Skip to main content

Rural and Remote Education - WA


and Remote Education - WA

Meeting with Kununurra District

High School students, 17 May 1999 - notes

About 14 students,

both boys and girls from grades 7-12 attended. They were asked to identify

Kununurra District High School Students

  • What they liked

    about their school

  • What they disliked

    about their school

  • What they would

    like to change about their school

The following issues

were raised.

Physical environment

  • Students like

    the trees and gardens in the school, and the easily accessible water

    fountains around the school grounds.

  • "The water fountains

    are important because it's so hot and you need water."

  • "All the rooms

    should be closer together. It's too spread out."


  • Students like

    the opportunities to study music. The school has a lot of musical instruments.

  • "You ask the music

    teacher and show him you're interested in it and not going to muck around,

    and he gives you some basic music to start with and you just get better

    and better as you learn it. You do recorder first. He supplies the instruments.

    He's got about 30 guitars, 4 saxophones, clarinets . but he says its

    good if you've got your own."

  • There is a school

    band in high school.

  • The CROC Eisteddfod

    is being held in Kununurra in July. Schools from the region perform

    dance and theatre to music. Kununurra school will be doing a performance

    on the stages of life.


Students like:

  • the good sports

    equipment at the school

  • the sports carnival.

    They also compete against other schools once a year

  • indoor cricket,

    basketball and athletics.

Some students wanted

more alternatives in sport.

  • "I think we should

    have other sports other than athletics. We don't have a footy team at

    the school." "There is Junior football in town but its not at school."

  • "We have sports

    carnival and Champion Boy and stuff like that but I just think they

    should have something for the kids that aren't really good athletes

    because some kids can't run fast and can't throw a ball as far as some

    other people. It would be good if it wasn't all athletics for the kids

    that weren't really good at it."

  • "The Champion

    Boy, the same kid gets it every time, because they always get the kid

    that can run the fastest. I think they should give it to the kid that

    tried the hardest, and didn't do so well but tried hard."


Some students like

having a variety of study options. For example,

  • cooking
  • metalwork and


  • sports subjects
  • Pastoral Care

    Program, where you can chose a range of activities. For example, in

    Years 11 and 12 there are clubs at school which students can join. One

    student participates in a police cadet program as part of Pastoral Care,

    and he learns navigation, abseiling, knot-tying etc.

Computer use

  • The students like

    computer studies.

  • "We like the computer

    room, which can be used in recess and lunch, because we don't have a

    computer at home. We can do our assignments."

  • They use the computer

    sometimes for the internet. They have computer classes where they learn

    to use keyboards. If they are doing an assignment a teacher will show

    them how to use the internet. In some classes they have a roster to

    use the computer in the classroom.

  • They would like

    more laptop computers. "More laptops at the school. You used to be able

    to take them home but then some of them got busted and we weren't allowed

    to use them."

  • Students want

    more computers and more internet access. They have big Pentiums but

    not enough of them.

Distance education

  • Some students

    in the group studied outside subjects through distance education. These

    were mostly Years 11 and 12, and were in subjects such as physics, chemistry,

    economics and calculus.

  • One student liked

    distance education because he could study at his own pace.

  • "I really like

    when you do outside subjects you can do them at your own pace, so you

    when you are cruising you can cruise and when you get into trouble you

    can just do it slow. Instead of what everyone in the whole class wants

    to do."

  • It takes about

    2-3 weeks for assignments to come back. Students can always ring the

    distance teachers. If the specific teacher isn't there someone else

    will help. If you can't get in contact with them, a student can always

    ask someone else doing the course. Other teachers at the school can

    also help if you are really stuck. Students also got a free period to

    study their subject.

  • Japanese is the

    only language students can study as an option. One Year 12 student said

    he had studied Japanese by phone three times a week and it was pretty


  • Students who study

    distance education want more contact with their teachers in Perth. "We

    need more opportunity to see outside teachers down in Perth. We did

    go on a camp this year, and it was a good camp to go on. Very educational,

    it helps a lot if you see SIDE teachers." One student had heard that

    the funding for visits to Perth was going to stop. "I think they've

    taken the funding out of it. This was our last visit. But for year 11"s

    next year, I'm not sure what's going to happen."


