Troubles at Kamo High to cost jobs

By Mike Barrington

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A falling roll is forcing Kamo High School to look at reducing staff numbers.

Principal Gavin Greenfield, who took the reins at Kamo High last month, said a reduction of the number of students attending the school from about 1400 in recent years to 1050 this year, meant he had a lower staff entitlement with the Ministry of Education.

The Northern Advocate had heard up to 10 teachers might lose their jobs. Mr Greenfield rejected that number, but confirmed some staff would be lost.

"We won't know how many are leaving until we have looked over the situation during the next couple of months," he said.

The staff reduction would depend on enrolments, the courses students wanted to take and other factors.

"We are hoping most of the reduction will be achieved through natural attrition such as staff resigning and not being replaced," Mr Greenfield said.

While Mr Greenfield had been at Kamo High only about eight weeks, he was optimistic about the school's future.

"We're positive about roll growth as new initiatives being put in place kick in," he said.

With 1389 students in 2010, Kamo was the biggest school in Whangarei, but troubles at the school have seen the roll drop 24 per cent to 1049 now.

Following a critical report by the Education Review Office last year, the secretary of Education appointed a statutory manager, Chris Saunders, to take over some of the roles of the school board.

The school community was further shocked when principal Bernie Taffs resigned unexpectedly at the start of this year. By March 1, more than 130 students had dropped off the roll. Mr Saunders will continue his intervention at the school until the Ministry of Education is satisfied changes have been implemented.

Meanwhile, an interim team of senior managers have been introducing new management practices to address problems which the ERO identified at the school last year and the KHS Board of Trustees has initiated meetings to get community input into the future direction of the school.

- Northern Advocate

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