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Fewer school suspensions this year

20 April 2005 Media Statement

Fewer school suspensions this year

Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope today welcomed the latest Education Ministry figures showing a decrease in the number of school suspensions in New Zealand’s 2700 state and integrated schools last year.

“The number and rate of suspension cases has steadily reduced since 2000, and appears to involve a very small fraction of school students – close to half of one percent of students,” said Mr Benson-Pope.

“Generally, the downward trend in suspensions looks sustainable and very encouraging,” said Mr Benson-Pope. “Teachers are managing their classrooms well, with most problems being solved there."

The annual report on the stand-down and suspension of students was released today and reveals that there were 4774 school student suspensions last year, compared to 4885 suspension cases during 2003.

Suspension problems are concentrated in a small number of schools. 75 percent of schools had no suspension cases in 2004, while less than 3 percent of schools were responsible for 43 percent of all suspensions. Most students returned to school after being suspended and 61 percent of them went back to the same school.

“Targeted suspension reduction initiatives in 86 schools - designed to address the issue of suspensions - also seem to be working by increasing engagement in learning and by reducing misbehaviour requiring disciplinary action", said Mr Benson-Pope.

Meanwhile, student stand-downs from schools in 2004 have remained at the same rate as in 2003. Some 20,447 students (or less than 2.8 percent of the national school population) were stood down from schools last year.

Note: Stand-downs occur when a student is formally removed from school for a specified time, but no more than 10 days in a school year.

Suspension is for more serious situations when a student is removed from school and the school board of trustees decides what will happen, after a suspension meeting.

All figures provided are not the number of students involved, but the number of events, as some students may have had more than one suspension or stand down. The full report is available on the Ministry’s website by 4pm: www.minedu@govt.nz

ENDS

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