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BUT makes headway on at Alma Parris and Society

by Latoya Burnham

BUT President Pedro Shepherd

BUT President Pedro Shepherd

The Barbados Union of Teachers is satisfied with progress on two of the major school issues that caused friction on the first day of school.

President Pedro Shepherd told Barbados TODAY this afternoon that they had visited the Alma Parris school for a three-hour-long meeting this morning to examine the problems there that had teachers complaining yesterday.

Additionally, he said, teachers and students at Society Primary, who were dismissed because of conditions there were back in classes today.

“We met at Alma Parris, Rickmark Cave and myself, with executives of BAPPSS [Barbados Association of Principals of Public Secondary Schools] and the principal. We looked at a number of issues but focussed primarily on the timetables and the whole reassignment of teachers to departments and so on.

“The meeting lasted about three to four hours and I would say we made significant progress on the whole timetable issue. What we have now is the last set of timetables prepared by the staff or the principal of the school. That set that we are now working with is supposed to go to the Ministry of Education, I believe on Monday, so we have asked the principal to use that as the timetable that will be presented to the Ministry. It might have to be tweaked a little bit but we are hoping we will not have a significant variation from the timetables that the principal presented us with today,” he said. The president noted that in addition to the issue of timetables, matters relating to the teachers who were teaching outside of their area of competence was also brought up during the meeting.

“We are trying to work through those. We dealt with two today and I think that we came to an amicable conclusion on those. I think there is only one that is outstanding now and we are trying to see how best to resolve that, but the efforts of BAPPSS to bring the BUT and the principal together seems to have bourne some fruit. So we must commend [President] Vere Parris on that, for the effort,” he stated.

The suggestion that there be a closer inspection of progress at the school, he added, had found favour with the union, which had similarly advised its members on the matter.

“We have advised teachers that we are going to support the full inspection and we are going to cooperate with the inspection team when it is put in place because it is the inspection team that we see as the legal body, so to speak, that would take whatever recommendations are made by the staff back to the Minister and back to the Ministry and they will be acted upon. Remember that we had the Oversight committee which made a number of recommendations but I recognise a lot of them were not binding,” he said, adding that the inspection would be in addition to the Oversight Committee for two terms to report on work at the school.

About progress at Society Primary, Shepherd said teachers had reported that the school had been in full session today.

“They are happy with the cleaning that was done overnight. The scent of mould and so on is no longer; the floors have been cleaned. We are not sure if they were power-washed, but certainly the ministry had said they would vacuum to remove the dust and so on from upstairs.

“The school is back in session, teachers are comfortable with what they are seeing. When they left this afternoon painters were coming in to paint some walls and so on. They are going to use low-odour paint and I believe that school should be able to go on tomorrow. So all seems to be coming along at Society,” he said.

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