Titiro Whakamua - 06/11/2013

1 Background

Titiro Whakamua is an attached unit of Heretaunga College. 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. The review 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 individual education plans (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


Titiro Whakamua, (Looking Forward), is a purpose-built facility situated on the grounds of Heretaunga College. An early childhood centre (ECC) adjoins the unit. The TPU offers support for the education and wellbeing of teen parents from the entire Hutt Valley and Wainuiomata.

Relationships between the host college, TPU and ECE are effective. The school principal and teacherin-charge (TIC) meet regularly and a liaison person from the board makes frequent contact. Students are able to access courses at the college. Connection to the student management network, facilitates sharing and analysis of data. The unit functions as a department of the school with the additional facilities of a medical centre and social worker on site.

Strong community connections result in many volunteer groups and individuals offering assistance to the unit.

Student outcomes

The TPU reports successes in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) with some students working toward their Level 3 certificate in 2013. Student attainment can be slow because of the interruptions to learning caused by pregnancy and birth of the child, but those that persevere with their goals succeed.

Regular attendance remains an ongoing barrier to learning. Reasons for absence are not always within students’ control.

Leadership, management and organisation

Memoranda of Understanding, dated 2003, exist between the Ministry of Education and the board of Heretaunga College, and between the board and the TPU.

Governance is well managed. The TIC reports to the board each term through the principal. The board liaison person visits frequently and is knowledgeable about TPU operation and needs. Strategic planning is aligned with board priorities. Teachers participate in college professional development where appropriate.

Teacher inquiry into effectiveness of practice is a current development focus. Teachers reflect on outcomes for students during staff meetings. Restorative practices are being implemented.

The TIC supports staff in their roles and responsibilities. Teachers’ performance is reviewed annually. Subject teachers complete a results analysis which contributes to planning for the next year.

A management committee (Titiro Whakamua–Looking Forward Inc) governs the ECC and plays a part in supporting the TPU, especially with fundraising. The TPU is represented on this incorporated society.

Teaching and Learning

Staff are caring and considerate and model desirable behaviour. They are experienced and have a wide range of complementary skills and knowledge. Teachers work as a team to mitigate any barriers to learning. They follow a common set of guidelines for expected student behaviour.

Individual Education Plans developed from students’ needs, interests and aspirations, guide learning. These include long and short-term goals and records of credits gained. Progress is reviewed each term. By correspondence, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura) is a major provider and assessor of programmes. These include modules to address identified gaps in numeracy and science.

Other providers are used to supplement the curriculum with life skills and qualifications in areas such as employment, early childhood, driving, travel and hospitality. Parenting courses give young parents breadth of information. Wrap-around medical, social and parenting support is offered to reduce barriers to learning. Careers education is supported by a counsellor and relevant events. Students are encouraged to review the development of key competencies. Absences can make it difficult for teachers to monitor this for some students.

Culturally responsive teaching and learning strategies promote success for Māori students as Māori. Staff and students have weekly te reo Māori tutoring. Strong historical links with a local marae are maintained. A new maihi enhances the entrance, displaying carved symbols relating to young mothers and babies. A TPU korowai is worn by the ‘best-all-round’ student at the annual prizegiving ceremony. A specially written waiata is sung on significant occasions.

Daily tutor group meetings give opportunities for pastoral support and for developing a sense of family. A current focus is on the values of the TPU and what these mean in practice.

Student transitions and engagement

The induction process is well managed. It allows students to build positive relationships with staff and other students. Time is given to settle children into day-care prior to taking up study.

Students are engaged and working purposefully. They know what they need to do and understand how they learn best. Some are taught in small groups for core subjects.

Students are surveyed and their views are acted on. In response to a request for more physical activity, provision of sports and activities was extended.

Exit surveys contribute to TPU self review. Students are supported to get in touch with tertiary providers and organise visits ahead of enrolling in further education. A volunteer is working to track leavers to gather information about longer-term outcomes for students.

Relationships with external partners

Relationships between the TPU and the host school and the ECC are effective. TPU and ECC staff exchange information at regular meetings and share space and transport. Students see the ECC as a valuable partner in their own and their children’s education.

Students benefit from well established connections with a wide variety of community agencies and volunteers. Many services are available on site. One teacher has responsibility for liaison with Te Kura and communication between the two institutions is open and constructive.

Links are made with other TPUs by active involvement in the Association of Teen Parent Educators New Zealand (ATPENZ).

3 Key Next Steps

ERO recommends that TPU teachers continue to explore ways to enhance student engagement and increase retention. Possibilities include making students more responsible for tracking results and attendance and increasing the range of course options.

4 Future Action

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

Joyce Gebbie

National Manager Review Services Central Region (Acting)

6 November 2013

About the Teen Parent Unit


Upper Hutt

Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Female 30

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic group




Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

6 November 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Education Review

Special Review

September 2010

August 2006