The long awaited Parish Primary Schools will start up at the commencement of the 2023-24 school year, with Purvis Primary and Francis Patton as flagship institution.
Based within a learning programme designed to enable students to develop the skills, knowledge and relationships to follow their passions, build on their talents, and achieve their career and further education aspirations.
The schools will offer learning opportunities via various forms, including: modules of relevant academic subjects; appropriate practical skills training; individual and group projects focused on real-world issues and challenges; internships and meaningful work placements; and effective guidance on careers and further education.
Minister of Education Diallo Rabain expressed great enthusiasm regarding the upcoming implementation, as he revealed Government’s latest plans to improve the standards within Bermuda’s often maligned public education system.
“Today I spoke to the parish primary schools that are coming on board, that’s at Purvis Primary School and at Francis Patton, which will be starting in 2023,” said Minister Rabain. “We are very excited right about this prospect and people should keep a lookout for notices that speak to what we are doing in terms of engaging this process.
“We are doing a lot of meetings around the Island to just give people opportunities to ask questions and get any information that they may want on what’s going on in these particular schools.”
Added was that the matter of reforming to improve the local education product was in full swing, with his ministry determined and committed in the effort.
“So, today I just gave an update on the introduction of those two schools,” Mr Rabain continued. “I also gave an update on the fact that we have an education reform unit in place.
“There’s about 12 work streams in pace, that are going on. And what we decided to do was to take people and put them in this unit full time versus what we were doing previously, where persons were working in between their other jobs and doing education reform.
“We decided that we needed a full time team in place.”
Downplayed as something of a sensationalised overreaction by media outlets, was the contract extension granted overseas company Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand, which was hired to help with reforming and redesigning Bermuda’s public education system, with an accompanying two-and-a-half-year initial price tag of $2.1 million.
“There’s also been some news reports about the extension of the contract of Innovation Unit and I did confirm that I did confirm it last year in November,” the Minister explained. “So I was surprised to see such an uproar in some of the other media here recently about the extension of that contract.
“But, we always said that education reform was going to take several years to do, so this is just a continuation of that.
“We have our parish primary schools coming on board in September and we are already working on what September 2024 will look like. That will be more signature schools, more parish primary schools and we’ll give subsequent updates on those particular schools as we go along.”
New designs often require training to inform and upgrade those charged with delivering instruction in the manner of the new product and Mr Rabain was asked if such would require additional teacher training workshops on top of those that might already have been scheduled, which could mean more time off for students, thus the need for parents to find alternative means of care.
“The school calendar gets distributed, typically around March of every year and those things are identified in that school calendar,” explained the Minister. “This is nothing different than what’s ever been done.
“There’s always some teacher workshops that are scheduled during the term that require schools to be closed and we all want our teachers to be the equipped to handle and deal with and to impart the knowledge that needs to be imparted on our children.
“So, I do apologize for this, because I know it is inconvenient for some people, for I’m a parent as well and I have to find accommodations for my child for those particular days. But the fact that I am heartened by the fact that we’re able to introduce those things virtually almost a year in advance so person can look at those calendars and and actually plan.”
Cedarbridge Academy was placed in a negative light, earlier this week, when a video surfaced of a group of students fighting at a bus stop on Middle Road after school, placing the institution in a negative light.
The recording served as an example of some of the social ills contained on the Island, which teachers have to endure on the job.
“I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to be a teacher, but there are definitely things that we have that we didn’t have to deal with before,” said Mr Rabain. “ This week I was in a meeting with teachers and and we were talking about education reform and such and I heard something that really struck me.
“And it said that most people decide to become teaches because they had a good experience in school, but, at the same time, they also equate that experience to what they’re expecting in school.
“So, as things change in society the way we approach teaching changes. And so, when we talk about education reform, we always say the world is changing, so the way we deliver education must change.
“Part of the overall reform that we’re doing is looking at how we can meet our children on an individual basis versus meeting the entire class and saying okay the class is doing such and such, let’s see what we can do to put things in place, but let’s look at individual students and say okay, ‘This student needs this. What do we need to do to put in things in place so that that student gets those services.”
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