19 March, 2022
Teacher’s union calls for rethink
A new student behaviour policy and procedure to be introduced in NSW public schools from term two has caused backlash from teachers.
The new ‘Student Behaviour Strategy’ has been contentious
since July last year when the department of
education first proposed changes to suspension and
Teachers Federation deputy president Henry
Rajendra said at the time, “federation, along with our
principal colleagues and parents have called on the
department to cease any further developments and
announcements regarding the student behaviour policy
and the suspension procedures until a negotiated outcome
has been achieved.”
The federation said the policy failed to protect the
rights of students and teachers to engage in classroom
environments free of persistent and sustained disruption.
Of key concern is the reduction in suspension time
length and new rules preventing students from being
sent home more than three times a year.
“Behaviour management in our schools is one of the
most important aspects of providing quality education
and we need to get it right,” said minister for education
“We know that what is currently happening is not
working as too many students, particularly those with
learning difficulties or from low socio-economic backgrounds,
are suspended and do not receive the support
However, teachers are not convinced, with
Gilgandra Teacher’s Federation representative Bree
Patten saying the policy undermines schools’ abilities to
keep their schools safe.
In a statement to The Gilgandra Weekly Ms Patten
said the policy is another attack on the public school
system as teachers face lack of staffing and funding concerns.
“The new policy is about data suppression, shifting
the blame and putting blame on individual schools, and
not the government’s long standing neglect and failure.”
Ms Patten said suspensions are only used by schools
once available resources have been utilised and that they
provide time for schools to put new supports in place to
ensure students can return to classrooms safely.
Also of concern to Ms Patten was the removal of language
outlining student rights, which can be found in
“The clause all students have the right to be treated
fairly and with dignity in an environment free from disruption,
intimidation, harassment and discrimination is
missing in the proposed policy, suggesting we no longer
have these rights.
“The government is failing to meet the learning,
health, and social needs of all students.”
The department of education’s website says the changes will bring improvements for students and staff in NSW public schools. The policy is part of the inclusive, engaging, and respectful schools iniative.