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Maori School Suspensions Rate Drops

3 May 2002

It is heartening to see the Maori school suspension rate is starting to drop says Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia.

"In April 2001 I announced the Suspension Reduction Initiative (SRI) with the aim of reducing the suspension rate of Maori students to that of non-Maori.

"Initially 86 secondary schools were targeted by the initiative and Maori suspensions were reduced from 76 per 1000 in 2000 to 56 per 1000 in 2001.

"The targeted schools work in 18 clusters, to share best practice in managing student behaviour, addressing internal management behaviour and working with whanau and communities, to develop solutions and better meet the needs of Maori students.

"Each school or cluster developed a project plan with reduced suspension targets. It is clear that this is having a positive impact on the schools, whanau and communities.

"Some of the key factors that contributed to the reduction of suspensions of Maori students, are:

- The appointment of experienced ex-principals as facilitators to work with principals, encouraging greater participation in the initiative. These facilitators worked within schools to reshape the culture around the use of suspensions.

- Individual school analysis has improved both the Ministry’s regional student support managers and cluster school Principals ability to keep an eye on the cluster school suspension rates. This has helped schools to understand their suspension patterns and respond appropriately to them.

- The involvement of the wider school community. Having strong links between communities and schools has allowed changes to happen much smoother and more efficiently.

- School clusters, assisting schools to share and learn from each other and support each other to improve how they respond to challenging behaviour.

"This is a start and we must continue to work with whanau and Maori communities to build on these positive results," said Parekura Horomia.

Regional information:

Northern Office

There are 29 schools in this region across 6 clusters. The rate of Maori suspensions for Year 1 (2000) was 35 per 1000, whereas for Year 2 (2001) the rate was 27 per 1000. All of the schools are sharing information and are supporting each other through this initiative.

Central North Office

There are 35 schools in this region across 8 clusters. The rate of Maori suspensions for Year 1 was 40 per 1000, whereas for Year 2 the rate was 29 per 1000. They are aiming to reduce their suspension rates by 10% for three years, with an over all 30 per cent reduction target.

Central South Office

There are 14 schools in this region across 3 clusters. The rate of Maori suspensions for Year 1 was 32 per 1000, whereas for Year 2 the rate was 15 per 1000. Most of the schools involved in the Central South SRI are aiming for a 25% to 50% reduction.

Southern Office

In the Southern region there are 5 schools across 1 cluster. The rate of Maori suspensions for Year 1 was 38 per 1000, whereas for Year 2 the rate was 28 per 1000. Some initiatives in this region are focussed on individual schools, while others function across the cluster.

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