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Parkinson teachers say they're fed up with principal's management style

The Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) is seeking an urgent meeting with the Ministry of Education to address Parkinson Memorial School principal Jeff Broomes’ “management by memos”.

Classes were suspended at the Pine, St Michael institution today, as 39 of the 61 teachers stayed away from school to attend a meeting at the BUT’s headquarters to discuss their dissatisfaction with his management style.

At the end of the three-hour talks, BUT president Pedro Shepherd told the media that the teachers would return to the classrooms tomorrow, and their grievances would be taken to the appropriate authorities.

A TEACHER’S COMPLAINT She’s one of the senior teachers at Parkinson Memorial who were off the job today complaining about their principal’s management style.  Here, Janice Hutchinson  (backing the camera) makes a point to Barbados Union of Teachers President Pedro Shepherd and Vice President Richmark Cave.

She’s one of the senior teachers at Parkinson Memorial who were off the job today complaining about their principal’s management style.  Here, Janice Hutchinson (backing the camera) makes a point to Barbados Union of Teachers President Pedro Shepherd and Vice President Richmark Cave.

“Teachers are calling for changes in the management style of the principal and greater input from management and staff in matters pertaining to the functioning of the school. It is therefore our intention, having now met with the staff, to write the Ministry of Education requesting an urgent meeting to address the concerns so that we can have Parkinson School functioning effectively and return to a state of normalcy,” he said.

Shepherd stressed that while Broomes had enjoyed the goodwill of all members of staff when he assumed office two years ago, that had “died” after he adopted a dictatorial management style.

“The staff at the Parkinson School is fully committed to the school, the children and the full delivery of education and would therefore go beyond the call of duty to ensure that teaching and learning take place . . . They spoke of having the highest respect for the principal, but are very incensed by his management style,” he said.

In a scenario reminiscent of Broomes’ problems at the Alexandra School in St Peter, the teachers complained that his shortcomings included his failure to communicate with the deputy principal and other teaching staff; his refusal to accept any input from members of staff; and his introduction of programmes without consultation, in many cases alerting teachers about the changes only via memos.

Shepherd also noted that the principal had unilaterally changed the timetable on his return to school following his absence at the beginning of the term, introducing computer basics although the school had very little technology.

He told the media that the teachers’ recommendation for fifth form students to be given an additional year to complete the course outline for CXC examinations was also dismissed by the principal.

The BUT boss further charged that Broomes had not written recommendations for teachers who were eligible for promotion.

“These matters seriously affect the goodwill and atmosphere at the school,” Shepherd said.

Although most members of the teaching staff are disgruntled, the union president said there was no plan to go on strike.

When contacted by Barbados TODAY, Broomes stoutly defended his leadership at the school.

Responding to the charge that he had adopted a style of “management by memos”, Broomes maintained that he would continue to use written communication to “protect” himself.

He explained that he had experience with people “twisting his words”, adding that he preferred to have something written in black and white.

Broomes also responded to complaints about the changes he made to the timetable.

“It is my duty as the principal of the school to draw up the timetables. During the long summer holidays I did all of the work on the timetables. That is not the duty of junior officers in a school,” he insisted.

As for his inclusion of computer basics, Broomes pointed out that there were two computer laboratories at the school with adequate room to accommodate the students and dismissed claims that the school’s technology was outdated.

Broomes reiterated that his goal was to ensure that every child who attended Parkinson Memorial leaves with at least three CXC passes.

The outspoken principal also dismissed charges that he had failed to prepare recommendations for appointments, pointing out that on assuming office there were recommendations that had been outstanding for six years in some cases.

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8 Responses to MEMO BOSS

  1. dwayne jordan October 29, 2014 at 7:10 am

    Why dont jeff jus go go and do a management course,,lol.

    Or send him home,,he looks 65-ish

  2. Frederick Walcott
    Frederick Walcott October 29, 2014 at 8:54 am

    Mr Broomes looking tired. Maybe it’s time for him to leave the sinking ship and let the ungrateful rats go down with it. His self preservation should come first.

  3. DW Ananke
    DW Ananke October 29, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Jeff got more bad luck than satan man, and he does get blame for everything.

  4. Rickie Nurse October 29, 2014 at 10:28 am

    This current action by the teachers at the Parkinson School was eminent, it was just a matter of time when they would make their motives clear.

    Don’t be blind to the facts, but aren’t these some of the same teachers who showed their solidarity with the teachers at The Alexandra Secondary School, when they also protested and took action to have Jeff Broomes remove as Principal at that institution?

    Wasn’t the total termination of Jeff Broomes from teaching, one of their major request, that was subsequently rejected by the Ministry? thereby forcing the ministry to effect a transfer to Parkinson Secondary School, to help appease those still at Alexandra?

    That being the case, this current upheaval is a continuation of pass unrest between the teachers of the BUT, the Ministry of Education and Mr. Jeff Broomes.
    All in the quest to make Jeff Broomes look like an unfit Principal for ANY learning institution.

    But just like in the pass, as was shown by both parents and students of The Alexandra School, in their support for Jeff Broomes, the same will be shown for him in this current debacle.

    This as far as I am concern, is nothing more than a witch hunt on Mr. Jeff Broomes for his opened criticism of some of the teachers at The Alexandra School when he was Principal there.

    Jeff Broomes has always been an asset to both students and the schools where ever he was appointed Principal, that is something no group of rebel teachers can change.

  5. Frederick Walcott
    Frederick Walcott October 29, 2014 at 10:32 am

    …. not to mention that it was directly after they had a day off due to bad weather (that did not happen)….. really committed!

  6. Nikita Davidson
    Nikita Davidson October 29, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I feel these should be the ones to go home … Get on with teaching the children n shut up

  7. Tony Waterman October 29, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I Don’t blame the Union or the Teachers for this Debacle/Uprising?Witchhunt by the BUT and it’s members against this Man. The BLAME SITS SQUARELY on the Minister of Education, The Ministry of Education, and the VERY INEFFECTIVE Chief Education Officer Mr. Laurie King, None of them Have have any BALLS (Neutered) to take on these Unions with their penchant for Strikes when they are not able to PUSH anyone around. This is A VENDETTA and should be seen as such and dealt with once and for all. Who has the POWER the UNION or the MINISTRY/MINISTER. take a page from a GREAT Woman who had “BALLS” Margaret Thatcher.

  8. Patrick Blackman October 29, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    What is wrong with memos? The problem is that as soon as a person tries to bring order to an institution and cut out all the crap, workers call in the union. Great job Jeff, stand firm.


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