|The classic Van Halen song,|
'Hot for Teacher' does not apply
in this case.
This comes form Employment NZ: "Health and safety law requires that employees and others are given the highest level of protection from workplace health and safety risks, as is reasonably practicable. This includes risks to both physical and mental health." Consequently St Patrick's in in violation of health and safety law they are required to uphold.
1. TRACEY MARTIN (NZ First) to the Minister of Education: Does she agree with the Ministry of Education's National Director for Learning Support that schools in Northland should contact the police when primary school children threaten teachers and other students with violence?
Hon HEKIA PARATA (Minister of Education): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Yes, I agree with the full quote that the ministry's National Director for Learning Support made and the context in which it was given. For the benefit of the House, he stated: "I would certainly see suspension as being a last resort. If we're talking about very violent behaviour, then that's a matter that schools need to be discussing with police." As per the Guidance for New Zealand Schools on Behaviour Management to Minimise Physical Restraint, released by the ministry in October last year, schools across the country should call the police in situations when a student cannot be managed safely and the imminent danger to students, staff, or themselves remains after all alternatives have been explored. As we expect in all situations, the police are the most appropriate people to deal with violence.
In the event that incidents cannot be resolved quickly and where there is a sustained level of significant physical risk the police should be contacted.
In this press release from the Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association, A Cry from the Heart: lack of assistance for children’s needs, a principal states: “Last time I called the police to help in Kaitaia they told me very politely not to do it again. They took 2 hours to get here and the kid could have really hurt himself.” So clearly the police are really not in a position to help schools deals with students who are a risk to themselves or others.
In the NZ Herald article, 'P babies' are now at primary school (13 April 2017), Principal Pat Newman says he is disappointed in the response from the Ministry over his claims that children in primary school are presenting with more violent behavioural problems now and that P is at epidemic levels. Ministry of Education spokeswoman, Katrina Casey said on Radio New Zealand there was no hard evidence that schools were dealing with more children with behavioural problems. Newman countered that with, "What evidence is needed? What is hard data? Do we have to wait until a child or teacher is seriously hurt? There is not one principal in New Zealand, and certainly not in Te Tai Tokerau, who is not telling the ministry that this is the reality. In fact a few years ago we in Te Tai Tokerau, in partnership with the ministry, researched the levels of violence we were putting up with in the north, and the ministry has that information."
The article continues as follows:
Casey said the ministry spent about $95 million on behaviour assistance for about 10,000 children last year, and that number of children had not changed much in the last couple of years.
"If this is the case, why are we only receiving help to cover two hours a day on average for high-end behavioural needs? The answer is always that there is no more money available," Newman said.
"Why is there little help for psychological counselling for these children?
"Why does it take a year to get a foetal alcohol assessment done, and little funding to actually help the child once diagnosed?"
Casey had claimed that stand-downs and suspensions for assaults had remained static for the past six years, and a recent survey of secondary school teachers by the Council for Educational Research found student behaviour had become less of a problem.
Newman rejected that, too.
"We have severely abused children in our schools," he said.
"The ministry has the figure in Whangarei of the high behavioural needs children currently in early childhood education in this town who are due to come through the primary service, and it is huge."
What planet is the Ministry of Education on?
Clearly there is a disconnect between the Ministry of Education and the reality of what is happening in schools.
And Pat Newman is not a happy principal and I bet that he is not the only unhappy principal.
Personally, as a teacher, I am scathing.
I can tell you that there is not enough support for schools to help these children. I can't remember when I last saw a any form of psychological counselling in a primary school. The last time I saw a Ministry behavioural specialist was in 2006. We can't even get a speech language therapist for the most needy children who can not speak properly. And as for the Wrap Around Services Ms Parata crows about, well good luck ever seeing them! I wrote about a young teenager who has fallen out of the system because it doesn't work in Where are those wrap around services, Hekia? last year. Nothing has changed.
Everything that Ms Parata and her minion Ms Casey says is complete and utter BULLSHIT because at school level we never ever see them and children are falling through the cracks educationally because the Ministry of Education does not have the specialists we need to help these children.
This government is failing our most vulnerable students and their Predictive Risk Index to fund schools will do diddly bloody squat to change anything for these vulnerable children while there are no specialists in the Ministry of Education to support these children and no funding for schools to put programmes and support staff in place to ensure these children reach their potential.
This government, this Ministry of Education and the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, have failed the standard when it comes to our most vulnerable children. And they are failing the classmates of these children and their teachers, support staff and principals as they are put in danger by these children for whom help is a mythological fantasy because the Ministry simply does not have the resources.
While Boards of Trustees are responsible for the health and safety of staff and students, they are being hamstrug by the Ministry of Education due to their lack of funding and support.
If only they had listened to those of us at the chalkface. If only $359 million had been spent on the children where it would make the most difference instead of on that IES folly, Communities of Learning.
The top picture regarding teacher wellbeing comes from this article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/teacher-stress-needs-wellbeing-policies-daniela-falecki