Suspensions in New Zealand schools rise by 25 percent since 2015

New data has revealed the number of students suspended from New Zealand schools has increased by over 25 percent since 2015.

Crimson Global Academy (CGA), an online high school, released the statistics around suspensions and expulsions on Thursday after obtaining them from the Ministry of Education under the Official Information Act.

Suspension in New Zealand the formal removal of a student from a state or state-integrated school on a temporary basis until the school board of trustees decides the final outcome. This can be either lifting or extending the suspension, or excluding or expelling the student.

The statistics show from 2015 the number of school students suspended increased by 25.4 percent from 2618 students in 2015 to 3283 in 2019.

While the data from 2020 is still being collated, as of the end of September, 1697 students have been suspended across New Zealand.

Here's how many suspensions there were per region:

  • Tai Tokerau: 2015 - 216; 2019 - 159
  • Auckland: 2015 - 808; 2019 - 844
  • Waikato: 2015 - 293; 2019 - 447
  • Bay of Plenty/ Waiariki: 2015 - 263; 2019 - 308
  • Taranaki/ Whanganui/ Manawatu: 2015 - 217; 2019 - 309
  • Hawke's Bay/ Tairāwhiti: 2015 - 149; 2019 - 269
  • Wellington: 2015 - 186; 2019 - 233
  • Nelson/ Marlborough/ West Coast: 2015 - 103; 2019 - 109
  • Canterbury/ Chatham Islands: 2015 - 206; 2019 - 332
  • Otago/ Southland:  2015 - 177; 2019 - 332

The number of suspensions in Waikato schools increased by 29 percent in just the last two full years of Ministry records. There were 346 suspensions in 2018 to 447 in 2019.

Between the two years, suspensions also rose in Auckland by 10 percent - from 767 in 2018 to 844 in 2019.

Jamie Beaton, the founder of Crimson Global Academy and CEO of Crimson Education, said the suspensions are not only affecting the families of the 3000 students, but the impact on other school students is "profound".

"It’s an alarming level of disruption and an unacceptable cost on wider student achievement,” he said.

“It’s easy to dismiss the thousands of suspensions in schools every year as something only involving bad kids. However, this has a ripple effect right through any school, impacting the high achievers and academically ambitious as well. When everyone’s focus is knocked, the best and brightest students often take their foot off the pedal too."

He says that Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Cabinet need to "act urgently" to investigate how schools can improve learning and achievement opportunities.

"I would argue, the time is ripe for greater access to online schooling, something COVID-19 has shown can actually work better for many."

He said with accelerated digital enablement in schools and rising behavioural issues, students need more choice around what learning environment works best for them.