Interactive search: How your school rates for suspensions

 

Queensland state schools have dished out a staggering 374,605 suspensions over five years - almost three times more than was handed out in ACT and nearly twice as much as in NSW.

An average of 385 suspensions were issued to state school students in Queensland each school day between 2015 to 2019.

Over the five-year period, a shocking 359,983 short suspensions, 14,622 long suspensions, 8001 expulsions and cancelled 6144 enrolments were handed out across Queensland state schools.

However, in 2019, the total number of suspensions, exclusions and cancellations dropped by 3.2 per cent to 82,944 student disciplinary absences, after having increased each year since 2015.

 

 

QUT education expert Professor Linda Graham said the Queensland suspension rate for the number of incidents was almost three times that of Australian Capital Territory and almost twice that of New South Wales in 2018.

She said per 1000 students, the ACT had 58.05 suspensions, NSW had 87.62 and Queensland had 150.37 suspensions.

Professor Linda Graham.
Professor Linda Graham.

Professor Graham said Queensland suspension rates were "way too high", and have been since the Newman government changed the legislation around school discipline in 2014.

"After they changed the legislation the suspension rate increased by 33 per cent following the change, over the six years [to 2019], meanwhile over the six years prior to the change [in 2014] they only increased by 3.5 per cent."

She said the change in legislation had essentially removed the "safeguards" which protected student rights.

An Education Department spokesman said Queensland state schools have high expectations for positive and respectful behaviour from all students and adults, with only 7 per cent of students suspended or expelled.

"This demonstrates that strategies and boundaries put in place by our principals and teachers are effective," he said.

 

Queensland state students are suspended far more than those in the ACT and NSW, with an education expert saying the figure is “way too high”. Picture: Generic photos/Thinkstock/iStock
Queensland state students are suspended far more than those in the ACT and NSW, with an education expert saying the figure is “way too high”. Picture: Generic photos/Thinkstock/iStock

 

The spokesman said that year-to-year fluctuations in school disciplinary figures included changes in school management, the implementation of alternative behaviour strategies, changes in behaviour expectations, fluctuations in enrolments and changing student behaviour.

However, Professor Graham said that suspensions were not effective in resolving student behaviour problems.

"It either doesn't solve it or makes the problem worse and reinforces the behaviour, we know that it doesn't work and there are better alternatives," she said.

 

 

 

"People assume that kids will take something away from a suspension but often they won't, if they lack the skills to prevent themselves from getting in trouble a suspension won't provide them with those skills."

"We need to use preventative strategies and teach students the skills to be able to manage their own behaviour, to stop themselves from doing things … we need to explicitly teach them about what behaviour expectations are and ways to avoid breaking those."

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Interactive search: How your school rates for suspensions


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