Jeff Broomes retiring ‘hurt and disappointed’

Principal of the Parkinson Memorial School Jeff Broomes is going out swinging, using his final principal’s report at the Pinelands, St Michael institution’s Speech Day and Awards Ceremony yesterday to lash out at “resistance to necessary structural and cultural changes” he proposed to improve learning.

In a speech laced with tacit accusations against teachers who challenged his management style, and the Ministry of Education, the outgoing head teacher said he was “hurt and disappointed” at the school’s performance during the 2014/2015 academic year, a period during which he was “forced to fight off misrepresentations, attempts at interdiction and damning actions”.

The controversial Broomes announced in August that he would retire from the teaching service on May 1 next year, and today he explained why he thought the time had come “to leave a place where I enjoy being a part of”.

In strong language, he spoke of the reversal of structural changes he had implemented and of students missing out on “critical teaching” due to industrial action by teachers.

The outgoing principal complained that no fewer than seven “clearly outlined structures”, which he implemented “to correct the failures that this school had experienced for at least five years” before his arrival, were removed without any consultation.

“Not even a simple telephone call,” said Broomes, adding that “the excuse” was that it was a direct mandate from the Chief Education Officer.

It was “a sad lash” on the children’s progress “simply to ensure adult satisfaction in their individual comfort zones,” he contended.

The abandoned structures included a programme that allowed fifth form students an extra year to improve on their examination results, at least four areas of community or voluntary service by students, an intervention initiative for teachers to volunteer to provide extra lessons especially to some students preparing for CXC and a remedial class to assist students with a Common Entrance score of less than 30, which he said had the support of parents.

That programme, he said, proved to be contentious, “and based on what was written to me, formed one of the areas for industrial action” over which he said he lost “very little sleep”.

Broomes pointed to “serious electrical problems” at the school hall that no action has been taken to improve “no matter how often” he complained.

Jeff Broomes
Jeff Broomes

“I must leave for something good to happen here,” he said.

Broomes said he had written no fewer than four times to the Ministry of Education to raise the issues of concern to the school.

   He complained that academic performance was below expectations during the 2014/2015 school year and that improvements realized as a result of his initiatives had been reversed.

“This has hurt and disappointed me,” he declared.

He also referred to a letter he received last year from the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education “that sought to initiate the process accusing me of things of which I knew nothing”.

The accusations, he said, included failure to carry out a directive, insubordination to the Chief Education Officer and misconduct of a serious nature in contravention of the Public Service Act, Cap 29.

“I stood tall and responded as would be expected of the one they choose to call controversial . . . Each of these was an interdicted offence that could have cost my job, my gratuity and my pension. There is only one problem. None of it was true.”

Broomes told the audience he had yet to receive a response to his November 2014 correspondence, therefore, not only had he reinstated all seven of the structures, but he had added an eighth.

“These children deserve only the best,” he said to applause.

He promised he would continue to “call a spade a spade” and challenged the authorities if they had plans “to start another commission [of inquiry], start it now”, said Broomes whose transfer to Parkinson followed strong disagreement with senior staff at The Alexandra School over his management style between 2010 and 2012.

However, controversy followed Broomes to Parkinson as tensions rose between him and the teachers, who protested against what they claimed were his management style and attitude to the staff.

In announcing his planned retirement in August, Broomes said there were “some good teachers” at the Parkinson School but that some were misled. (MM)

9 Responses to Jeff Broomes retiring ‘hurt and disappointed’

  1. Coralita December 5, 2015 at 9:05 am

    Mr. Broomes, you said in the press sometime ago that a senior teacher at Parkinson said that the only way to deal with these slow students was to promote them up and out. These students will leave school unqualified, uncertified and will more than likely turn to a life of crime. Seems as though that is what the educator wants rather than assist the same students to become productive citizens. ENOUGH SAID!!

  2. Marcia Clarke December 5, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Some children develop late in life, due to a disadvantaged environment……..if given the right opportunity they can still make something of themselves with the correct training.

  3. Rev. H. Malcolm A. Gibbs-Taitt December 5, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I am not tiring of stating that teachers are at the pinnacle of the myriad of professions. It was my first job directly on leaving High School for about two (2) years, before leaving to reside in the UK for 28 years.
    Whomsoever you look at, be it a Governor General, Prime Minister, Doctor, Labourer, chances are they were taught by a teacher.
    I have come across many teachers in my life and none inspired me more than Mr. Jeff Broomes, who, unfortunately, never taught me. I have been fortunate enough to be in his company, not enough times, to be amazed by his obvious intellect and presence.
    I wish him a long and fulfilled retirement. Those who rubbished him will have to regret it and many more will wish his presence was nearer than hitherto.
    Blessings Be Upon You.
    Rev. H. Malcolm Gibbs-Taitt.

  4. Sue Donym December 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    Apparently, this principal managed to turn the occasion into The Jeff Broomes Show. He could have graciously allowed the students to take the spotlight without the ‘woe is me’ slant.

    Yes, the report should reflect areas of concern for the school, but is not the place for personal parting shots. There would be adequate national interest and no shortage of interview requests LATER.

    Not impressed.

  5. sinshinecanada December 5, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Mr jeff Broomes, your are the best teacher ever! THEMS, all are going to miss you, there’s a saying, ya never miss the water till the well runs dry, God bless you, Amen

  6. sunshinecanada December 5, 2015 at 7:24 pm

    Broomes, best Teacher ever!

  7. S L Scantlebury December 6, 2015 at 12:20 am

    Having read of your concerns in the report, I wonder if you had prior consultation with your superiors and the teaching staff about the seven changes you introduced at the school. I concluded the changes were in the interest of and also advantageous to the students who were unsuccessful in their final exams, and in particular, the one allowing an extra year to retake them, enhancing their future prospects. Teachers are an important asset in any community and must be seen to be so in the way they conduct themselves. In days of yore, teachers carried out their duties with dedication, dignity and dependability, students were never exposed to personal disagreements within the teaching staff and the school environment was always educational friendly. To conclude, teachers were well respected in the community and given whole hearted parental support and complete charge of students while in their care.

  8. Peaches December 6, 2015 at 8:15 am

    During my days as a student i notice some teachers coming to school because it was a means of getting a salary . They had no instrest in the children or inititive in mind to come up with a strategy to help improve learning . They simply didn’t care. And the children like being left alone to do as they pleased and you were rated the best teacher. Mr Brooms cares about the children education . Some teachers care only about the children who parent’s have what we call big jobs and drives expensive cars. Enough said.

  9. Andrew Rouse December 7, 2015 at 1:05 am

    Hi Jeff

    I can feel your disappointment it’s defiantly hard going against the grain when such negativity surrounds you. Like a great fighter only you knows when it’s time to say enough.

    It’s unfortunate for the students when you are gone, for the blind so to speak would be leading the blind.

    It is my hope that God will guide your steps in your retirement

    Andrew Rouse


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