Rotorua School for Young Parents - 29/06/2017

Findings

Young parents enjoy positive, respectful relationships with their teachers and the early childhood centre. They are well supported to learn and gain meaningful qualifications and parenting skills in an attractive and stimulating environment. The TiC provides highly effective leadership and is well supported by the effective governance of trustees at Rotorua Girls High School.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

1 Background

Rotorua School for Young Parents is an attached unit of Rotorua Girls High School. There are currently 24 Ministry of Education funded TPUs operating across New Zealand. TPUs provide a flexible and supportive environment for teenagers who are parents or are about to become parents. Attendance at a TPU gives students an opportunity to continue their education and develop the best possible pathway for their future and the future of their children.

ERO reviews all of the TPUs every three years. Each unit receives an individual report outlining areas of good performance and areas for further development. The terms of reference for these reviews are set out below. The findings across each of the TPUs contribute to a national report by ERO which presents findings about the overall quality of all TPUs.

Terms of Reference

The evaluation focus for ERO’s review of Teen Parent Units is:

How effective are the TPUs in promoting and supporting positive outcomes for students?

In the context of this review, student outcomes include their educational, social, health and wellbeing outcomes. It also includes student destination outcomes, and the success students have in transitioning from the TPU to further education, training or employment.

The terms of reference for the evaluation of TPUs are the:

  1. quality of individual support for each student (including IEPs and educational, pastoral and careers processes)
  2. educational and social outcomes for each student (including the quality of the teaching and the TPU’s self review)
  3. relationship with the base school (including the governance and management of the TPU)
  4. transitions of students into and out of the TPU. 

2 Findings

Context

The Rotorua School for Young Parents (RSFYP) was established in 2001 and provides education and support for young parents. It operates under the guidance of its host school, Rotorua Girls High School (RGHS). There is a current Memorandum of Understanding between the host school and RSFYP. The unit is located away from the host school, in Sunset Road, Rotorua. Currently there are 30 parents enrolled from the wider Rotorua area, 22 of whom are Māori. The adjacent early childhood centre provides education and care for many of the young parents’ children.

Since the 2013 ERO report, a new principal was appointed at the RGHS. A long-established teacher was appointed as teacher in charge (TiC) in 2015. A new manager has been appointed at the early childhood centre. A number of new teachers have been appointed to the teaching staff.

Leaders and teachers have made significant progress with the areas for improvement identified in the 2013 ERO report. The range and quality of subjects has been increased to respond to student aspirations and learning needs. The employment of a specialist teacher has increased the provision of teaching in te reo and te ao Māori. The appraisal system has been reviewed and improved, resulting in clear and consistent expectations for teaching practice. Meaningful and regular learning conversations amongst teachers and students are embedded in the culture of the unit. The development of a photography studio has further broadened the curriculum.

Meaningful and constructive relationships are maintained amongst young parents and staff at the early childhood centre. The manager of the early childhood centre has implemented a primary care initiative for infants up to eight weeks old. This has removed a significant barrier for students in the unit. They are now able to continue with their studies while their babies are in care with a consistent and trusted adult.

Student outcomes

Students achieve at National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), (Levels 1, 2, 3) and University Entrance. There is an emphasis placed on students initially achieving literacy and numeracy at Level 1 to support further learning. Some students continue on to tertiary and higher qualifications, and many find employment. The TiC and teachers have taken a deliberate approach to increase the number of achievement standards gained by students.

In 2015, data shows the unit had the highest number of credits gained amongst 30 students with 396 at Level 1, 694 at Level 2, and 480 at Level 3 or above. A particular success was the strategic approach taken to transition students into further study, beginning in the first term and continuing through the year. A significant change of students, and a focus on students gaining achievement standards in 2016 resulted in a drop in credits gained. The unit made good use of the Trades Academy at Waiariki Polytechnic to give students experience at studying at tertiary level. Leavers’ data from 2016 shows that 14 students left, one student enrolled in tertiary education, three found employment and two entered training programmes. The remainder of students had either moved out of the area, or their destination was unknown.

Students benefit from parenting programmes, developing social and emotional competencies through specialised and culturally responsive programmes. Priority is placed on supporting the wellbeing and health of students through providing them with regular, onsite access to specialists in a wide range of services. Where possible, the unit documents the destination information of students when they leave. This data shows that students who remain in the unit over time make good progress with their achievements. Many young parents leave the unit due to challenges beyond the control of teachers and leaders.

Leadership, management and organisation

Teachers have placed an emphasis on developing and implementing a shared philosophy of teaching. This has resulted in many positive changes for students and teachers. There is now a well-balanced, holistic curriculum. Students learn in an aesthetically attractive learning environment. There are positive, respectful relationships amongst adults and students that are promoting useful life skills, equitable learning opportunities, success and hauora for students.

The TiC, the principal of RGHS and the early childhood centre manager have established professional and positive relationships that complement one another and have resulted in improved outcomes for students and staff. The well-planned transition and mentoring of the newly appointed TiC resulted in a smooth and positive change in leadership. She provides continuity of learning for students and future-focused management for the unit.

