ERO Special Review: Central Regional Health School - Te Au Rere a te Tonga, Epuni

This ERO summary report focuses on how Central Regional Health School supports positive outcomes for ākonga in Oranga Tamariki residences.



Ākonga [1] in Oranga Tamariki residential care settings are highly vulnerable, have complex needs, and require pedagogical expertise and extra support.

Young people who are in the custody of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki [2] can be placed in residential care, in protected living environments. Ākonga in residential care are under 19 years of age and are placed there by court order or at the discretion of Oranga Tamariki.

Oranga Tamariki can place young people who have offended in a Youth Justice residence or a remand home. Specifically, Oranga Tamariki can place young people if they are:

  • detained in the custody of the Chief Executive of Oranga Tamariki after appearing in the Youth Court (‘on remand’)
  • given a Supervision with Residence order by the Youth Court
  • sentenced or remanded by the district court and they are under the age of 19.

Most of the young people in Youth Justice residences are on remand, with an average stay of around 40 days.

Oranga Tamariki can place children and young people in Care and Protection residences when they are deemed to be at significant risk of harm in the community.

The children and young people in residential care are mostly male. Eighty percent are Māori, some with limited connections to their whānau or cultural backgrounds. Addressing the rights of these ākonga to experience success as Māori is critical in planning the education programme within residences.

Specialised expertise is required in understanding and responding to the particular educational barriers that young people in residence often face. Challenges more likely to affect the learning of these students include: neurodevelopmental disorders, past trauma or attachment issues, concerns for their own safety, low self-esteem and challenges in self-regulation, along with behavioural, physical, mental health and learning difficulties.

Previous engagement with education has often been unsuccessful in bringing out their potential and promoting their achievement.  These young people may have a negative view of school, teachers or themselves as learners, and patterns of infrequent attendance. Education staff working in Oranga Tamariki residences need pedagogical expertise and an understanding of the complexities of fostering educational success for these ākonga. Training in trauma-informed and culturally competent practices is necessary to maximise their potential.   


This report is part of a suite of evaluation reports looking at educational provision in Oranga Tamariki residences

This summary report is part of a system evaluation looking at the educational provision for ākonga in Oranga Tamariki Care and Protection and Youth Justice residences.

The overall evaluation question was: How effective, coherent and aligned is the education provision in supporting positive outcomes for ākonga? 

Findings from the system evaluation are presented in a companion report: Learning in residential care: ‘They knew I wanted to learn’.

In preparing this report, ERO gathered evidence to evaluate educational provision at each of the residential sites and at the organisational level. The review explored provision in relation to the following aspects (levers):

  1. collaboration for effective transitions and pathways
  2. support for students’ needs 
  3. appropriate pedagogy and meaningful curriculum
  4. positive, nurturing relationships and environments
  5. educationally focused engagement of whānau and caregivers
  6. effective leadership and ongoing improvement.

Provision for ākonga Māori, including cultural practices and a curriculum that responds to their culture, language and identity, was a strong focus for the evaluation team and deliberately woven throughout each lever.

The levers are informed by research about effective pedagogy and curriculum, and developed in consultation with a group of experts who have significant experience and knowledge of this group of tamariki/rangatahi. These are aligned with ERO School Evaluation Indicators: Effective Practice for Improvement and Learner Success (2016) for promoting equity and excellence in student outcomes.

Judgements were made on a rubric for each indicator [see Appendix 1], then combined to form overall judgments for the levers. Following the field work, the team met several times to moderate and promote consistency of judgments across the sites. The moderation process included a strong focus on provision in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations and culturally responsive practice.

Recent changes to legislation and the Oranga Tamariki operating model are important contexts for this review.

Government has made a number of changes to legislation and practice that affect the ākonga in these residences. These include:

  • amendments to the Children, Young Persons, and Their Families (Oranga Tamariki) Legislation Act 2017 (Article 7aa) to strengthen a practical commitment to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • introduction of the National Care Standard Regulations that place additional education expectations on schools working with children in residences
  • increasing the age of Youth Justice to include young people aged 17, leading to an increase in the ages of rangatahi in the Youth Justice facilities to 18 years
  • encouraging alternative placements in community care and remand homes.

