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Signature school plans for Sandys Secondary delayed

Sandys Secondary Middle School is to be made a “signature” senior school - but the change will not go ahead this September (File photograph)

Plans to turn Sandys Secondary Middle School into a new “signature” senior school this September have been delayed, according to Diallo Rabain, the education minister.

The detail came as Mr Rabain announced that legislation for the creation of parish primary schools, with the first two opening this September, would come to the House of Assembly today.

Mr Rabain added that the Education (Primary Schools) Temporary Act 2023 would enable the minister to close schools “as needed”.

He called the legislation “crucial” in ongoing reforms to public education.

Although the two parish primary schools will open in September, Mr Rabain said education planners had run out of time in their bid to open the third signature secondary school at Sandys Secondary School.

Mr Rabain said the school, one of four middle schools, had been offering taster courses in hospitality and education services signature programmes to M3 students.

But he said it had been determined that it would not be possible to stand the school up in the next six months.

He apologised to families that had taken interest during “taster” programmes for the course.

But he said the ministry remained “firmly committed” to bringing the new courses to the Sandys school.

Mr Rabain thanked the school transformation team that started work on the signature programmes – along with the Sandys Secondary Middle School board and leadership.

Francis Patton and Purvis Primary schools were revealed last year as the island’s first two parish primary schools.

Mr Rabain said that changing primary schools into parish primary schools, along with phasing out middle schools, meant two years would be added at the primary level.

Parish primary schools will therefore extend from P1 to P8.

Mr Rabain said the Bill would answer “pressing” questions on student registration and enrolment.

“Students already enrolled in P6 at Francis Patton and Purvis Primary will be able to remain enrolled in their parish primary school for P7 and P8,” he said.

“During the implementation of parish primary schools, parents will continue to have the choice to enrol their children in middle school.

“Middle school registration will take place following the passage of the Bill.”

Mr Rabain said parents of P6 students attending other primary schools in the Eastern and Western zones could apply for “any remaining places at parish primary schools”.

He said the new legislation would work with the Education Act 1996 – meaning existing legislation and policy on registration and enrolment would continue to apply.

Priority for enrolment will remain based on proximity to the school as well as “the sibling rule”.

The ministry gives updates via social media with the Twitter handle @moedbda.

Details can also be found at the education reform website.

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Published February 17, 2023 at 7:54 am (Updated February 17, 2023 at 8:44 am)

Signature school plans for Sandys Secondary delayed

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