Epuni Care and Protection Unit (Te Puna Mātauranga) - 19/01/2010

1 Background


A Special Review is a review of particular areas of performance and is undertaken to specific terms of reference.

Special reviews may report on particular issues raised from external sources.

This special review report was prepared in accordance with standard procedures approved by the Chief Review Officer.

Terms of Reference

This special review is based on an evaluation of the performance of Epuni Care and Protection: Te Puna Mātauranga.  The terms of reference for this review are:

  • the quality of induction of new students to the CYF residence’s education programme;
  • the quality of teaching including:
    • pedagogy for at risk students;
    • the quality of the learning programme(curriculum, planning and assessment);
    • student engagement and achievement; and
    • numeracy and literacy development;
  • the quality of the relationship between the teaching and learning programme and CYF’s overall plan for each student; and
  • the quality of the exit transition for CYF residence students to their subsequent education and training programmes.

2 The Education Review Office (ERO) Evaluation

The Chief Review Officer has authorised this special review of Epuni Care and Protection Education Unit: Te Puna Mātauranga.  

Te Puna Mātauranga continues to be accountable to Kōkiri Marae Keriana Olsen Trust, which is contracted by the Ministry of Education (MoE) to provide students attending Te Puna Mātauranga with education programmes. 

The 2006 Special Review report identified a number of areas for improvement.  These related to appropriate staffing, assessment practices and planning, and the implementation of suitable literacy and numeracy programmes.  All areas for improvement identified in the 2006 review report have been addressed.  Te Puna Mātauranga meets the terms of its contractual obligations with the MoE.

Students are valued and their needs are given high priority.  Staff at Te Puna Mātauranga plan and implement well-considered programmes to support and meet each students’ unique developmental needs.    

Students spend varying lengths of time at Te Puna Mātauranga.  However, this does not influence the quality of focused professional care all students receive from staff.  Students at the school are provided with an appropriate range of suitable learning opportunities.

Te Puna Mātauranga carries out an appropriate induction process for every new student.  Students can arrive with very little notice and minimal accompanying information.  Staff members show professionalism as they quickly settle students in to the set routines of Te Puna Mātauranga.  Students state they are positive about being at Te Puna Mātauranga and this is reflected in their interactions with staff. 

Assessment practices are rigorous, systematic and understood by all staff.  Student achievement information is diagnosed to ascertain academic achievement levels, strengths and areas for development.  This provides material for developing an appropriate Individual Education Programme (IEP) and informing clear and focused planning.  

Each student’s learning experiences are appropriate.  Staff members are intent on providing learning experiences that promote successful results in all of the essential learning areas and skills.  Expectations are clear and students know what they must do in order to achieve.  They take pride in their work and for the first time for many, are successful learners.  A positive change in attitude towards learning can be a strong motivator to succeed.  ERO observed students, focused on completing school work to the best of their ability. 

The sense of whanaungatanga is strong.  Aspects of tikanga Māori are successfully integrated throughout Te Puna Mātauranga.  The school operates as a whānau where high value is placed on supporting each student’s wairua, hinengaro and tinana.  Staff members understand their varying roles in this context.  They are firm as required but provide support for students as needed.  Students appreciate learning in this caring and supportive environment.  They know there is always someone they can talk to, who is a sympathetic and often non-judgemental listener. 

Staff work professionally as a collegial group.  The education leader provides strong leadership and successfully uses the strengths of all staff as appropriate to plan and implement suitable programmes.  She continues to effectively develop systems to assist education and Child, Youth and Family (CYF) staff to work together for the benefit of each student.  Staff members are pleased to be working at Te Puna Mātauranga and feel valued.  

