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Early Indications Show New Suspension Rules Work

Early Indications Show New Suspension Rules Working

Education Minister Nick Smith today welcomed early indications that fewer students are being permanently suspended from schools and that schools are making effective use of the new rules introduced on 12 July, the first day of term three.

"There has been a 25% reduction in the number of permanent suspensions this term as compared with the same time last year. This indicates that the new rules are working and that schools are using alternatives available to keep students in school."

Figures for the first six weeks of term three show 548 permanent suspensions as compared with 710 for the same period last year. The new rules provide for a range of responses to discipline students, with the aim of keeping students in learning. Schools now have the option of standing down a student. This allows schools to provide a warning of the need for behavioural change without going as far as suspension.

"Boards appear to be making suspension decisions far more quickly, while principals are using stand downs as a warning to students to modify their behaviour. I am pleased to see the trend moving away from suspension to stand down - for some students, a day out of school to 'cool off' and reflect on their behaviour is all that is required."

"Today, the Ministry of Education released suspension figures for the second term which show an increase from the same period last year of permanent suspensions from 1159 in 1998 to 1402. I'm not surprised that the number of suspensions for the second term increased. This is in line with earlier trends preceding the introduction of the new suspension rules."

"There is a huge challenge for schools in managing students with behavioural problems. The new rules are just part of the Government's strategy for helping schools deal with social issues. This year we announced $36.8 million for alternative learning centres, and an extra $10.4 million for the social workers in schools' programme and $1.3 million for eliminating violence programmes in our schools. Also this year, the first teams of Resource Teachers: Learning and Behaviour have gone into our schools, these teachers will help deal with behavioural problems before they get to the point of suspension. In addition, Behaviour Education Support Teams and Centres for Extra Support are being established for students with severe behavioural difficulties who need intensive specialist intervention to modify their behaviour."


ENDS

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