He Mataariki School for Teen Parents - 31/10/2013

1 Background

He Mataariki School for Teen Parents is an attached unit of Maungakahia Area School. There are currently 21 Ministry of Education funded teen parent units (TPUs) operating across New Zealand. TPUs provide a flexible and supportive environment for teenagers who are pregnant or who have given birth. 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:

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

2 Findings


He Mataariki Teen Parent School is a teen parent unit located in Raumanga, Whangarei. It provides education for teenage parents from the wider Whangarei region, until they are 19 years of age. The teen parent school is based next to The Pulse, a complex that offers health and other educational services to youth and young adults from the local Whangarei area. It also includes an early childhood centre that provides education and care for most of the teen parents’ children. He Mataariki is hosted by Mangakahia Area School.

Te Ora Hou, a community organisation based at The Pulse supports some students and their children with short term accommodation. He Mataariki offers transportation to and from the teen parent school each day. Most students at the teen parent school are Māori.

Until term 4, 2012 the TPU operated from a school classroom block in The Pulse grounds. It is now relocated to a purpose-built facility on a separate site next to The Pulse. The facility is attractive, has comfortable and inviting learning spaces, and is well resourced and equipped.

Since the 2010 ERO review the manager and teaching staff at the teen parent school have continued to develop and improve in all aspects of its operation. In particular, staff have reviewed and improved the extent to which they support Māori students to succeed as Māori.

Student outcomes

Students are highly engaged in learning, and are progressing and achieving well. Since the 2010 ERO review, teachers have strengthened the way they collect, analyse and use students’ individual achievement information. They take advantage of their connection with Mangakahia Area School to moderate student assessments and improve their assessment practices.

The teen parent school’s achievement information shows that increasing numbers of students are achieving qualifications in NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 and gaining university entrance. Staff at He Mataariki promote positive student outcomes by:

  • ensuring that students’ health, financial and social needs are managed so that barriers to learning are eliminated and students can engage in learning
  • promoting student ownership of learning and achievement that involves students setting goals and pathways that are linked to their career aspirations
  • setting and maintaining high expectations for students to achieve good quality, academic qualifications.

Students report high levels of satisfaction with the teen parent school, their teachers, the support they receive and the opportunities provided to celebrate their learning achievements. Staff and students treat each other with kindness, respect and understanding. As a result, students feel accepted and have a strong sense of belonging in their school.

Leadership, management and organisation

He Mataariki is well supported by its host school board of trustees and continues to operate under the agreement established in its Memorandum of Understanding. The host school principal and the teen parent school manager have a very good professional relationship. They share best practice models of leadership, and teaching and learning.

The manager provides highly effective leadership and management for the TPU. She works in partnership with her teaching and administrative staff, and with students to make careful and strategic decisions. Staff and students are well supported to grow their leadership capabilities. Staff use self review as a mechanism for promoting ongoing change and improvement. This self review includes a robust and meaningful appraisal system. As a result of these effective leadership practices, a culture of respect and trust is evident at the teen parent school.

The manager and host school principal agree that a useful next step could be to make the place of He Mataariki more explicit in Mangakahia Area School’s strategic plan and direction.

Teaching and Learning

He Mataariki Teen Parent School is characterised by high quality individualised teaching and learning programmes. Teachers are highly skilled, and plan programmes that are flexible and responsive to students’ individual learning needs. They use effective teaching practices and approaches that engage and motivate students. Teachers work together to regularly review and modify programmes to cater for students’ changing needs, and for new students entering the teen parent school. Teachers provide face-to-face teaching and support for students completing correspondence courses.

Teachers have high expectations for students to achieve well, to succeed as learners and be good parents. Students achieve well in NCEA levels 1, 2 and 3 in subjects such as English, maths, technology, sciences and health education.

Teachers value the language, culture and identity of Māori students and make these features central to their curriculum design. Students have access to te reo Māori me onā tikanga through the Wananga, and teachers are committed to learning and promoting te reo. Students’ personalised learning programmes allow them to experience success as young Māori women.

Student transitions and engagement

The manager and staff have a very well planned and deliberate approach to transitioning students into the teen parent school. This approach is responsive to students’ individual learning needs and personal circumstances, and ensures that they feel welcome and prepared for learning. Careers advice and guidance is central to students’ individual learning plans and to promoting their engagement. Students are also supported to enrol their children into the attached early childhood centre if that is their choice of childcare service.

Teachers follow a solutions-focused approach to student attendance barriers. This approach includes planning teaching and learning programmes that enable students to complete assessments and achieve in a short period of time. Staff and students appreciate the positive impact that this approach is making to student engagement, progress and achievement.

Students are very well supported to gain appropriate qualifications and transition into further study and/or work when they leave the teen parent school.

Relationships with external partners

He Mataariki partnership approach is well planned and documented. This approach helps to promote the strong partnerships they have with various health agencies, financial supporting institutions and educational services that support the holistic wellbeing of students. They also have good connections with local businesses to provide students with work experience opportunities.

The teen parent school has a very good working partnership with He Kakano Early Childhood Centre. Students have regular meetings with the manager of the early childhood service and they report feeling satisfied with the level of care and preschool education provided for their children.

Staff have high expectations for students to be capable and competent learners, and leaders of their own lives. Alongside the care and support students receive, staff also have clear expectations for students to be self managing and resilient. As a result of these effective practices, students are highly engaged in learning and are increasingly confident in themselves as learners, leaders and mothers.

3 Future Action

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

31 October 2013

About the Teen Parent Unit


Raumanga, Whangarei

Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Girls 24

Ethnic composition

Māori NZ European/Pākehā

20 4

Review team on site

July 2013

Date of this report

31 October 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Special Review

Special Review

August 2010

August 2006