Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    State Government rolls out another initiative to crack down on bad behaviour

    21/06/2008 12:00 AM

    The State Government is again putting its foot down on bad behaviour, by setting up after-school counselling sessions as an alternative to suspension for public school students who break the rules.


    Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said it was important that unruly students felt the pain of their actions by sacrificing their personal time and not valuable school time.


    “Counselling will not only teach the child a valuable lesson about taking responsibility but it will also create an opportunity for the child to work through their issues,” Mr McGowan said.


    “The 13-week trial will look at after-school hours counselling as a viable and effective alternative to suspension.


    “There are 17 schools from the Fremantle-Peel, Canning and West Coast districts which have volunteered to take part in the trial.


    “Last year, two-thirds of the 7,600 students who were suspended were only suspended once, which indicates that suspension is an effective strategy.


    “However, we want to see how effective it is to give students a second chance, without a suspension being recorded against them, by teaching them to take responsibility for their actions.


    “Parents have to give their consent and be willing to take their children to and from the one hour counselling sessions, at places central to each of the three educational districts.”


    The Minister said the willingness of the students and their families to engage in the process, as well as the seriousness of the students’ behaviour, would be considered.


    “During the sessions, school psychologists will work with students to develop strategies and discuss any personal issues which may be relevant to their behaviour,” he said.


    “The student services staff at the students’ schools will receive written feedback and will be advised of any issues which need to be followed up.


    “The trial is part of the Government’s progressive response to the Twomey report’s recommendation to ensure a safe environment for teachers and students.


    “Recently I announced five primary behaviour centres which will deal with persistently challenging students and we are currently trialling three secondary behaviour centres.


    “The Carpenter Government has spent more than $100million on its behaviour management and discipline strategies in schools since coming into office.


    “Furthermore, the Government recently streamlined exclusions and suspension rules in relation to students in State schools.”


    Minister's office  - 9222 9111