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Minister Names Top Suspending Schools

Minister Names Top Suspending Schools

Four schools suspended more than one-in-ten pupils last year, ACT New Zealand Education Spokesman Deborah Coddington revealed today.

"Those four schools each suspended a greater ratio of their school rolls in 2002 than any single school in the entire country the previous year.

"The national average for school suspensions last year equated to just 0.6 percent of a school's roll. But last year ten schools suspended more than ten-times that number.

"What this shows is that there is a core of troubled schools, and it is growing.

Schools are struggling with increasing drug, alcohol and violence problems and being expected by the Government to act as social welfare workers. This Government tells parents they are not accountable for the actions of their offspring - they can expect stressed teachers to cope.

"Stand down figures drive home the point. A stand down is sending a child home for "a specified time" for misbehaviour. Nationally, just 2.4 percent of school students were involved in stand downs. But three New Zealand schools stood down the equivalent of 30 percent of their school rolls. Even accounting for some schools sending the same student home over-and-again, the number of school days lost at the twenty worst-offending schools is simply breathtaking.

"The core of troubled schools is festering under this Labour Government's inflexible control. Trevor Mallard's blinkered, neo-socialist mindset dictates that successful schools cannot take over troubled ones, and that parents who aren't wealthy must send their child to their local school, no matter how harmful it is. Enrolment schemes, terrible teacher-training standards and Government-controlled budgets all work against individual families and their education needs.

"Last year the Minister refused to give out information that identified individual schools. This year he has supplied the names in answer to parliamentary questions - putting them on the public record.

"These figures show the failure of Trevor Mallard's time in office," Miss Coddington said.

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