Community to have a say on behaviour strategy

NSW Education is seeking community feedback on a draft strategy to support positive student behaviour and create effective and engaging classrooms.

27 August 2020
A teacher supports a Kindergarten student with a writing activity.
Image: More opportunity for in-school suspensions means less disruption to students' learning under the draft behaviour strategy released today for consultation.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the strategy will support teachers to manage complex behaviour and improve the long-term educational outcomes for some of our most disadvantaged students.

“We need a behaviour system in our schools that considers a student’s circumstances to help them stay engaged in school and their education,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We will be empowering schools to increase proactive early intervention and prevention, balanced with strong and appropriate discipline using evidence-based best practice to support students inside and outside of the school gate.

“Student behaviour has sat in the too hard basket for too long and the best tool for success we can give these students is a world-class education.”

Ms Mitchell said she wanted to see suspension for K-2 students limited to instances of physical violence and the maximum length of long suspensions halved from 20 to 10 days to break the cycle of suspension.

“This strategy gives principals more power to make the right decisions based on the student’s situation,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We know that suspension disproportionately affects vulnerable students, particularly those with disability, leaving them even further behind in their education than they were at the beginning of the suspension.”

Schools will be asked to provide work for suspended students to learn from home and check in with students daily and provide more opportunity for in-school suspension.

“Managing behaviours in the classroom is a complex task which is why this strategy is now out for extensive workshopping and in-school testing to make sure we get this right and give our schools the support they need,” Ms Mitchell said.

Changes proposed include:

  • reducing suspensions for students from Kindergarten to Year 12
  • supporting vulnerable student cohorts through early intervention and targeted support
  • developing a new model of complex behaviour support to meet the learning and wellbeing needs of all students, including students with complex, challenging and unsafe behaviours
  • establishing a dedicated workforce comprising specialist staff
  • improving access to behaviour specialists in regional and remote locations
  • exploring co-commissioning opportunities with other parts of government, in particular the Department of Communities and Justice.

The department will continue to work with students, staff, parents, carers and the community to strengthen the Student Behaviour Strategy beyond the public consultation period.

The consultation period will close on Friday 25 September 2020. Implementation will commence on Day 1, Term 1, 2021.

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