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Ghetto Schools Suspend Ten Times More

Tuesday 21 May 2002

One school suspended almost twelve percent of its school roll last year, ACT Education Spokesman MP Donna Awatere Huata revealed today.

Mrs Awatere Huata uncovered the information attempting to gain the names of the one-percent of schools which account for twenty-percent of last year's suspension cases. On average throughout New Zealand, schools made suspensions representing less than one percent of their rolls.

"Zoning, poor teacher-training standards and Government-controlled budgets have created over-burdened ghetto schools without the resources to cope.

"In answers to parliamentary questions, I have discovered that seven schools each suspended around ten times more children than the national average. There is a great danger in naming these schools, that some people may believe the communities are at fault. What these figures highlight is the failure of the Government's `one-size-fits all' approach.

"Packages to reduce suspension rates for particular groups of New Zealanders are meaningless when some schools face so much pressure that they have no other option.

"Of particular concern is the fact that this Government has not introduced a single policy to reduce drug taking or selling in the playground. I suspect that drugs may be the cause of many of the suspensions in the highest-suspending schools. The compulsory health curriculum has been proven a failure, and the new Ministerial Taskforce on Drug Education is a sick joke.

"By issuing the names of these schools, I hope that the Minister and his bureaucrats will be shamed into addressing the fact that zoning, poor teacher training standards and Government control of school budgets have completely failed the children," Mrs Awatere Huata said.

Schools:

Decile 1 Opotiki College made 57 suspensions, representing 11.6% of its roll of 490.

Decile 3 Makoura College made 36 suspensions, representing 9.8% of its roll of 365

Decile 3 Wanganui City College made 49 suspensions, representing 9.6% of its roll of 509 students

Decile 2 Taipa Area School made 55 suspensions, representing 9.6% of its roll of 573 students.

Decile 3 Edgecumbe College made 46 suspensions, representing 9.4% of its roll of 487 students.

Decile 1 Kawerau College made 27 suspensions, representing 8.6% of its roll of 311 students.

Decile 1 Huntly College made 34 suspensions, representing 8.4% of its roll of 402 students.

(School rolls for 2001 obtained from the Ministry of Education)

ENDS


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