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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”.


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23 Responses to
Kaleen High: Perhaps it’s time to close?
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localmum 12:39 pm 24 Jul 14

We have kids there – they love it, our year 8 girl wouldn’t swap her “lovely little school” for anything. Lots of positives, eg teachers know the kids, small size allows for flexibility. As a current parent of the school I’d be more than happy to recommend it.

Kelly74 12:15 am 29 Oct 13

I found Mr Fowler’s comments very disappointing and I agree hysterical. Mr Fowler felt fit to attack the person not the issue which I personally find gutless. If we’ve learned anything from the unions in the past 6 year it is that leakers are only despicable and gutless if they are not your leaker. Please Mr Fowler, write some new material and stop posting these asinine union handbook retorts.

sepi 5:18 pm 27 Oct 13

LYneham High is already getting fussy about taking out-of-area kids, due to getting full, so I dont’ think they’ll want extras if Kaleen were closed.

they need to find a way to stay viable until the population explosion hits high school in a few years.

Maybe they could target Gungahlin area kids – Lots of people don’t want their kids at the superschool and are looking at private.

milkman 11:59 am 27 Oct 13

Circus and ukelele programs? Sounds like they’re preparing our future MLAs…

Seriously though, programs like this are great for kids. Having fun while developing skills is a Good Thing.

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 7:14 am 27 Oct 13

Kale eb high needs to be given the same treatment as Taylor primary got(for the same reasons), but ASAP, before the new suburbs are filled.

Kayem 9:13 pm 26 Oct 13

breda said :

… and here is a sponsored message from the AEU:

“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.”
———————————————
Well, Glenn, I suspect that many parents don’t want school staff to be “passionate” – apart from recent events where that has got out of hand, there is a lot to be said for being calm, level-headed and even-handed. “Passionate” and “professional” are uneasy bedfellows at best, and contradictory at worst.

Why are the attacks “gutless”? Because you don’t like them?

There may well be a good case for keeping the school open, but emoting like a hysterical 14 year old is hardly the way to promote it.

I think the answer to your question is that Mr Fowler has put his response to this thread under his actual name, whereas Big_Ed has chosen to post a severe criticism on an important topic to the local community based on anecdote under a pseudonym. Hence Mr Fowler’s comment of “gutless”. I have no opinion on whether Kaleen High should be shut down or not, and Mr Fowler’s position is obviously from a specific place, but he has made his position and affiliation clear to readers, which Big_Ed has not done. Your affiliations are also not clear. For the record, my affiliation is towards logic, reason and transparency, but I won’t be disclosing my identity as these are general concerns that I am sure the majority of readers would claim to support.

breda 3:31 pm 26 Oct 13

… and here is a sponsored message from the AEU:

“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.”
———————————————
Well, Glenn, I suspect that many parents don’t want school staff to be “passionate” – apart from recent events where that has got out of hand, there is a lot to be said for being calm, level-headed and even-handed. “Passionate” and “professional” are uneasy bedfellows at best, and contradictory at worst.

Why are the attacks “gutless”? Because you don’t like them?

There may well be a good case for keeping the school open, but emoting like a hysterical 14 year old is hardly the way to promote it.

JC 12:03 pm 26 Oct 13

So OP if Kaleen were to close where would you send the kids? Unlike other areas where high schools have closed (Charnwood for example) it’s not like there is another school all that close. The closest would be Lyneham, Melba or even Gold Creek. All a tad too far.

Guess one alternative is a super school like the Higgins and Holt Primary that were combined with Ginninderra High to form Kingsford Smith School at Holt, but personally I hate the idea of K to 10 (or is it K to 12) in the one school.

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

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