Special School For Unruly Students
by Matthew Franklin — state political editor The Courier-Mail 20/3/2000
Cited in 'Uncontrolled Children' By P Atkinson

THE State Government will establish five special centres to cater for the state's worst-behaved school children. Education Minister Dean Wells said yesterday students with severe behavioural problems would receive intense supervision in small classes with two teachers and teacher aides.

Teachers in five pilot programmes would tailor education plans for individual students to help them complete Year 10 or return to a mainstream school. Mr Wells said he also planned special new high schools for students whose behaviour was not a problem but who did not fit in to mainstream state schools because they were bullied or unable to cope. Details about the new schools, similar to a successful special high school in Sydney, would be announced later this year.

Mr Wells said the special units for children with behavioural problems recognised that some children did not respond to current discipline measures such as detention, extra work or being sent out of class to a "responsible thinking classroom". Next term, four centres will be established in Brisbane and one in a regional area for students aged 10 to 15.

"During term two we will establish five centres — four in Brisbane and one in a regional area — for those students whose behaviour is so challenging that the current system of sanctions is insufficient," Mr Wells said.

Mr Wells said he had examined Sydney's Bradfleld High School, which relaxed some rules, including the requirement to wear a school uniform, if students committed to completing Year 12. The school has a Year 12 completion rate above the state average and a high level of university entrance.

Child behaviour specialist Professor Matt Sanders said the implementation of a similar school in Queensland was a reasonable idea providing the students were given the skills, knowledge and motivation needed to cope with life. Professor Sanders said coping, relationship and social skills were often lacking in children who did not fit in and these areas needed to be addressed in the programmes.

Queensland Teachers Union president Julie-Ann McCullough said the union had pushed for many years for centres for problem students. When students were constantly disruptive, their behaviour annoyed teachers and, prevented learning by other students, Ms McCullough said.