The wellbeing of Northland students, teachers and school leaders is a priority for the Ministry of Education, it says.

Those comment come from Katrina Casey, Ministry of Education deputy secretary, after a Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association survey revealed schools dealing with students showing extreme behaviour.

Self-harm, students attacking and/or threatening to attack teachers or other students, students threatening or attacking property, students swearing at one another and students leaving school without permission is just some of the behaviour principals say they have experienced at school.

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It also showed 19 per cent of principals believed their health had been compromised by the stresses and battles they faced at work, with seven principals saying they felt a sense of dread in coming to work.

Casey said: "All students and staff deserve to feel safe at school. We take these issues seriously and support schools to manage challenging student behaviour. Most schools have clear policies and procedures in place to manage it."

Casey said the Ministry's Northland office had been working hard over the last two years to update the learning support delivery model. This included putting support into specific communities and removing unnecessary bureaucracy to allow whānau and education facilities better support.

She said the average wait time for the behaviour service had gone from 44 days in October 2018 to 28 days. Wait times for Learning Support services, including communication support and early intervention, had been cut from 68 days in October 2018 to 28 days now.

The report found the Ministry's Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour Service - which provides specialist teachers who support schools to manage difficult behaviour - was the most commonly used service and the most highly rated with 76.4 per cent of schools giving it a positive rating.

Casey said there were a number of resources to support teacher wellbeing and challenging behaviour.