Nelson Teen Parent Unit - 08/06/2017


The Nelson Young Parent School (NYPS) provides very worthwhile opportunities for young parents to re-engage in formal education. Students achieve meaningful learning and social outcomes and are appreciative of the support and encouragement offered by staff. After five years in operation, the TPU is performing well. A positive attitude to using a range of data for internal evaluation allows the TPU to make ongoing improvements.   

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

1 Background

Nelson Teen Parent Unit, also known as Nelson Young Parent School (NYPS) is an attached unit of Nelson College for Girls. 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


What are the important features of this TPU that have an impact on student outcomes?

The Nelson Young Parent School (NYPS) was established five years ago on the grounds of Auckland Point Primary School, in central Nelson. Nelson College for Girls has been its host school in that time. The first manager, appointed in 2012, remains in that role. New teachers have since joined the staff, complemented by a new social worker and part time administrator, both appointed in 2016.

The TPU consists of a single modern classroom, small office and a kitchen area. Next to the classroom is the Potiki room that provides early childhood services for up to ten babies. Children move to the second kindergarten room around one year of age. This close proximity helps young parents and their babies to settle into learning routines and builds their confidence to re-engage in formal education. The facilities, while somewhat limited in size and scope, are attractively presented and well maintained.

At the time of ERO’s previous review in 2013, the NYPS was completing its first year of operation. The curriculum and management systems were being established. The vision and strategic direction were developing. Since 2013, under the effective leadership of the manager, and the ongoing support of the host school principal, there has been both considerable progress in the TPU and development of the programme for students.

The NYPS has constructive working relationships with the primary school where it is located and with the staff of the onsite kindergarten. It has professional connections with the host school’s principal and Board of Trustees, and a positive profile in the Nelson community. The successes of students are celebrated. The maximum roll is 20 students and the TPU is currently at capacity.

Student outcomes

What does this TPU know about outcomes for individual students?

The TPU has information about outcomes for students. Progress is tracked in relation to base-line information at the time of enrolment. In recent years, achievement in the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has improved significantly. All students achieve basic literacy and numeracy credits, and most achieve NCEA Level 1. Students who enrol with NCEA Level 1 or 2, are usually able to complete Level 2 and 3.

Students set personalised academic, wellbeing, attendance and career goals in their Individual Learning Plans (ILP). Incentives to improve attendance have been effective, with 2017 levels now at 78 to 80%. There are challenges for some students in achieving regular attendance, but senior students who are motivated to gain qualifications, set a high standard and encourage others. A van purchased by the TPU in 2015, plus the new administration assistant and social worker, have also had a positive impact on lifting attendance.

Systems for tracking students leaving the TPU are being improved. Long-term leaver destination information is limited, but a new system for monitoring both short and long term outcomes has been set up through the host school student management systems. Staff know anecdotally where students go when they leave but do not have long-term analysed trends.

There are clear expectation of academic progress for each student. Learning outcomes in regard to NCEA are well documented and reported to the board, with the same expectations as curriculum leaders of other departments at the host school. All students achieve academically and make progress building on the base-line achievement data they enter with.

Students also make gains in personal and social outcomes. An individual health assessment for each student is carried out at the time of enrolment. Appropriate referrals to health and social services support students to manage their wellbeing. Frequently, these assessed needs are developed as goals in the ILP. 

Leadership, management and organisation

How effective is the leadership, management and organisation of this TPU?

The vision and strategic plan provide a useful framework for development, review and reporting.

The NYPS is well managed and all operational systems are well documented. The policy framework is aligned to that of the host school, with separate procedures relating to the TPU context as required. Systems are up to date and new policies relating to health and safety and vulnerable children have been updated as required. The signed Memoranda of Understanding with the Ministry of Education (MoE) and the host school, and with the kindergarten, clarify the purpose and role of the TPU.

The TPU benefits from the manager’s capable leadership. Staff work well as a team and meet regularly to share students’ progress and how they support each student’s individual learning needs. Teachers have had useful input into designing and reviewing the learning programme, and have made valuable contributions in sharing their curriculum expertise and teaching experience.

Teachers have good Professional Learning and Development (PLD) opportunities, in conjunction with the host school, through national TPU conferences, and from individual teacher and subject courses. The NYPS manager has developed a comprehensive schedule of meetings throughout the year that include the host school, site-based school, and kindergarten staff.

Comprehensive strategic and annual plans underpin the operations of the TPU. The annual goals are evaluated and reported. The manager and teachers are appropriately appraised using the performance expectations and systems operated by the host school.

The manager and staff regularly review the performance of the TPU. They make good use of students’ aspirations and achievement to evaluate the programme outcomes. As a result the TPU continues to improve its performance. Students benefit from the comprehensive services provided and the majority achieve positive academic and wellbeing outcomes.


What is the quality of the curriculum at this TPU?

The NYPS learning programme has academic, wellbeing and transition components. The majority of the timetable is spent on NCEA subjects, delivered through Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura), the Correspondence School, or by experienced teachers onsite who have subject expertise. Literacy and numeracy NCEA credits are initially prioritised, but a range of subjects from Level 1 to Level 3 is available, depending on students’ individual goals and career aspirations.

