Education Minister Announces School Turnaround Decision

Over the last five years, our education reform agenda has steadily progressed towards delivering a new, better education system for our children. Our Education Reform Unit has been modernising our approach towards teaching,
finding new ways to engage with parents and the community, better aligning the curriculum and improving teaching in areas such as Project-Based Learning and Experiential Learning.

They are also developing for our students individual learning pathways to success.
Our attention has focused on transformative quality education, the classroom learning environment and the building infrastructure needed to support this new approach to learning.

In anticipation of the work needed to address our future infrastructure needs, in
December 2020, the Ministry of Education began to consult with the Bermuda
Public School Community to help determine which primary school sites should be
developed into Parish Primary Schools. It started with a detailed review of each
school site by the School Location Strategy Team with feedback from the public.

The decision, announced in June 2021, was based on the following criteria and
weighted scoring:

● Building conditions – 20%
● Land and property conditions – 30%
● Safety and health – 30%
● Transportation – 20%
The announcement of our parish primary school locations led to significant
community discussions and advocacy from various community groups, which
supported the retention of primary school locations at West End Primary, St
David’s Primary, and St George’s Prep.
The government, in response to your concerns, initiated a comprehensive rescoring process last year. This process included the addition of the ‘history and legacy’ factor and a review of the previous criteria used. The History and Legacy
Working Group was tasked with developing criteria for reevaluating each school’s
historical legacy and its impact on their communities. Their meticulous work and
dedication resulted in a refined framework that added a History and Legacy score to the previous four scoring factors, ensuring a thorough and fair evaluation.

The revised weighted scoring criteria were realigned as follows:
● Building conditions – 15%
● Land and Property Conditions – 30%
● Safety and Health – 20%,
● Transportation – 20%, and
● History and Legacy – 15%
Applying this new set of criteria gave us a more nuanced understanding of each
school’s contribution to our community and its historical significance.

The reassessment resulted in West End Primary School achieving a slightly higher score than Somerset Primary. Additionally, the St. David’s Primary School site, which we stand on today, improved its ranking among St. George’s Parish schools.

The History and Legacy interviews with schools allowed each school to demonstrate and show the vast number of individuals who have come through our primary schools’ halls and contributed significantly to Bermuda in sports,
politics, entrepreneurship, and community activism. There is no denying the tremendous role that all of our Primary Schools have played in developing Bermuda into the country it is today.

As a result of the rescoring process, I am pleased to announce that the West End Primary School site will be redeveloped into the new Sandys Parish Primary School. All other Parish Primary School sites to be redeveloped will remain as
previously announced.

Further discussions followed the final rescoring process, emphasising the distinctive nature of the St. David’s community compared to the broader St. George’s Parish. The final History and Legacy Score of St. David’s Primary School
reflected and underscored this area’s unique character and rich history.

After reviewing the unique characteristics and history of the St. David’s community compared to St. George’s Parish, it became clear that St. David’s Primary deserved a distinct status. The school’s impressive History and Legacy
Score was a key indicator of its unique cultural and community significance.

Consequently, we have decided to redevelop this site into a second Parish Primary School for St. George’s Parish. It is fitting that today, as we begin Heritage Month, we can make this timely
announcement as a practical demonstration of our commitment to recognising the importance of our shared cultural history.

This decision reflects our recognition of St. David’s as a place of learning and a vital community hub. Moving forward, I am committed to working with the local
community to ensure that the future Community Primary School fully embodies
and celebrates the unique spirit and heritage of St. David’s.

We recognise that these decisions took longer than expected and appreciate your patience. We worked diligently to ensure that our decisions were fair and well- informed while remaining sensitive to the impact of these outcomes on all

We understand that despite robust advocacy, this final decision may not align with every school community’s hopes. However, the process has been one of careful consideration and meticulous evaluation, guided by a commitment to fairness and the best outcomes for our educational system and our children.

However, this does not diminish those educational institutions’ contribution to
those communities and our country. In the weeks ahead, we will accept expressions of Interest for the Educational History and Legacy Committee. This committee will be empowered to work closely with all of our primary school
families to ensure that while those schools may not be a part of our system in the future, their history will never be erased or forgotten.

Now that the rescoring process is completed and the final school sites to be repurposed into Parish Primary Schools have been selected, I wish to announce the next steps that the public can look forward to:

● An order will be drafted to amend the Education (Primary Schools) Temporary Act 2023 to add the following schools that will transition from a primary school to a parish primary school. This list includes Francis Patton
Primary (Hamilton Parish) and Purvis Primary (Warwick Parish). The schools to be added are:
○ Sandys Parish – West End Primary
○ Southampton Parish – Dalton E. Tucker Primary
○ Paget Parish – Paget Primary
○ Pembroke Parish – West Pembroke Primary and Victor Scott Primary
○ Devonshire Parish – Elliot Primary

○ Smith’s Parish – Harrington Sound Primary
○ St. George’s Parish – East End Primary and St. David’s Primary

● Next, the Reform Unit will focus on finalising the 3-tier to 2-tier plan, which
will be first discussed in April 2023. The next version of The Plan to Transition from a 3-Tier to a 2-Tier System will be finalised and released to the public. The Department of Education and the Education Reform Unit have been working with a representative group of school and site leaders to determine a process for sharing information that is specific to each
school and site leader school community, including the timing for school
openings, phasing out and closures as well as other pertinent information.

Change, while challenging, is essential for progress. We are committed to providing our children with the best educational environments possible. Thank you for your continued support and engagement. We look forward to a
bright future for education in Bermuda.

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