The Eastern Schools Alliance remains concerned about the ongoing primary school consolidation process. We, as concerned parents, DO NOT oppose reform of the school system.
We agree that the system needs to be improved to achieve equitable educational outcomes for all of Bermuda’s children. We simply want to ensure that any reform plans are rooted in research on student outcomes and tailored to the situation in all communities across this island.
The feedback that we have gathered from concerned parents has been consistent – the primary school consolidation process needs to stop, and true collaboration needs to take place. Reforms are inherently disruptive, and we are not willing to disrupt the education of 38% of Bermuda’s
primary and middle school children unless and until we are sure that the stated goals of equitable education reform will actually be achieved.
We are specifically concerned with the consolidation process, and as such, the transition to signature schools, phasing out of middle schools, development of the educational authority, and parish school pilot programs at Francis Patton Primary and Purvis Primary can all proceed with no disruption.
This additional time will allow the ministry to replace the current unacceptable consolidation plans with a collaborative approach that will achieve community support.
In his statement in the House of Assembly on May 5th, the Minister laid out all the avenues that the Ministry has engaged with the community on reform. While there have been many meetings
in many forms where the Ministry has communicated plans, there have been very few opportunities for the concerned parents, grandparents and community members to get answers, and the majority of the decisions made by the ministry were not made in consultation with the community. As examples:
• The Parish Primary School Location Strategy Team worked in secret and solicited no public input or input from the schools
• The rubric developed to score schools was developed with no public input or consultation
• There has been no evidence that the location team’s scores are even mathematically
• A lot of money has been spent on consultants including Innovations Unit, Stantec and KPMG to decide to transition to one primary school per parish, which did not include collaboration with the public
• There has still been no research shared on how the proposed educational structure achieves the stated goals of an equitable education system
• There has been no communication of a budget, public disclosures, RFPs, or project plans to support the extensive changes that the ministry has proposed or the construction that will be required
• Since the initial public meeting describing the plan to relocate all St. George’s primary school students to Whitney, which received immediate pushback, there has been no further
consultation with the parents of any of the eastern schools The Eastern Schools Alliance is a collaborative group representing parents from East End
Primary, St. David’s Primary, and St. George’s Prep. Our group will continue to advocate for the concerns of the St. George’s Parish community and all of Bermuda’s children.
We encourage interested stakeholders across the island to reach out to email@example.com to get
involved in a nationwide working group.
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