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Little change in 2005 suspension, stand-down rates

Media Release

4 July 2006

Little change in suspension and stand-down rates in 2005

Latest Ministry of Education figures show little change overall in the number of suspensions and stand-downs in New Zealand’s 2700 state and state integrated schools compared to the previous year.

The Student Engagement Report for 2005 shows a slight increase in the rate of stand-downs and suspensions from 2004. The stand-down rate was 30 per 1,000 students for 2005 up from 28 per 1,000 students in 2004. The suspension rate was 7 per 1,000 students compared to 6.5 per 1,000 students in 2004.

“However taking into account the increase in 2005 in the students most likely to be suspended (13-15 year olds), the suspension figures for 2005 are similar to 2004,” said Ministry of Education Operational Policy Manager Jim Matheson.

“The slight increase in stand-downs is because schools are often using this option in preference to suspending students. It is a more active way of managing student behavioural issues and causes less disruption to a student’s learning.

“A characteristic of the suspension figures is the highly variable rate across schools. This indicates that improved school management practices can reduce the incidence of suspensions.

“The Ministry is working hard through its Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) to try to reduce the number and rate of suspensions,” said Jim Matheson.

The 2005 Student Engagement Report shows that the combined suspension rate of Maori students in the SEI schools has reduced by 26 per cent between 2001 and 2005.

“Suspensions can have a significant negative impact on students’ lives and so through the SEI, Ministry staff work with high suspending schools to try to bring the rates down.

“Schools that have made reducing the number of suspensions their priority have had considerable success. They have used their student engagement data to help review school policies and practices in this area,” said Jim Matheson.

Other Key Findings

- One third of schools did not use stand-downs in 2005.

- Three quarters of schools did not use suspensions in 2005.

- For most students a stand-down or a suspension is a once-only event.

- Although the number of suspensions increased slightly in 2005, it represents less than 1% of the school population.

- Although the number of stand-downs increased slightly in 2005, it represents only 3% of the school population.

- On average, 91% of excluded students (under 16) return to legal learning environments.

- The actual number of expulsions (students aged 16 +) has reduced by 19% since 2000.

Jim Matheson says the 2005 Student Engagement Report encourages schools to review their levels of student engagement and take action on areas of concern.

The full report and regional statistics are available on the Ministry’s Education Counts website: www.educationcounts.edcentre.govt.nz

ENDS

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