School leaders struggle to get help for vulnerable students – report

The mental wellbeing of teenagers in New Zealand is becoming a major concern for school principals and teachers throughout the country.

The New Zealand Council for Educational Research's National Survey of Secondary Schools found 63 per cent of principals have trouble getting help for vulnerable students - up on the 36 per cent in 2015.

Senior researcher Linda Bonne told TVNZ1's Breakfast the alarming figures from principals were across all schools in the country, and didn't differ on school decile or location.

The research also found that less than a third of teachers said they had training to recognise early warning signs of student mental health issues. The statistic was particularly in lower decline schools were only 19 per cent said they had the training.

"I certainly hope the findings will be taken on board and that policy makers will be thinking about these results and what they might mean, and what they should be doing in response," Ms Bonne said.

As well as student wellbeing, the research also found and increase in 2018 of teachers reporting issues of student behaviour to the point of teaching being seriously disrupted by student behavioural issues. The statistics were particularly evident in decile one and two schools.

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Senior researcher talks about the National Survey of Secondary Schools findings on TVNZ1’s Breakfast. Source: Breakfast