ERO visited the residential sites in October and November 2020, following national and regional lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most were operating with fewer young people than usual and some with considerably less than maximum capacity.


Central Regional Health School provides education in two residential sites for ākonga in Oranga Tamariki care

Central Regional Health School (CRHS) is a specialist school that operates in 14 sites in the lower North Island, offering a range of education provision for ākonga. Most sites provide education for young people in the community with high health needs who cannot attend regular school.

This review is of the two sites where they provide education for ākonga in Oranga Tamariki residences, Te Au Rere a Te Tonga Youth Justice (Te Au Rere) and Epuni Care and Protection (Epuni). The 12 additional sites were not included in this review.

Epuni residence accommodates up to 10 young people, male and female, aged 7 to 18 years. Of the 39 ākonga current enrolled at both sites, 80 percent are Māori. [3] Te Au Rere a te Tonga (Te Au Rere) is a Youth Justice residence that provides 24-hour, secure care for up to 40 young people, male and female, aged from 14 to 18 years. Te Au Rere also operates the Te Whare Awhi community remand home in Palmerston North, and CHRS provides a teacher to deliver an education programme that supports ākonga transition plans. At the time of this review, the future funding for this programme had not been confirmed by the Ministry of Education.

The length of stay for ākonga in both residences varies greatly, from less than one week to over a year. At Epuni, the trend is for longer stays in residence. About a third of young people stay less than two months, a third stay up to six months and another third more than eight months. At Te Au Rere nearly 60 percent of young people stay less than two months, with a further 20 percent staying less than four months. Significantly, nearly half of admissions to Te Au Rere in 2020 were readmissions, and some have been previously enrolled in another Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice residence.

All ākonga, including those aged over 16 years, are required to attend school five days a week during their stay. The CRHS’s vision is that ‘by working in partnership and through innovation the school will enrich hauora, embrace diversity and inspire quality, continuous learning’. The curriculum provided in both residences focuses on promoting literacy and numeracy, key competencies, communication skills and successful transitions to ongoing/further education and work. A shift in enrolments toward older students has required a stronger focus on vocational training and work readiness, particularly evident at the Youth Justice residence.

Ākonga at Te Au Rere learn in three mixed-age, gender-separated homerooms attached to their residence units. At Epuni ākonga learn together in one mixed-age, mixed-gender classroom. Both residences have a gymnasium, swimming pool, small workshop, and kitchen facilities. 

The CRHS is governed by a board of trustees and led by a principal. They are supported by assistant principals who lead the school’s strands of health, mental health, and Youth Justice/Care and Protection. The assistant principal for Care and Protection/Youth Justice is based at Te Au Rere and is supported by a team leader and senior teacher onsite at Te Au Rere, and a team leader at Epuni.  There are eight other teachers at Te Au Rere (including one based at Te Whare Awhi) and one other teacher at Epuni.

A memorandum of agreement between CHRS and Oranga Tamariki management at each site outlines how they will work together to support positive wellbeing, education, and transition outcomes for rangatahi. Leaders and teachers at CRHS work with Oranga Tamariki residence managers, case leaders/clinical leaders, programme leaders, and care workers to plan for and respond to young people’s needs and transitions.



Ākonga Success as Māori

Culturally responsive practice is critical in these residences where 80 percent of ākonga are Māori. ERO built into our assessment of each of the levers, effectiveness for ākonga Māori, and for each lever we start with highlighting site-based practice for these tamariki.

CRHS is in the early stages of developing joint structural relationships with mana whenua and Oranga Tamariki. A school-wide leader/Kaiwhakahaere Ahurea is beginning to work with sites to build iwi relationships. Both sites are in the early stages of building these. Presently there is a school-wide focus on building iwi relationships on the East Coast. This should help to support the transitions of ākonga back to their community.

There is an appropriate schoolwide focus on building a localised and culturally responsive curriculum. Examples of good culturally competent practice and provision for Māori are evident, and this should continue to be an area of priority, including:

  • building on the work begun for teaching and residential staff to work in partnership with mana whenua on areas of priority
  • further developing shared understandings of and capability for implementing effective culturally responsive practice and curriculum.


