Stand-downs on track to fall by 50pc

SONIA BEAL
Last updated 07:45 26/09/2012

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The number of Marlborough Girls' College pupils stood down as a result of poor behaviour is on track to fall by half this year compared to last year.

Ten pupils were stood down, 14 suspended and fewer than five excluded from January 1 to September 18, compared to the whole of last year when 24 pupils were stood down, 12 suspended and fewer than five excluded. The figures are from the Education Ministry.

Principal Karen Stewart said the school's continual aim for improving its "restorative" approach to dealing with pupils, through offering support both academically and socially, had a large impact on the improved results.

Pupils received numerous forms of support including education plans to meet their individual academic needs, guidance programmes to deal with issues such as grief or anger, and through community services such as Maata Waka, public health organisation and Whanau Ora.

However, the outcome of the school support was difficult to measure as every pupil was different, and every situation they faced was unique, Mrs Stewart said.

"It's all very well to look at the statistics.

"It's all about the individual student and how the school can improve on their systems to support them.

"And we're trying all the time, in terms of raising our standards."

Staff handled pupil misconduct case by case. If a pupil misbehaved during class the subject teacher dealt with the matter, or if it happened out of class during lunchtime, the duty staff member handled it. If serious, it would be referred to the year level dean, and then go on up the line to senior management, and finally to the principal.

Marlborough Boys' College has experienced little change in stand-downs and suspensions: 25 pupils have been stood down so far this year, 16 suspended and fewer than five excluded; last year 22 pupils were stood down, 19 suspended and fewer than five excluded and expelled.

Queen Charlotte College in Picton has had eight pupils stood-down, eight suspended and fewer than five excluded, compared to last year when 12 pupils were stood down, 22 suspended and five excluded.

Kaikoura High School had fewer than five pupils stood down, suspended and expelled this year; last year 17 pupils were stood down and fewer than five suspended.

The Education Ministry said pupils had been stood-down, suspended, excluded or expelled for: alcohol; drugs (including substance abuse); physical and verbal assault on staff/other pupils; sexual harassment; smoking; theft; vandalism; weapons; other harmful or dangerous behaviour.

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This year's data was incomplete and subject to change with the school year still in progress, and as a school's pupil population changed every year, the data could not be compared between years and age groups.

Schools in some areas may face particular issues at certain times, but nationally the number of incidents of challenging behaviour in schools had remained consistent over many years.

"What one school may choose to suspend for, another may not," a ministry spokeswoman said.

 

DEFINITIONS:

Stand-down: principal removes a pupil for up to five days.

Suspension: a pupil is removed from school until the school Board of Trustees decides the outcome at a meeting. The Board can lift or extend the suspension

Exclusion: For pupils aged under 16, the Board terminates the pupil's enrolment

Expulsion: For pupils aged 16 and over, the Board terminates the pupil's enrolment

- The Marlborough Express

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