  • Students liked

    school excursions and would like more of them.

  • "We went to Darwin

    for the Reconciliation conference" (Aboriginal girl). Ten students went

    from the school.

  • In Year 7 they

    go on a week-long camp to Batchelor, NT. Students have their own small

    dormitory. Activities include abseiling, rockclimbing, underwater hockey

    etc. Although everyone gets to go, "you have to be good up until then.

    If you are bad and get in trouble you can't go."

  • The Year 7 excursion

    is expensive so the students fundraise. "We understand why it's expensive

    because we stay there for week and we have to pay for all our food."

    Most students attend. The students go to the local shopping centre and

    set up car washes, and do $100 boards to fundraise for the trip. "It

    helps with the food and the extra money."

"Going on" to Year

12 in Kununurra

  • Students chose

    whether they want to do the Tertiary Entrance subjects in Year 10. There

    are only about 10 students in Year 12 and about 25 in Year 11. Only

    about 10 do TE courses. A few students leave for boarding school in

    Perth. Others leave school.

  • Senior students

    are glad that they stayed in Kununurra instead of going away to boarding

    school, although a few of their friends had left to boarding school

    in Perth or Darwin. One student thought it would be good either way.

  • "Their parents

    reckoned that they could get a better education and more opportunity

    if they were down south at a big boarding school, or with other relatives."

  • One student went

    to boarding school for a year. "I actually went down there for Year

    9 to boarding school and I thought it was quite different. The boarding

    part was quite fun, but the school teachers didn't have time for the

    kids and didn't really worry about you that much, especially compared

    to up here with such small classes."

  • Senior students

    like the small classes. "Small classes are easy to learn. Not many kids.

    In English we have only five kids."

  • "I went to Darwin

    High before we came here and it was huge, and then we came here and

    it was much easier to learn, you might only have 20 kids in your class

    but there is more opportunity to learn and teachers do really care about

    if you pass or not."

  • Most students

    in the junior years preferred to stay in Kununurra. One student who

    is in Year 9 would like to stay in Kununurra but needs to do Year 11

    and 12 to get into the job she wants to do. Others also want to stay.

    "All the people I know who've come back from boarding school I don't


  • One student in

    Year 7 is going to Perth in Year 10 because her parents think she will

    get a better education. She is happy about that and is "looking forward

    to getting away" although she will miss her family.

Travel to school

Some students have

to go to school by bus. For some of the students this was a half hour

trip. Some buses go out to the communities and pick up children, for example

from Lakeside. There is also bus that goes out to the border of NT to

pick children up at about 6am.


Senior students liked

not having to wear a uniform. For younger students it is compulsory but

as long as it is plain and you don't wear huge logos, it is not so strict.

Homework and workload

  • One Year 7 student

    felt he got too much homework, especially in English, social studies

    and maths.

  • Another year junior

    high school student felt under pressure from some teachers. "Some of

    the teachers, every minute of the day it's work, work, work. In the

    middle of the day you've gotta have some fun sometimes, but some teachers

    are so hard to please. Sometimes they expect too much."

Canteen food

  • There are long

    queues at the canteen at recess and lunch. "Sometimes you wait all recess

    to get some food. You have about a minute to scoff it all down."

  • Some students

    do not like the food at the canteen as they can only buy "healthy" food.

    There is no Coke, only juices. They also think the food is too expensive.

  • "The Year 11 and

    12s can go down the shop at lunch time, but the younger grades can't.

    You have to wait to Year 11."

School hours

  • Some students

    think school starts too early (8am). Although school finishes as early

    as 2.10pm, it gets dark early in Kununurra.

  • One student wanted

    longer recesses (currently 15 mins) and lunches (currently 30 mins).

    "I think you should extend recess and lunch so you can play basketball

    or whatever".

Other students

  • "What I like is

    the other people at school."

  • "Some of the students

    are mean." "We've got benches in Year 7 and there's this kid and some

    other kids and they think they're the boss and everything, and they

    try to take over the bench for all their friends."


The students want

lockers because they always carry around their heavy bags.

Senior school

"I'd make it just

a high school, not a little kid's school. So you've got Year 10, 11 and

12, so we don't have to share resources and it can all go towards big



updated 2 December 2001.