Lever 1: Collaboration for effective transitions and pathways


ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Transitions in and Transitions out components of effective education provision (Levers)


Judgement: Transitions in

Judgement: Transitions out



Well established

Te Au Rere



Collaboration for transitions into residence and learning pathways is well considered

Transitions into residences and school are generally well considered and managed to support ākonga wellbeing and learning. Te Au Rere practice is to explicitly explore ākonga affiliation with iwi, hapū or other cultural backgrounds and ākonga interest in learning in the context of their culture. At Epuni, Māori kawa is incorporated meaningfully to welcome and introduce new students to their peers and staff. Leaders should consider additional ways to share and further develop effective practices across sites when transitioning ākonga Māori.

On both sites, multi-agency teams made up of CRHS education and Oranga Tamariki clinical and care staff spend time with ākonga on arrival to identify their strengths, prior experience, learning, health and wellbeing needs, and aspirations. This information is used to develop individualised care and education plans for their time in residence. These plans are shared with all teams on site to support coordination and collaboration.

Teaching staff on both sites describe appropriate relational approaches to introducing new ākonga to classrooms and learning programmes. Staff are mindful that students need time and support to feel safe and settled in classrooms. They focus on building trusting relationships, allowing ākonga to become familiar with classroom routines and peers over time, and introducing interest-based learning activities to promote engagement.

Efforts are made to build on past learning. Leaders on both sites report difficulty finding and verifying previous education information as many ākonga have often been out of formal education for some time. Accessing previous or timely specialist education assessment to inform planning for students with specific learning needs is difficult.

Te Au Rere is working to strengthen its assessment practice when ākonga enter the school. It has introduced the use of the Youth Assessment Tool to identify key literacy and numeracy needs. This has the potential to support continuity of learning for older ākonga transitioning to further education providers, as well as informing education practice while in residence. Teachers are building their capability to use and interpret assessment information from this tool, to support planning for learning and monitoring of progress. The recent appointment and training of a special education needs coordinator (SENCO) at Te Au Rere is intended to improve the school’s capacity to undertake in-depth assessment of specific needs.


There is variability across the sites in how effectively school staff collaborate with others to support ākonga transitions on to school, work, or further education

Transition out of residences presents challenges for ākonga as they re-locate, or return to their home or other regions. For some, re-locating to other regions means they experience a sense of displacement as they leave the surety and security of the residence, along with the relationships built. Relationship-building with iwi and CHRS is currently focused on the East Coast to support the transitions of ākonga back to this community.

Effective practices to support transition planning at Epuni include: regular involvement of the teaching team leader in multi-agency team meetings; liaison with receiving schools and education providers; and active participation of ākonga and their whānau. Many of the ākonga at Epuni qualify for enrolment with CRHS’s community-based programmes. This provides a useful education pathway for those ākonga not ready to reintegrate into mainstream schools.

Ākonga transitioning from Te Au Rere to the remand home, Te Whare Awhi, are well supported to develop work readiness and access relevant industry and tertiary learning in the community. This area remains a priority for further improvement at Te Au Rere. It should include planning for ākonga transition out of the school early after they arrive.


Lever 2: Support for student needs

ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Support for student needs component of effective education provision (Levers)





Te Au Rere


Oranga Tamariki and CRHS staff work together to support ākonga, though multi-agency team meetings are a challenge at Te Au Rere

School leaders at both sites continue to foster communication and collaboration with OT management, clinical and care staff on site. Constructive examples of efforts to collaborate and coordinate with a range of staff and external providers, to support positive wellbeing and learning outcomes, are evident on both sites.

At Epuni, there has been effective collaboration to plan for student transitions out of residence and to enable an ongoing Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC) programme. At Te Au Rere, the recent curriculum review has involved significant collaboration between Oranga Tamariki and CRHS staff. Daily handover meetings at both sites support the communication of relevant information that enables all staff to know what is happening for ākonga and to share strategies.

Apart from collaboration for assessment on entry, multi-agency team meetings have not been well-sustained at Te Au Rere in recent years. Both school and Oranga Tamariki leaders have identified the need to re-establish regular multi-agency team meetings to better support coordinated planning and ākonga learning pathways, wellbeing and transitions.

Both sites report difficulties accessing learning and behaviour specialists to support ākonga. Improved access to mental health specialists is supporting ākonga wellbeing at Epuni. The CRHS funds its own speech language therapist to support their communication skills.


