MoE: Homeschooling Statistics

MoE: Homeschooling Statistics

This index page provides links to data on homeschooling.

Homeschooling is available for parents who want to educate their children at home, provided they maintain a standard of education equivalent to that of a registered school. Parents need to obtain approval from the Ministry of Education to homeschool their children during the years of compulsory schooling (between 6-16 years). They are given an annual grant to help with the cost of learning materials.

Schools to look into undercover bully-watch

Schools to look into undercover bully-watch

Children’s aggressive behaviour will be monitored and measured in all of the nation’s 2370 schools, if a new government proposal to curb the growing incidence of bullying goes ahead.

The plan is still in the early stages, but it is understood that the Ministry of Education, police and the Children’s Commissioner will seek tenders for a system to monitor aggression and bullying in every school.

The suggestion comes after Children’s Commissioner Dr John Angus last week issued a new guide – called “Responsive Schools” – on how to combat increasing levels of physical, verbal, emotional and technological bullying. Among the recommended techniques is a system that recruits students to secretly work “undercover” in their school, alongside a teacher, to fight bullying.

The government has already started a $45 million campaign to bring schoolyard misbehaviour under control. The “Positive Behaviour for Learning Action Plan” includes parenting programmes for 12,000 parents, specific training for 5000 teachers of children aged three to eight, and long-term help programmes for 400 secondary and intermediate schools with the worst behaviour problems.

But the Sunday Star-Times has learned that another tool, to monitor violence and students’ fears in school, is being planned. Angus said the new scheme would allow teachers and parents to “understand the social climate in their school”.

Education Minister Anne Tolley confirmed work was under way on the scheme. It was being put together by the Ministry of Education, police and the Children’s Commissioner.

It is understood the new tool will work like a student survey, where pupils report regularly on how comfortable and safe they are at school. The data will be collected so that school leaders can quickly identify a deterioration in a school’s climate and spot problem areas.

Similar surveys have been carried out in the past by groups such as the New Zealand Council for Educational Research but only in a one-off, snapshot format. The new tool would eventually work in every school, all of the time.

When victims felt safe reporting incidents, and where there was systematic gathering of information on the frequency of bullying, programmes were more likely to succeed, Tolley said.

Angus’ “Responsive Schools” report lists scores of different anti-bullying programmes in use around New Zealand but warns that whichever one a school chooses, a community-wide change of culture must go along with it.

Among the anti-bullying techniques commended in the report is one where students work “undercover” to cut bullying. Three or four pupils who are neither victims nor bullies are asked to join an “undercover team” along with one or two bullies.

Teachers, the victim of the bullies, and the other team members know of its existence, but no one else does. The team comes up with a plan together to help the victim and progress is communicated to the teacher regularly – often via email.

The approach, pioneered at Auckland’s Rosehill College, is commended in the report. “The sense of intrigue makes the setting up of the undercover team into a playful approach,” it says.

Principal of Auckland’s Papatoetoe High School, Peter Gall, said the majority of schools would have some sort of anti-bullying programme in place by now. “It’s a matter of treating every situation seriously. You have to, because if you don’t it can come back to bite you.”

Some people thought bullies would grow out of it and that some children were just “life’s victims” but that was nonsense, he said. “It’s all very well until it’s your child that’s bullied – then things change quite rapidly.”

By JOHN HARTEVELT – Sunday Star Times

Read this article here:

Porno gang’ warning at school

Porno gang’ warning at school

By CATHERINE WOULFE – Sunday Star Times

Six teachers at an Auckland school have been caught with inappropriate emails on their school computers.

Outraged insiders have dubbed the group a “porno gang”, and say authorities are covering up a scandal.

The school is Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate (SEHC) in Otara, Manukau, a decile-one state school with a roll of 548, and about 50 staff. It is not known which teachers were involved and school commissioner Gail Thomson refused to give details about the emails, saying only that they contained images and text “inappropriate for a school”.

Five teachers were found out last year during a routine sweep of the school’s computer system. The sixth was picked up this year during an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Thomson said five of the teachers were still working at the school, but were on final written warnings and would be fired if they reoffended. A computer sweep early this year revealed one of the teachers caught in the first check had reoffended; that person resigned and left the school that day, and Thomson said “appropriate authorities” were informed.

Without access to school records, she could not say yesterday whether a complaint was made to the watchdog body, the Teachers Council. The council’s 2009 decisions are not yet public but decisions between 2006 and 2008 show it has little sympathy for teachers looking at pornography on school or even home computers. It has stripped six teachers of their registrations in that time, forced one to work under strict conditions and given another a formal warning. The council is powerless to investigate a teacher, or ban them from the classroom, unless a complaint is made by an employer or the teacher reports a conviction.

The SEHC incidents emerged last week when the Sunday Star-Times received an anonymous letter from authors who said they could not reveal themselves for fear of dismissal. It said: “The Ministry of Education [and] Education Review Office [ERO]… are involved in a `cover-up’ which defies belief.

