Permission needed before students can transfer between public schools
Parents wishing to transfer their students to a new public school will now require permission from the Ministry of Education.
Minister Jennifer Smith told the House of Assembly yesterday the new policy was aimed at ensuring the interests of a child came first, not to add red tape to the process.
She said: “There are a number of reasons why a transfer might become necessary. The obvious one would be because of a change of residence. That is most common and the action to be taken is usually mutually agreed between principal and parent. It is not the intent of this process to stop any such legitimate transfer.
“However, there are occasionally transfer requests which require closer examination.
“Let me give you an example: A student comes to school and staff notice changes in that student's behaviour or appearance. Staff and/or the principal bring their observations to the attention of the parent.
“If that parent wants to avoid attention, as the policy presently stands, the parent may transfer the child within a matter of days and there is little or no opportunity for any intervention.
“In addition, the school receiving that student has no knowledge of any concerns or possible issues concerning that transfer.”
Dame Jennifer said she was aware of a primary school student who has been transferred into four schools across the Island, which has disrupted the child's learning.
Parents wishing to transfer students to a new public school will now have to complete a form, which must be approved by the Assistant Director for Education, Standards and Accountability in the student's school zone.
The Assistant Director will liaise with the school and if any concerns are raised further interviews will take place. If necessary, the Assistant Director will coordinate with Child and Family Services.
The process must be completed within ten days of the application being filed and parents have the right to appeal the decision to a committee.
Dame Jennifer added: “There is also the matter of the transfer of students from private schools or home schools to the public school system.
“In this regard, the principal of the [school the child is entering] must advise their zone Assistant Director of the request. If the Principal is confident of the reason for the transfer and can accommodate the student, the Assistant Director will approve the transfer.
“If, however, there is any concern, the relevant Assistant Director will interview the parents and the private or home school principal/administrator to determine the reason for the transfer to determine how the public school system may best serve the incoming student.
“Any student leaving the public school system, for any reason, will be the subject of an exit interview, arranged by the relevant Assistant Director with the parent or guardian.
“While we have no desire to impede the right of parents to determine where their children go to school, we take our responsibility to meet the needs of the children we are charged with educating seriously.”