BY ISABEL EVERETT

Education Department data reveals over 5000 students were suspended from Hunter and MidCoast Schools in 2020. 

5,160 students were suspended from schools in Port Stephens, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Cessnock, Maitland, Dungog, MidCoast, Singleton, Muswellbrook and the Upper Hunter, despite many transitioning to online learning throughout part of the year due to the pandemic. 

The NSW Government recently released a new Behaviour Strategy focusing on prevention, early intervention and teaching students new ways to manage their own behaviour.

The Strategy also addresses the fact that suspensions should not be used as a punitive measure. 

In NSW, 961 suspensions were issued to kindergarten students alone in 2020 for reasons such as violence and bringing a knife to school. 

Students in Year 8 were the most likely to kept out of school, with nearly 13,000 teenagers told to stay home.