place in Māori-medium, English-medium and Pacific-medium contexts through:
- regular institutional reviews
- a significant programme on system-wide inquiry, evaluation and research.
1. Regular institutional reviews
All institutional review reports are based on independently sourced and verifiable information, including the voices of tamariki and the parent community where ERO receives a request to meet with them.
Reports are publicly available for use by other government agencies, pre-tertiary education institutions, parents, and caregivers.
Reviews of schools are focused on continuous improvement through strengthening the capability of schools in identifying priority areas for improvement, including the effectiveness of engagement with whānau, Iwi and the wider communities.
Reviews in early learning services are focused on accountability (including compliance with regulatory requirements), education improvement, and knowledge generation (where education is translated into achievement).
In its reviews, ERO considers the particular setting of the learner:
- Māori medium — Kura Kaupapa Māori, Ngā Kura a Iwi, Ngā Kohanga Reo, Ngā Puna Reo; and other Māori immersion early learning services.
- English-medium — all state and state integrated schools and kura; and all centre-based, home-based and hospital-based early childhood services.
- Pacific-medium — all state and state integrated schools and kura, and all centre-based, home-based and hospital-based early childhood services.
Furthermore, ERO can and does conduct reviews of:
- private and independent schools
- schools and kura with international students
- school hostels
- new and merging schools’ readiness to open.
Recommendations from ERO’s review programme can be directed to Ministers of the Crown, other education agencies (such as the Ministry of Education or NZQA) or individual institutions and service providers.
2. A significant programme on system-wide inquiry, evaluation and research
ERO conducts research and evaluations on the performance of the education system with the purpose of providing unbiased evidence to the education sector.
Findings can be shared and used as a catalyst for change in achieving equitable levels of participation, engagement and achievement for all learners.
Areas of focus are wide ranging, including the evaluation of education of groups of students (e.g high priority learners), key aspects in the provision in the NZ curriculum, and key issues affecting learners (e.g bullying and learner wellbeing).
National evaluations regularly capture the voice of children and young people through student surveys, focus groups or interviews, and student perspectives captured in institutional reviews.
Working with others
ERO uses its findings and the information it gathers to ensure the Minister of Education is well-informed about what’s happening at a system level and the effectiveness of programmes and investments that make the biggest difference to learner outcomes. While reviews of specific aspects of pre-tertiary education may be requested of ERO by the Minister of the day, most of ERO’s work is initiated by the Chief Review Officer.
Findings developed through its work programme are always published and often include recommendations for action in respect of policy settings, investment, or identify areas to lift practice.
The publications of ERO’s reports remain the prerogative of the Chief Review Officer and free from influence.
While ERO does not have a policy mandate, because of its extensive research and evaluation insights, and that it is operating in schools and early learning services on a daily basis, ERO is often requested to provide second opinion advice in policy and programme development and design.
We have a workforce of approximately 250 staff, the majority of whom have extensive experience working in leadership roles across the education sector. There are a broad set of skills in this workforce, related to research, evaluation, analysis, education and organisational performance and development. ERO has a dedicated specialist team with skills in kaupapa Māori, Te Ao Māori who work through the medium of te reo Māori.
Review officers are located in three regions: Northern-Te Tai Raki, Central-Te Tai Pūtahi Nui, Southern-Te Tai Tini, and Te Uepū ā-Motu, ERO’s Māori Review Services Unit. Our Pacific Review Services are based in Auckland.
The Education and Training Act (The Act) 2020
- Chief Review Officer — Education and Training Act 2020 No 38 (as at 01 January 2022), Public Act 463 Chief Review Officer to perform certain functions – New Zealand Legislation
- Provisions concerning students with enrolment exemption (home schooling) — Education and Training Act 2020 No 38 (as at 01 January 2022), Public Act 466 Functions of Chief Review Officer – New Zealand Legislation
- Provisions concerning hostels — Education and Training Act 2020 No 38 (as at 01 January 2022), Public Act 470 Functions of Chief Review Officer – New Zealand Legislation
- Review of private schools – Education and Training Act 2020 No 38 (as at 01 January 2022), Public Act 9 Review of private schools – New Zealand Legislation