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Nine primary schools face axe in major education revamp

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A total of nine primary schools face closure in one of the biggest shake-ups in the history of the public education system.

The shock news came in a consultation document from the education ministry outlined plans for the creation of just ten parish primary schools - eight down from the 18 in operation at present, although one new school will be built.

The schools under threat include St George’s Preparatory School and St David’s Primary S

Under threat

St George's Preparatory School, St George’s

St David's Primary School, St George’s

Prospect Primary School, Devonshire

Elliot Primary School, Devonshire

Northlands Primary School, Pembroke

Gilbert Institute, Paget

Heron Bay Primary School, Southampton

Port Royal Primary School, Southampton

West End Primary School, Sandys.

To remain open

East End Primary School, St George

Francis Patton Primary School, Hamilton

Harrington Sound Primary School, Smith’s

New Devonshire Primary School, Devonshire

Victor Scott Primary School, Pembroke

West Pembroke Primary School, Pembroke

Paget Primary School, Paget

Purvis Primary School, Warwick

Dalton E Tucker Primary School, Southampton

Somerset Primary School, Sandys.

chool in St George’s and Prospect and Elliot Primaries in Devonshire.

Northlands Primary in Pembroke, Gilbert Institute in Paget, Heron Bay Primary and Port Royal Primary in Southampton and West End Primary School in Sandys also face closure.

The ministry proposed that the two primary schools in Devonshire should be closed and changed into the “exceptionalities signature school and the alternative education signature school”.

A new primary school would be built in the parish.

The ministry said in the consultation document: “Students, families and the community will benefit from the improved delivery of education in 21st century learning facilities that support the curriculum and new teaching and learning models.”

Some of Bermuda’s best performing primary schools face the axe under the proposals.

Among them is aided school St George Prep, which is one of the highest scoring primary schools based on Cambridge Checkpoint assessments.

St George’s Prep achieved the highest score of all primary schools in science in 2018.

St George’s Prep and St David’s Primary outperformed all other primary schools in maths in the same year and were among the top performing schools in all other major subjects.

St George’s Prep scored second best in maths and third place in science last year.

But the consultation document said: “Some stakeholders may wonder why the ministry did not choose schools perceived as the 10 higher performing schools for the system.

“The response is that it would not have been a fair or responsible approach to select schools based on student performance, especially when we know that there is a preponderance of research to support that student achievement is impacted by so many factors that are outside of the control of the learner.”

It was proposed that the public education system would be made up of one primary school per parish, except for Pembroke, which would have two.

There are 2,074 primary school pupils in 18 primary schools – 1,086 fewer than in 2002.

The document said that staff reductions were expected through attrition, retirement and that some would “take up other opportunities within or outside of the Bermuda public school system.“

Each of the schools would become accredited to ensure they meet international standards under the proposals.

The ministry said: “Accreditation is a rigorous process which requires schools to meet international standards and indicators of quality and undergo external inspections of their work by an overseas accreditation team.

“Accredited schools must work continuously to ensure that they maintain evidence that they continue to meet international standards, for student achievement, attainment, and other education outcomes.“

The proposals include the construction of a new parish primary school for Devonshire on the site of the K Margaret Carter Centre on Robert’s Avenue.

It was also proposed that the parish’s Prospect Primary School should shut as a primary school and changed in an “exceptionalities” signature school.

The document said that the K Margaret Carter Centre. for adults with learning and physical disabilities, had “not had the enrolment places to fully accommodate the level of need in the community”.

It added: ”Therefore, it is proposed that the exceptionalities signature school and the K Margaret Carter Centre would be co-located on the same site at Prospect Primary School.“

The consultation paper added the change would provide sufficient enrolment places for students now attending Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy for children with special needs.

The ministry said that it was “open to other ideas” and asked for“critical stakeholder and community participation” in a consultation on its proposals.

The document added: “Examples of alternatives could include recommendations for different parish primary schools, different primary schools for closure, and/or different numbers of schools per parish.”

Submissions can be made at https://forms.gov.bm/Parish-Primary-School-Consultation-Form

Consultation submissions must be submitted by March 12 next year.

For more information, e-mail consultation@moed.bm

West End Primary School (File photograph)
Port Royal Primary School (File photograph)
Heron Bay Primary School (File photograph)
Gilbert Institute (File photograph)
Northlands Primary School (File photograph)
Prospect Primary School (File photograph)
Elliot Primary School (File photograph)
St Georges Preparatory School (File photograph)

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Published December 21, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated December 22, 2020 at 4:10 pm)

Nine primary schools face axe in major education revamp

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