Akoteu Tokaima'ananga - 06/11/2015

1 Evaluation of Akoteu Tokaima'ananga

How well placed is Akoteu Tokaima'ananga 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 Tokaima’ananga early childhood centre was established in 1996 by the Otara Tongan Methodist Church and is located on the grounds of the church. The centre provides education and care for children from birth to school age in a total immersion context that supports Tongan language and culture within a Christian based programme.

The centre’s founding members continue to actively support the centre. The board of governors is made up of members from the centre and the church community. It includes parent representatives, the pastor, and elders of the church.

A recent management restructure has created opportunities for staff promotion. There is now a centre manager whose role is to oversee all centre operations and administration, and a centre supervisor whose job is to manage the curriculum and mentor staff in their practice. Most of the teachers are registered.

The centre’s curriculum and programme planning are guided by Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum and are designed to promote positive outcomes for children’s learning and development.

The 2011 ERO report identified that children had a strong sense of belonging in the centre. This feature was achieved through a supportive and inclusive family environment. These positive features continue to be evident.

The Review Findings

Children are comfortable with adults and each other in the centre and have a strong sense of belonging. They settle quickly to activities and look after the resources and equipment provided for their play. Children are confident and competent speakers of the Tongan language. Their bilingual language development is very well supported by their teachers. Children shift easily between Tongan and English languages when talking with their teachers and friends. The Tongan language, culture, identity and beliefs are promoted throughout the programme and centre environment.

Children are secure and confident in exploring learning areas and they sustain their play for good periods of time. They make choices about and lead their own learning and at times invite adults to join them in their play. They work well together in pairs or in small groups, expressing their happiness and taking pleasure in the company of others. These aspects of the programme are supported well by teachers.

Infants and toddlers are included in the wider programme which provides them with stimulating learning experiences and opportunities to play alongside the older children. Routines for the younger children are flexible and organised around children’s needs. A separate room for babies and toddlers is used for uninterrupted play and exploration.

Teachers’ fluency in the Tongan and English languages allows them to extend children’s understanding of literacy and mathematical concepts from a Tongan perspective. They encourage, accept and respect children’s talk. Teachers incorporate te reo and tikanga Māori, including waiata, throughout the day. They also value and promote songs from other Pacific nations.

Teachers have developed strong responsive relationships with children and their families over time, fostering positive outcomes for children. The recent renovation to the centre has motivated the parent and church community to support the centre by assisting in the redecoration of the inside space and the garden area. New furniture has been purchased which children are enjoying. The children, teachers and parents have a sense of pride about the fresh new look of the centre.

Managers and teachers have an increasingly good understanding of how to use self review as a tool for improvement. As a result, it is having a positive impact on improving teachers’ practice in promoting learning for children.

The governance board provides good support for the management team. Members have developed strategic goals that are resulting in improvements in the centre. They are still working on areas identified for review and development in the 2011 ERO report. As part of the succession plan the board could consider having the supervisor as a member of the board to report on the curriculum.

Key Next Steps

The governance board, centre leaders and ERO agree that priorities for further improving the centre and outcomes for children should include:

  • using assessment of children’s learning to plan programmes that are based on children’s individual strengths, interests and dispositions
  • reviewing and strengthening the transition to school programme
  • improving the teacher appraisal process, including setting goals that further extending teachers’ professional practice and knowledge in meeting the Practicing Teachers Criteria
  • consulting with teachers, parents and whānau to develop a long-term strategic plan, with relevant goals, and appropriate actions and time frames, to guide the future direction of the centre.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Akoteu Tokaima'ananga 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 Tokaima'ananga will be in three years.

Graham Randell

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern

6 November 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


Otara, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

35 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Boys 23 Girls 11

Ethnic composition













Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements


Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

August 2015

Date of this report

6 November 2015

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

September 2011


Supplementary Review

September 2008


Education Review

June 207

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.