Pull up your socks and fall in line – Queensland state school principals will have greater disciplinary powers starting next week, so troublemakers better watch out!
Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the Strengthening Discipline in Queensland State Schools strategy will give principals the increased authority they’d been asking for.
“Principals can now deal with disruptive behaviour quickly and effectively, with less regulatory burdens,” Langbroek says. “They’ll be able to use their own discretion when handling incidents requiring student discipline.”
This includes implementing systems that fit each school community, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
“These changes will importantly also expand principals’ abilities to discipline a student for actions outside school, including online bullying,” says Langbroek. “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.”
Hopefully the threat of losing precious out-of-school hours may be just enough to curb school-yard delinquency. Other changes include 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,” says Langbroek. “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.”
The new legislation aims to work with families of at-risk students with 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,” says Langbroek. “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.”