The Ministry of Education has today released figures on the numbers of learners who were stood down, suspended, excluded and expelled from New Zealand state and state-integrated schools during 2011.
The figures show stand-down rates have fallen for the fifth consecutive year, and rates for stand-downs, suspensions and exclusions are now at their lowest in 12 years of recorded data.
Group manager Leo Trompetter says any decision to stand-down, suspend, exclude or expel learners is made by school boards, and must be reported to the ministry.
"Stand-downs may be ordered for up to five days, and can offer a positive opportunity to reduce tensions and reflect on behaviour."
He says when matters are not resolved, schools may opt to suspend a learner, with potential to escalate to exclusion (learners aged under 16) or expulsion (learners aged 16 or over).
"In the longer term though, it is widely recognised that punitive and exclusionary approaches to discipline do not bring about sustainable changes in behaviour. We know that pro-active partnerships with parents and keeping the focus on both achievement and behaviour are key," Mr Trompetter said.
The Ministry of Education's $60 million Positive Behaviour for Learning Plan, published in 2009, supports schools and parents in managing challenging behaviour.
It includes parenting skills training for 15,000 parents, focused positive behaviour training for 7240 early childhood and primary school teachers, the implementation of a school-wide approach to behaviour in 400 schools, a nationwide behaviour crisis response service, and a targeted intensive behaviour service for up to 100 of the most challenging learners. A new website wellbeing@school has been established to help schools share best practice in tackling poor behaviour.
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