What is detention?

Detention is a consequence that schools may use to address inappropriate student behaviour. Detentions can be applied during school hours, out-of-school hours or on non-school days (for example, a Saturday morning). Principals make a decision about what happens in their school in consultation with their school community.

Why do schools have these powers?

Detention is a disciplinary consequence that principals and teachers may use as an alternative to suspension or exclusion. Principals have the flexibility and autonomy to apply detention as a meaningful consequence for inappropriate student behaviour.

What behaviour warrants a detention?

A detention is given for behaviour that is inappropriate. All schools have a Responsible behaviour plan for students developed with the local community. This plan outlines the behaviours that may lead to a detention and what detention will look like at the school. The community may agree to out-of-school hours detentions, including detentions on the weekend.

Are there any restrictions?

Principals set the rules for detentions, including when and where they are to happen and for how long, based on the age and circumstances of the individual student. Detention is given to students in accordance with the school's Responsible behaviour plan for students and within the parameters outlined in the Safe, supportive and disciplined school environment procedure.

What procedure do I follow when giving detention?

All staff must follow the school's Responsible behaviour plan for students when implementing disciplinary consequences. The department supports schools to implement processes for out-of-hours detention through the Safe, supportive and disciplined school environment procedure.

Are parents involved in the process?

Parents may be notified by the school principal or teacher if a child is placed on detention during school hours, depending on the school's policy. If an out-of-school hours detention is considered an appropriate disciplinary consequence, the principal or teacher must notify parents to negotiate, within parameters, the day, time and duration of the detention and the responsibilities of the student, parent and school in relation to detention supervision arrangements.

What happens if a student refuses to attend?

Consequences for behaviour are outlined in each school's Responsible behaviour plan for students. If a student fails to attend a detention, this may be considered disobedience and the school principal makes a decision about the appropriate course of action. Examples of consequences for non-compliance or non-attendance may be the implementation of a discipline improvement plan or suspension.

Who supervises out-of-school hours detention?

Out-of-school hours detention is supervised by the principal or a teacher. Principals must work within the current industrial framework. Supervisors are entitled to legal liability and worker's compensation as would apply in normal school hours.

Do schools receive additional resources to implement out-of-hours school detention?

Schools implement detentions within the current resources. Schools work with their local community to develop a continuum of support for students with challenging behaviour and to identify strategies that are meaningful to address inappropriate behaviour.

Last updated 02 October 2019