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Curb supports campaign to save West End Primary School

West End Primary School (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An antiracism charity has called for West End Primary School to remain open in advance of planned changes to the public school system.

Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda highlighted the history of the school as one of the two oldest, continually operating Black primary schools on the island.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: “Only Elliot Primary predates it. Such a distinction may qualify both schools for Unesco World Heritage status.

“Moreover, West End is a school in the heart of the community and has long been a hub for community events.

“Being in a densely populated area also makes it amenable to a larger catchment of students at a time when the youth population is declining. The school also has easy access to public transport.”

The charity likened the community effort to save the primary school to the drive to save the Berkeley Institute during education reforms that took place in the 1990s.

The spokeswoman said: “Supporters of the school pointed to its historical legacy within the Black community among the reasons for its preservation.

“Supporters prevailed then, and we trust that in this case, the government sees its way to keep West End Primary within the public school system.

“A school with more than 150 years of history, particularly to the Black community, should not be allowed to fade into the past.”

The school is one of several primary schools facing closure as part of the Government’s shake-up of the education system.

The proposal would bring the number of primary schools down from 18 to ten.

The Government has argued that the nearby Somerset Primary School should be retained instead of West End Primary as it was bigger and better suited for the provision of 21st century education.

But opponents of the move have argued that the historical significance of the school – particularly its role educating Black Bermudians – should keep it off the chopping block.

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Published May 05, 2022 at 6:45 pm (Updated May 05, 2022 at 6:45 pm)

Curb supports campaign to save West End Primary School

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