Becoming the host school for a Teen Parent Unit

A Teen Parent Unit (TPU) is an educational facility attached to a state secondary school (host school) that caters for teen parent students and their children.

The purpose of a TPU

The purpose of a TPU is to provide for the particular needs of students in secondary education where verified barriers to learning in a school situation have resulted from pregnancy and child-rearing responsibilities.

Eligible students

Eligible students are those aged less than 19 years when enrolled and who are either pregnant or a parent.

Students aged 19 or over may attend a TPU if spare spaces are available, but will be enrolled as a regular adult student on the host school's main roll.

Governance, management and resourcing of TPUs

The board of trustees of the host school is the legal entity for governance, management and resourcing of its TPU. The host school receives resourcing for its TPU students.

Teen Parent Units may be located at the host school or at a separate location. They must have easy access to Early Childhood Education facilities.

What to think about

  • Is there a need for such a unit in our community and at our school?
  • Will we have enough students to make a TPU viable and sustainable?
  • Is there an existing Early Childhood Education (ECE) centre that the TPU could work with or would the unit have to provide ECE services directly?
  • ECE provision is essential for a TPU and it can take at least 18 months to set up a new ECE service.
  • What effect might a TPU have on the school?
  • How will the board of trustees deal with any negative effects?
  • Will our school community see a TPU as positive for the school?
  • Have we considered mainstream placement of the students as opposed to forming a TPU?

What you should do

  • Contact your local Ministry office for information about the TPU policy and guidance with the establishment process.
  • Enquire about what resourcing and property provision would be available from the Ministry of Education.
  • Consult your own school community and agencies that could be involved, as well as the staff and board of your school.

Local Ministry office

The process of change

If it's agreed that a TPU is a suitable option, collaboration between the school and the Ministry is required to:

  • take all factors into consideration
  • consult relevant parties, and
  • prepare a report for the Minister of Education who will make the decision about whether a unit will be established.

It's important that you contact the Ministry early on in this process as it can take up to 2 years to establish a Teen Parent Unit.

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