Special education services for children and adults could be single-site
The relocation of a special education school could create better environment for children with learning difficulties, the Minister of Education said yesterday.
Diallo Rabain said that the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy in Devonshire, was “bursting at the seams” and would have more room if it moved to the site of Prospect Primary School, also Devonshire.
Mr Rabain added the school could also share the site with the Margaret K Carter Centre, also in Devonshire, for adults with physical and learning problems.
He said that a joint site could give pupils with developmental disabilities better access to postsecondary education.
Mr Rabain added that the single site could also bring “some additional, closer synergy between what happens within our school system and then what happens after the school system”.
He said that he was unable to discuss details of the proposal because it was still in the early stages.
Mr Rabain added: “It is just a proposal at this time and within the proposal document it really did state that, if a decision is made to go that route, the curriculum and how it would work would have to be further developed.
“Right now, it actually doesn’t make much sense to go down the road to develop how this is going to work and how it’s going to be done if the decision to not do this is actually the final decision that’s made.”
The education minister was speaking as he marked Intellectual Disabilities Awareness Month.
Mr Rabain was flanked by Tina Duke, the acting assistant director of student services in the Department of Education, and Tina Nash, the executive director of disabilities charity WindReach Bermuda.
The joint relocation was suggested in the proposal for the introduction of parish primary schools released last December.
Mr Rabain said that the Ministry of Education had held talks with the Margaret K Carter Centre about the proposals.
He added that the ministry had also asked for the views of parents and staff at Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy and the WindReach outdoor centre for the disabled in Warwick.
Mr Rabain said that the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy would focus on improving their pupils’ communication skills and training their staff to tackle their pupils’ “challenging behaviours” better.
He added that events would be held this month to spotlight people with disabilities and their day-to-day lives.
Members of the public will also be able to learn how to support people with learning disabilities.