Queensland state school principals will have greater powers to discipline students when school starts back next week.
Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the Strengthening Discipline in Queensland State Schools strategy was introduced as part of the Newman Government’s Great Teachers = Great Results and would give principals the increased authority they’d been asking for.
“Principals can now deal with disruptive behaviour quickly and effectively, with less regulatory burdens,” Mr Langbroek said.
“They’ll be able to use their own discretion when handling incidents requiring student discipline, rather than lazy Labor’s ‘one size fits all’ approach that has governed them for the past 20 years.”
Mr Langbroek said principals could now implement solutions that best fit the unique needs of their own school community.
“These changes will importantly also expand principals’ abilities to discipline a student for actions outside school, including online bullying.
“They can also carry out disciplinary measures on non-school days, for example – a Saturday detention and students may now be required to participate in Community Service Interventions as a consequence of their behaviour.”
He said other changes included the extension of short-term suspensions from up to five school days to up to 10 school days, and long term suspensions, which can now be between 11 to 20 days.
“All Queensland state schools will be audited before the end of this year to ensure strong, fair and consistent discipline,” he said.
“This new legislation is aimed at reducing exclusions and suspensions by giving principals a greater scope to find alternatives for individual student situations.
“It also includes an enhanced commitment to alternative learning centres that provide specialised support to students with complex needs.
“Schools still have an obligation to provide an education program to all students, including those who have been suspended and proposed for exclusion from school.
“Fortunately the vast majority of state school students behave well and come to school ready to learn to the best of their ability every day.
“This new legislation is about working with the families of at-risk students to increase opportunities for them through a personalised approach to behaviour management.
“All students have a right to learn – and staff the right to work – in a safe and supportive school environment.
“Our high quality education system relies on good order and discipline in schools.
“That’s why the Newman Government is working hard to cut the paperwork and allow our teachers and principals to get back to doing what they do best – teaching.”