Detention on Saturday a silly idea, says union

THE State Government's move to allow tougher school discipline powers has been labelled as "little more than window dressing".

Queensland Teacher's Union president Kevin Bates said the new powers, which would enable school teachers and principals to set Saturday detentions and develop disciplinary standards, were like a "toothless tiger" if they didn't come hand-in-hand with more funding.

"It's all well and good to say as a headline grabber 'let's create Saturday detentions' but it's clear the government will not give a single cent of additional funding to the schools to fund that sort of thing.

"Logic would say if you're going to create this additional impost you need to provide additional funding."

Mr Bates said the vast majority of teachers and principals across Queensland, and in Mackay, thought Saturday detentions were a "silly idea".

"They wouldn't use it and wouldn't expect communities to support it," he said.

"To start to go into this issue of impinging on the weekend, it blurs the lines.

"Weekends in our culture are about parents spending time with their kids and Monday to Friday is school time."

Mr Bates said the answer to disruptive student behaviour in classrooms was about enforcing disciplinary systems at a school level and not "making grandiose announcements".

Queensland Minister for Education John-Paul Langbroek said tougher school discipline powers would give principals "the increased authority they've been asking for".

Mr Langbroek said the new powers would be introduced at the start of next year.

"From 2014, the changes will expand principals' abilities to discipline a student for actions outside school that adversely impact other students, the good order and management of the school, or pose a risk to the safety and wellbeing of students and staff," Mr Langbroek said.

"Student disciplinary measures will also be able to be carried out on non-school days, for example, Saturday detention.

"Short-term suspensions have been extended from up to five school days to up to 10 school days and long-term suspensions can be between 11 to 20 school days.

"The bill also bolsters the grounds for suspension and exclusion and includes students who are charged with or convicted of a criminal offence."



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