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New Government Initiative to Tackle School Suspens


17 April 2001 Media Statement

New Government Initiative to Tackle School Suspensions

Education Minister Trevor Mallard and Associate Education Minister Parekura Horomia today announced a new Government initiative to help schools to deal with the issue of student misbehaviour.

The Minsters said the aim was to reduce the number of students being suspended from school.

The Suspensions Reduction Initiative will bring together clusters of secondary schools in areas that have high rates of student suspension so they can address the issue. The main focus will be to reduce the high proportion of Mäori students being suspended from school.

Up to 18 clusters will be formed, each with between three and six schools, and the Ministry of Education is now inviting schools in areas of high suspension to participate in the initiative.

The Government is putting $1.05 million into the initiative in 2001, rising to $2.1 million in following years.

“This funding will provide support to students, to principals and to school boards, and help them to deal with this growing problem. Some of it will be used to support local initiatives developed by the clusters of schools,” Trevor Mallard said.

"The latest report of school stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions show an urgent need to be more pro-active on the issue of school suspensions. (see details attached)

"The previous Government bemoaned the high rate of suspensions and made administrative changes which I supported. But they failed to actually deal with the problem as a grassroots level. We are prepared to help schools tackle the issue," Trevor Mallard said.

Parekura Horomia said the initiative reflects the commitment made at the Hui Taumata Matauranga, a national meeting of Maori educationalists held earlier this year.

"Suspensions were identified by many at the hui as a major area where we needed to work together for improvement.

"Maori are disproportionately represented in suspension statistics and it is vital that Maori be actively involved in designing and delivering programmes that will work to bring these statistics down.

"I look forward to positive changes as a result of this Government's initiative," Parekura Horomia said.


Contacts:


Note: Details from the latest report of school stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions are attached. Full copies of the report are available on the Ministry of Education website at www.minedu.govt.nz

The Suspensions Report (1 January 2000 – 31 December 2000) – Key Points

 2.4% of students were stood down in 2000. There were 16,921 stand-downs in total.
 77% of students stood-down returned to school with no further behaviour interventions. 14% were stood-down again and 9% were suspended.
 0.7% of students were suspended in 2000. There were 5,108 suspensions in total. 85% of these students returned to schooling. Of the remainder, 6% left school, 5% were awaiting enrolment, and outcomes were unknown for 4%.
 About two thirds of students stood-down and suspended were aged 13 to 15.
 74% of students stood down and suspended were boys.
 Maori are over-represented in suspension and stand-down statistics, compared with the Maori proportion of the population.
 Stand-downs were up by 6% and suspensions by 5% in the year to December 2000, compared with the year July 1999 to June 2000.

The Suspensions Reduction Initiative – Key Points

 The Suspension Reduction Initiative will establish clusters of secondary schools working together to reduce suspensions in their areas
 Up to 18 clusters of schools will be formed, each involving between 3 and 6 schools. In total, around 80 schools are expected to participate.
 The Ministry will be inviting schools to join and form clusters.
 Funding of $1.05 million in 2001, $2.1 million in following years
 Funding will be for professional development and support for school principals and boards, student support, and for resourcing local initiatives.

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