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Successful Moves To Reduce Suspensions

Programmes to reduce suspensions and stand-downs in secondary schools have had a positive impact a new Ministry of Education report shows.

The Report on Stand-downs, Suspensions, Exclusions and Expulsions found that while there was an overall increase of 220 in the number of stand-down cases from 2000-2001, the total number of suspension cases in 2001 (4,802) was 306 down on the 2000 figure. At the same time the total school roll increased by 4,235 students, most of this increase being reflected in secondary schools.

Releasing the Report today, Jim Matheson, Operational Policy Manager, National Operations described the suspension figures as encouraging. “Changes in how schools manage student behaviour are having an impact. There is still a lot of work to do, but it’s clear that we’re heading in the right direction. There are great disparities among different groups of students and different schools in the rates of suspensions and stand-downs and that is what our programmes are focussed on addressing.”

Boys and Maori students continue to be over-represented in stand-down and suspension statistics compared to the general school population. In some regions, however, the number of Maori students being suspended dropped substantially. In Northland, suspension cases involving Maori students reduced from 332 in 2000 to 299 in 2001. In Gisborne, the number of cases involving Maori students dropped from 85 in 2000 to 36 in 2001.

During 2001, 14% of secondary schools suspended no students, while a further 22% suspended fewer than five students. Following a suspension 86% of students resumed schooling during 2001, with 65% of them continuing at the same school that suspended them.

Copies of the report are available on the Ministry of Education’s website: www.minedu.govt.nz\
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