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Damning report shows it is time for Govt to act

For Immediate Release

NZPF: Damning report shows it is time for Govt to act

New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 12 March 2008

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation is calling on the Government to act, following a damning NZCER report on student behaviour in classrooms.

In 2007, the Hawke’s Bay Primary Principals’ Association commissioned a report on severe behaviour in classrooms, and its’ effect on student learning. The report was recently released and shows some significant disturbing trends:

·     1 in 5 students covered by the survey have been a danger to other students or property, or have stopped the learning process within the classroom.

·     Just under a third of all teachers surveyed had at least one student who attacked other students.

·     Six percent of all teachers surveyed reported ongoing physical attacks on themselves or a teacher aide.

NZPF President Paddy Ford says the report shows a disturbing trend developing in schools. “This survey questioned more than 500 teachers from nearly 80 schools. The results are valid and reflect what we are seeing right across the country.”

Ford says the key to managing these students is by providing special needs services. However, the funding provided by the Ministry of Education only assists 1% of the school aged population. “The Ministry gives us funding to help one in every 100 students with behaviour that indicates special needs. The problem is, 20 out of every 100 students is displaying some or all of those behaviours. How are we supposed to help the other 19?”

Ford says the effects of this student behaviour is wide-reaching. “Obviously, the student is affected, but so are his or her classmates. The teacher is placed under unnecessary stress, and the school as a whole is not able to deliver the right kind of education to its students.”

Ford believes it is time for the Ministry of Education to realise that schools need more special needs support, so that behavioural and academic outcomes for students improve. “It is time for the Ministry to wake up and see that what they are giving us in terms of funding is just not enough. Schools must be given more financial resources so they can source the providers and resources that cater for their students’ needs.”

“We have been saying this to the Ministry, and in fact several successive Ministers of Education, for many years now. It’s about time they listened to the teachers and principals who are dealing with these students on a daily basis, and gave us the resources to do our jobs properly.”


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