A Whangarei school principal says a system designed to improve support for at-risk children appears to be bogged down in paperwork.
The Gateway programme began two years ago to co-ordinate the roles of Child, Youth and Family, doctors, schools and mental health services for children in care.
But Horahora primary school principal Pat Newman said from what he has seen, the gateway is blocked.
He said he has been trying since March to get an assessment for a young pupil with serious anger problems who hurts other children on a daily basis.
Mr Newman said various agencies have filed their observations about the boy and though he clearly needs specialist help, there has been no action. Now his classmates are afraid of him and have begun to exclude him.
Child, Youth and Family said it understood the boy was doing well at school, but if his Gateway assessment throws up other issues it will address them.
The head of another school, who has asked not be named to protect the identity of children, said disturbed new entrants are increasingly common, and he has had a teacher close to leaving because of their appalling behaviour.
In the worst case, he said a boy was not only violent to teachers and children, his behaviours were also sexualised.
The principal said the boy would leave the school whenever he felt like it and had to be watched and tracked constantly to keep him safe.
He said the Ministry of Education provided funding for extra teacher-aide hours, but it did not cover the full cost of dealing with the child.