Akoteu Lotofale'ia - 31/10/2017

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

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


Akoteu Lotofale'ia is a large purpose-built centre operating under the auspices of the Tongan Methodist Church. It is licensed to provide all-day care and education for up to 50 children aged over two years. The roll is currently full and there is a waiting list. Most of the children enrolled are Tongan and there is a small group from other ethnic backgrounds.

This service for children over two operates alongside the Akoteu Lotofaleia Under 2s service. Managers have applied to combine the two services under one licence, which will assist with administration.

The philosophy and vision of the akoteu have a strong focus on promoting Christian values and Tongan language and culture. Practices and developments at the akoteu are guided and underpinned by Otua mo Tonga ko hoku Tofi'a' (God and Tonga are my heritage).

The manager and many staff have a long association with the akoteu. All staff are Tongan and speak lea faka Tonga fluently, and most teachers are qualified. A management committee consisting of parents and staff provides governance support for the centre. The managers and head teachers provide leadership in the akoteu.

Managers and teachers have participated in professional learning in governance, teaching and internal evaluation. Teachers are mentored by an external professional learning and development provider.

Managers and teachers have been responsive in addressing the significant number of areas for improvement and actions for compliance identified in ERO's 2015 report.

The Review Findings

Akoteu Lotofale'ia is well placed to continue promoting positive learning outcomes for children. Children are settled and confident, and interact well with each other and their teachers. They are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for their own and others' wellbeing. Their social and emotional competence is promoted well.

Children, staff and parents have a strong pride and sense of belonging in Tongan language, culture and identity. Children in this akoteu are socially and physically confident. They enjoy conversation with each other and adults, and are happy in their play.

Children participate in an integrated programme that allows them to explore the well-resourced and inviting indoor and outdoor learning environments freely. They make decisions about their own play. Children confidently speak and sing in lea faka Tonga. Teachers prioritise opportunities to build children's oral language in learning programmes.

The learning environment and resources frequently celebrate and acknowledge Tongan culture. Children make decisions about their own play. Children confidently speak and sing in lea faka Tonga and actively participate in group times, music and movement.

Teachers' effective teaching practices support and extend children’s play. Children are challenged to follow up on an interest in greater depth. They enjoy good opportunities for excursions that enhance their learning.

Centre leaders are committed to recognising the bicultural heritage of Aotearoa New Zealand in the curriculum. Te reo me ōna tikanga Māori feature in the programme. Cultural events such as Matariki are celebrated with children and kainga.

Teachers have recently reviewed and strengthened transition processes. Children’s sense of belonging is nurtured during and after transitions, particularly into and within the service. The service has a good relationship with local schools. Successful transitions for children are supported by effective partnerships between families and schools.

The akoteu is attractive and very welcoming to children and kainga. Teachers offer many opportunities to keep parents informed. They gather kainga aspirations that contribute to programme planning and interact well with kainga.

The programme, planning and assessment processes are closely aligned to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum. Teachers use a Tongan methodology effectively. The Kakala; toli, tui and luva (notice, recognise and respond) approach enables them to plan and assess in ways that are individualised and responsive to children's learning abilities and individual interests.

Teachers work well as a team and are keen to develop leadership skills. They are supportive of each other and the goals and values of the akoteu, including promoting children's joy in learning.

An effective leadership and professional learning structure is in place. This provides mentoring and appraisal that helps teachers to reflect on and improve their teaching practice. There are good opportunities for staff to access professional learning in performance management and internal evaluation.

The akoteu is well led by managers and head teachers and strategic planning is comprehensive. They understand the purpose of internal evaluation and well-established processes have a focus on improving outcomes for children. Managers are strategic and responsible, and now need to consider strategies for supporting the long-term sustainability of the akoteu.

Key Next Steps

Next steps for ongoing improvement include:

  • continuing to embed the principles of Te Whāriki and teaching strategies that extend children's thinking and complex play opportunities

  • increasing the number of qualified staff

  • enhancing internal evaluation by using indicators of effective practice

  • ensuring policies are reviewed and distinguishing between policy and procedure.

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.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Akoteu Lotofale'ia will be in three years.

Graham Randell Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

31 October 2017

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 over 2 years of age

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 26 Boys 24

Ethnic composition



Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

September 2017

Date of this report

31 October 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

December 2015

Education Review

February 2012

Education Review

November 2008

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.