Clearer legislation needed on corporal punishment
MORE than 160 education experts from leading universities across Australia have signed an open letter to the Education Minister Chris Pyne calling for the removal of Kevin Donnelly as an education advisor to the Federal Government.
Education Standards Institute director Mr Donnelly made comments in a radio interview on 2UE last week that suggested if the school community was in favour of corporal punishment then he would not have a problem with it, if it was administered properly.
The controversial comments were made on the same day a national summit on behaviour in Australian schools, was being held in South Australia with many education researchers in attendance.
University of South Australia senior lecturer at the School of Education Dr Anna Sullivan, who organised the letter, said the statement had garnered 167 signatures from leading academics from across the nation.
Apart from calling on the removal of Mr Donnelly from his position, the letter called on the government to amend legislation to ensure that children of Australia were protected from all forms of corporal punishment in schools.
"We know it is in the state's jurisdiction but we want the Federal Government to take a leading role on this issue," she said.
"Academics are sending a clear message that we need clear legislation that ensures children are protected from corporal punishment."
The statement said the research provided at the summit gave new insights into the ways schools could engage with students in their learning and schooling while respecting their dignity.
"It is upon this kind of evidence-based research that a senior educational advisor to the government should base his comments," the letter said.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says the Queensland Government was not considering bringing back the cane or corporal punishment at state schools.
"Since 1995, Queensland state schools have not used corporal punishment as a means to manage student behaviour and the Newman Government has no intention to change this approach," he said.
"Behaviour management policies in private and independent schools are determined by the individual schools and not subject to Education Queensland regulations."