Report reveals severe behavioural issues in Northland

By Mahina Hurkmans

This week Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association released a 69 page report into severe behavioural issues in primary and intermediate schools in Tai Tokerau.

The main focus of the report was to get up to date information, of the issues that schools, teachers, principals and children are facing daily with regard to severe behaviour in Northland.

A major issue is that many principals in Te Tai Tokerau have no confidence in Te Roopu Kimiora, Child and Adolescence Mental Health Services.

“The very agency that is set up to help children with their mental health has only 70% of confidence in it by principals“

Pat Newton believes that if they do not address these issues it will cause more problems.

“Te Roopu Kimiora is supposed to be the experts if they aren’t there to help us where do we send them? We have to expel, we have to suspend, we have to stand down.”

But the responsibility is in the hands of the adults.

“Because children don’t have a choice, adults who get paid to do a job have a choice and if their job is not being done then they shouldn't be in the job.”

Te Roopu Kimiora have replied to these claims with a statement.

“This is not how we see ourselves but the concerns raised by the Principals are important and we are very committed to working together for the betterment of services for the people of Northland.

“While we are near fully resourced (FTE against budget), our specialist team are seeing 70 percent more than what our specialist service is mandated to provide, therefore we are already working well beyond our original scope.

“I do take the principals concerns seriously and have offered to meet.

“Please note that not all issues related to behavioural or conduct issues in the classroom require a mental health service referral and difficulties with learning might include language and learning delay, social and emotional difficulties, physical and sensory challenges, behaviour and wellbeing.”

However Newton feels more still needs to be done.

“The need is around having responsive mental health facilities for our children.”