Education staff members at Te Puna Mātauranga do their best to support students to successfully transition into the community.  They assist students to develop skills to make appropriate decisions that will help them to live successfully in the community.  Currently there is limited communication between CYF and education staff relating to transition.  However this may change as a new CFY model is implemented.  This model encourages more collaborative support and promotes a multi-agency team approach to prepare students for a successful exit transition.  The length of a stay at Te Puna Mātauranga depends on finding an appropriate placement for students in the community. 

3 Findings

The quality of induction


All students admitted to this CYF residence are expected to attend Te Puna Mātauranga for five hours a day and follow a programme that reflects the New Zealand Curriculum.  Some students turn up unexpectedly and are admitted to the class. 

A briefing report provides information that CYF staff have been able to gather. 

Staff are expected to gather information and complete an IEP within fifteen working days of a student’s entry into Te Puna Mātauranga.

Areas of good practice

Te Puna Mātauranga has definite procedures to support the induction of new students to its educational programme.

Student information.  A range of information is effectively gathered.  CYF always provides briefing notes.  Where possible, these include an historical account of students’ recent activities prior to admission. This assists staff to understand the background and specific needs of individual students. 

Developing relationships.  As a priority, the teaching team makes every effort to establish a positive, trusting and respectful relationship with each student as quickly as possible.  They also endeavour to develop a good understanding of a student’s ability to socialise and communicate with their peers and with adults.  Clinician support is available and integrated into the routines of the school day. 

Establishing an Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Te Puna Mātauranga uses valid and reliable approaches to identify the educational strengths and areas for development of each student.  Within five to ten days, a range of appropriate literacy and numeracy assessments are completed.  This information forms the basis of the students’ IEP and in time, a school progress report. 

Cultural awareness.  The school has implemented culturally appropriate responses to support the needs and aspirations of students.  A contingency plan to manage a worst possible scenario has also been developed to ensure the educational, emotional, physical and social needs of individual students are monitored, while at school. 

Area for development

Group Special Education (GSE)support.  Te Puna Mātauranga has appropriate processes for identifying the needs of students requiring special education support.  It has not been successful in accessing the necessary external resources and support to assist students.  Although teachers are able to provide good quality programmes, these could be enhanced further with more consistent specialist support from GSE.

The quality of teaching


The Ministry of Education has an agreement with Te Puna Mātauranga to provide education to students at this residence.  Te Puna Mātauranga is meeting the terms of its contractual obligations. 

Areas of good practice

All education staff plan and implement programmes which support progressive learning.  

Pedagogy for at risk students.  Students benefit from high staff to student ratios.  There are frequent opportunities for one-to-one and small group learning.  Students are able to learn at their own rate and progress as they are ready.

The culture of success is high.  Staff members hold high expectations for each student’s success.  They encourage students to think positively about ways to address issues and the importance of choice and circumstances.  Students know they must take responsibility for aspects of their own learning, complete whatever they do to the best possible standard and accept the circumstances for uncompleted work.  Students take pride in good work and positively discuss what they have done.

Every step is taken to ensure students learn in a safe physical and emotional environment.  Appropriate behavioural management strategies are known by both students and staff to effectively deal with inappropriate behaviour.  Teachers and some CYF staff show they are skilled operators in this area as mostly the atmosphere in each classroom is positive.  Students are focused on completing their work.  They state they feel comfortable and valued in this environment. 

Curriculum planning.  Issues raised in the 2006 ERO report about planning have been addressed.  The context for planning acknowledges each student’s interests, experiences and levels of achievement.  Planning direction is clear and has definite links to the IEP.  The annual plan covers all of the essential learning areas and provides a strong foundation for term and weekly plans.  A range of appropriate topic studies has been planned and implemented to successfully broaden student’s learning horizons through developing new skills and consolidating what has been previously learned.  Curriculum planning provides good direction for delivery of the programme.

Student assessment.  Barriers to learning are identified through a wide range of appropriate assessment procedures including diagnostic tests, teacher-based tests, discussion, observations, questioning and checking written work.  Students are supported to create their own goals and identify what they want to work on.  Students stay interested in what they are doing and focus on learning.

