Whakatipuria Teen Parent Unit - 06/11/2013

1 Background

Whakatipuria Teen Parent Unit (TPU) is an attached unit of Freyberg 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 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


The Whakatipuria Teen Parent Unit is located next to the host school, Freyberg High School, in a purpose-built facility with an early childhood centre (ECC) attached. Governance is undertaken by the board of trustees of the host school and delegated to the director. The attached ECC is managed by a community trust and has tagged places for children of teen parents.

There are good working relationships with the host school and the ECC. The director and teacher in charge (TIC) meet regularly and reflect on what’s going well and where to next. Students from the unit can access courses at the host school. The unit functions as a department of the school.

Progress has been made in addressing the areas for review and development from the August 2010 ERO report.

Student outcomes

Students articulate their learning goals, progress, achievement and next steps. They highly value the opportunities and experiences they are offered. Teachers have high expectations for students to achieve and to gain qualifications. The TPU achievement information shows that increasing numbers of students are achieving national qualifications especially in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Levels 2 and 3. Student success is celebrated.

The TIC has efficient systems to keep track of students’ subject results, progress and for reporting to the host school.

Successful strategies are in place to support and track student attendance. Teachers focus on developing further ways to engage students.

Leadership, management and organisation

The director of the TPU governs effectively. She supports teaching and learning and the alignment of host school and TPU systems and processes.

Staff work as a cohesive team led by an experienced TIC. They are committed to improving outcomes for students. Teachers participate in a cluster group, supported by an advisor, to develop leadership, management and organisational systems and processes. Developing clear self-review processes and increasing student engagement are current focuses. This is highly valued by teachers.

Students have a range of leadership opportunities available to them within the TPU, including head girl, whānau group leaders and committee members. Student voice is highly valued. The school vision was co-constructed by TPU staff and students, and teaching and learning is regular reviewed with student input.

Teaching and learning

Teachers build a culture of learning. Routines are well established and students are motivated. A positive teaching and learning environment encourages students to focus and engage. Teachers know students and their children well, are warm and understanding, and value partnerships. They have a wide range of skills and knowledge and complementary teaching styles. Student and teacher relationships are mutually respectful.

Good opportunities exist for students to learn in a variety of ways including independently, in small groups and using information and communication technologies. There is a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and science. Teachers teach and assess subjects, including art, textiles and photography. A number of students access NCEA Levels 2 and 3 courses at the host school, and Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource (STAR) courses externally. The host school provides resources, tasks and moderation. A few students are currently learning by correspondence through Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). The weekly programme also includes kapa haka me ngā tikanga, parenting, budgeting and other life skills.

Māori language, culture and identity are highly valued. Students learn in an environment that supports and affirms them as individuals and as Māori. They can study Māori art and artists. Assessment tasks are adapted to reflect Māori contexts. Teachers continue to integrate te Ao Māori into the curriculum.

Student transitions and engagement

Transition processes have been recently reviewed. Students are given time to settle into the unit so they do not feel overwhelmed. Tuakana teina support is set up for new students to assist a sense of belonging. Students' IEPs identify their strengths, needs and career aspirations. Weekly goals are set and students self monitor progress and track their achievement.

Exit transition is responsive to students’ career aspirations. Student feedback is sought. Teachers support and guide students through the process where they explore possible tertiary and training options, and other childcare choices.

Relationships with external partners

TPU staff have positive working relationships with a range of external educational and social agencies and providers. A close relationship exists with the host school and students, where appropriate, can access mainstream classes. TPU and ECC work together to support students. Partnership with ECC staff is highly valued by students for the education and care of their children.

Key Next Steps

Teachers should continue to strengthen:

  • IEPs to support exit transition, students’ social and health needs and learning pathways
  • ways to report student achievement to learners
  • self-review processes to identify priorities for improvement, monitor progress and evaluate effectiveness of decisions.

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


Palmerston North

Ministry of Education profile number


Teen Parent Unit roll


Gender composition

Female 30

Ethnic composition


NZ European/Pākehā

Other ethnic groups




Review team on site

August 2013

Date of this report

6 November 2013

Most recent ERO reports

Special Review

Special Review

August 2010

August 2006