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School suspensions hit 8-year low

Hon Chris Carter
Minister of Education

22 July 2008 Media Statement
School suspensions hit 8-year low

Suspension rates in New Zealand schools have hit an eight year low, Education Minister Chris Carter announced today.

The figures have been published in the Ministry of Education’s annual Student Engagement Report, which tracks suspensions, stand-downs, expulsions and exclusions.

The report released today shows that both total numbers and calculated rates continue to fall.

“Schools are making use of a wide range of resources available to them and have been successfully improving student engagement by reducing the levels of unacceptable student behaviour.

“While suspensions are sometimes necessary, every suspension means time out of school for a student, and therefore lost learning opportunities,” Chris Carter said.

The age standardised suspension rate has decreased by 17 per cent since 2000 including a 6.1 per cent reduction from 2006 to 2007.

“Suspension, stand-down, expulsion and exclusion rates are continuing to fall. Principals and teachers welcoming back students for the beginning of Term 3 can be very proud of the progress they have made over the past eight years.”

Chris Carter was especially pleased with the success of the Ministry of Education’s Student Engagement Initiative (SEI) in helping schools tackle the issues that lead to disciplinary action in the first place.

“Schools targeted in the SEI have collectively halved their suspension rates since 2000. As further proof of the effectiveness of this initiative, the rate of suspensions among Pasifika students plunged by 17 per cent in the year following an SEI focus on these students.

Chris Carter also acknowledged that although rates of suspensions, stand-downs and exclusions were still too high for Maori and Pasifika students, and for boys, the report does show that a concerted effort by schools supported by the Ministry can make a difference.


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