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National's school suspension rules pay off

Opposition Education Spokesperson Nick Smith today said the latest school suspension figures are proof that the new suspension rules introduced by the National Government last year are working.

"The trend over the last few years has been a huge increase in the number of suspensions. The rules National introduced last year were aimed at reducing the number of students suspended while recognising the difficult challenge schools have in maintaining a safe and effective learning environment for all students.

The latest suspension figures were released today by the Ministry of Education and show a reduction in the number of suspensions from 2,177 in 1998 to 2,094 between July and December this year.

"I am really pleased that the new rules are working and that schools are using the alternatives available to keep students in school. The trend should increasingly move to the use of a stand-down instead of a suspension - for some students, a day out of school to 'cool off' and reflect on their behaviour is all that is required."

"Our schools have a big challenge in managing students with behavioural problems. The new suspension rules were just one part of the National Government's strategy for helping schools deal with social issues. I expect to see the benefits of our other programmes, such as alternative learning centres, social workers in schools, Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour, Behaviour Education Support Teams and Centres for Extra Support, and eliminating violence programmes, coming through over the next few years," Dr Smith said.


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