“There is a porno gang of five guys at SEHC who have collected, composed and distributed serious porn on their school computers. Some pupils have seen some of it and most staff are aware of it. We wrote to the commissioner three times urging appropriate action, to no avail. We then wrote to the Ministry and ERO. Still no action. Why?”

Thomson said the “cowardly” letter-writers were trying to undermine positive work at the collegiate. There was a small volume of problematic emails, and most were sent to teachers from outside the school. Some emails had been “recirculated”, but she had no evidence any pupils had seen them.

The emails she had seen were “not at the highest level of concern, but inappropriate for a school”.

The former board of trustees dealt with the first five teachers caught, after seeking advice from the secondary teachers’ union and the School Trustees Association. In January the education minister sacked that board and replaced them with Thomson, following an ERO report raising serious concerns about student safety.

Thomson handled the teacher who reoffended, and the sixth teacher who was caught during the audit this year. She said the audit revealed a “historical matter”, but that teacher’s email use had been clean for the past two years.

All staff and pupils were subject to a computer use agreement, Thomson said.

The Ministry of Education refused to comment last week. Principal Karen Douglas, and other staff at the school, were not permitted to speak to media.

Violence blamed on removal of corporal punishment


Last updated 11:18 29/08/2009

A big increase in the number of primary school children suspended for violent acts is being blamed on the removal of corporal punishment in schools.

Figures from the Ministry of Education show a 88 per cent increase in suspensions of eight-year-olds from 2000 to 2008 for assaults on classmates, a 73 per cent rise for seven-year-olds, a 70 per cent increase for six–year-olds while the suspensions over the same period had increased by 33 per cent for five-year-olds.

“It is significant that as schools have removed corporal punishment, schools have become more violent,” Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said today.

“School yard bullying by pupils on other pupils and staff is now the new form of ‘corporal punishment’ in schools.

“We have a generation of children who have been victims of a social experiment of how best to raise our kids and the role of correction.

“And it continues with the smacking debate – another example of undermining parental authority and `state knows best how to raise your kids’.”

Mr McCroskie said student behaviour would continue to deteriorate “for as long as we tell them that their rights are more important than their responsibilities”.

Auckland Primary Principals Association president Marilyn Gwilliam said schools were struggling to handle the children because by law, they were not allowed to touch children to calm them down, even when they “kick and they bite and they hit.”

In many cases, schools had no choice but to stand children down, she told The Weekend Herald.

The Post Primary Teachers Association is set to discuss solutions to combating the schoolyard violence at its annual meeting next month.

Because of schools limited number of in-school counsellors and teacher aides, the association’s advisory group on conduct problems will suggest that schools need access to trained psychologists and social workers.

Teachers to get help to curb pupil violence

Teachers to get help to curb pupil violence


Last updated 05:00 18/08/2009

The Government plans to curb schoolyard misbehaviour as new figures reveal a growing number of attacks on teachers and pupils.

Ministry of Education figures released yesterday show expulsions as a result of physical assaults on other pupils rose from 9.4 per cent of all expulsions in 2000 to 25.3 per cent last year.

Expulsions for assaults on staff have increased from 3.1 per cent of the total in 2000 to 6.5 per cent last year.

Last year, 15,930 pupils were stood down a total of 20,279 times. The rate of stand-downs 28.5 pupils per 1,000 was lower than in 2007 but equal or higher than in five of the previous eight years.

A pupil at Auckland’s Avondale College faces jail after he stabbed teacher David Warren in the back on March 3. Warren, originally from Christchurch, is understood to have returned to work part-time but faces months of rehabilitation.

Tae Won Chung, 17, has been convicted of injuring Warren and will be sentenced next month.

Education Ministry acting manager for schools and pupil support Joanne Allen said the Avondale College case was “very extreme”, and there had been no similar attacks since.

“It may be something that is minor. It might be that a child is lashing out when they’re angry and sort of having an angry fit, and the teacher gets hit or a child gets hit in the process,” she said. “It could be as much as a child and another child having a fight and the teacher getting in the middle. There is a whole range of issues.” Education Minister Anne Tolley has told Auckland principals that a plan had been prepared after a summit on behaviour in March. “Our approach to these issues in the past may have been well-intended, but the results have been mixed and too reliant on strength of personalities to achieve results,” she said.

“We need to improve support for teachers and schools and make wide-ranging improvements to services.” The Press understands the use of resource teachers of learning behaviour will be reviewed and teacher-training institutes will be asked to improve training in behaviour management.

Schools will be given formation on how they can deal with extreme behaviour.

Principals’ Federation president Ernie Buutveld said: “The problem is not going to go away. What we’re looking for is better answers, and it may be that you have to endure these stats a little bit longer.” The new figures “might prompt some speeding up” of measures, he said.