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Somerset Primary PTA focusing on students, not politics

Somerset Primary School, pictured, will be closed and West End Primary will be the parish school for Sandys (Photograph courtesy of the Somerset Primary School PTA)

A parent-teacher association is “deeply saddened” by the Government’s decision to permanently close the Sandys school it supports.

The Somerset Primary School site was selected to be the parish’s only primary school but the decision was reversed this month because of revised criteria for closures under education reform plans.

A spokesman for the association said: “The Somerset Primary PTA is deeply saddened by the decision to ultimately close Somerset Primary School.

“Somerset Primary remains an outstanding school providing a nurturing and diverse learning environment for students.”

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education, announced that the school site previously slated for closure in Sandys — West End Primary — would be saved.

The decision was based on the outcome of a revised scoring process to determine which schools were best suited as parish primary schools, able to deliver 21st-century learning.

After a history and legacy component was added to the criteria in response to a public backlash — not least from pressure group West End Warriors, which made the case that West End Primary was better suited to remain open — Somerset’s score came in slightly lower than its fellow Sandys school.

The original criteria were also reassessed, the Government said.

The spokesman for Somerset Primary PTA added: “Since the beginning discussions surrounding school closures, we as a committee disliked the schools being compared to one another and the divide it has caused within the community.

“We believe that both Somerset Primary and West End have core qualities along with history and memories that cannot be measured.

“For us, it has never been about which school is the best but rather the quality of education given to our children presently and in the years to come.

“At this time the Somerset Primary PTA will be focusing on supporting the students of Somerset Primary School and those directly affected by the most recent decisions in our next steps as a school.”

St David’s Primary School was also saved from closure after the rescoring exercise.

The original education reform model dictated there would be only one primary school per parish with the exception of Pembroke, which would have two.

Closures were guaranteed at other parishes where there was more than one primary school.

However, with the decision to retain St David’s Primary, the parish of St George’s will now have two schools.

When he announced the amended decisions at a press conference, Mr Rabain said the outcome demonstrated that the Government listened and emphasised “the distinct nature” of the St David’s community.

However, the PTA at St George’s Preparatory School, a St George’s primary school that will be closed, called for Mr Rabain’s resignation and said he prioritised politics over the best interests of Bermuda’s schoolchildren.

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Published May 15, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated May 15, 2024 at 2:29 pm)

Somerset Primary PTA focusing on students, not politics

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