September 25, 2023

Schools in behaviour battle

Schools in behaviour battle

By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Wednesday, 01 October 2008

High-decile schools grappling with misbehaving students want more help, as a new report reveals they use less than a quarter as many social workers as low-decile schools.

Two teacher conferences under way in Wellington this week are discussing strategies to deal with increasingly extreme incidents of disruptive behaviour in the classroom.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI), which represents 47,000 primary school staff, yesterday issued guidelines for dealing with troublesome pupils.

NZEI vice-president Ian Leckie said extreme misbehaviour crossed class boundaries.

“You’ve only got to look at the child who is very spoiled and from a very well-to-do background whose mother won’t buy them the lollies in the supermarket,” Leckie said.

“What that indicates, too, is that some of these behaviours even manifest before they start school,” he said.

“The ongoing need to be able to deal with that is very, very clear.”

A report by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research (NZCER) released today said there was “a very big difference” between the number of social workers in schools based on socio-economic factors.

A survey showed 81 per cent of primary school principals at decile one and two schools had or were considering the introduction of social workers, compared with only 17% of principals in decile nine and 10 schools. Social workers were available or in the offing at 25% of decile three to eight schools.

Leckie said increasing the number of guidance counsellors at primary schools was “an absolute priority”.

“And that is because of the inordinate amount of time that is taken to deal with every incident,” he said.

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) opened its conference yesterday, with strong interest from teachers in a workshop to discuss bad behaviour.

“People were all supportive but wanted more, really,” said Martin Henry, who chaired the PPTA workshop.

“Clearly the issue of highly disruptive kids goes across all deciles,” he said.

“It may be that you don’t need a whole social worker in your school but you need access to the sort of resources that you get from CYFS (Child, Youth and Family), from the police and from the other things that are on offer that’s the sort of discussion going around at the moment.”

Henry said there was a systemic problem with the way society dealt with marginal children, but there was more that teachers themselves could do within the classroom.

The NZCER report shows at least half of the nation’s schools had not had training on key areas such as positive approaches to student behaviour. Only one-third of principals said their school could afford the professional development it needed.

“We know that the more professional teachers are the better their impact on kids,” Henry said.

“We want to see more of that and we want to see it more tailored to the individual schools.”

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.