Roll low at Kamo High School but hopes high

By Mike Barrington

Kamo High School is reducing its teaching staff because its student roll is falling.

But the school's problems are easing after a few difficult years and its statutory manager, Chris Saunders, yesterday forecast a fine future with a return to its former status.

He indicated he was "not too far off" advising Education Minister Hekia Parata that Kamo High was back to performing as it should. When that happened, his limited statutory intervention in the school's administration would be revoked and full powers would be returned to the school's board of trustees.

Mr Saunders hinted his recommendation could go to the minister early next year.

He began working with Kamo High in June last year after the Education Review Office produced a critical report on the school.

One of his main objectives, following the unexpected resignation of principal Bernie Taffs at the beginning of this year, was to appoint a new principal.

Gavin Greenfield, who took the job in September, yesterday said the school did not yet know how many teachers would be shed "but it will certainly be less than 10".

Kamo High was the biggest school in Whangarei in 2010 with 1389 students. The roll this year was 1047 and the estimated roll for next year is 960. It was hoped most of the teacher reduction could be achieved through natural attrition.

Mr Greenfield said the school had eight or nine teachers on leave which could be extended. Other teachers were taking maternity leave which could cover the need to reduce staff.

He said he was enjoying working at Kamo and he considered the school's NCEA results compared favourably with other schools.

Meanwhile, while the Kamo High roll has been sliding, student numbers have been rising at other schools in the area.

Tikipunga High School principal Peter Garelja said his school's roll had risen from 463 in 2010 to 496 last year.

It was 535 now and while the ministry had estimated its roll next year at 550 the school anticipated it could reach 600.

Huanui College official Phi Wilson said the private school had opened in 2010 with 76 Year 7-9 students. It now had 184 Year 7-11 students and the roll was expected to rise next year, when Year 12 classes would begin.

Whangarei Boys' High School headmaster Al Kirk said his school had 1002 students in 2010, 1022 last year, 1027 now, and the roll next year was expected to reach 1050.

Post Primary Teachers' Association communications advisor Anna Kirtlan said staff reductions like Kamo High was experiencing were happening all over the country now because staffing entitlements had to be wrapped up by November 27.

- Northern Advocate

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