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NZPF: Carter off the mark with anti-bullying cards

NZPF: Carter off the mark with anti-bullying cards

- New Zealand Principals’ Federation, 4 July 2008 -

The New Zealand Principals’ Federation has criticised Education
Minister Chris Carter, following his latest attempts to curb bullying.

“The Minister’s release of anti-bullying cards is completely
misguided,” says NZPF President Paddy Ford. “This initiative is simply
a reaction to recent high profile bullying cases.”

“Schools know how to prevent bullying, an the majority are very good
at it. The Education Review Office already checks whether schools have
anti-bullying policies, and schools have strategies to deal with these
issues. Recent reports from the Education Review Office have
highlighted how good schools are at providing a positive atmosphere
and taking care of the pupils in our schools. Perhaps the Minister
should have read some of those ERO reports before jumping to
conclusions.”

Ford says a better strategy would be to introduce more counsellors,
police education officers and social workers into schools to deal with
bullying. “These people can be a shared resource between schools. The
Minister has been repeatedly saying that there is no more money
available to spend on education, yet he has managed to find thousands
to spend on an inappropriate resource that will have no real impact.”

Ford also says the long-term solution to bullying is to address the
behavioural needs of children, before they become part of the bullying
culture. “The NZPF has been saying for several years that behaviour
issues need addressing. We have ample research on this issue and have
highlighted it more than once this year. Yet again, we have been
ignored, which is a real kick in the guts for our members who see the
effects on a daily basis.”

Ford says teachers just want to get on with teaching and learning.
“It’s very simple. Behavioural issues hamper student learning.
Teachers know this and they know how to fix it. With adequate
resourcing they can. It’s a far more effective solution to the problem
of bullying than sending out a set of cards.”

“We don’t need ERO to have more externally driven compliance. We don’t
need the cards. We want comprehensive strategies that provide real
resourcing to communities, to enable Principals to continue to
deliver high quality education.

-ENDS-

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