This evaluation found that the CYF residential schools provided a good education for students. Staff had a caring approach towards students and they were able to engage students and support them. ERO found very few areas for improvement in relation to the quality of education, although this review suggests some directions for expanding the effective pedagogy that currently exists. This includes providing more scope for using student ideas to structure learning contexts, as well as using real problems and relevant context to make greater use of authentic teaching and learning.

The CYF residential schools also had good processes for inducting students. Education staff were welcoming and made students feel comfortable. Teachers had good processes for identifying student needs, especially in numeracy and literacy.

More needs to be done to build the role of education staff in the exit transitions of students, and in how they work with the overall CYF plan for each student. Gains in this area are likely under the new CYF service model. There is a good platform for greater collaboration between education and CYF staff and this now needs to be mobilised so that there is more explicit focus on student outcomes.