Rabain: signature schools to start at two in 2022
Two of the island’s new signature schools are planned to open in September 2022, the education minister announced yesterday.
But Diallo Rabain said the move, which will launch the Progressive Labour Party’s phase-out of middle schools, would only happen after information collection and consultation.
He added the Government had at first planned to open the first two schools in September 2021 but it was decided more time was needed.
Mr Rabain said five to seven signature schools were potentially in the works, with the chance for students with changing interests to take classes at different schools.
He added: “There is talk of between five and seven of them, with two of them, one for exceptionality and one for alternative education.”
Mr Rabain said: “Once we have the firm foundation required with feedback from the widest possible consultation that includes engagement with teachers, parents, young people and the wider public, we will open the first two signature schools in September 2022.
“Only then will the gradual phasing out of middle schools begin, followed by any other structural realignments that have been consulted and agreed on.”
He added the public would be asked their views on plans to have ten public primary schools – one per parish except for two schools in Pembroke.
He told the House of Assembly last Friday the ministry envisaged each school would be “the hub of its parish”.
Bermuda’s switch to a “mega-school” and middle school model in the 1990s was criticised at the time because it was said to have damaged parish identity.
Mr Rabain said “some of the things we’re talking about will be familiar to some of the older people in the community”.
He added: “But we’re not just wholesale going back to an old system that worked for the time it was there.”
MPs heard that the proposal to cut the primary schools could result in the closure of eight schools.
Mr Rabain said yesterday he did not believe the process would result in the loss of high-performing primary schools.
He added: “I’ve always been a firm believer it’s not the building, it’s what is happening inside the building. You can replicate that in any building if you have the right resources, the right personnel and the right attitude.
“I don’t see us losing what people term as high-performing schools. None of our schools in Bermuda are not high-performing.
“We will be gaining an opportunity to do things in a manner that will be critical for all our students, going forward.”
Mr Rabain said: “Repurposed, refurbished and redesigned public primary schools will expand courses and programme offerings to provide students with the range of educational experiences and services that meet international standards.”
He added: “The consultation document will be launched this week and the dates of the public consultation meetings will be shared in the New Year, with this consultation ending in March of 2021.”
The first monthly newsletter from the community-based, 54-member Learning First design team for educational reform was sent out last Friday.
Mr Rabain said the public would be updated through www.learningfirstbda.com.
To read Mr Rabain’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.