United opposition to Department’s Student Behaviour Strategy as speculation on announcement grows

Teachers, parents and principals have again voiced their collective concerns to the government over the Department of Education’s disastrous handling of proposed changes to the suspension and expulsion policy.

A second joint statement vehemently 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 Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the Department have failed to address ongoing concerns and ignored repeated attempts to strengthen system support for schools.

“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,” he said.

In its current form, the proposed policy fails to protect the right of teachers to teach and students to learn in a classroom environment free of persistent and sustained disruption.

“We are demanding that the Department maintain the current suspension and expulsion procedures and insisting that any improvements that may be necessary to the existing procedures are negotiated with parents, teachers and principals.

“Teachers and parents expect schools to be safe, calm learning environments. The proposed changes to the suspension and expulsion procedures will reduce the authority of schools to achieve this, it will increase workload and take teachers away from the core business of teaching and learning,” Mr Rajendra said.

“This proposal fails to acknowledge the fundamental need to protect the health and safety of all students and teachers. It fails to address the urgent need for additional school counsellors, specialist support and early intervention service and comes with no commitment to any additional funding.”

Mr Rajendra said it was clear the Department have not been genuine in their attempts to improve educational outcomes for all students.

“The Gallop Inquiry has highlighted just how much our classrooms have transformed: a 300 per cent increase in students with disabilities along with higher numbers of students from disadvantaged and non-English speaking backgrounds.

“The government and its Department must ensure there is appropriate provision of staffing, curriculum support, and infrastructure so that all schools have the resources to meet the needs of every child.

“Teachers have a right to teach, students have a right to learn and the government has the fundamental obligation to listen to the profession.”

Click here to read the full statement