Smooth start

Teachers and students returned to Combermere School for classes today after being relocated for several months due to environmental concerns at the Waterford, St Michael institution.

In addition, the students from Chalky Mount Primary, St Andrew, which closed its doors last term joined those at A DaCosta Edwards for the amalgamation of the two schools.

These were two of the changes that took place today when hundreds of students turned out to their respective schools in brand new school uniforms and gear for the beginning of the 2015 – 2016 academic year.

Manoeuvring between heavy traffic early this morning, a Barbados TODAY team visited a few schools – nursery, primary and secondary – to witness the fresh tears and excited smiles from those who were having their first school experience to those for whom this will be the final year.

It was Nathan Hoyte-Mathurin’s first day at St Giles Nursery.
It was Nathan Hoyte-Mathurin’s first day at St Giles Nursery.

At Combermere, though the team was unable to get an official comment from the authorities there, a few students commented that it was good to be back at ‘home’.

“This is our school and we are happy to be back here. I am happy to be back at school and with my friends,” one female third form student remarked.

At Springer Memorial on Government Hill, the girls, all of whom wore uniform of the required length of two inches below the knees, reverently, at morning assembly, listened to a message from principal Pauline Benjamin who spoke of the type of conduct she expected of them.

Time for prayer at Springer Memorial school.
Time for prayer at Springer Memorial school.

Benjamin told the girls that while they were all in a brand new form, even if they were repeating, it was time for them to set goals and to make excellence their only preoccupation this term.

“So as you go about starting this brand new term, this brand new week, this first day, having different teachers, make a resolution, set a goal and tell yourself that excellence is the only way.

“You want to be excellent in your conduct, you want to be excellent in your deportment,” Benjamin said.

Meanwhile, Principal at A DaCosta Edwards Laureen Hinds revealed that 100 students came over from Chalky Mount today, raising that school’s population to approximately 300 students. She said while the school’s physical appearance was lifted with a paint job, parents of the transitioning students were taken for a tour of the plant. Education Officer Joy Adamson was also present to ensure that the process ran smoothly.

“We did not have any problems and we will continue to facilitate the process. The students who came over appear to be happy to be here. They all seemed excited when they came through the gates with their parents this morning,” Hinds said.

President of the Barbados Union of Teachers Pedro Shepherd who is based at Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary reported that no teacher had contacted him with any major complaints which, he said, signalled a smooth start for teachers.

While Minister of Education Ronald Jones announced last month that 416 teachers in the system would be appointed by the end of September, Shepherd said that as far as he was aware, the process was ongoing.

However, the union president noted that one trained teacher who had been in the system for six years was not reassigned. Shepherd said the union was looking into this case and had already sent an inquiry to the Ministry of Education.

“But let me say that there has been a smooth start to the school year and we look forward to the term as it unfolds,” Shepherd said.

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