Discipline overhaul for state schools

GYMPIE region schools losing the battle with unruly students are about to receive reinforcements from the State Government.

The Newman government's plans strengthen discipline in Queensland's state schools by reducing red tape and boosting the power wielded by principals.

At the forefront of the proposal is a plan for Saturday detentions and student community service. Plans for behaviour contracts with students and families, expanding the number of alternative learning centres for students with complex behaviour needs and school discipline audits are also mooted.

The reforms are to be put before parliament as part of the Queensland Government's Great Teachers = Great Results initiative.

Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek trumpeted the plan as the first of 15 strategies underpinned by the initiative.

"We know that discipline works when there are clear expectations for standards of behaviour and meaningful consequences when students do not comply with these standards," he said.

Mr Langbroek said the reforms aimed to "nip poor behaviour in the bud" before it escalated. The minister also conceded Queensland schools had a behaviour problem.

A number of Gympie region school P&C representatives were contacted yesterday for comment but with the proposal still fresh, time was requested before comment could be made.

St Patrick's College principal Tricia Kennedy described the plan as "fantastic". The school provides a Catholic education and while not impacted by the discipline overhaul, identified with the proposal's intentions.

"I think there should be a community approach and a policy about restoring relationships," she said.

"It's something we implement here, and there should be a raft of measures to bring a student back into the community."

Ms Kennedy said Saturday detention was not something St Patrick's College had done in the five years she had been with the school but was something to be considered along with a broad range of other measures when addressing student behaviour concerns.

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