Failing students a costly burden

Extra funding will NOT solve these problems. Get your children out and home educate them:

Failing students a costly burden

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Troublesome students cost the education system 10 times as much as others, a government report on the state of New Zealand’s schools reveals.

The annual report into the compulsory schools sector in New Zealand, tabled by Education Minister Chris Carter in Parliament yesterday, highlights marginal students as a leading concern.

“One of the most pressing issues our education system faces is supporting students considered to be at risk of educational and societal failure,” the report said.

“Many of these students exhibit behaviour difficulties.”

The report said intervention and support for children with the most severe behavioural problems was critical.

“These behaviours are persistent, outside the age-expected norm and expressed across social settings,” it said.

The public cost of services for children with severe conduct problems was about 10 times that for children of the same age without conduct problems.

“Although most New Zealand students are actively engaged in education, educators face a number of challenges, especially around disciplinary issues, including student safety, school environment and managing difficult behaviours,” the report said.

An earlier report by the Ministry of Social Development found up to 5 per cent of primary and intermediate schoolchildren have a conduct disorder or severe anti-social behaviour.

The report was released hours after a New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) survey was circulated by the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA).

The survey of teachers in the greater Wellington area found just over half said the severe behaviour of students limited the activities they would try with their classes.

“From the survey, it is clear that the impact on all of the other students of that disruption is really severe,” PPTA Hutt Valley regional executive member Martin Henry said.

Henry will present a paper on school discipline at next week’s PPTA conference which recommends funding be attached to students identified as a problem.

“These kids are in every classroom and every school and we think they need a funding formula that is attached directly to them,” Henry said.

The NZCER survey found an estimated 9% of students exhibited severely disruptive behaviour.

It also found:

41% of teachers were anxious about the severe behaviour of students.

28% said it made their general health poorer.

32% said that it undermined their confidence.

9% said they were frightened of students with severe behaviour.


32% of students who started NCEA in 2005 came out in 2007 with three qualifications an increase from the 26% of the 2002 cohort.

Just over one-fifth (21%) of students of the 2005 cohort came out with no NCEA qualifications down from 25% in 2006.

The number of students leaving school with no qualification of any kind was 18% in 2007, down from 25% in 2006 and 27% in 2005.

In 2007, 81% of 16-year-olds, 61% of 17-year-olds and 13% of 18-year-olds stayed on at school.

Female students achieved at higher rates than males, with 45% attaining at least a university entrance qualification, compared with 33% of male students.

Total government per-student funding of schools increased by 22.2% between 2003 and 2007, compared with an inflation rate of 11.6% over the same period.

During 2007, the Ministry of Education made 53 statutory interventions on school boards, compared with 51 in 2006 and 55 in 2005.