30th September 2008
NZEI Launches Guidelines For Dealing With Disruptive Student Behaviour
A set of guidelines for education workers dealing with disruptive students has been launched at the Annual Meeting of the education sector union, NZEI Te Riu Roa.
The Disruptive Student Behaviour guidelines were drawn up following an NZEI survey and special report last year, which showed that one in seven teachers and support staff reported being physically assaulted by students.
The issue has also been highlighted in a number of recent reports. The annual report into the compulsory schooling sector released last week said "one of the most pressing issues our education system faces is supporting students considered to be at risk of educational and societal failure. Many of these students exhibit behaviour difficulties."
Ministry of Education statistics for last year also show an increase in the number of student suspensions and standdowns for the primary sector.
NZEI argues that teachers, principals and support staff have the right under the Health and Safety in Employment Act to work in a healthy and safe environment without fear of physical assault.
NZEI spokesperson and National Executive member Frances Guy says the guidelines have been drawn up from a health and safety perspective.
"There is no doubt that disruptive behaviour is a growing concern in our schools due to the impact it has on teaching and learning. It affects the working environment of school staff and the learning environment of children."
The NZEI guidelines provide an overview of rights and responsibilities for school staff with suggestions for managing such behaviour and examples of support available.
Frances Guy says there are already many schools and centres which have successful intervention programmes and supportive policies in place, but it is hoped the NZEI guidelines will encourage others to discuss, review or develop their own.
The guidelines are being distributed to schools, kindergartens, and early childhood centres next term. A copy of the guidelines is attached and is also available on the NZEI website.