10 September 2008
Schools need more resources for troubled teens – PPTA
Schools already struggling to deal with troubled teens will need a huge cash injection if government plans to remove early leaving exemptions go ahead.
Measures to improve student attendance announced at parliament yesterday have teachers concerned and show just how little is known about the government’s Schools Plus scheme, PPTA president Robin Duff says.
The Education Amendment Bill will remove any early leaving provisions for 15- year-olds, in a bid to signal the importance of staying in schools.
While teachers are already struggling with inadequate resources to deal with disengaged students, removing leaving exemptions would only make life more difficult for schools, Mr Duff said.
”Many principals and boards, let alone teachers, will be tearing their hair out seeking support and resources to deal with this latest edict,” he said.
More support needed to be given to alternative education providers, which he describes as “woefully underfunded and unattended.
“We don’t deal well with alternative education now in terms of funding. Programmes rely on huge amounts of effort and goodwill from the community but very little support from the government.
“This latest announcement is typical of the smokescreen surrounding the Schools Plus policy. We are presented with grand ideas but no suggestion of how they will be funded,” Mr Duff said.
“If we are going to keep young people in the education system until they turn 18, then we need to be putting more funding into programs that support teenagers who do not easily fit the secondary school environment”.
Mr Duff also feared the new legislation could create a layer of bureaucracy, rather than focusing on teaching and keeping students engaged.
“At this stage it is very difficult to know what will happen with this legislation because we have been provided with such little detail. All we want to know is how this will be resourced and where will the money come from? It is hard to see how keeping disruptive students in regular classrooms will contribute to improved learning and meeting the needs of all our students,” he said.