Kawerau Teen Parent Unit - 06/06/2017


Kawerau Teen Parent Unit (Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi) is well governed and supported by the principal to effectively promote and support positive outcomes for learners. Community and iwi involvement is a strength. A broad range of subject curriculum and learning programme is responsive to students’ needs and career aspirations. Continuing to strengthen internal evaluation should support ongoing improvement and sustainability.

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

1 Background

Kawerau Teen Parent Unit is an attached unit of Tarawera 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


Kawerau Teen Parent Unit (Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi), Teen Parent Education Centre (TPEC) is located in Kawerau and provides education and support for young parents. Tarawera High school is the host school for the TPEC. Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi is currently in the process of negotiating with the Ministry of Education the relocation into new buildings on the host school site by the end of 2017.

The TPEC is well supported by the board of trustees and the host school. There is a current Memorandum of Understanding between the host school and the TPEC. The manager and the teaching team remain the same since the last ERO review.

There are currently 15 students enrolled all of whom identify as Māori. Students make good use of the TPU van to transport them and their babies each day. Some students and kaiako travel from Whakatane daily.

The TPEC has made significant progress across all areas identified as the key next steps in the 2013 ERO review. Teachers, in consultation with students, provide and promote formal opportunities for students to strengthen their leadership skills. Students have co-constructed with teachers values identified as MANA and their significance to the TPEC. Leaders and teachers have reviewed the curriculum design to offer broader subject options for students. The manager (TiC), with the support and guidance of the principal, has engaged in professional learning and development to support her growth and leadership. Careers advice and guidance with tertiary providers and other career pathways have been strengthened. Trustees have contributed a significant amount of funding for upgrading the current building to provide safer practices for babies onsite and for improving facilities for the young parents.

In addition, the implementation of a strategic and annual plan for Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi aligns to the host school charter and provides clear direction for the TPEC.

Student outcomes

Students achieve National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) at Levels 1, 2, 3 and University Entrance. In 2016, student leavers’ data show most students leave with NCEA level 3. Many students continue learning and on to tertiary and higher qualifications, or find employment. This data shows that most students stay in the unit for a period of time, make good progress and achieve their goals. Destination information of students is well presented as a visual display in the TPEC classroom, and provides encouragement for current students to reach their goals and aspirations.

Students benefit from parenting programmes and a Mana Tangata programme that promotes self care and ways to educate and parent. Priority is placed on supporting the wellbeing and health of students through the deliberate links to local iwi, marae and the Tūwharetoa wellness centre. These meaningful connections provide culturally inclusive opportunities for students, whānau, leaders and teachers.

Teachers should continue to, in consultation with students, provide daily opportunities for students to lead their learning across the curriculum to reflect the values of ako.

Leadership, management and organisation

Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi is well supported, led and managed by the host school, board of trustees and the manager. Together, they have established an effective working relationship. Leaders and trustees continue to provide support for the TPEC transition onto their new site.

There is a current memorandum between the host school and the TPEC. Governance and leadership have continued to upgrade the current building site and reduce issues for the new building site design to address the evident challenges and barriers students are facing with accessing care and placement for their babies in local early education centres, as a result of a growing community.

A recent initiative involving teachers and students co-constructing shared values in the TPEC is developing learner agency. The values of manaakitanga, ako, ngakau pono and awhina (MANA) support students to engage in their learning and maintain respectful relationships with staff.

Leaders and teachers now need to review how the MANA values are reflected in the TPEC current behaviour management system.

Staff have a good understanding of internal evaluation reflected in a rigorous appraisal system and teaching as inquiry. The manager is building effective leadership through internal evaluation. A dedicated leader of learning is focused on students’ progress and achievement and supporting student wellbeing. Leaders and teachers make effective use of digital technology to share professional learning and organisational systems and processes.

Trustees need to continue to support and provide ongoing professional development for the manager specific to building her leadership capabilities in a teen parent setting. This would strengthen leadership’s professional capability and internal evaluation linked to the host schools strategic plan and the Te Tari Ako Matua Taiohi outcomes identified in their annual plan.


The teachers know the students well. They provide a range of knowledge, skills and subject expertise. Qualified strength-based experienced teachers that have particular skills in literacy, numeracy, science, health and home economics work collaboratively to provide an effective learning programme. Respectful relationships between the teachers and wider school community are evident and provide a sense of belonging for students and their whānau.

Students are well engaged in a meaningful and purposeful learning programme. An authentic learning programme with a vision that all students will gain a food safety qualification has been implemented. Students value learning experiences offered to them, particularly opportunities to further develop their parenting and life skills.

The programme is delivered through co-constructed individual learning plans (ILP), which include goal setting and are responsive to students’ strengths, interests and career aspirations. Through regular reflection with the use of individual school diaries, students are encouraged and supported to monitor their own learning and attendance. Teachers provide useful feedback to support student progress and achievement. Weekly and daily goals are adapted in response to changing needs and aspirations.

Students ERO spoke with talked about the positive and supportive relationships they have with their teachers. A commitment to bicultural practices is evident. Te ao Māori is reflected in daily routines with students leading karakia. The board chair and principal advocate for culturally responsive practices and proactively seek support from local kaumātua to guide tikanga and te ao Māori across the host school and TPEC. Students’ language, culture and identity is valued where students visit Mataatua Marae and other local marae and participate in iwi-led initiatives.

A collaborative relationship with Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), the Correspondence School, and Tarawera High School staff supports programme delivery, moderation and assessment.

Student support, engagement and transitions

A positive, caring learning environment supports student engagement, progress and achievement. A structured learning programme and timetable provide clear expectations. Students participate in a wide range of relevant learning opportunities that are responsive to their interests, strengths and career aspirations. They benefit from well-planned inductions into the centre and transitions out of the centre.

Student attendance is an ongoing priority. Students track, monitor and display their own attendance. The manager extends her support as the van driver to reduce attendance barriers, build relational trust with students and their whānau, and provide on-going responsive teaching and learning through the informal discussions, shared during van runs.

Student achievement and leadership is regularly celebrated through more formal opportunities, student-led prize giving and market day preparations. Students were recently involved in a National Teen Parent Challenge and research led by a kaiako in the TPEC. This identified positive outcomes and initiatives for young parents within the centre.

Relationships with external partners

Students are supported through a collaborative approach by leadership and governance to access education, health and social providers from the local and wider community. Local whānau and iwi promote initiatives to support positive outcomes for all students. The lack of available space in local early learning services provides challenges for students.

3 Recommendation

ERO, the teacher in charge and the host school principal and trustees agree on the following next steps. Leaders should make greater use of the MOE guidelines and outcomes for current and best practice in the TPEC. 


Kawerau Teen Parent Unit (Te Tari Ako Mātua Taiohi) is well governed and supported by the principal to effectively promote and support positive outcomes for learners. Community and iwi involvement is a strength. A broad range of subject curriculum and learning programme is responsive to students’ needs and career aspirations. Continuing to strengthen internal evaluation should support ongoing improvement and sustainability.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Review Officer Waikato and Bay of Plenty

6 June 2017

About the Teen Parent Unit 



Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Female 15

Ethnic composition


Number of students



Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

6 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Report type

Report date

Special Review

Special Review

November 2013

June 2010