What do you need help with?
A stand down means the principal removes your mokopuna from the school for a set period. They can return to school after the stand-down period has finished. They can’t be stood down for more than five school days in a term or 10 school days in a year.
If your mokopuna is sent home from school, the principal needs to advise that it is being done under Section 14(1) of the Education Act and provide documentation to their parents or caregivers.
When your mokopuna has been suspended, the school has to follow the right process. Your mokopuna has certain rights that must be upheld. A suspension means the principal temporarily removes them until the Board of Trustees decides whether they should be permanently excluded. The Board of Trustees has to hold a suspension meeting within seven school days of the suspension, attended by you and your mokopuna, a student support person(s), and the principal. The Board can decide to:
- lift the suspension without conditions
- lift the suspension with 'reasonable' conditions
- extend the suspension with 'reasonable' conditions for a 'reasonable' period, or
- exclude or expel your child.
If your mokopuna is under 16, the school can 'exclude' them. This means they're not allowed to go to the school but the principal has to find a new school for them – if they aren’t successful, the Ministry of Education has to find another school for your mokopuna.
If your mokopuna is over 16, the school can expel them. This means they're not allowed to go to the school, and the principal and Ministry of Education don’t have to find a new school for them. If they wants to keep going to school, they can enrol themselves at another school.
All schools are required by legislation to provide a safe and bullying-free learning environment for their students. Bullying is any behaviour that makes a student feel afraid or uncomfortable, and can be physical, verbal or online. You can ask to see a copy of the school’s anti-bullying policy and to meet with the principal. The school should work with you to come up with a plan to provide a safe environment for your mokopuna.
You can find more information on recognising bullying and supporting your mokopuna on the Ministry of Education's website. They can learn more about how to deal with bullying on the 0800 What’s Up website or by calling 0800 What’s Up (0800 942 8787) daily from 1pm - 11pm.
The law says that every mokopuna who has special education needs has the right to go to school with the support they need to learn and succeed. You can find out more about their entitlements on the Ministry of Education's website.
If your mokopuna needs extra support:
- Talk to their teacher, the school principal or the special education needs coordinator if the school has one
- If you’re not happy with their response, contact your local Ministry of Education office
- If you’re still not satisfied, contact the Human Rights Commission or Health and Disabilities Commissioner to find out how to make a complaint.
Some schools have an enrolment or 'zoning' scheme. Students who live in the 'home zone' have an absolute right to enrol at the school. Out of zone students who apply to go to the school are accepted in the following order of priority:
- students accepted for enrolment in a special programme run by the school
- siblings of current students
- siblings of former students
- children of former students
- children of board employees or board members
- all other students.
If there are more applications than there are places available, a ballot is held.
You can find more information on the Ministry of Education's website.
If you’re concerned about a teacher's behaviour or competence:
- the first step is to discuss your concerns with the head teacher or school principal
- if you’re not happy with their response, you can make a complaint to the school’s Board of Trustees
- if you’re not satisfied with the response, you can make a complaint to the Teacher’s Council
You may qualify for the Work and Income childcare subsidy - to find out whether you qualify and how much you could get, visit the Work and Income website or call 0800 559 009. Once your child turns three, you can apply for the the 20 hours ECE subsidy - to find out more, visit the Ministry of Education website or call 0800 ECE ECE (0800 323 323)