The TiC is providing highly effective leadership through planned and systematic internal evaluation. This is leading to the ongoing development and improvement of the unit. She takes an inclusive approach to gathering and responding to the voices of all stakeholders through comprehensive formal surveys and informal kanohi-ki-te-kanohi conversations. Since her appointment in 2015 she has taken a strategic approach to employing qualified and experienced teachers with the cultural understanding and background to complement the culture and learning needs of students. Leaders and teachers make highly effective use of digital technology to share professional learning and communicate effectively together.

The TPU benefits from regular and professional dialogue with RGHS leaders and teachers. Staff participate in professional development opportunities at the host school. They share moderation processes with the host school to support reliable teacher decisions about student achievement. It is now important for trustees and leaders to become familiar with the recommended guidelines and outcomes for TPU from the Ministry of Education.

Learning

The teaching team have developed and implemented a holistic, challenging curriculum with many rich, authentic contexts for learning. The majority of students are participating in approved subjects. There is an increasing emphasis on cross curricular, team teaching and integrated learning. Students enjoy a broad range of subjects that include science, biology, information literacy, English, Numeracy, te reo Māori, health and media studies. During the afternoons, students explore the creative arts and learn practical skills resulting in attractive and useful products for the students to share with their children and families. There are many opportunities for students to participate in sporting, cultural and creative learning experiences in the wider community.

Students gain practical qualifications through barista courses and driving instruction. Students expressed appreciation for the learning and fun they have on regular trips and excursions into the community and education-outside-the-classroom experiences. Teachers also take responsibility to plan an engaging and informative programme for students. In response to student voice, priority is given to increase their understanding about the impact of regular attendance on learning, support with housing, developing positive relationships and informing students of ways to promote their health.

Leaders and teachers document a comprehensive range of information about the aspirations, needs and outcomes of students. This information provides a useful basis to respond to individual students’:

  • language, culture and identity
  • attendance, engagement and academic progress and achievement
  • financial, health and wellbeing needs
  • social and destination outcomes.

Leaders and teachers are positive role models for young parents and motivate students to continue to achieve success and aim for higher educational goals.

Student support, engagement and transitions

Students engage in a comprehensive and well-paced induction which builds their confidence and sense of belonging. Teachers and students share meals together and students are free to pick produce from the gardens and make their own food in a well-appointed kitchen.

A particular strength is the understanding leaders have of ways to integrate culturally responsive practices across the unit and the early childhood centre. The kaupapa and experience of a skilled and well-qualified registered teacher of te reo Māori is enhancing the hauora and mana of students and staff. An experienced mātua makes a valued contribution, provides opportunities for students to learn the significance of Te Arawatanga and to visit places of local importance. The students highly value these teachers as significant people in their lives. Sharing kai together enhances manaakitanga and wellbeing of students and teachers.

Students welcome visitors, they confidently lead whakatau and participate in karakia, waiata and appropriate tikanga Māori. Their success as Māori is enhanced as they research and share their whakapapa with one another. The key competencies are linked to the Hawaiki Rising Māori cultural values and contribute to building rangatiratanga for young parents. Students are learning valuable life skills and being well prepared for independent living as young adults.

Students take active responsibility to monitor their attendance and achievements. They set daily and weekly academic and hauora goals which are displayed for sharing with their peers and teachers. The provision of transport for mothers and their children continues to support participation. Student career competencies are monitored and tracked by a designated teacher. This is providing students and teachers with clear knowledge of the progress being made and next steps for developing these key areas. Students spoken to during the review were enthusiastic about their learning and appreciative of the support and mentoring they were receiving. Teachers report that student attendance at the unit has improved in recent times.

Relationships with external partners

The TiC and teachers have established useful networks in the wider educational community that promote the successful transition of students to further education, training and employment. They make use of regular inquiry to continually develop and improve their practice and promote positive outcomes for students. A useful initiative has resulted in an e-learning framework and indicators to support best practice for collaborative learning. Students are encouraged to access courses of their choice and make use of distance education if needed. Productive relationships are maintained with sporting groups, the school cluster, polytechnics and the Trades Academy to benefit students. The TiC and teachers contribute to and participates in professional development with RGHS.

3 Recommendations

ERO, the director and the host school principal and trustees agree on the following next steps. Leaders and teachers should:

make greater use of the MoE guidelines and outcomes for best practice in TPU. This would strengthen internal evaluation and strategic and annual planning with identified, specific outcomes.

4 Conclusion

Young parents enjoy positive, respectful relationships with their teachers and the early childhood centre. They are well supported to learn and gain meaningful qualifications and parenting skills in an attractive and stimulating environment. The TiC provides highly effective leadership and is well supported by the effective governance of trustees at Rotorua Girls High School.

ERO is likely to carry out the next review in three years.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato / Bay of Plenty

29 June 2017

About the Teen Parent Unit 

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

2753

Teen Parent Unit roll

30

Gender composition

Female 30

Ethnic composition

Ethnicity

Number of students

Māori
Pākehā
Pacific

22
6
2

Review team on site

March 2017

Date of this report

29 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Report type

Report date

Special Review
Special Review

October 2013
June 2010