A Wanganui high school is to have a special unit for pregnant students and teenage mums.

Wanganui City College is taking part in a teen parent pilot programme being introduced into mainstream schools. It is believed to be a first for the district.

"Being pregnant or a young parent doesn't mean you have to stop your schooling," says an advert placed by the school.

City College has been allocated up to five places in an attempt to help girls finish their education. Principal Peter Kaua said a couple of years ago the school applied to the Ministry of Education for a special unit for pregnant teenagers, but was unsuccessful.


But now the college has been funded by the ministry for five students from the start of the 2014 school year to 2016 and is the only school in Wanganui offering such a programme.

Mr Kaua said the numbers of pregnant teens fluctuated.

Under the scheme, the girls would take their classes as they did before they became pregnant and, following the birth, return to the classroom.

The aim is to continue their education toward NCEA qualifications.

He said that three girls who continued with their learning after giving birth had gone on to higher learning.

"Most girls come back to school to finish their schooling," he said. "And most kept their babies and were supported by their parents and whanau.

A few years ago, a 17-year-old student at Turakina Maori Girls College regularly took her newborn baby into the classroom, and breast-fed it there.