Sharing the mahi - ERO New Schools Operating Model Newsletter - May 2021 - Issue #3

Welcome from ERO

Kia ora koutou

Welcome to our regular newsletter series, sent to those schools that are currently being introduced to our new evaluation approach. In Term 2, 100 further schools are joining us: Participating Schools

You will notice some differences in the way we work as we are introducing the new approach.

What happens for your school is likely to be different from what other schools experience

We are working differently with each school according to its context, culture and needs. This means the amount of time spent with your school, the focus of an evaluation and the way it is carried out will reflect your strengths and focus for improvement.

One ERO evaluator will be the main Evaluation Partner working with your evaluation team

From time to time other external evaluators might join the team. They might be a Leadership Partner or another Evaluation Partner from ERO. Leadership Partners are leaders from other schools who have engaged in a professional learning programme to enable them to take up this role.

An ongoing connection, not a single event

ERO will be working together with your school in an ongoing way over a three-year cycle. After any evaluation, we’ll keep working together to use the findings to decide on improvement plans and actions. We will support you to strengthen your internal evaluation practice. How we do this will respond to your needs.

How the process is organised

There are five phases in the new evaluation approach. They are: Initiating, Exploring and focusing, Designing, Evaluating for improvement, Reporting and planning. Your Evaluation Partner can give you more detail on each phase.

This improvement-oriented approach aligns reporting and use of evaluation findings to each school’s strategic planning and annual reporting cycle, and associated activities. Evaluation informs the school’s priorities and goal setting, and supports the monitoring of progress through reporting activities and use of findings for improvement purposes.

I hope that you find these regular newsletters useful. More information is available on our website - please note that our website has recently been refreshed and so some previous links may no longer be active. You can find everything you need here: New Schools Operating Model

Photo of Jane Lee.

Ngā mihi

Jane Lee

Deputy Chief Executive Review and Improvement

For more information on the new schools Operating Model go to


Partnership profile

“Relax. It IS different. Go into it with an open mindset. Don’t expect it to be adversarial. Make the most of it.”

Mark Jones, Principal of Bayfield High School in Dunedin, offers his thoughts on the new evaluation approach.

Watch the video here


Introducing ERO’s Regional Director Te Tai Tini (Southern)

Headshot of Dr Lesley Patterson

The Southern Te Tai Tini region runs from north of Wellington to Bluff - from near Levin in the west and east to Dannevirke then all the way south to and including Rakiura Stewart Island and Te Whare Kauri the Chatham Islands.

Dr Lesley Patterson leads a team of evaluators, managers, and administrators who work with close to 990 schools and 1270 early learning services. Much of her role is working with this team and engaging with the sector to achieve our shared goal of equity and excellence for all learners across the 0 – 18 learning pathway, and to ensure ERO evaluation insights catalyse educational improvement.

Lesley says she joined ERO because of its focus on learners, and its commitment to educational equity. Over the course of her career she has held a wide range of roles in the public service and in education (in New Zealand and overseas). In addition to teaching qualifications, she has a PhD in sociology and worked for many years as a sociologist and university lecturer, with particular interests in social inequality and sociology of the life-course.


For your newsletters

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ERO is shifting to a more developmental approach to evaluation, supporting each school’s improvement over time.

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

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

Consideration of a school within its wider network and community is woven throughout the new Operating Model, which will also identify an opportunity to undertake evaluations at a community level.

More information is available on the ERO website: New Schools Operating Model | Education Review Office (


Your feedback matters

ERO’s approach will continue to be iterative as all schools are introduced to the new approach.

The feedback from your school and ERO evaluation partner will contribute to the development of the model. Please share your feedback directly with your Evaluation Partner.



Our website has recently been refreshed and some  previous links may no longer be active. All content on the new approach is now available here: New Schools Operating Model | Education Review Office (

For more information on the new schools Operating Model go to