YouthLaw report recommends changes in view of the rise in cases of informally removed students
Youthlaw today released their research report titled “Barriers to Education in New Zealand: the Rise of Informal Removals of Students in New Zealand”. The research, funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation, highlights the experiences of a number of children removed from school in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of the Education Act.
YouthLaw Senior Solicitor Jennifer Walsh and author of the report states that “YouthLaw has seen an increase in the number of children and young people over the last three years seeking legal advice where they have faced an informal removal.” She says, “Although many schools are engaging in best practice procedures, the current regulatory frameworks permit variable and inconsistent approaches to school discipline from school to school. In some cases this can result in students being deprived of access and participation in education on the basis of erroneous or misguided grounds.”
Ms Walsh goes on to say that YouthLaw’s research has shown that many students are experiencing barriers at a number of stages from enrolment to participation right through to removal from school on a long term or permanent basis. The report says that vulnerable groups, particularly Māori students and students with special needs, seem to be disproportionately impacted by barriers to education.
YouthLaw’s report recommends the introduction of greater guidance for schools in carrying out disciplinary processes and for greater oversight of school practices by the Ministry of Education. It also suggests the need for collaboration and sharing of best practice by schools that are performing well.
The Law Foundation provided $9,500 towards the preparation of this report.