Te Ara Huarau; the new approach to evaluation

Te Ara Huarau; the new approach to evaluation

We have moved to a more developmental approach to evaluation, supporting each school’s improvement over time. This evaluation approach to school improvement is called Te Ara Huarau, previously known as the New Schools Operating Model.

An ERO evaluation partner will work alongside each school, building a professional evaluation relationship with each school over time.

Our evaluation role will connect with each school’s strategic planning and reporting cycle as part of an ongoing improvement journey. We are supporting each school to build and sustain high-quality evaluation as part of their planning for improvement.

Consideration of a school within its wider network and community is woven throughout Te Ara Huarau, which will also identify opportunities where evaluations can occur at a community level.

View a list of participating schools.

Read newsletters sent to participating schools.

Read and download the School Self Audit and Assurance Statement.

Read and download the slide presentation.

Read about feedback from schools, and about our independent external evaluator.


How the evaluation approach differs with Te Ara Huarau

Under Te Ara Huarau, we have moved from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement.

This approach uses developmental evaluation that reflects individual schools’ context, culture and needs. It aims to strengthen the capability of all schools through embedding a continuous improvement approach and, strengthening schools’ own engagement with and accountability to whānau.

Through Te Ara Huarau ERO will become an evaluation partner alongside each school, supporting every school to be a great school and every child a success.

What doesn’t change is our commitment to putting the child at the heart of everything we do.

Our test, evaluate and learn approach

The roll out of this new approach started in 2020. We have continued to embed Te Ara Huarau in schools across New Zealand.

Te Ara Huarau began with a pilot, including schools of varying sizes and types, to achieve a cross-section of the New Zealand school system. This allowed us to learn as we went and gain real-time feedback from schools and our evaluators. The detail is key, and we use our collective insights to get this right.

Our approach to the development of the model is iterative – if issues arise, adjustments can be made along the way during the implementation phase. Key sector stakeholder groups are working with us to provide ongoing feedback.


Feedback matters

The pilot began as a research and development model, with feedback informing the nationwide introduction of Te Ara Huarau. Our approach will continue to be iterative as all schools are introduced into this approach, allowing us to gain real-time feedback from all schools and our evaluators.

The feedback from your school and ERO evaluation partner will contribute to Te Ara Huarau.

Independent evaluation

We commissioned an independent external evaluator to help guide the development of our new approach.

Dr Delwyn Goodrick’s evaluation was designed to provide feedback during the early phases of the development and implementation process.

The feedback from this evaluation has been implemented in updates to Te Ara Huarau. You can read about this independent evaluation here Feedback on the New Schools Operating Model | Education Review Office (ero.govt.nz)


Engaging with schools/Kura

Our approach is to build trust and confidence in Te Ara Huarau and in ERO, by engaging the sector in working out how best to make the model work in practice.

Your school will understand:

  • The advantages Te Ara Huarau delivers
  • The main features, and how they differ from what ERO has done previously
  • How to ask questions and give feedback about Te Ara Huarau

We will work with your school to refine and operationalise Te Ara Huarau, so that it can be introduced with the least disruption.

Our commitment to your school

As we work alongside your school, we will support improvement both in your school and in the system as a whole.

We want to ensure that the intent and main features of Te Ara Huarau are widely understood by schools, key stakeholder groups, learners and their Whānau.

  • We’d like to earn broad support for Te Ara Huarau and an enthusiasm for its implementation.
  • We’re keen to understand sticking points or concerns so they can be addressed early and efficiently.
  • We’ve ensured that key sector stakeholder groups are working with us to provide feedback to ensure successful implementation.


We are listening

We have heard, listened, and developed Te Ara Huarau as a result of your input

We are moving from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach with reviews that are a point in time to an approach based on your school’s individual needs.

Te Ara Huarau is built on a relationship focused on helping your school make improvements in the areas that deliver the greatest improvements to learner success.

We are beginning in the same spirit of co-operation that underpins Te Ara Huarau: by working with schools to refine the model and develop the best ways of implementing it through a learn as we go process.

Our commitment to equity and excellence

We are committed to supporting improved outcomes and achieving equity for all learners, particularly Māori and Pacific learners. We have an interest in what is happening for learners with additional needs. The principles that underpin Te Ara Huarau give priority to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi through a focus on working together to achieve desired outcomes.

Te Ara Huarau seeks to understand the cultural context of each school in order to best serve its needs.

By building differentiation into the model, we have given ourselves the flexibility to work with your school and other participants, where it is desired and appropriate.

We’re committed to continuing to work with the sector. This will require goodwill and professionalism from all.

Thank you for your support

At ERO, we know what great schools do – and we will support your school to be a great school.

We hope that you see the opportunity, value and the potential that ERO’s new approach, Te Ara Huarau, will deliver.

We look forward to partnering with you on your improvement journey.

Every school a great school, every child a success

Kia angitū ia tamaiti, kia angitū ia kura