Rotorua School for Young Parents - 17/10/2013

1 Background

Rotorua School for Young Parents Unit is an attached unit of Rotorua Girls’ High School. There are currently 21 Ministry of Education funded 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:

  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 until they are nineteen years of age. It operates under the guidance of its host school, Rotorua Girls High School (RGHS) and is located in Sunset Road, Rotorua. Currently there are 34 parents enrolled from the wider Rotorua area and 29 identify as Māori and 2 as Pacific. RSFYP Early Childhood Centre is adjacent to the Teen Parent Unit (TPU) and provides education and care for the majority of young parents’ children.

Since the 2010 ERO review staffing has remained stable, providing continuity for students. The principal of the host school and the teacher in charge (TiC) have continued to align the wider school vision, strategic direction, policy and procedural guidelines with the operation of the TPU. Good progress has been made in the areas identified in the 2010 ERO report, including:

  • analysis and interpretation of student achievement information
  • student goal setting and vision for learning
  • attendance, engagement and achievement of students.

Student outcomes

Students are focused and engaged in learning, generally making good progress and achieving well. Their achievement is well tracked and monitored by teachers. Priority is placed on students achieving literacy and numeracy requirements to gain University Entrance. The TPU’s student achievement information indicates that students are achieving credits in Levels 1, 2 and 3 of the National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) and in University Entrance. Students’ personal circumstances impact on their progress and achievement. However they are well supported to gain appropriate qualifications and transition into further study or work when they leave the TPU.

Teachers work hard to engage students and promote positive outcomes by:

  • ensuring that students’ health, financial and social needs are managed so that barriers to learning are minimised
  • promoting student ownership of learning and achievement by involving them in setting goals and developing pathways that are linked to their career aspirations
  • setting high expectations for students to achieve good quality, academic qualifications.

Students benefit from meaningful relationships with external agencies that support their learning, attendance and wellbeing. They are settled and are developing strong friendships with their peers. Students feel well supported by teachers and respond positively to personalised teaching and learning provided by TPU teachers.

Leadership, management and organisation

The TPU continues to be well supported by its host school and board of trustees. Changes to school personnel with oversight for the unit have strengthened relationships and support for teachers and students of the unit. The TiC works collaboratively with teachers who have been at the TPU for a number of years. Staff have a good working relationship, and a shared approach to leadership, management and organisation is evident. Teachers are developing a clear strategic focus for teaching and learning in the TPU.

Key next step

Currently the unit operates with a 2003 Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education. This document no longer reflects the current operational agreements, procedures and policies between the host school and the TPU. ERO and the management team agree on the need to review this document, and align it to the current and agreed procedures and expectations. This is likely to further strengthen the relationship between the host school and TPU, and ensure the TPU operates within current and relevant expectations.

Teaching and Learning

Teachers know these students well and develop close relationships with them. The TPU curriculum is strongly focused on literacy and numeracy, NCEA qualifications and increasingly University Entrance. Students have access to a useful range of subjects through the correspondence school (Te Kura) or teacher-planned programmes of study.

Teachers gather a wide range of achievement information and use this effectively to evaluate teaching and programme effectiveness, and to inform annual and strategic planning. Detailed analysis of student achievement information is proving useful for teachers making connections to their broader inquiry and self review. Achievement information indicates that most students, and particularly those who remain in the unit, make expected and/or accelerated progress in literacy and numeracy, and NCEA credits at Levels 1 and 2. A small proportion of students achieved University Entrance. However some students experience difficulties in attending or remaining at the unit which results in limited progress and achievement for them.

An achievement and motivational strategy introduced by teachers in 2013 is having a positive impact. Current data shows improved attendance and increased students rate of achievement.

Key next steps

ERO and school leaders agree that there is a need to:

  • review the range of subjects and current staffing to ensure that the learning needs and aspirations of the students are well met
  • increase the provision of te reo Māori instruction
  • engage teachers in a review that supports them to give and receive feedback about their teaching practice
  • strengthen the quality of conversations that teachers have with colleagues and students to ensure that these are consistently positive and focused on success.

These steps could be achieved by using the expertise of the RSFYP Management Committee and the RGHS Te Kotahitanga personnel.

Student transitions and engagement

Students are welcomed to the unit with a planned and focused induction process. During the first week of term all students meet with teachers to discuss their learning pathways and possible career destinations. They meet with other support teachers and personnel such as their Youth Parent Provider (YPP) contact, counsellor and child-care manager. Teachers support students to make good connections with external agencies. They encourage all students to aim high and set high expectations for tertiary training and careers.

Teachers support students to plan individualised career programmes through the development of purposeful Individual Education Plans. This process allows teachers to access relevant subjects and courses, assisting them to achieve their career goals.

The unit has accessed funding to employ a careers person to support students’ transition to further study. This additional support enables students to access medical and financial services, training agencies such as Gateway/STAR, as well as facilities at the host school and tertiary institutes. Students also return to the unit to discuss, study and talk with the site-based counsellor.

The units’ 2012 destination data indicates that approximately half of the students moved onto further study and/or employment, with a similar proportion choosing to be at home with their children. A small proportion had left the area or their destination is unknown. Destination and career pathways development continues to be a priority area for the TPU.

Relationships with external partners

Teachers have established positive and reciprocal relationships with a wide range of community partners. These partnerships support wellbeing and holistic development of student and child. The teacher who supports study transactions with Waiariki Polytech has played an important role with the development of this relationship and for students who are uncertain of tertiary study. Relationships with Tipu Ora (the Youth Parent Provider) and Ministry of Social Development are positive and are increasingly providing a more cohesive approach to support for young parents.

Positive relationships are developing between the unit and the RSFYP Early Childhood Centre. Teachers at this centre have been developing ways they can work in collaboration and partnership with parents. A planned approach to transitioning children to the centre has contributed to improving relationships and confidence for parents in the care their children receive. Currently students are satisfied with the level of care and education provided for their children.

Key next step

  • to review the practice relating to babies on site at the TPU and develop strategies to minimise the risk to the school, unit and centre.

3 Future Action

ERO is likely to review the TPU in 3 years.

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services Northern Region

17 October 2013

About the Teen Parent Unit

Location

Rotorua

Ministry of Education profile number

2753

Teen Parent Unit roll

34

Gender composition

Girls 34

Ethnic composition

Māori

NZ European/Pākehā

Pacific

29

3

2

Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

17 October 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

June 2010