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Parents plan demo if talks fail

Victor Scott Primary School parents want talks with the Ministry of Education to evade public marches over the planned switching of principals.

Parent Teachers Association president Azuhaa Coleman said the campaign against the shake-up has received backing from parents from at least one other school earmarked for change at the top, TN Tatem Middle School.

But Mrs Coleman said her group will give the Ministry time to respond to its concerns before deciding whether to follow through with its threat of demonstrations.

It follows a heated PTA meeting at the school on Wednesday night, at which Ministry officials and Minister Dame Jennifer Smith came under fire from parents.

“We raised a lot of points at the meeting, but the Ministry was only really there in observer mode,” she told

The Royal Gazette yesterday.

“We are writing to the Ministry stating the reason for our fight and disappointment, and telling them we want to give them the opportunity to speak.

“We understand that the Ministry had the right to move the principal but we also believe they abused their power because they didn’t speak with us first.

“Nobody knows how well a school is doing better than the parents.”

The shake-up, announced by Dame Jennifer this month, will see Victor Scott principal Valerie Williams moved to East End Primary at the start of the 2012/13 year; East End principal Idonia Beckles will move to TN Tatem; TN Tatem principal Francine McMahon will move to Purvis Primary School; and Purvis principal Judith Alexander will move to Victor Scott.

Dame Jennifer has said the principals’ individual strengths are being matched to the schools they will be joining and the move will “distribute equity across schools”.

But parents at Victor Scott believe the Ministry is trying to fix something which isn’t broken.

Mrs Coleman said she has received numerous messages of support since Wednesday night’s meeting, including from TN Tatem parents who she said are protesting in a quieter manner.

She stressed the anger is towards the Ministry’s decision rather than Dame Jennifer herself.

The Ministry of Education yesterday declined to comment on the switches and the discontent from parents.

Meanwhile the Ministry would also not reveal details on plans for Prospect Primary School, where parents reacted angrily when staff development officer Terry Cox was parachuted in as executive principal alongside principal Shangri-La Durham-Thompson in January.

“We will not be providing a public comment on Prospect Primary and this is a position that we and the Association of School Principals have agreed,” said Permanent Secretary Warren Jones.

“However, what I will clarify is that Dr Durham-Thompson was, and continues to be, the principal of Prospect Primary.”

Parents could organise marches to protest over planned to move some school principals, including Victor Scott.

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Published March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am (Updated March 23, 2012 at 10:06 am)

Parents plan demo if talks fail

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