The system for retrieving achievement information is straight-forward.  Each student’s achievement information is systematically recorded so there is a clear trail linked to student achievement during their time at Te Puna Mātauranga.  .

Individual Education Plans.  All IEPs are completed within the stated timeframe of five to ten working days.  They are comprehensive and accurately reflect each student’s developmental requirements.  Literacy and numeracy levels are identified and used to plan next learning steps.  Goal setting is shared and students know what they must do to progress.  IEPs are regularly reviewed and revised to reflect student’s progress and needs.  Future plans are included and students are encouraged to consider what actions could be taken to support them to successfully transition back into the community.

Student engagement.  There are positive interactions between staff and students.  Students enjoy talking to staff and other students about a range of topics.  Many show they understand what comprises being a good speaker and listener.  They respect other people’s views and some show they are not afraid to initiate debate through perceptive questioning.  They are also prepared to inject humour into the conversation.  Such openness and confidence shows students feel comfortable within the Te Puna Mātauranga environment.

Student achievement.  All students are achieving.  When students first start at Te Puna Mātauranga they are not particularly interested in school.  They  have had a history of poor attendance at previous schools, displayed negative attitudes to learning and had not progressed particularly well.  As they achieve success at Te Puna Mātauranga, students are openly recognised and affirmed.  Students indicate they feel good about the progress they are making and begin to understand the value of successful learning.

Students make progress because their specifically tailored programmes are appropriate for their current levels of achievement.  Areas of strength and areas for development are recognised and integrated into the programme.  Students are then able to use what they know as the foundation for successfully moving to the next learning step. 

National qualifications are carefully integrated into learning programmes as viable options for those students over 14 years of age.  Some have gained credits towards gaining a National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) through successfully completing unit standards.  This means they can leave Te Puna Mātauranga with some nationally recognised qualifications.

Literacy and numeracy development.  Literacy and numeracy are core components of each student’s programme.  Raising reading and numeracy achievement is seen as critical to success.  Students are promptly assessed on their arrival to Te Puna Mātauranga to determine their literacy and numeracy levels.  Teachers use student achievement information to plan and implement programmes to assist students to develop skills and progress their abilities in these key areas.  Independent reading is encouraged. 

Students have opportunities to choose and read books of their own choice.  Student achievement in literacy and numeracy is continually monitored and progress noted.  Students participate in numeracy and literacy programmes appropriate for their levels of achievement. 

Tikanga Māori.  The holistic approach based on tikanga Māori values is influential.  Many of the students enter Te Puna Mātauranga with significantly negative life experiences.  The strong whānau approach at Te Puna Mātauranga always values what each student brings.  There is an emphasis on nurturing the holistic well-being and needs of the student through using the concepts of wairua, tinana and hinengaro.  Students are encouraged to identify their own focus relating to these areas.  At times this can be painful but within the whānau of Te Puna Mātauranga there are always people to support students to recognise and value their positive attributes.

 All students benefit from strong tikanga Māori practices within the classroom.  Students show an enthusiasm for waiata and karakia.  The waiata session in the first part of the morning is undertaken with great enjoyment by all students.  They take responsibility for leading waiata and the karakia.  Te reo Māori is an integral part of the programme and is promoted in formal situations as well as a medium for communication.  Teachers model manaakitanga and this transfers to some of the students.

Areas for development

Overall culture of the school.  Teachers are supportive of students and reflect this in their positive interactions with students.  However, there are times when support staff talk across teachers.  This is not conducive to establishing warm positive working relationships.  Protocols need to be collectively and firmly established so there is unity of practice.  Staff need opportunities be trained to adhere to the protocols. 

Access to appropriate resources.  Teachers make the most of available resources.  Te Puna Mātauranga does not receive any resources from Learning Media.  Students’ programmes would be enhanced if they could access more reading and numeracy material and resources relating to other essential learning areas. 

