Tangaroa College Teen Parent Unit - 02/05/2018


Tangaroa College Teen Parent Unit, known as the Connected Learning Centre, is located on the grounds of its host school, Tangaroa College, in Otara, Auckland. The college had a positive ERO report in 2013, since then there has been a change in leadership. Inclusive and respectful education for young parents in a well-resourced adult learning environment are evident. Effective systems and practices promote student learning, safety and wellbeing.

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

1 Background

Tangaroa College Teen Parent Unit is an attached unit of Tangaroa College. 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


Tangaroa College Teen Parent Unit, known as the Connected Learning Centre (CLC), is located in the grounds of Tangaroa College in the suburb of Otara in south Auckland. The unit has provided education for teen parents since 2005 in a purpose-built facility. There are currently 14 students enrolled, eight are of Māori descent and six from Pacific nations.

Both the CLC director and college principal are new to their roles in Term 1 2017. Progress in relation to ERO’s previous report in 2013 include a the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the host school and the Ministry of Education, curriculum development, access to specialist subject teachers and the provision of careers advice and guidance for students.

Many CLC staff have experience working in this educational context. Relationships between the CLC and the host school continue to be strengthened. Students have access to health and wellbeing services at the host school. An early childhood education centre owned by the school is located on school grounds and used by many of the students. The centre director has responsibility for day-to-day operations of the CLC and is also one of the key teachers. An administrator provides administrative overview and support for students. A deputy principal from the host school liaises with the CLC and the principal’s nominee supports course development and assessment moderation.

Student outcomes

The CLC has high expectations for student success. Many students enter the CLC with unit and achievement standards from previous high schools. They are supported to pursue further qualifications and higher educational pathways. There is an emphasis on students gaining literacy and numeracy at National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 1 and 2.

Student achievement is well tracked and monitored. The CLC has implemented processes to gather information about student’s prior learning, interests, aspirations and NCEA credits. Student achievement is moderated with the host school for authentication.

NCEA results from 2015 showed that two of the ten students achieved Level 1, two of four achieved Level 2 and one of eight achieved Level 3. In 2016 less progress was made towards NCEA however some students made good progress in relation to individual goals and plans. In 2017, four students enrolled in courses at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT). One student has gained a scholarship from MIT and will participate in a Level 5 diploma of teaching. Most students in 2018 are working towards Level 1 or 2 credits in literacy, numeracy, English, health and physical education, social science, science, te reo Māori and Samoan language.

Attendance is identified as a challenge and barrier to achievement. The school is continuing to implement strategies to improve student’s presence, engagement and achievement.

Valued outcomes for learners are expressed in the CLC waka paddles. These include manawanui patience, commitment, hauora, kotahitanga, manaakitanga, whānau, aroha, ngākau, tapatahi, perseverance, whakapau kaha, kaha and rangitu - achievement and success. These values are integrated within the curriculum and the induction programme. This culturally responsive approach contribute to students' understanding of the unit’s valued outcomes as they enter the CLC and contribute to students’ wellbeing, participation, contribution and learning.

Leadership, management and organisation

Leadership and management of the CLC is effective.  During a change of director, the new senior teacher, administrator and deputy principal have provided continuity of learning and wellbeing for students.    

The management committee consists of the host school’s board of trustees’ chairperson, the principal and the CLC director. During 2016 there was a delay in the management committee developing a strategic and annual plan due to the unit’s director being on extended leave. Reporting to the board of trustees was also impacted however newsletters and two six monthly reports were shared with the board. The management committee have re-instated regular meetings and more formal reporting to both the committee and board of trustees.  

The committee and leaders are implementing effective internal evaluation processes. This supports ongoing growth and development and assists leaders and teachers to identify how well they are achieving the intent of their philosophy and the expectations of the MoE for positive outcomes for young parents. The appraisal system is aligned to the host school’s process, Education Council expectations and is included in the internal evaluation system. Clear roles and responsibilities for staff in the CLC have been developed and implemented. A review of the CLC philosophy has been undertaken and along with the roles and responsibility for staff are included in the operations manual. The provision of professional learning and development opportunities that build teacher and staff capability and align with the goals and targets of the strategic plan are provided by the host school.


Students have access to an appropriate range of subjects taught by specialist teachers from the host school and the CLC director. They are able to access Te Aho o te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) correspondence school units in a variety of subjects. Students complete a cultural unit and gain credits as an initial experience on induction. Students told ERO this approach is providing them with a strong sense of belonging and achievement as they explore their whakapapa and feel valued for who they are and what they bring to the CLC.