Lever 3: Appropriate pedagogy and meaningful curriculum

ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Appropriate pedagogy and meaningful curriculum component of effective education provision (Levers)





Te Au Rere


Sites have or are developing appropriate pedagogy and meaningful curriculum 

At a whole-school level, the Kaiwhakahaere Ahurea is leading the development of a framework to guide teacher development and practice in developing culturally responsive practice. Teachers are supported to participate in related professional development. There is some significant cultural knowledge and expertise among staff who are helping to support the capability and practices of their colleagues. Tikanga Māori and te ao Māori is woven into daily programmes and events in appropriate ways.

Programmes and teaching practices that affirm and foster the knowledge, identity, and language of ākonga with Māori whakapapa are variable across and within sites. Developing consistent staff practices, along with deeper understandings of Te Tiriti ō Waitangi, te ao Māori perspectives, and culturally responsive practice are areas CHRS has identified for ongoing development. While there are examples of very strong culturally responsive practice and programmes at Te Au Rere, teachers are still developing shared, agreed, and site-wide expectations and practices.

Ākonga have meaningful opportunities to participate and achieve in programmes that respond to their strengths, needs and interests. Leaders and teachers at both sites continue to review curriculum content and delivery to provide ākonga with greater choice and personalisation.

At Epuni, outdoor pursuits and community-based education programmes are well used to promote the physical, social and emotional learning of ākonga. There is a strengthened focus on student-led projects as the basis for learning in literacy and numeracy. Teachers are using digital teaching and learning platforms increasingly well to develop and deliver personalised learning programmes for ākonga. CRHS agree that this could be used to strengthen practice at Te Au Rere

At Te Au Rere, Oranga Tamariki and CRHS staff have recently revised aspects of curriculum to raise ākonga engagement and increase opportunities for learning support. A new learning programme, recently introduced, has had mixed feedback from ākonga, and ERO observed variable teacher planning for flexible, student-led programmes in homerooms. This would benefit from further review to assist Te Au Rere to know about its success and sustainability.

Ākonga at Te Au Rere continue to have regular opportunities to gain a range of industry-based qualifications. Programme staff for Oranga Tamariki have strengthened the inclusion of relevant relationship and health and wellbeing programmes delivered by external providers. Likewise, Epuni makes good use of community resources and organisations to support its EOTC and health programme.

Teachers at both sites talk regularly with students about their learning goals, what they want to learn next and what they want to do when they move out of residence. Students’ progress and achievement against their individual learning plans are regularly reviewed.


Lever 4: Positive, nurturing relationships and environments

ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Physical environment and Emotional environment components of effective education provision (Levers)


Judgement: Physical environment

Judgement: Emotional environment



Well established

Te Au Rere



Positive, nurturing relationships and environments are valued by CHRS, however there is variability in practice

Learning spaces at both sites are beginning to show value for the cultures of ākonga and support for tikanga Māori. Both sites experience constraints to access of a wide range of physical learning resources as a result of regulations to ensure the safety of ākonga and staff and this is particularly an issue for Te Au Rere, a Youth Justice site. The successful trial and introduction of digital platforms for learning at Epuni has increased access to learning in this environment and ERO and CRHS agree that this could have similar benefits at Te Au Rere

Whānau-like relationships to support ākonga Māori are well established at Epuni. At Te Au Rere there is a need to further develop in this area, including additional opportunities for ākonga to develop tuakana-teina, tungane-tuahine relationships.

Ākonga spoken to at both sites report their teachers care about them as learners and individuals. They note that teachers ask them what they want to learn and support them to achieve their goals. Ākonga said their teachers were fair and had clear expectations, and that they felt safe and supported in their classroom environments.

There is variability across sites in how well the learning environment and teaching and care practices support positive behaviour, engagement, and self-regulation. Different behaviour management approaches enacted by teaching and residence staff, and the different risk profiles of the cohorts of Ākonga, contribute to this variability. Epuni residence and education staff have developed shared understandings about trauma-informed practice and sensory regulation. As a result, ākonga are increasingly supported with individualised resources, strategies, and access to spaces, furnishings and equipment to support self-regulation.

