Minister asked to intervene on inadequate behaviour strategy

In a demonstration of complete disregard for the teaching profession, the NSW Department of Education has announced that the Student Discipline Policy will be replaced, announcing a new Student Behaviour Strategy. This announcement took place without any prior consultation with the union.

Federation has sought the intervention of the Minister to instruct the Department to suspend the consultation period and ensure a thorough examination of the student discipline policy to be held in term 4.

The Department misleadingly claims: “We have listened to students, staff, parents and carers, and stakeholder groups to develop this draft strategy.” It then offers an apparently redundant 4-week period for the profession to provide feedback, a contemptuous and cynical act of mock consultation, which takes advantage of schools as they continue to endure the immense pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic at one of the busiest times of the school year.

At best, the Student Behaviour Strategy looks like a thinly-veiled exercise in data suppression and blame shifting.

It characterises schools as the point of failure when suspensions are issued.

The new strategy fails to:

  • acknowledge the need to protect the health and safety of all students and teachers, let alone articulate the means to achieve that outcome
  • provide the additional specialist staffing, support programs, therapeutic services, smaller class sizes and alternate settings to assist schools in meeting the needs of all students
  • articulate the need for adequate public pre-schooling and early intervention
  • provide support to families directly impacted by the strategy
  • commit additional funding to the implementation of the policy changes, which would underpin and guarantee the necessary systemic support.

Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the NSW Government and Department of Education were failing the state’s children.

“Their refusal to build the capacity of the NSW public school system through the delivery of adequate early intervention programs, the provision of additional qualified specialist teachers, and the establishment of the necessary infrastructure, remains a significant barrier to meeting the social, learning, health and behaviour needs of our most vulnerable students,” Mr Rajendra said.

“The absence of such a capacity ultimately permits unaddressed student need to manifest in unacceptable behaviours,” he concluded.

Federation’s state Council has condemned the actions of the Department and the new strategy.

Updates will be provided to members as they develop.