Computer programmes.  Students accessing computer programmes must be able to do so without difficulty.  Thorough preparation would ensure that that students are able to easily access whatever programme they wish to work on.  ERO observed students trying to access the Interwrite programme.  Staff preparation needs to be more rigorous and technology checked to ensure it is in full working order.  Student’s time Te Puna Mātauranga is limited.  They need to be able to take full advantage of whatever is available when they need it.

The quality of the relationship between the teaching and learning programme and CYF’s overall plan for each student


All students admitted to Te Puna Mātauranga are domiciled in the CYF residence.

CYF and education staff have defined roles and responsibilities.  CYF are responsible for the buildings and also the students when they are not at school.  The education staff take responsibility for schooling.

The new CYF service model focuses on a more integrated collaborative approach where all agencies work together for the benefit of the student.

Areas of good practice

Residential Youth Workers (RYW).  RYW are always in attendance in the classroom.  They understand their roles as observers.  A number of RYW workers are really encouraging of students and work alongside them to support learning.  Where this happens teachers are able to focus on one-to-one teaching for the benefit of students.  When RYW actively participate in learning programmes, it increases a student’s likelihood of success.  Students are able to achieve at their own rate, feel confident to ask questions, discuss key points and take learning risks in order to progress.

Area for development

Including CYF goals in IEPs.  IEPs for each student do not take into account any of the goals CYF staff have facilitated to support the development of students.  There is minimal formal contact between CYF (Care and Protection) and education staff.  Education staff state they would value a more collegial approach with CYF staff. 

The quality of exit transition for CYF’s residence students


The length of time that students spend at Te Puna Mātauranga varies from a very short stay of some days to three months.  This depends on CYF finding a suitable placement for a student within the community. 

Education staff are aware of the varying time students stay at Te Puna Mātauranga.  They focus on supporting students to develop life skills to assist them to make good decisions when they return to the community.

Some students return to Te Puna Mātauranga.

Areas of good practice

Plans for transition.  Transition plans are established once students are admitted to the residence and school.  Exit transition planning is determined by the progress students make over a period of time.  Plans detail the type of support students should receive for their ongoing learning and development and what they can expect to receive once they leave the residence.  There are clear roles and responsibilities for the student and those supporting the student after they leave the school.  Whānau members are included so that they can support the ongoing development of their child where appropriate. 

Reporting student achievement.  School leaving reports provide critical evidence about student’s progress and development.  These reports support the student’s integration back into a school or community learning situation. 

A designated case manager and field social worker manage all stages of the exit transition process.  There is evidence to show that if these processes are not well managed, students are likely to return to the residence and the school.

Area for development

Limited consultation.  When a student transitions into the community, beyond the provision of individual school reports, limited consultation or ongoing communication occurs between CYF staff, the principal and receiving school. 

4 Conclusion

All of the areas for improvement identified in the 2006 ERO review report have been addressed.

Te Puna Mātauranga meets the terms of its contractual obligations with the MoE.

Each student participates in a suitable education programme, despite the uncertainty of how long the tenure is to be at Te Puna Mātauranga.

Teachers are focused on providing suitable learning experiences to support successful results.  They also practice a high degree of pastoral care.  Education support staff and CYF staff frequently assist teachers to be able to meet the learning objectives set for each student.

It is likely students will benefit from the new CYF working model where there is a greater focus on a multi-agency team approach.  

Dr Graham Stoop
Chief Review Officer

About the School


Hutt City

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Special School

Teaching staff:
            Roll generated entitlement 
            Number of teachers



School roll


Gender composition

Boys         9
Girls         3

Ethnic composition

Māori        8
Pākehā      4

Special features

The Epuni Education Unit caters for severely at risk students who reside at Epuni Care and Protection Education Unit

Review team on site

November 2009

Date of this report

19 January 2010

Previous ERO

Special Review, May 2006