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Tackling bad behaviour in schools a priority

Maharey says tackling disruptive behaviour in schools a priority

Government Tackling disruptive behaviour in schools a priority Education Minister Steve Maharey says supporting schools to tackle disruptive behaviour is a high priority for the government.

"The Labour-led government is committed to ensuring every school is able to provide a safe and productive learning environment for students," Steve Maharey said.

"Schools are getting more help in efforts to tackle disruptive behaviour, with new Budget funding of $9.5 million over four years. This is in addition to more than $90 million invested each year to support teachers. This represents a 50 percent increase since 1999.

"We are currently developing policy in preparation for the next Budget, which will further strengthen work in this area.

"The new funding in this year's Budget is being used to strengthen the work we're doing to eliminate bullying, to re-engage kids who are being disruptive, and to ensure there are consistent guidelines about appropriate behaviour, reinforced through all schools.

"While every school has a responsibility of care to its students, we are also very clear that schools can't do it alone. Parents and communities also have a responsibility and this new funding will help to reinforce that responsibility.

"Setting clear boundaries for the behaviour of young people is vital. Discipline in schools is not just about controlling those students who cause problems. The learning of all students suffers if there is disruption, bullying or violence.

"Our aim is to ensure all New Zealand schools have the support they need to maintain and foster a positive environment for students, free from disruptive behaviour."

Background Information

Government Funding to tackle disruptive behaviour

· $9.5m in this Budget to support schools to tackle disruptive behaviour · $70 million a year for specialist resource teachers · $22 million a year to support children with the most severe behaviour · $8.4 million over four years for the student engagement and suspension reduction initiatives

Tackling disruptive behaviour ? budget initiatives 2006

The Government has announced $9.5m over 4 years to support schools to tackle disruptive behaviour. This funding allows for a package of initiatives and we will be working with schools and principals to ensure the steps we take are on target.

Supporting schools by providing clear and consistent guidelines and coordinating initiatives There are a wide range of programmes, initiatives and publications that advise schools on how to promote positive cultures, tackle bullying and reinforce boundaries. This includes curriculum based teaching and learning. We need to improve coordination and provide clear and consistent advice to schools about those policies and practices that are most effective.

$450,000 over 2 years will enable the development of national guidelines for schools. A sector advisory group will be established to ensure that the guidelines respond to schools' needs. Information gathering will include: · collecting good practise from New Zealand schools, · reviewing the available literature, · conducting a stocktake of existing Ministry of Education provision, and · gathering views and experiences from young people. Information will be gathered over 2006-07 with publication in 2007-08.

Working in partnership to identify and respond to children with behaviour difficulties $1.8 million has been allocated to develop and implement a behaviour screening tool that will provide a more consistent way to identify children who are at risk of developing severe behaviour problems, before that behaviour becomes entrenched.

This project builds on work already began as part of the Ministry of Education's review of severe behaviour services. The screening tool will ensure children will be identified at an early stage and will provide a sound basis for engagement between behaviour specialists, educators, parents and families. The tool will be accompanied by information to assist educators to engage in problem solving and respond to the needs of individual children.

The screening tool will be finalised over 2006-07 and training delivered in cascades starting with Ministry of Education specialists and Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour. Support to learn about the tool will be available for schools and early childhood education centres over 2008 and 2009.

Ensuring that schools are safe Additional funding will be available to ensure that schools can receive an immediate response to a behaviour crisis, to stabilise the situation while a comprehensive intervention plan is designed. This will ensure that children with severe behaviour difficulties can remain in school, without putting themselves or others at risk, so that their needs can be addressed.

The funding will come into place gradually with $0.5 million in 2006-07, $1 million in 2007-08 and $2 million from 2008-09. Funding will be for short term emergency situations only and will be allocated on an individual case by case basis by regional offices of the Ministry of Education in partnership with existing behaviour support services. The Ministry of Education will set and publish clear criteria for the use and monitoring of this funding. We want to develop these criteria in close partnership with the schooling sector.

Project Early Project Early is an early intervention programme designed to help 3-7 year old children with behaviour problems. Case workers work with teachers and parents of children with challenging behaviour in order to develop strategies to modify the children's behaviour and implement education outcomes. Project Early operates in two school clusters: one in Christchurch and one in Auckland.

Funding is being provided for the next three calendar years. During this time, the outcomes of the programme will be determined and a comparative analysis of Project Early against other education behaviour programmes will be conducted.

ENDS

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