In Te Au Rere, ākonga experience a limited range of resources and strategies to support self-regulation. Inconsistent approaches to managing behaviour and engagement in the classroom need to be resolved. This is the focus of a current Oranga Tamariki initiative, Whakamana Tāngata, to promote mana-enhancing practices. Leaders of both Oranga Tamariki and CRHS recognise this as a useful platform for developing shared values and beliefs which should help to address variability of practice and promote effective partnerships between teaching and residential staff.


Lever 5: Educationally focused engagement of whānau and caregivers

ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Educationally focused engagement of whānau and caregivers component of effective education provision (Levers)





Te Au Rere


Educationally focused engagement of whānau and caregivers is variable

Some staff demonstrate good knowledge about whānau of akongā, their cultural connections, and whakapapa. This could be further strengthened through the development of consistent practice.

There is limited opportunity for educationally focused engagement with whānau, particularly at Te Au Rere. At Epuni, multi-agency meetings provide for whānau involvement in educational matters through the sharing and discussion of individual learning plans. Staff at Te Au Rere are adapting learning plans to improve opportunities for ākonga and whānau voice, and for ease of access. Re-introducing regular multi-agency meetings would further promote learning relationships with whānau.

Continuing to strengthen key partnerships is a strategic priority of CRHS and identified as central to supporting positive outcomes for ākonga. To advance these, relationships between CHRS and OT residence staff need to be further defined, and collaborative practices well established to better support ākonga learning.


Lever 6: Effective leadership and ongoing improvement

ERO’s judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for the Leadership and Ongoing improvement components of effective education provision (Levers)


Judgement: Leadership

Judgement: Ongoing improvement




Te Au Rere



Effective leadership is developing

Schoolwide, there is a clear focus on strengthening leadership to promote Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and responsibilities. There is some strong understandings of culturally responsive practice amongst leaders and staff. Leaders should further build their capability and confidence to promote consistent, culturally competent practice across all areas.

Further work is needed at Te Au Rere to develop, document, and promote shared understandings of effective teaching practice and curriculum delivery. CRHS has had a focus on extending and building capability within the leadership team at Te Au Rere and to support new leadership at Epuni. Innovations as a result of teacher and leadership inquiries and Oranga Tamariki initiatives have been supported. Teachers access regular professional development and supervision to build their practice and appropriate processes for professional growth are in place.


Internal evaluation for ongoing improvement is developing

School leadership is appropriately focused on continuous improvement to support ākonga outcomes. Annual goals for each site are linked to schoolwide strategic goals for excellence in curriculum delivery, culturally appropriate practice, and successful transitions. Leaders review and report progress against these regularly. These goals show that CRHS leadership has already identified many of the areas for development highlighted in this review and taking action to address them.

Evaluation of key initiatives and programmes needs to be further strengthened through the use of proven evaluation frameworks, relevant evaluative criteria and evidence gathering. Schoolwide, CRHS is developing practices and systems to better enable reporting on ākonga outcomes. At Te Au Rere and Epuni individual learning plans show progress against ākonga goals, but more detailed analysis is needed to report outcomes at a site-wide level. This should help leaders to know about the impact of initiatives on engagement and learning and to explore the equity of outcomes for different groups of learners.


Summary of findings about the education provision

The following table outlines how Te Au Rere and Epuni rated on a descriptive scale against the six identified components (levers) [5] of effective educational provision. [6] Each lever is made up of indicators of good practice [see Appendix 1]. Practice was judged from ‘Action required’ to ‘Well established’ from detailed descriptions for each of the four ratings. [7]

The table should be interpreted in the context of the insights about the educational provision characterised in the accompanying text above. These insights provide key information about what is working well, and areas for development. 

ERO’s overall judgements for Epuni and Te Au Rere for each component of effective education provision (Levers)


Lever 1: Transitions in

Lever 1: Transitions out

Lever 2: Support for student needs

Lever 3: Pedagogy and curriculum

Lever 4: Physical environment

Lever 4: Emotional environment

Lever 5: Whānau engagement

Lever 6: Leadership

Lever 6: Ongoing improvement



Well established




Well established




Te Au Rere










Sustaining improvement

The wider school of CHRS provides a range of support for teachers at Te Au Rere and Epuni to learn about and provide holistic support for the complex needs of these ākonga. Provision is appropriately focused on addressing their health and wellbeing needs, alongside their learning.

