The Victorian Council of Social Service is extremely disappointed by a divisive new plan for more school expulsions that will do nothing to help kids struggling to engage and learn.
At the heart of the Liberal-National Opposition’s new policy is a “three strikes and you’re out” rule, which would provide a quicker path to expulsion
Missing from the plan are detailed measures to support kids with complex needs or who are experiencing disadvantage before they reach a crisis point.
“The devastating impact of expulsion on a child, their family and the wider community cannot be overstated,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“It impacts their self-esteem and disrupts their education.”
“It is alarming that almost 10,000 Victorian students drop out of school each year.”
“We need to be helping schools better understand and support children and young people facing difficulties, not pushing them away.”
“Expulsions should be a last resort only.”
“And if a student is expelled, what happens to them? How do they get the support they need?”
Ms King said, from the available detail, the plan doesn’t do enough to give schools the time, tools, funding and staff they need to understand and support children facing difficulty in their lives and keep them engaged.
VCOSS—which is part of the Stronger Schools campaign for a more inclusive education system in Victoria—is also concerned about a proposal to ban the Education Department overturning unfair or illegal expulsions.
Ms King said these concerning elements of the Opposition’s education platform are sadly overshadowing positive initiatives, such as
A partnership with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to rollout a new anti-bullying program to all government schools
- New training to help teachers, parents and students identify and stamp out bullying
- A new online resource to protect children from cyberbullying and online sexual predation, and
- An advertising and information campaign to promote the importance of respecting other people.
VCOSS looks forward to working with all political parties to build a more inclusive education system and keep all children and young people engaged in learning.
You can read the VCOSS-endorsed Action Plan for Inclusive Education here.
“It’s not a plan to combat bullying … it’s a plan to fast-track expulsions.”
— VCOSS (@VCOSS) July 18, 2018