Tuesday , April 20 2021
Home / National News / High anxiety fuelling school suspension spike

High anxiety fuelling school suspension spike

The high number of student suspensions is deeply concerning for parents and educators alike, with the NSW Department of Education reporting that of the 63,604 suspensions across all school years in 2020, 961 occurred in kindergarten.

How do children so young find themselves being suspended from kinder through to their early years at primary school? The primary reason we see children so young facing something as serious as suspension is because we are seeing more and more children head into kindergarten and primary school not yet “school ready”.

Teachers are observing a rise in anxiety among schoolchildren.

Teachers are observing a rise in anxiety among schoolchildren.

Each year we will see a cohort of children entering the education system for the first time, some of whom will not respond to their own name, others who are beginning their school life a mile behind other students.

Some of these kids struggle to the point that frustration and fear kicks in, with their response being the in-built “fight or flight”. When it comes to flight thankfully NSW schools have invested millions in upgraded fencing. When it comes to “fight”, that is where we start to have serious issues and as soon as a student strikes another student or teacher or uses verbally aggressive language – then stronger measures must be taken.

This is where we see the use of suspensions, which is not only a measure of discipline, it is a critical circuit breaker for the child, designed to give them a breather from school and involve the parents to help in readjusting the child to school life. The issue we are facing with this “circuit breaker” is that schools are finding that more and more parents are incapable of enacting the necessary changes required at home to address the behavioural issues of their child in school.

This failure to enact the plan to turn the behaviour of their child around creates a cycle that will likely result in ongoing disciplinary measures needed to be implemented by the school as they battle a child whose habits and behaviours not only remain unchanged but are likely escalating.

As any school principal will tell you, there are myriad causes behind this failure of parents to address problematic behaviour. This may be due to an unstable home environment or a complete breakdown of the relationship between the parent or carer and the child.

One major factor that all school leaders are reporting is the rise in anxiety and depression among students from a very young age. In our recent survey of school leaders, dealing with anxious students was the number one concern of educators within our schools.

With parents, many of whom are suffering from anxiety themselves, turning to their schools for help and as much as schools do all they can, there is limited resourcing and a lack of skills to deal with such serious issues.

About admin

Check Also

Gabba to be ‘demolished’ in $1b Olympic Games facelift: Premier

“We are actually going to lift this stadium.” Ms Palaszczuk said the upgrade to the …