CHRS articulates a clear vision for improvement aligned to their charter and supported by strategic and annual planning. Annual goals for each site are linked to schoolwide strategic goals for excellence in curriculum delivery, culturally appropriate practice and successful transitions.

Leadership at Te Au Rere and Epuni has undergone changes to strengthen progress in strategic areas, focused on promoting positive ākonga outcomes. The school acknowledges challenges in progressing a number of priorities and initiatives due to disruptions arising from Covid-19 pandemic restraints.


Priorities for action

Development priorities across both sites include continuing to:

  • develop shared understandings of and capability for effective culturally responsive practice in partnership with mana whenua
  • develop appropriate learning outcome indicators to guide curriculum development, assessment practice, reporting and evaluation to know about quality and equity of outcomes for all ākonga
  • involve ākonga and whānau more in setting and reviewing learning goals and plans
  • develop evaluation processes for key initiatives to know about the impact of these on ākonga outcomes
  • advocate for and foster constructive, collaborative relationships with Oranga Tamariki residential leaders and teams.

Additional priority areas for Te Au Rere:

  • develop detailed guidelines to support curriculum design, planning, delivery and evaluation
  • give priority to and advocate for more collaborative early transition planning
  • find ways to enhance the environment for learning, including improving the range of resources and strategies to support ākonga self-regulation
  • address areas of difference between residential and teaching staff over effective strategies for managing behaviour and engagement in the classroom.



ERO recommends that CRHS provides an action plan to ERO and the Ministry of Education to address the identified areas for improvement at Te Au Rere, with regular reports on progress. The timing of the next review of Te Au Rere will be based on the progress reported against the action plan.


Board assurance on legal requirements

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance.

To improve current practices, it was identified that the school needs to:

  • develop a policy and procedure for bullying prevention
  • develop appropriate methodologies for collecting anonymous ākonga feedback on wellbeing and learning.
Jane Lee's signature

Jane Lee

Deputy Chief Executive Review and Improvement

June 2021


About the school

  • Location: Palmerston North, Wellington
  • Ministry of Education profile number: 4929, 4934
  • School type: Specialist, Residential
  • School roll: 39
  • Gender composition: Male 29 Female 10
  • Ethnic composition: Māori 80%, Samoan 5%, NZ European/Pākeha 13%, Other ethnic groups 2%
  • Special features: These residences are Youth Justice and Care and Protection sites. Satellite site: Te Whare Awhi remand home (Te Au Rere)
  • Review team on site: October/November 2020
  • Date of this report: March 2021
  • Most recent ERO report(s): Education Review August 2016, Education Review June 2013


Appendix 1 - Identified components of effective educational provision for these ākonga

Components of effective provision: Lever 1 Collaboration for effective transitions and pathways

Quality indicators

Part a) Transitions in

  • Effective processes and practices for sharing and using ākonga information
  • Assessments appropriately identify the health, physical, emotional, cultural, and learning needs of each ākonga
  • Ākonga are effectively supported to transition successfully into residence

Part b) Transitions out

  • Ākonga are effectively supported to transition successfully out of residential care and on to meaningful pathways


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…
  • communication between ākonga, school, whānau, social service agencies and specialist services occurs for each ākonga all of the time
  • established protocols for sharing of relevant ākonga information are always used to inform decision-making for all ākonga
  • the needs of each ākonga are comprehensively identified on entry through well-considered diagnostic assessments and processes
  • staff have clear guidelines that are followed consistently and promote effective transition
  • appropriate, mana enhancing induction processes are enacted consistently for all ākonga and likely to support effective transition
  • cultural protocols and te ao Māori are always incorporated into transitions
  • ākonga and whānau aspirations and valued cultural outcomes are consistently sought, respected, and appropriately responded to
  • well-established connections and effective communication and collaboration between relevant groups support transitions for all ākonga
  • clear and comprehensive information about future options for education, training, or work is tailored to each ākonga and they and their whānau are actively involved in decision-making.