Students make good progress and feel they can work efficiently through learning activities with the one-to-one support of the teachers. They also enjoy whole class learning time, and feel confident to share their ideas with others. Students have regular opportunities to discuss their learning and career goals and consider what subjects they might want to take.

Some programmes are undertaken by all students, including the parenting course. A new life skills programme is being introduced in consultation with students. Named "Mind, Body and Soul", this programme is designed to cover relationships, healthy choices, decision making and sexuality. Physical education includes weekly trips to the nearby gym.

The teacher responsible for careers reviewed the programme for 2017, and introduced a weekly taught subject for all students. Students use career competencies to identify their strengths, and suitable vocational pathways. Following a Careers NZ professional training course, the teacher developed a careers plan in consultation with the head of careers at the host school.

Students have access to classroom computers and information and communication technologies that support subjects available online. There are restrictions on what other subjects can be offered, however, because of the limitations of the single classroom, and lack of food technology facilities. All the staff, including the manager, share a small office area, which is not ideal.

The calm and settled tone of the classroom supports focused learning. Staff believe that positive relationships, the structured timetable, and regular one-on-one conversations help students to re-engage effectively in learning.

In addition to their Individual Learning Plan (ILPs), each student has a learning plan, weekly goals and scheduled daily reflection time. These strategies are particularly helpful for students who may have been out of formal education for some time.

Student support, engagement and transitions

How well does this TPU support and promote student engagement and success?

Students and their families are made very welcome at the NYPS. Young parents can enrol during pregnancy or following the birth of their baby. Twenty places are available for children, including ten for those under two years. Initially, the young parent stays with their baby in the Potiki room, making a gradual transition to the school over a few weeks or months. The emphasis on bonding between mother and baby is seen as a priority by the TPU manager and kindergarten staff.

The enrolment process is very thorough. Academic and wellbeing assessments are completed by the manager and social worker, and an interview is conducted about personal, social and health related needs. Following enrolment, each student is enrolled with Te Kura. The ILP is developed over the next few weeks, as students begin to consider their future goals and aspirations.

The learning environment is settled and purposeful. Students are highly engaged, and focused on their learning. As students gain credits and achieve their goals, their progress chart is updated and students are acknowledged. A formal end-of-year graduation is celebrated, and students win awards for their individual achievement. The overall winner is congratulated by the host school principal.

The new social worker has been proactive in providing wellbeing information. She has good connections with social agencies and health care services in the local community. She contributes to a relationship and sexuality programme that students feel addresses their questions in a respectful manner and can refer students to a variety of support networks.

Bicultural practices are appreciated by the students. Each morning begins in Potiki, and includes parents with their babies, together with the kindergarten staff and teachers. Karakia and waiata start the day, with parents and staff joining in. Daily messages are shared before the parents leave and start their work in the adjoining classroom. Teachers agree that more could be done to strengthen the use of te reo and tikanga Māori in the NYPS setting.

Relationships with external partners

How well does this TPU work within their educational and community context to promote student outcomes?

In addition to Te Kura and the host school, the TPU is well supported by external partners. Students feel their needs are well met through programmes involving external agencies that provide advice about health and wellbeing. They can access doctors, counsellors and dentists and some of these services are paid for. Visits are also coordinated with community providers who assist with accommodation and financial advice.

Teachers are beginning to develop relationships with local employers to explore opportunities for work placements and off-site learning experiences. Educational partnerships with local tertiary providers are helping students make decisions about further education and training. Constructive relationships and meetings with local MoE advisers have also helped to shape TPU services.

The manager communicates regularly with other TPU managers through an effective national network. She and the staff contribute to the national TPU conferences and promote the services of the TPU with local secondary schools. Students currently attending the TPU were referred by a variety of school counsellors, health and social services, friends and whanau.

The roll of the NYPS continues to grow. The host school principal and the social worker have been proactive in sharing the success of the NYPS with other school principals, tertiary providers and external agencies. Regular reporting in local newspapers has also added to the positive reputation of the TPU.

3 Recommendations

What are the key next steps for this TPU?

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

  • expand student learning outcomes by seeking additional options for work experience and the use of targeted funding for secondary tertiary alignment
  • strengthen bicultural components of the curriculum and operational practices
  • build a longitudinal database of student leaver information to contribute to internal evaluation.

4 Conclusion

The Nelson Young Parent School (NYPS) provides very worthwhile opportunities for young parents to re-engage in formal education. Students achieve meaningful learning and social outcomes and are appreciative of the support and encouragement offered by staff. After five years in operation, the TPU is performing well. A positive attitude to using a range of data for internal evaluation allows the TPU to make ongoing improvements.

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

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

8 June 2017

About the Teen Parent Unit 



Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Girls 19 Boys 1

Ethnic composition







Review team on site

April 2017

Date of this report

8 June 2017

Most recent ERO reports

Special Review

November 2013