Report on public feedback on primary schools shake-up scheduled for June
A report revealing the public’s views on a proposal to close nine primary schools, renovate nine others and build a new primary school in Devonshire will be released by the end of June, the Ministry of Education has promised.
Consultation on the Proposal for the Introduction of Parish Primary Schools ended on March 12, with the ministry refusing later that month to say how many submissions it had received.
The Royal Gazette submitted a public access to information request for all the submissions and a decision on whether to release the records was due this week.
But the ministry said it needed more time and would respond by June 1.
The ministry’s Pati officer wrote: “Throughout the consultation process it was stated that a report will be made public that will include all the submissions in response to the proposal for the introduction of parish primary schools.
“The review and analysis of the consultation submissions is currently being undertaken, as the publication of the report is intended to be shared not later than June this year.”
She said the submissions needed to be redacted before they could be released to the newspaper and this would “substantially interfere with the progress of the review and analysis for the delivery of the report”.
The officer added: “Therefore, additional time is needed to access and redact the volume of submissions after the review and analysis has been completed.”
The Gazette also asked for all the feedback received in response to an earlier consultation on schools by the Government.
But the officer said the Plan 2022 submissions were in storage off-site and could not be accessed at present because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The latest consultation on the future of primary schools, launched by the Government in December, spoke of “bold changes to finally tackle the difficult and longstanding challenges that our public education system faces”.
The proposal would see nine primary schools close, including the two that performed best in final year exams over the past decade, nine schools be renovated and expanded, and one new school be built in Devonshire.
The new system would have a single primary school in each parish except Pembroke, which would have two.
The changes would also include the creation of an “alternative education” school for youngsters with behaviour and emotional problems and a relocation of the Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy for special needs and the K Margaret Carter Centre for adults with learning and physical disabilities.
The primary school proposals are part of a plan already under way to turn the public school system from three-tier to two-tier, with the abolition of middle schools and the introduction of “signature” senior schools.
The Education Amendment Act passed in the House of Assembly on March 20 identified tourism, finance, insurance and the trades as priority, career-focused signatures to be introduced.
The overhaul is expected to take two to five years to implement.
The Royal Gazette’s in-depth reporting on the schools consultation can be found here.