Components of effective provision: Lever 2 Support for student needs

Quality indicators
  • Individualised planning effectively responds to ākonga needs and aspirations and promotes their success
  • Ākonga are knowledgeable about themselves as learners
  • Staff and specialists demonstrate a coordinated, collaborative, and culturally appropriate approach to addressing the holistic needs of each child


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…

  • assessment information and planning documents, are consistently accessed and effectively built on in planning for all ākonga 
  • relevant and achievable goals are consistently set in consultation with all ākonga, whānau and relevant parties
  • planning always occurs in a timely manner
  • strategies to achieve goals are well considered and consistently developed in collaboration with all ākonga, whānau, care staff, and relevant specialists or agencies 
  • review of individual learning plans shows how all ākonga are experiencing success and progress
  • planning consistently uses needs and aspirations identified through assessment to build on learning for ākonga
  • integrated care plans are consistently developed collaboratively
  • all ākonga have access to appropriate health, wellbeing, and learning support.


Components of effective provision: Lever 3 Appropriate pedagogy and meaningful curriculum


Quality indicators
  • Ākonga have rich, meaningful learning opportunities
  • Teachers demonstrate effective teaching practice
  • Development of responsive local curriculum  
  • The curriculum effectively promotes Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, te āo Māori perspectives and aspirations for Māori learners
  • Teachers’ development of effective practice


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…
  • authentic learning opportunities happen consistently
  • ākonga are engaged and motivated by the work
  • ākonga prior learning is consistently built on and provides continuity of learning and progression
  • teaching strategies and learning opportunities are consistently linked to individual learning plans
  • ākonga agency, Key Competencies and pro-social capabilities are consistently fostered
  • ākonga voice is regularly sought and acted on to inform teaching and learning
  • there are frequent opportunities, and resources are prioritised for ākonga to learn in a variety of settings and ways
  • teachers regularly express high expectations for the educational success of ākonga and consistently confront deficit theorising
  • teaching strategies are consistently well-matched to complex needs of ākonga
  • positive approaches to behaviour and learning management are embedded and highly evident
  • teachers have a strong understanding of the significance of identity, belonging and connection and this is embedded in culturally responsive practice
  • all teachers consistently use evidence to improve their practices and well-established organisational processes and systems to support this
  • there is consistent focus on places, stories, and people of cultural significance to ākonga
  • teachers always seek out knowledge of identities, language and culture, and use this to plan learning programmes for ākonga
  • teachers have shared, deep understandings of key Māori values, practices and beliefs
  • teachers consistently find opportunities to support akongā Māori connection to their culture, language and identity through their learning
  • teachers regularly engage in professional learning
  • research-informed practice is highly evident and well established and supports innovative school wide approaches
  • teachers have strong, shared beliefs and common practices that are intentionally aligned with effective models of professional practice
  • ākonga demonstrate a deep sense of ownership for their progress in learning and are clear about their next steps.


Components of effective provision: Lever 4 Positive, nurturing relationships and environments


Quality indicators

Part a) Physical environment

  • The physical environment effectively supports learning for all ākonga

Part b) Emotional environment

  • The emotional environment effectively supports wellbeing and learning for all ākonga 
  • Good relationships are prioritised and supported
  • Practices are well implemented to support ākonga wellbeing and emotional safety
  • Ākonga rights are effectively protected and promoted


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…
  • the physical environment is highly effective (high quality) in supporting ākonga to self-regulate and engage in learning
  • there are excellent resources and equipment for learning
  • learning spaces ensure the cultures of ākonga and support for tikanga Māori practices are effectively reflected and supported
  • boundaries are clearly known and understood by ākonga and guide behaviour
  • teachers consistently demonstrate and promote a positive, strength-based view of ākonga
  • building and sustaining whānau-like relationships is a constant priority for all staff
  • individual needs are always thoroughly considered when developing and implementing strategies to minimise incidents and physical intervention
  • ākonga consistently report having a sense of belonging
  • all ākonga have clear understanding of expectations for their positive participation in learning
  • staff consistently work together to promote an environment that effectively fosters a sense of security, safety and belonging
  • responsive flexible routines are evident throughout
  • restorative practices are consistently and effectively enacted
  • ākonga are always treated with dignity and respect
  • staff advocate effectively for ākonga
  • support is consistently sensitive and responsive to ākonga identity.


