Education Review Office Review Panel Announced

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education

The Minister responsible for the Education Review Office Brian Donnelly fulfilled another coalition commitment today when he announced the names of the people who will review ERO.

"ERO will be reviewed by the Hon. Margaret Austin (Chair), Associate Professor Wayne Edwards from Massey University and Apryll Parata-Blane, former principal of Ngata Memorial College and education consultant," Mr. Donnelly said.

"I am particularly pleased to have three people who have such high skills in teaching, education management, curriculum issues and public policy."

"The aim of review is to find how ERO can be most effective at improving the quality of the education students receive. It will also look at the best ways for ERO to communicate its findings to schools and the Government."

The coalition Government agreed to review ERO because of concerns raised about how ERO reviews schools and early childhood centres, the way it communicates with them and releases its findings. There have also been differences in understanding between agencies responsible for policy formation, policy implementation and advice, and ERO, as to what is satisfactory performance from schools and early childhood centres.

"There is also the perception amongst schools and early childhood centres that problems ERO identifies in its accountability reports are sometimes beyond their control."

"However, this is not just an attempt to make ERO's relationships with schools better," Mr. Donnelly said.

"I want ERO to be a strong agency. It has to be able to identify schools that are not functioning in a way that provides quality education to all students. But it also needs to be able to investigate how the policies and practices of other Government agencies affect the early childhood and compulsory education sectors. It has to be able to make recommendations the Government will listen to."

The review panel will start work in July, visiting schools and early childhood centres, consulting with stakeholder groups and inviting submission from them.

It is expected that the review panel will report back to the Minister in mid to late September.



Hon. Margaret Austin (Chair)

Mrs Austin is a former Minister of Internal Affairs and Minister of Research Science and Technology, was a Member of Parliament for 12 years with roles which included Spokesperson on education, and was a member of the Education and Science Select Committee. She has a broad knowledge of the education sector, and of curriculum, school organisation and leadership issues. She has been a secondary teacher and has extensive experience in public policy.

Apryll Parata-Blane

Mrs Parata-Blane was the Principal of Ngata Memorial College from 1992-1996. She has had extensive successful experience in school leadership and change management. She has substantial involvement in Maori Education and the Education of Maori, which has been her prime focus as a practitioner. Currently she is working for Gardiner & Parata Ltd as a consultant in the education arena. She is also a parent representative on the Board of Trustees for the Kura Kaupapa Maori her son attends. Of Ngati Porou and Ngai Tahu descent, Mrs Parata-Blane was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contributions to education in the 1997 New Years Honours List. Associate Professor Wayne Edwards OBE

Professor Edwards is responsible for the Master in Educational Administration degree at Massey University and teaches evaluation in education organisations. He was a primary teacher, and has considerable experience in education management and leadership, evaluation of educational organisations, and organisational development. He has an understanding of and interest in Tomorrow's Schools from a state perspective, in Maori education and in the concerns of trustees, principals and parents. He is up-to-date with curriculum issues, and is familiar with the public policy process.



The purpose of this review is to recommend ways of increasing the effectiveness of the Education Review Office's contribution to improving the quality of education outcomes for students in schools and early childhood centres.


Having regard to the Government's educational objectives, principally to:

  1. encourage a more highly knowledgeable and skilled nation;
  2. lift the quality of the learning environment;
  3. maximise education gains in cost effective ways;
  4. promote an education sector which is responsive to the needs of students, in particular those with special needs or at risk of poor educational outcomes; and
  5. enable local decision making at the school/early childhood centre level to enhance the quality of education.

The review panel will:

  1. Examine the nature and scope of the authority of the Education Review Office and assess the degree to which such authority impacts on and contributes to improvement in the quality of educational outcomes.
  2. Assess the methodology and frequency of the Education Review Office's current external evaluation services, and how these can more effectively contribute to improvement in the delivery of education at schools and early childhood centres.
  3. Recommend any procedural or legislative changes that optimise the educational benefits and maximise the effectiveness of the current usage of the Education Review Office's resources.
  4. Examine current methodology for evaluating the impact of policy and delivery of services of other state education agencies on educational outcomes for students, and consider how this information should be fed back into the policy process.

In addressing these terms of reference, the Review Panel will consider:

  1. the appropriate balance between self reviews and external evaluation in schools and early childhood centres;
  2. the functional relationship of external evaluation with other agencies in the education sector relevant to schools and early childhood centres;
  3. the adequacy of current processes to develop common understandings between agencies for policy formation, policy implementation and advice, and the Education Review Office as to what is considered satisfactory performance from schools and early childhood centres.
  4. the constructiveness of current processes to communicate evaluation findings.