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Rabain refuses to confirm Whitney plan is scrapped

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Whitney Institute Middle School (File photograph)

The Minister of Education refused to confirm in Parliament whether the Government is dropping its plan to temporarily move all St George’s primary schoolchildren to Whitney Institute Middle School in Smith’s in 2024.

When Michael Dunkley, the opposition MP, asked yesterday if the rethink that was reported in The Royal Gazettethis week was true, Diallo Rabain skirted the question, saying: “As I responded to The Royal Gazette I will respond to that member. We are still analysing the questions that have come in. There were over 700 questions that came in.

“The sole purpose of having engagement sessions was to get feedback so that we can go back to those communities and listen to the feedback and change if we do care to change.”

Mr Dunkley said: “I take that answer as ‘no, it can’t be confirmed’.”

Parents were told during a public meeting last month that the pupils of St George’s Preparatory School, East End Primary School and St David’s Primary School would be moved to Whitney while East End Primary was remade as a parish primary school.

Sources said this week that letters had been sent out to the affected schools informing them that owing to negative feedback over the plan, it would not go ahead.

Craig Cannonier, opposition MP, posed questions about a plan to uproot children from the East End (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Craig Cannonier, of the One Bermuda Alliance, asked why the Ministry of Education told schools in the East End that the plan would be going ahead, as reported in the meetings, prior to approval being given by Whitney, which is an aided school governed by a board of trustees.

Mr Rabain responded: “As I spoke about this particular process, it is very intricate. It is very hard as we move forward and there are a lot of moving parts.

“We spoke with the Whitney board prior to speaking to St George’s … they told us that they would look at the various ideas and come back with their opinion at a later date.

“At that point we continued on and all stakeholder feedback has to be taken into account as we continue to evolve the transition plan.”

Mr Cannonier was not satisfied with the answer, adding: “Why were they [the East End schools] not informed that the board was then taking a look at it? It came across as though it had already been done.”

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, refused to say whether East End students will be moved to Whitney Institute Middle School (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

At that point, Mr Rabain conceded: “The statement that I read today apologised and made very clear that some things that have been done could have been done better and done differently. We have taken that on board as well as the other comments and when we go back and talk to the relevant stakeholders we will learn from the missteps that we made.”

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Published May 06, 2023 at 7:31 am (Updated May 06, 2023 at 7:31 am)

Rabain refuses to confirm Whitney plan is scrapped

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