Education Reform Update on Parish Primary Legislation and Third Signature Senior School

“Demonstrating our commitment to our children and our future, we are continuing to make significant strides with Education Reform,” said the Minister of Education, the Hon. Diallo Rabain, JP, MP. 

“On Friday, I will table the Education (Primary Schools) Temporary Act 2023 Bill. This Bill will establish parish primary schools and support the opening of the first two parish primary schools, Francis Patton and Purvis Primary, in September 2023.” 

“This legislation is crucial as it empowers the Minister of Education to implement reforms required for the primary schools that will be developed into parish primary schools.”

Minister Rabain added, “To transform primary schools into parish primary schools and continue the phasing out of middle schools, two years are required to be added at the primary level, so that parish primary schools extend from P1 to P8.” 

“The Bill also answers some of the most pressing questions that parents and guardians have, which relate to 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.” 

“During the implementation of parish primary schools, parents will continue to have the choice to enroll their children in middle school. Middle school registration will take place following the passage of the Bill.” 

“Parents of P6 students who attend other primary schools in the Eastern and Western Zone will be able to apply for any remaining places at parish primary schools.” 

“This Bill will work with the Education Act 1996, so existing legislation and policy regarding registration and enrolment will continue to apply. Meaning the priority for enrolment will remain based on proximity to the school and the ‘sibling rule.’” 

Minister Rabain added, “In keeping with the imperative of Education Reform, the Bill will also allow the Minister of Education to close schools as needed.” 

“As highlighted previously, September 2022 marked a new chapter in Education Reform as Signature Learning Programmes (SLPs) started at CedarBridge Academy and The Berkeley Institute.”

“In order for students to have more options for Signature Learning Programmes, careers, and routes into higher education, we are committed to opening two additional Signature Learning Programmes, Hospitality, and Tourism and Education Services, as soon as possible.”

“Hospitality and Tourism is a key element in Bermuda’s prosperity. It is a  career aspiration and destination for a significant number of our young people and not just in entry-level jobs, such as waiters, receptionists, etc., but also in upper management roles in that sector.”

“Education Services is also a key element in growing Bermuda’s future educator workforce. It also gives students openings into the expanding training and learning industry. “

Minister Rabain added, “While we had hoped to open these programmes in September 2023 at Sandys Secondary Middle School (SSMS) as the third senior signature school, it has become clear that it is not possible to do this with quality and rigour between now and September 2023 , just 6 months.”

“I know some students, parents, and guardians indicated in the SLP taster programmes that they would have been interested in these signatures, and I am sorry to disappoint those Middle School M3 students who were hoping they could take these SLPs this coming year, but I hope you understand that it is important that such programmes are efficiently developed before we make them available.”

“Although they will not open in September 2023, we remain firmly committed to opening these SLPs and opening them at SSMS.”

Minister Rabain concluded, “I would like to thank the School Transformation Team that has started to develop these new SLPs. They have created great foundations on which further development can take place.”

“I am also very grateful to the SSMS Board and its senior leadership team for their commitment to opening SSMS as the third signature senior school and for their collaboration in working through the issues of making this happen.”

“Bermuda, we look forward to continuing the work to reform our Public School System and are committed to learning from our past to identify how to move forward in the best interest of our children.”

“We are creating the necessary opportunities for our children to follow their passions and interests, build on their talents and capabilities, and achieve their careers and further aspirations.”

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