The staff reflect the cultural diversity of students and this community.  They have a good understanding of and value the language, culture and identity of every student. Staff integrate students’ culture into the context of learning in meaningful ways. The staff reflect the cultural diversity of students. The TPU values are integrated meaningfully in an interactive visual display of a waka. The paddles are identified as bilingual values and students and staff place their photos on a value which they hope to demonstrate each day. Consideration should be given to teachers and peers providing each other students with feedback about their progress towards meeting these valued outcomes.

Student engagement is enhanced by access to digital technologies and teachers who provide support to students to increase their skill in effectively using these devices to support their learning. Teachers promote the use of technology for research, communication and accessing resources to extend and enrich learning. The curriculum has been broadened to include physical activities for students to benefit their health and wellbeing. It is now important for the TPU to consider further ways to broaden the programme provided for students. This should include the creative arts and education outside the classroom. Students are well supported with specialist agencies and personnel in a wrap-around system that responds to their individual needs for health, social, financial and housing support. They are provided with transport to and from the unit. Staff make every effort to support students to improve.

Student support, engagement and transitions

There is a well-planned induction process for students and their whānau that takes place over time. All students attending at the time of this ERO review have come from secondary schools other than the host school. Students participate in initial assessments which provide a holistic picture of their preferred learning styles and levels of learning. Each student co-constructs an individual learning plan with teachers, alongside a responsible adult or whānau members. These plans respond to the identified interests and aspirations of students and whānau. Teachers and leaders need to consider ways to further contribute meaningfully to these plans by documenting the contribution they will make to support students to achieve their goals.

Staff are proactive in designing flexible learning and study to fit with the particular needs of students. There are regular reporting evenings and whānau events where student progress is shared and successes are celebrated. The CLC reports increased involvement of whānau in recent times.

Young parents face many issues related to their lives outside the unit. Teachers identified that an important contributing factor to student attendance is the establishment of meaningful, trusting and sincere relationships with consistent staff. Students expressed appreciation for the support they receive from staff for accessing funding, welfare and health and guidance with their ongoing learning.

A particular strength of the TPU is the culture of respect which has been established between students and adults. Staff promote leadership amongst students and values their cultures, perspectives and contributions. In 2017 this is leading to improved attendance - contradiction and engagement for many students.

Through the host school reciprocal relationships and liaison with MIT, AUT, Auckland University and other training providers have been developed and assist students with course choices and career pathways, and a number of scholarships have been awarded to CLC students. In recent years students have graduated with degrees in the field of health. These approaches to student support and engagement are providing students with positive career pathways and assist them to transition into and beyond CLC.

Relationships with external partners

Since the 2013 ERO review, leaders have continued to establish useful networks and liaison with local and wider education communities to provide a number of programmes for students. Programmes have included parenting skills, and mental health and wellbeing courses. Good use is made of local trusts and services to benefit outcomes for students. Pacific students benefit from a group that specialises in providing learning support for them.

The CLC maintains positive relationships with the Haumia Early Childhood centre. Students told ERO they appreciate the support and care they and their children receive from teachers at the centre. Children are settled and learn in a safe and secure environment. Mothers can maintain breastfeeding their babies at the centre. They participate in a range of parenting programmes from different providers.

3 Recommendations

Priorities for ongoing development include:

  • management and leaders further embedding sustainable approaches to internal evaluation for the CLC that aligns with MoE best practice guidelines for TPU’s.
  • reviewing and further developing a personalised and responsive curriculum that aligns with the valued outcomes, vocational pathways and the individual development plans for each student.

4 Conclusion

Tangaroa College Teen Parent Unit, known as the Connected Learning Centre, is located on the grounds of its host school, Tangaroa College, in Otara, Auckland. The college had a positive ERO report in 2013, since then there has been a change in leadership. Inclusive and respectful education for young parents in a well-resourced adult learning environment are evident. Effective systems and practices promote student learning, safety and wellbeing.

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

Lynda Pura-Watson
Deputy Chief Review Officer

Te Tai Miringa - Waikato / Bay of Plenty Region

2 May 2018

About the Teen Parent Unit 


Otara, South Auckland

Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Female                 14

Ethnic composition


Number of students



Review team on site

March 2018

Date of this report

2 May 2018

Most recent ERO reports

Report type

Report date

Special Review
Special Review

October 2013
June 2010