Revealed: The school dishing out five suspensions a day
A southeast Queensland school has handed out a staggering 4984 suspensions and expulsions over five years, new analysis reveals.
Redbank Plains State High school issued the most suspensions, exclusions and cancellations in total over a five-year period between 2015 and 2019, equivalent to five student disciplinary absences per day on average over 974 school days, according to data from the Education Department.
Marsden State High School and Ipswich State High School were the schools with the second and third highest, with 4294 and 3448 student disciplinary absences respectively over five years.
In Queensland, a short suspension can range from 1 to 10 days and a long suspension can last for 11 to 20 days, while an exclusion prohibits a student from attending school for a period of up to 12 months, and principals can also cancel a student's enrolment if they are older than 16.
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The number of school disciplinary absences has declined at Redbank Plains State High School since 2016, since 2015 at Marsden State High School, and since 2018 at Ipswich State High School.
An Education Department spokesman said the majority of Queensland state school students never receive an SDA during their 13 years of education.
"A wide range of supports and programs are in place to support student behaviour and ensure that Queensland state schools facilitate high standards of behaviour from the whole school community."
He said the measures in place include the Positive Behaviour for Learning initiative, a whole-school approach to creating safe and supportive learning environments; the deployment of regional staff including senior guidance officers and mental health coaches; and making other specialist staff such as behaviour, student protection and inclusion coaches available.
The spokesman said school staff are provided with Functional Behaviour Assessment training to improve their understanding of behaviours, ways to support positive behaviour and early intervention to "de-escalate or prevent inappropriate behaviour".
QUT education expert Professor Linda Graham said while it could be expected that suspension rates in disadvantaged areas would be different to those in less disadvantaged communities, there could be a range of factors influencing school disciplinary absence rates.
"Just because a school is in a disadvantaged area, doesn't meant that the students attending that school are the most disadvantaged, so we have to look critically and carefully at the suspension rate," she said.
For example, she said that changes in school leadership and school enrolments could influence the amount of suspensions issued.
"There are ebbs and flows in suspension rates per school especially if there's a new principal and they decide they're going to take a stand on behaviour and discipline in their way, so you can sometimes have peaks when that happens and things can also plateau," Professor Graham said.
She added that Marsden State High School had recently implemented an award-winning wellbeing program, which could have been a factor in helping to reduce suspensions.
Originally published as Revealed: The school dishing out five suspensions a day