Akoteu Toonga Fungani - 06/03/2019

1 Evaluation of Akoteu Toonga Fungani

How well placed is Akoteu Toonga Fungani to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

Akoteu Toonga Fungani requires further development to promote positive learning outcomes for children.

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


Akoteu Toonga Fungani is a Tongan language immersion service in Glen Innes, Auckland. The akoteu operates as a charitable trust under the Auckland-Manukau Tongan Parish and the neighbouring Taka He Monu Methodist Church. It is licensed to provide education and care for 30 children, including up to five children under two years. Most of the children attending have Tongan heritage and speak Tongan as their second language.

The akoteu philosophy reflects the values of the teachers, kainga and community. The programme provides children with total immersion in the Tongan language within a strong Christian ethos. A separate room is provided for infants and toddlers to play and sleep. All children share an outdoor space that has been recently updated by a local community group.

ERO's 2015 review identified that the akoteu was well placed to continue supporting positive learning outcomes for children. Many good practices are still evident in teaching, learning and curriculum. However, positive aspects of governance and management that were acknowledged in 2015, have not been sustained. In addition, there has been insufficient progress made in the areas identified for development in the 2015 ERO report.

The Review Findings

Children experience a programme that affirms and values their identity, language and culture. They are settled in their play and know akoteu routines well. Respectful and caring relationships between children and adults foster children's wellbeing and their sense of belonging. Early literacy, mathematics and science feature in the programme.

Children up to the age of two years receive nurturing and caring support. They benefit from opportunities to interact with older children for parts of the day. Teachers use the limited space available to encourage infants' and toddlers' exploration.

The manager and teachers should improve the use of akoteu spaces to better support children's individual rhythms and routines. A separate area should be provided for infants and toddlers to have undisturbed rest and sleep. Targeted and equity funding has been accessed to support a building extension, which has reached the planning stage. The board now needs to urgently ensure this project is completed to improve the learning environment for children.

The board should improve its support for teachers' ongoing professional learning and development (PLD). Despite a lack of PLD for teachers over the last three years, staff are increasingly responsive to individual children's interests. They plan collaboratively, and regularly have professional discussions about children's learning and wellbeing.

Teachers are keen to have external PLD to update their knowledge and practice in relation to Te Whāriki, the early childhood curriculum, and the Teaching Council's requirements. This would help teachers to strengthen their reflective practice, and better support and extend children's learning and development.

The board needs to strengthen governance and management practices. A first step would be to align the strategic plan, financial management and budget, with internal evaluation that includes staff and parents' views. Implementing systems and processes that support transparent decision-making should enhance communication, and help establish shared understandings about akoteu operations. These developments would improve the efficiency of akoteu operations and outcomes for children.

Human resource management is inefficient. The board should clarify the roles and responsibilities of the service provider, trustees, centre manager and staff, and update job descriptions. The teacher appraisal process requires improvement to ensure endorsements of teachers' practising certificates are better supported. Financial systems also need to be improved so that staff can receive their pay regularly and in a timely manner.

Changes to legal requirements, including those related to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014 and the Teaching Council, are not being incorporated into akoteu policy and practices in a timely fashion. The board should implement a regular cycle of policy review so that policies reflect good practice and that they are up-to-date. External professional support will be necessary to help the centre manager, board and staff to make the improvements outlined in this report.

Key Next Steps

The akoteu should work with external professional support to:

  • strengthen governance and management practices

  • ensure all statutory requirements are met

  • implement a full and compliant policy framework

  • implement robust teacher appraisal

  • continue developing a child-centred programme that reflects Te Whāriki, and ensure teachers develop shared understandings of relevant early childhood learning theories and effective teaching practice.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Akoteu Toonga Fungani 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.

Actions for compliance

ERO identified areas of non-compliance relating to governance, management, human resource management and health and safety. To meet requirements the service must improve its performance by:

  • establishing a process for evaluating operations and strengthening records, systems and processes to provide evidence that criteria are met and regularly monitored

  • implementing child protection, safety checking and police vetting policies that align with the Vulnerable Children Act, 2014

  • implementing robust risk analysis management for excursions and regular visits to the church hall, and for hazards in the environment

  • implementing annual appraisals for all staff and ensuring that appraisal systems for qualified teachers meet the requirements of the Teaching Council.

Licensing Criteria for Early Childhood Education and Care Centres 2008, GMA6,7,7A; HS12,17,31; Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

Development Plan Recommendation

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

Steve Tanner

Director Review and Improvement Services Northern

Northern Region

6 March 2019

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


Glen Innes, Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

30 children, including up to 5 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 15 Boys 13

Ethnic composition

other Pacific
other ethnic groups


Percentage of qualified teachers


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

November 2018

Date of this report

6 March 2019

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

May 2015

Education Review

June 2012

Education Review

February 2009

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 will depend on how well the service promotes positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed
  • Well placed
  • Requires further development
  • Not well placed

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.