Overseas schools redesign team to be paid $2.1m
An overseas company asked to redesign Bermuda’s public school system will be paid more than $2 million, it has been revealed.
A notice published in the Official Gazette on Monday said that Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand would get $2.1 million for a two-and-a-half year contract due to end in September next year.
Diallo Rabain, the education minister, announced last March that the international firm was chosen after a tender was put out for outside help to restructure public schools.
He said then that “an estimated $950,000” had been budgeted for work by the firm in 2020.
Innovation, in partnership with the Department of Education, designed the Government’s multiyear Learning First programme, which involves a restructure of the entire public school system over the next five years in a bid to boost performance.
A consultation paper released in December proposed reducing the number of primary schools from 18 to ten by closing nine schools, renovating nine and building one new one.
It also proposed the abolition of middle schools and the introduction of five senior-level signature schools, plus a special needs school and an “alternative education” school for youngsters with emotional and behavioural problems.
The primary schools consultation will end on March 12 and a further consultation on the signature schools plan is expected to follow.
Innovation Unit was one of three organisations to submit proposals to the Ministry of Education, but the only one to make it past the vetting stage.
Mr Rabain said the firm brought “the diversity of experience to the table which will help us create a unique Bermudian-based solution for the Bermuda public school system, that will be looked at with admiration, from an international eye”.
Innovation said on its website: “We grow and scale the boldest and best innovations that deliver long-term impact for people, address persistent inequalities, and transform the systems that surround them.
“We do this by coaching leaders and their teams as they introduce difficult changes. And we help build local capability to ensure that new ways of working will be maintained long after our work is complete.”
It added about 60 teachers, principals, Department of Education officials, parents, and community and business leaders in Bermuda were formed into design teams at the end of last year.
Those teams are now working with subject matter experts on six priority areas.
These are design principles for learning, curriculum, teaching, learning environments, education workforce strategy and graduate outcomes, and credentialling.
The website said: "By mid 2021, the work in these priority areas will come together with the decisions from a public consultation into detailed design briefs for individual schools.
“The briefs will form the basis for local school design teams to interpret the requirements of the priorities and develop features of their particular school that are responsive to their local context and needs.
“With the support of the department, Innovation Unit and professional development activities, school design teams will then plan for and implement these new features over time.”
Innovation Unit said it has an eight-strong team working on the Bermuda project.
The Official Gazette notice listed seven Ministry of Education contracts that totalled $2.9 million, including the Innovation Unit contract.
They included $90,000 in rent to Bermuda Universal Electric for an “Education Reform Office” and $95,000 to Think SR for a year-long communications contract.