Over a thousand prep students were suspended for bad behaviour in Queensland last year, in what could be a sign that there are students who may be “ill-prepared for school”.
In the Department of Education and Training data, 1028 children aged four and five were suspended in 2016, almost double the number which was only at 572 in 2013.
The children were suspended for bad behaviours including physical and verbal misconduct, and persistent disruption.
Queensland Teachers’ Union president Kevin Bates said that one factor that contributed to the increase in the rate of suspension among young students was the level of schooling, which was only introduced in 2008. “We now have 99 per cent attendance and as a consequence, these sorts of things tend to come to the fore,” he told AAP.
He also added that some children may not be prepared for school. “Some of these behaviours result from students who are ill-prepared for school,” he said. “There’s a real issue with how well children are socialised before they come to school and how well they’ve been offered opportunities to begin their learning,” he added, saying that daycare and home environments had “an impact”.
However, Mr Bates and the education department said that the number of suspensions was relatively small, just about 1.1 per cent of prep students.
Meanwhile, over 73,000 students from prep to year 12 were excluded from school for one or more days during 2016. “The great majority of state school students from prep to year 12 behave appropriately every day, are actively engaged in learning and have positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers,” a department spokeswoman said. “We support principals in taking strong disciplinary action where a student’s behaviour is unacceptable.”