School offers attractive option

Despite a recent history of industrial strife at the Alexandra School, there are a number of teachers in Barbados who would be willing to work there.

That’s the view of Greg Forde, who taught at the St. Peter school between 2010 and 2011.

Following his recommendation today that the current teaching staff by transferred or reassigned to other secondary schools, the current staff member of the Christ Church Foundation School told the Commission of Enquiry investigating Alexandra, that the institution would not suffer if such happen.

He was responding to questions from Barbados Secondary Teachers Union counsel Hal Gollop when the hearing continued today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

“I would ask among the secondary schools for teachers, because I am sure that there are teachers who are willing to go to this school, who are willing to transfer and go to this school, that is what I really believe,” Forde said.

Gollop asked the teacher how he would respond if he was told that the central problem at the school was Principal Jeff Broomes.

“I would be surprised because,” he replied. Forde said the year he spent at Alexandra was a good one, although he sensed that Broomes was not getting enough support from some senior teachers.

“I found that the school environment in terms of the children and staff was settled that year I was there. That is why I told you I got along with everybody, it was a settled environment and … I have taught at schools where I felt that the principal wasn’t in charge, somebody else was in charge, but certainly not the principal. You had to wonder, ‘Wait, who really is running this school?’,” he noted.

Would have stayed

“So I didn’t have that feeling in going to Alexandra and until the strike I would have kept on teaching at Alexandra; if I didn’t get the job at Foundation I would have been happy being at Alexandra and that was because I felt confident in the principal and the way he was … running the school.”

With the witness pointing out that he previously taught at several schools including The Lodge School, Gollop asked him: “Did you encounter in any of those schools a situation where … the principal was at loggerheads with the nearly all his senior staff? You ever encountered a situation like that at any of the schools”?

Forde: “I would have to say no, I would have to say that not all of the schools, but at some schools I have taught at before with a new principal it seems that the staff who would’ve been there before, especially when this person doesn’t come from the school and come up thrugh the ranks, they would have had difficulty … from some factions of the whole staff.”

“So yes I have seen a situation whereby a new principal would have not been at loggerheads but (have) not the full support of his staff.” (SC)

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