Parents, teachers and principals have come together to voice their strong objection to the Department of Education’s mishandling of changes to the suspension and expulsion policy.
A joint statement opposing the changes has been issued by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations, the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council, the NSW Primary Principals’ Association and the NSW Teachers Federation.
Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the Department of Education developed its Student Behaviour Strategy without prior consultation with the Federation and well before public consultation began in August 2020.
“The policy rewrite intends to shift departmental responsibility to schools without the necessary additional support, funding and staffing,” Mr Gavrielatos said.
“Our schools need early intervention programs, the provision of additional qualified specialist teachers, including more school counsellors and support for parents and carers.”
“The Department of Education’s refusal to provide the necessary funding, staffing and infrastructure to manage student behaviour well before suspension, remains a significant barrier to meeting the social, learning, health and behaviour needs of our most vulnerable students.”
Mr Gavrielatos said the so-called public consultation was no more than cover for an already pre-determined outcome.
The changes to the suspension and expulsion policy will have a negative impact on the workload of teachers and principals and the safety of staff and students alike.
“At a time when schools are under immense pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with increasing mental health issues amongst their students, the least the Department could have done prior to rewriting the policy was to seek the views of the profession.”
Mr Gavrielatos said parents, teachers and principals are calling on the NSW Department of Education to commit additional funding, resources and support to schools to manage behaviour and engage in genuine consultation with stakeholders prior to any changes being made.
Link to Joint Letter on Behaviour Strategy: