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Kaleen High: Perhaps it’s time to close?

By Big_Ed - 25 October 2013 23

For the past 10 years Kaleen High School’s enrolments have been dropping steadily and steeply. If you walk past the play area at lunch now you will see only a couple of dozen kids and in the corridors, I am told, it’s quite sparse during lesson changes. Even the canteen I am also told is becoming no longer viable. My friend who works there has put in for the transfer round because based on enrolments for next year she says it is going to be hell for teachers. It appears that next year staff will again be cut and the remaining staff will have to take up the slack and provide the same level of service. A level already unnecessarily inflated.

You see, in a desperate attempt to attract new enrolments, the principal has over-reached by attempting to offer every ad hoc program under the sun, some as fanciful as a circus and ukulele programs (I kid you not). Even a somewhat cynical re-branding of the school with the prefix University of Canberra has had no effect. Enrolments however continue to drop but now the staff are exhausted and are trying to flee the sinking ship.

Kaleen High is a large building, built for 700 plus kids, it has a running costs in the millions and is now populated by only a handful of kids. Per child they are costing tax payers more than any others in the ACT. However given diminishing staff numbers,  fanciful expectations and low morale amongst the staff it seems the kids are doing no better. So maybe now is the time we bite the bullet and say, “Kaleen High School, perhaps it’s time to close”.

What’s Your opinion?


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23 Responses to
Kaleen High: Perhaps it’s time to close?
Roundhead89 12:01 pm 26 Oct 13

Circus and ukelele programs? Sounds like ACT Education is continuing with the proud tradition of registered/recreational courses which started when I was at Phillip College (now Canberra College) in 1976. During that period we had a two hour mid-session (lunch break) and for one hour we had to do a certain amount of registered courses to gain our Year 12 certificate. I did glasshouse farming, compiling the College yearbook, cycling and the College radio station.

I now go to Southern Cross gym and during the lunch hour there are kids from Canberra College there doing muscle building routines as their registered course. It is called a well-rounded education.

sepi 9:55 pm 25 Oct 13

Primary schools in north canberra are all bursting at the seams, with some not even allowing siblings in, if the family have moved out of area. Kids are already in demountables. Some inner north schools have almost doubled in size in about 5 years.

I’m sure Kaleen high will be packed with kids in about 4 years. Unless enrolments will drop to almost nothing in the next couple of years they would be mad to close it.

Glenn_Fowler_AEU 1:35 pm 25 Oct 13

Big_Ed has posed a question and I’d like to pose one also: Why doesn’t Big_Ed stop hiding behind anonymity and declare who he is?
It is despicable to use information obtained by an individual in their employment to publicly embarrass and besmirch the reputations of dozens of passionate, professional staff at UC High School Kaleen. These are people who get up every morning to build a community that is strong enough to withstand gutless attacks like this. Kaleen will go on long after Big-Ed crawls back into the woodwork.
I’d encourage the staff to ignore this individual’s post and to have a very happy World Teachers Day. On this day in particular, they deserve our admiration and support.
Glenn Fowler, Secretary AEU ACT Branch

turbotim 12:36 pm 25 Oct 13

Deref said :

turbotim said :

My favourite drug dealer went to KH and he’s a clown.

So he’s gainfully employed in two fields of endeavour!

True, and when the Big Kahuna Burger opens it’ll prove UC really is cutting edge.

Kelly74 12:21 pm 25 Oct 13

I think we Canberrans get a little hysterical about school closures but if the numbers are down and the teachers are stressed out then it’s time to shut the doors. If the OP is right about his numbers then the school is less than a third below capacity. It is very low and I would agree a cost/benefit analysis needs to be done.

switch 12:04 pm 25 Oct 13

turbotim said :

My favourite drug dealer went to KH and he’s a clown.

Did he play the uke?

Deref 11:53 am 25 Oct 13

turbotim said :

My favourite drug dealer went to KH and he’s a clown.

So he’s gainfully employed in two fields of endeavour!

housebound 11:22 am 25 Oct 13

As a strong advocate for small schools, I would never support closing a school just because of comments like this from outsiders. You don’t know the demographic and what works/doesn’t work for them. The ‘circus and ukele’ programs you are so critical of are probably part of a program that most schools have: a couple of hours every couple of weeks to give the kids the chance to do something different that could not possibly be accommodated in the national curriculum. It’s a chance to test the market for courses (e.g. programming, robotics), or to give the less academic kids something to look forward to (various crafts, non-mainstream sports, and the like).

That said, Kaleen High was on the original 2006 hit list, but removed at the last minute. The claim was that it was due to the influence of a certain Chief Minister (it’s in Hansard somewhere). It will probably never close while the ALP is in power.

poetix 10:51 am 25 Oct 13

I don’t see what’s wrong with circus and ukulele programmes! Sounds like fun.

I looked it up and there are over 200 students there, which is small, but more than a handful.

gazket 10:30 am 25 Oct 13

Big_Ed how are you walking past school play areas and looking down corridors ? I’m sure that’s illegal.

turbotim 10:24 am 25 Oct 13

My favourite drug dealer went to KH and he’s a clown.

enrique 10:22 am 25 Oct 13

http://goo.gl/maps/kiuF8

You see that nice open expanse of land just across the road called Lawson. Part of that will soon be turning into a suburb of houses… new families… babies –> kids –> teenagers… which will need a high school

http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/significant_projects/planning_studies/lawson_planning_study

http://www.lda.act.gov.au/?/home/residential/lawson

Rollersk8r 10:00 am 25 Oct 13

Kaleen High has its problems but you don’t have the first clue what you’re on about.

It’s great you and your teacher friend get to decide how precious taxpayers’ money is allocated. Would have to be the first time I’ve heard that old ‘waste of money’ line applied to a public school with more than its fair share of kids who need special programs.

I hear Canberra’s hospitals are struggling too – let’s close ’em! Waste of money! Doing all sorts of operations that you and me don’t need!

Seriously, get some perspective, especially of the first hand variety, before you go off on someone else’s rant.

Deref 9:56 am 25 Oct 13

Demographic swings and roundabouts. With the new Gungahlin being built along the western side of Baldwin Driver there’ll soon be vast hordes of high school aged kids ready to repopulate Kaleen High. Mothballing it for a few years would make sense, but selling it off or demolishing it would be short-sighted at best.

shirty_bear 9:38 am 25 Oct 13

On the upside, the bizarre UC tie-in now starts to make some sense. Or at least, seems less inexplicable…

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