Components of effective provision: Lever 5 Educationally focused engagement of whānau and caregivers

Quality indicators
  • Teachers learn about significant adults in the lives of ākonga
  • Learning Relationships between teachers and whānau, significant adults, including case workers and care staff, are effectively promoted and evident


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…
  • staff have deep knowledge about significant adults of ākonga
  • teachers consistently work collaboratively with whānau and significant adults to determine, implement, and monitor strategies to for supporting success in learning
  • whānau and caregivers are very well informed about learning progress, challenges, next steps, and success for ākonga.


Components of effective provision: Lever 6 Effective leadership and ongoing improvement

Quality indicators

Part a) Leadership

  • Leaders are well supported to build their capability and effectiveness
  • Leaders promote effective practice for ākonga with complex needs and/or trauma experience

Part b) Ongoing improvement

  • Inquiry and evaluation are effectively used to promote innovation and improvement


Practice is ‘Well established’ when…
  • support is consistently provided for leaders to reflect, develop and improve their practice, including the provision of professional supervision
  • there are highly consistent, shared understandings and clear articulation about what constitutes good practice for learning and teaching for ākonga
  • leadership provides highly effective support for teachers’ ongoing development and effectiveness
  • teachers have received well sustained, strategic and effective support to develop cultural competency
  • improving outcomes for ākonga is central to planning for change at all levels
  • there is compelling evidence of continuous and sustained improvement over time
  • leaders and staff have a good understanding of their obligations in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi principles and consistently enact these in their context
  • effective and meaningful working relationships with mana whenua as kaitiaki are well established and productive
  • tikanga and kawa consistently reflects the mana and dignity of tamariki Māori and is consistently applied as guided by mana whenua
  • knowledge of local sites of significance, key experiences, needs, expectations, and aspirations are continually sought and highly valued
  • there are highly effective processes for monitoring and supporting the health and wellbeing of staff
  • staff voice is routinely sought and responded to
  • procedures and practices are well aligned to legislative requirements and regulatory requirements
  • data is used very effectively to support decisions about sustaining or changing practices or interventions
  • there is very good understanding and effective use of internal evaluation for improvement
  • changes to transition practices and processes are well-informed by relevant data, and impact of changes are evaluated
  • change is well monitored for impact and effectiveness
  • strategic planning is well aligned to identified areas for improvement and monitors a range of relevant outcomes for ākonga
  • there are robust well sustained systems for monitoring compliance and quality of provision.


End notes

[1] In this report we refer to the young people as ākonga to reflect our focus on learning. In ERO’s reports we use students, learners and children and young people. Oranga Tamariki refers to them also as tamariki, rangatahi and mokopuna Māori.

[2] Oranga Tamariki | Ministry for Children was established to build a child-centred approach to care, dedicated to supporting any child or young person in New Zealand whose wellbeing is at significant risk of harm as well as working with young people who may have offended.

[3] The length of stay for ākonga in both residences varies greatly, from less than one week to over a year. At Epuni, the trend is for longer stays in residence. About a third of young people stay less than two months, a third stay up to six months and another third more than eight months. At Te Au Rere nearly 60 percent of young people stay less than two months, with a further 20 percent staying less than four months. Significantly, nearly half of admissions to Te Au Rere in 2020 were readmissions, and some have been previously enrolled in another Oranga Tamariki Youth Justice residence.

[4] Whakamana Tāngata is a practice approach that facilitates the restoration of young people’s mana, promoting their wellbeing in holistic and culturally meaningful ways. It was developed based on te ao Māori concepts of wellbeing and restorative practices. The intent is that it forms a cornerstone for Youth Justice residential practice, providing the foundation to build a range of therapeutic, educational, health, and cultural interventions and supports, taking a restorative approach.

[5] Levers 1, 4 and 6 have been divided into two sections as there were clear differences within the levers.

[6] Rubrics, developed under the indicators, were designed specifically for this project to align with the levers identified for effective education provision for this group of learners. The indicators were informed by international and national literature and tested and adjusted with the expert group, the providers, the review team and other stakeholders.

[7] The ratings for each lever were made based on the distribution of evidence across the indicators using numerical and qualitative assessments, and moderation and quality assurance processes by ERO and the Te Ihuwaka evaluation team. Moderation occurred at each stage of the process to promote consistency and robustness of judgements