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Timeline: 25 years of reforming public education

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Former Minister of Education El James (File photograph)

Timeline: 25 years of reforming public education

1996: Education Act passes and middle schools are introduced by the United Bermuda Party government.

December 1998: The Progressive Labour Party wins power.

May 2007: The Hopkins Report, commissioned by the Government, finds the state school system is "on the brink of a meltdown" with four public schools failing and most of the others merely satisfactory or worse. The need to dramatically improve the quality of teaching is its number one recommendation. Government reveals plans for "cluster boards" to be responsible for federations of schools.

May 2009: Government confirms public schools will move to the Cambridge International Curriculum for primary, middle and senior students.

April 2010: The Government releases its Blueprint for Reform in Education, a strategic plan for 2010 to 2015, for consultation. Its mission: to implement most of the Hopkins recommendations and “deliver a rigorous curriculum customised to meet the needs of individual students, using challenging learning experiences, appropriate assessments, and efficient support that holds us all accountable for a quality education in the 21st century.“ Education minister El James says: “My vision is that this plan will be a living document. We will return to it on an annual basis to assess our progress and to refine our objectives for the period ahead.”

Dame Jennifer Smith (File photograph)

December 2010: Education minister Dame Jennifer Smith announces an Adopt a School scheme to raise money in private donations for maintaining primary school buildings.

December 2012: The One Bermuda Alliance wins power.

July 2013: The Government releases Inclusive and Special Education, Getting It Right for Every Child, A Discussion Paper.

2015: An Inquiring Minds Framework model is introduced in public schools, aimed at building on the natural curiosity and questions of young children.

February 2016: The Government releases the Score report on the dire state of the school’s 18 public primary schools. Four schools are earmarked for closure: Heron Bay, Prospect, Gilbert Institute and St David’s. None close.

Wayne Scott

March 2017: Outgoing OBA education minister Wayne Scott reveals that the Government is exploring the idea of rebuilding Bermuda’s entire school infrastructure “from the ground up”. Mr Scott says initial figures suggest building 12 new schools – three elementary schools and a middle school in each of the three geographical zones identified in the Score report – would cost about $90 million.

July 2017: The PLP returns to Government, after pledging in its manifesto to phase out middle schools and introduce signature senior schools.

December 2017: Education minister Diallo Rabain releases Plan 2022: a “multi – year strategic plan for Bermuda’s public school system” which sets out “what success will look like by 2022.” He says: “This plan will not sit on the shelf. It will be implemented because we are accountable to our students and to all those who supported the design and drafting of Plan 2022.” The priorities in the plan are: increasing academic rigour and student engagement; ensuring career, college and workforce readiness; improving teaching and leadership; improving infrastructure and resources; and “ensuring system success”.

Diallo Rabain, Minister of Education

December 2020: Consultation begins on the Proposal for the Introduction of Parish Primary Schools, which suggests closing nine primary schools, renovating nine and building one new primary school. The proposal is part of a wider plan which will include abolishing middle schools and having five signature senior schools.

Friday, March 12, 2021: The deadline for making submissions on the primary schools plan.

September 2022: The date by which Mr Rabain says two of the signature schools will be introduced, at the Berkeley Institute and CedarBridge Academy. He told a public meeting last week that the rest of the plans would be rolled out over two to five years.

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Published March 11, 2021 at 10:23 am (Updated March 16, 2021 at 4:28 pm)

Timeline: 25 years of reforming public education

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