Rabain promises talks with Elliot parents
The fate of a school's Primary 1 class in line for possible cancellation has not yet been decided, the education minister said on Wednesday.
Diallo Rabain said that a final decision had not been made on the future of the class at Elliot Primary School in Devonshire.
He added: “We have not begun formal consultation with parents.
“Until we have the conversation with the parents, a decision cannot be made on what happens.”
Mr Rabain said that he had a “productive” meeting with staff at the school on Tuesday.
He added: “There was much learnt from the staff and their input will certainly be taken into account when consulting with parents.”
Mr Rabain said that class closures were not being considered at other schools.
But he said that the low enrolment number seen at Elliot was not an isolated case.
Mr Rabian explained: “Enrolment for P1 across the system was 60 students less than last year.”
He added that enrolment for preschools was also down by 60 pupils from last year.
Mr Rabain said the decrease was due primarily to a declining birthrate and emigration and that talks about school enrolment “will be ongoing, even into the next school year”.
He added that the Government had started to look at enrolment projections for the next six to eight years.
Mr Rabain said: “This data will undoubtedly be critical as we look to the future of public education in Bermuda and its inevitable restructuring as we phase out middle schools.”
He was speaking after parents of potential Elliot pupils were told that the class could be axed next year because only four children had been enrolled.
A letter, from Valerie Robinson-James, the education ministry's permanent secretary, said that the “Minister of Education determines the maximum enrolment for primary schools based on school registration”.
She added: “While he has not yet made a decision on the maximum enrolment for Elliot Primary School, it is his provisional view that Elliot Primary School should not have a P1 class due to low enrolment in September 2019.”
Potential Elliot parents were offered places at another school.
Mr Rabain said that the best interests of pupils would continue to inform decisions made by the Department of Education.
He added: “Sometimes this may mean making decisions that not everybody will agree with, but the vision is to set students on an education path that will ultimately prepare them to compete both locally and globally.”
• To view the Minister of Education's full comments on Elliot Primary, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”