The principal of the Salesian College Rupertswood, Sunbury, explains the closure of the Battery in their latest school newsletter.
As you would be well aware, I undertook a full and independent review of the Rupertswood Battery during Term 1 of this year. The review has now been completed and the reviewer, Mr Frank Rice (Secondary Consultant, Northern Region of the Catholic Education Office), has submitted his report to the College Advisory Council. At it’s meeting on April 28, the Council unanimously accepted the recommendation of the Report, which was also endorsed by the College Leadership Team, namely to “cease operation of the Rupertswood Battery, effective immediately”. The main reasons behind the recommendation were:
- A lack of staff support for the Battery and its supervision
- Safety concerns (ie. First aid, training activities)
- Membership only available to boys
- The use of firearms and their appropriateness within a school environment
- Lack of a suitable venue for activities and equipment
- The considerable financial commitment required to continue the operation of a group which only supports a very small membership
Not all aspects of the Report were negative; much of the feedback received focused on the importance of the College’s connection with its history. The Council was supportive of the College exploring ways in which the historical aspects of the Battery could be preserved, and discussions regarding these will take place in coming weeks. I am very aware that this decision will be met with disappointment by some members of the College community, especially by those students and their parents who have been connected with the Battery in some way.
The Battery has served a very useful purpose here at the College over the course of the last 34 years, due mainly to the work of its Commanding Officer, Mr Tony Menhennitt. It is entirely appropriate that as we move to wind up the activities of the Battery in line with the review, the College will give due consideration as to how it can best honour the work of Mr Menhennitt and those who have served the Battery over the years.
Mark Brockhus, Principal