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Four principals to be transferred

Four school principals will switch schools as part of a plan to “share expertise” across the system, Education Minister Dame Jennifer Smith announced yesterday.

Dame Jennifer said principals’ individual strengths would be matched to the schools they will be joining at the start of the 2012/13 year.

However, Shadow Education Minister Grant Gibbons warned parents could be angry if successful teachers are taken away from the schools they’re achieving at.

The Minister did not reveal names of those who will be moved, telling the House of Assembly the principals will be informed of the decision in the coming days.

Dr Gibbons suggested it wasn’t a good sign that the principals didn’t yet know of their switches, claiming dialogue is vital in advance of any shake-up.

In a Ministerial Statement, Dame Jennifer told the House the Ministry is allowed to involuntarily transfer staff through collective bargaining agreements with the Association of School Principals and the Bermuda Union of Teachers.

The Minister said the switches would help share expertise, distribute equity across schools and develop adaptive, flexible and situational leadership.

She continued: “In reviewing the needs of the system and individuals, four transfers will take place effective for the upcoming 2012/13 school year.

“Some may call this making change slowly. While we do want to ensure that system needs are addressed, too much change at one time would not be good for the system.

“These transfers match the strengths of the individual principals with the needs of the schools to which they will be appointed. We believe the matches will be positive ones for the schools, the staff and the students.

“Principals will be informed of these decisions in the coming days and once this is done, the details will be shared with the public.

“These are bold moves that have proven to be successful in jurisdictions that have successfully changed student outcomes in their schools.”

Dame Jennifer said another change will see deputy principals hired across the system instead of being hired by a principal to work in a particular school.

“This change will ensure that the leadership provided in schools is complementary, ensures equity and aids in school and system growth,” she said.

Reacting yesterday, Dr Gibbons told

The Royal Gazette: “Oftentimes parents will be very happy with a principal, particularly when a school is going well.

“If there’s a move, when a school is very successful, to take that principal to another school, oftentimes that will create disruption.

“The parents could feel they are getting a teacher not as good. This has to be handled very carefully.”

In January, the Association of School Principals and parents reacted angrily when staff development officer Terry Cox was parachuted into Prospect Primary School to work as executive principal alongside principal Shangri-La Durham-Thompson.

Dr Gibbons said last night: “I hope they have worked out some of these transfers in advance.

“There’s not a lot of information here from the Ministry and, if the principals haven’t been informed yet, it doesn’t bode well. I worry that’s going to cause more disruption.”

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Published March 15, 2012 at 10:04 am (Updated March 15, 2012 at 10:03 am)

Four principals to be transferred

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