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School closures meetings to start this week

East End Primary School, earmarked to be retained under plans to revamp the education system (File photograph)

A series of virtual meetings to discuss proposals to slash the number of public primary schools is to start next week.

An education ministry spokeswoman said it was hoped a “broad cross section of Bermuda’s public” would join the meetings to discuss the plan to close nine of the 18 primary schools.

The schools system would revamped to introduce a single school in each parish, except Pembroke, which would have two, with a new school built in Devonshire.

The first of the public meetings – to be held on video conference app Zoom – will start at 6pm on Tuesday, with more to follow on Thursday and February 1, to start at the same time.

The public meetings on Thursday and February 1, will be broadcast on CITV, YouTube and Facebook Live with viewers will be able to call in or message their questions and give their views.

The spokeswoman said: “These meetings are a vital part of the consultation process and ensure the general public has the opportunity to learn more about the proposal for the introduction of parish primary schools, to share their views and ask questions.”

She added: “For many years, our community has called for change in regard to our public education system and, with the help of all stakeholders, we are taking steps to dramatically improve the quality of education in Bermuda so that each and every child's learning is designed around their strengths and interests, their social and emotional needs, as well as their personal goals.

“The Ministry of Education understands that education reform is an issue of significant national importance, which is why we are seeking public input and gathering feedback over the next six weeks before determining the next steps forward.”

The spokeswoman said the meetings would focus on the broad issues and that virtual meetings would be held in February and March to concentrate on six parishes.

The timings for the meetings are:

St George’s – February 2 and February 4

Devonshire – February 8 and February 10

Pembroke – February 16 and February 18

Paget – February 22 and February 24

Southampton – February 23 and February 25

Sandys – March 2 and March 4

All of the meetings will begin at 6pm and, in addition to Zoom, will be broadcast on YouTube, Facebook Live and CITV.

To register for any of the meetings, visit http://parishschools.live/parish.

Zoom registration is required for security reasons to protect the meetings from inappropriate content and disruptions.

The spokeswoman said participants should register early if possible, but that the deadline was 3pm on the day of the meeting.

The parish primary school consultation document is available at www.moed.bm.

Responses to the consultation should be submitted using parish primary school consultation form, which is included with the consultation document.

Submissions can also be made in writing to the Ministry of Education, 44 Church Street, Hamilton, HM 12.

The spokeswoman said questions and comments were welcomed and can be e-mailed to consultation@moed.bm.

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Published January 24, 2021 at 5:07 pm (Updated January 24, 2021 at 5:08 pm)

School closures meetings to start this week

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