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01 June 2018

Student suspensions data released

New figures released by the Department of Education show the number of students suspended from public schools in 2017 remained under five per cent of the entire public school population.

Reasons for suspensions include damage to or theft of property, violation of a school’s code of conduct or school/classroom rules as well as physical aggression, and abuse of staff and other students.

Deputy Director General, Schools, Stephen Baxter said just under five per cent of 300,000 students in WA’s public schools were suspended last year, similar to previous years.

“The vast majority of students come to school each day to learn and contribute in class,” Mr Baxter said.

“School staff are committed to ensuring all students are safe and have the best possible opportunity to learn. When these conditions are compromised by the poor behaviour of a minority of students, principals can suspend those students who are not doing the right thing.

“For students who disrupt the learning of others by misbehaving in class or are aggressive or bullying, suspension sends a clear message about what behaviour is appropriate. It also gives students time to reflect on what they have done wrong and turn their poor behaviour around.

“For students with ongoing unacceptable behaviour, exclusion is the last resort and eight students were excluded in 2017, the same as in 2016.

“Support for schools includes 13 engagement centres across the State which provide principals with expert assistance when the behaviour of students causes severe concerns. We also have a record number of school psychologists working with students.

“Schools rely on parents, caregivers and others in the community to model and reinforce positive behaviour. The role of teachers is made so much easier when these behaviours are modelled to children outside the school gates and children come to school ready to learn, which is, of course, the primary role of schools.”

The figures:

  • The overwhelming proportion of students (95.3%) received no suspensions in 2017.
  • In 2017, 14,075 students (4.7% of total enrolments) were suspended, compared to 12,649 students (4.3% of total enrolments) in 2016. 
  • In 2017, 53.2% of students suspended were suspended only once.
  • The average length of each suspension in 2017 was 2.2 days, a 0.1 increase on 2016.
  • There were eight exclusions in 2017, the same as in 2016 - a substantial reduction since 2010, primarily due to school staff more effectively using early intervention and prevention. Exclusion means a student can no longer attend a particular school, and another school or education program is found for them. 

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