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Histories of Devonshire schools facing axe may be preserved

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Prospect Primary School in Devonshire (File photograph by Akil Simmons)
Elliot Primary School in Devonshire (File photograph)

History may be preserved in the proposed remake of two Devonshire primary schools under the Government’s proposed educational reforms, a consultation forum heard last night.

Diallo Rabain, the education minister, told Devonshire residents that while two of the parish’s schools could be repurposed as signature schools, the move would not preclude the renaming of school buildings or classrooms to take into account the “historical narratives around all our primary schools”.

Mr Rabain responded after a guest in the virtual forum on school reforms asked about the role of school’s “historical significance” in the Government’s proposed reforms of public education.

Under the proposal, Devonshire is unique among parishes in getting its own fresh-built primary school.

The school would be built on the site of the K. Margaret Carter Centre specialist school at Roberts Avenue.

Elliot Primary would become an alternative education signature school, and Prospect Primary would be converted to a signature school for exceptionalities.

Mr Rabain told residents that a proposal for enshrining the history of the schools in a new social studies curriculum was “a great idea”.

He added: “We will take that under advisement.”

The reform, which has no set timeline, would leave each parish with a single primary school with the exception of Pembroke, which would be left with two.

It would mean cutting the island’s total public primary schools from 18 to ten.

The concept was well received by last night’s participants.

A survey showed 81 per cent in favour of the new model, with 6 per cent voting no and 13 per cent unsure.

Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, highlighted factors such as space, accessibility and potential for growth in the decision making process.

She said historical significance was not a factor in the study.

But Ms Richards said parish pride in schools meant “communities taking ownership in the success of children”.

She added: “Schools cannot do it alone – it will take a parish.”

Ms Richards said: “Research makes it very clear that support from beyond the school grounds is an essential part of preparing learners for the 21st century.

“Imagine one school per parish with all the parents, lay persons in the neighbourhood, businesses in the community, all rallying together and channelling their energy and efforts into helping their schools in their parishes to be successful.”

The next virtual forum is set for next Tuesday, with Pembroke residents asked to present queries and views.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published February 11, 2021 at 2:24 pm (Updated February 11, 2021 at 2:33 pm)

Histories of Devonshire schools facing axe may be preserved

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