Akoteu Lotofale'ia - 18/12/2015

1 Evaluation of Akoteu Lotofale'ia

How well placed is Akoteu Lotofale'ia to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

The Akoteu Lotofale’ia 2012 ERO report noted concerns about centre governance and management. The management committee has yet to fully address these significant areas for improvement. External support would help centre leaders bring about the required improvements.

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


Akoteu Lotofale’ia in Mangere, operates under the New Zealand Methodist Church and the Tongan Methodist Church Parish. The centre is governed by a management committee made up of church representatives, a parent, and centre leaders. It provides education and care for up to 50 children from two years to school age.

Although there are separate licences for the centre for children over two and the centre for infants and toddlers, they are operated as a single entity. They are led by a puleako/principal and a centre manager, who takes a significant role in the governance of the centre. Each centre has a supervisor who oversees the daily programme.

All the children attending the centre have Tongan heritage and most are from the local community. Some children travel from other areas and have family connections to the centre. All teachers are fluent speakers of Tongan. Five of the seven teaching staff are registered teachers. There are also two full time cooks/cleaners to support teaching staff.

Successive ERO reports have commented on the positive and affirming relationships between teachers, children and families. Tongan language and cultural values and Christian beliefs continue to be a significant feature of the centre. ERO’s last two reports have identified the need to improve the governance and management of the centre. The health and safety concerns identified in ERO’s previous reports have for the most part been addressed.

The Review Findings

Teachers implement programmes that give children a strong sense of their identity. There is a calm gentle tone in the centre. Children enjoy the company of their friends. Teachers are genuinely interested in what children contribute. Children are confident, engaged in learning activities and feel they belong.

Christian beliefs and Tongan cultural practices are woven into the programme and fostered during group sessions. Most children are fluent Tongan speakers. Teachers affirm and enrich children’s knowledge and use of the Tongan language and culture.

The welcoming and relaxed learning environment reflects Tongan identity and culture and acknowledges Māori as tangata whenua. Teachers integrate te reo and tikanga Māori in the programme.

Children benefit from good periods of uninterrupted play and the opportunity to make independent choices. Children’s physical development is promoted by easy access to the outside area that is set up with a variety of interesting activities. Increasing children’s access to a greater variety of open ended and challenging resources would more effectively support children’s learning and development.

Teachers use positive guidance strategies and provide good support for children’s play. A future focus for teachers now is to look for ways to increase challenge and complexity in play and learning particularly for older children. Improved routines could also encourage children to be self-managing.

Group planning guides the programme and children’s assessment portfolios are well presented. They provide a good record of centre activities and group learning experiences.

Further professional development in assessment and planning is likely to help teachers to develop strategies to identify and build on children’s individual interests, strengths and dispositions. Teachers could also consider better ways to show how they integrate mathematics, literacy, science and technology in curriculum planning and implementation.

The management committee has recently accessed external professional support to improve governance practices. There has been some improvement in strategic planning and self-review. Despite this, a number of areas of concern noted in ERO’s 2008 and 2012 reports have not been fully addressed.

Key Next Steps

The principal, manager and supervisors agree that to improve outcomes for children, teachers will need to continue to work with their professional development provider to:

  • increase their understanding of current early childhood legislation, educational theories and best practice
  • develop a philosophy statement to guide teaching practice
  • focus on supporting and planning for children’s individual interests and strengths
  • develop robust self-review processes to evaluate their effectiveness in supporting children's learning and implementing Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum
  • increase partnerships with parents.

The management committee, manager and supervisors should act with urgency to:

  • strengthen organisational culture and build leadership capability in the centre
  • implement a rigorous self-review cycle to evaluate centre operations
  • strengthen strategic and annual planning and align it with centre budgets
  • hold more regular meetings, with appropriately recorded minutes
  • develop an evidence-based appraisal process that meets current legislative requirements and ensure all staff, including the manager, are appraised annually by a fully registered teacher.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Akoteu Lotofale'ia 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.

To improve current practices, the committee and manager should ensure that:

  • parent permission slips for excursions show minimum adult to child ratios and risk identification and management is documented
  • there is regular police vetting of all non-registered staff
  • fire and earthquake drills are accurately recorded and include all the elements required by the Fire Service
  • food served to children meets their nutritional needs and is hygienically prepared, served, and stored.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance, management, curriculum and effective self review. To meet requirements the service needs to improve its performance in the following areas:

  • plan programmes that are more clearly responsive to children’s individual interests and strengths
  • ensure that the service is effectively governed and managed in accordance with good management practices and that appropriate documentation and records are developed, maintained and regularly reviewed
  • establish more formal and regular self-review practices to support ongoing improvement and more sustainable good practice
  • implement suitable human resource management practices
  • as part of its annual report to the annual general meeting, report to parents and the local community about how they have spent their Equity Funding.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, C2, GMA 6, 7Education (ECS) Regulations 2008, 47(1a, c) Early Childhood Funding Handbook – Chapter 10.

Development Plan Recommendation

ERO recommends that the service consult with the Ministry of Education and plan to address the key next steps and actions outlined in this report.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Akoteu Lotofale'ia will be within two years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

18 December 2015

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


Mangere, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

50 children, including up to 0 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 24

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80% Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

October 2015

Date of this report

18 December 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

February 2012


Education Review

November 2008


Supplementary Review

May 2006

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.