Alma Parris School to shut down

Twenty-two years after it formally opened to provide an opportunity to perform “against the greatest odds” to students who did not do well in the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE) – otherwise called the Common Entrance Exam – the Alma Parris Memorial Secondary will bid its last goodbyes to students when the school year ends this week, the teachers’ union has said.

According to Barbados Union Of Teachers (BUT) President Pedro Shepherd, the Ministry of Education met with staff of the Speightstown, St Peter-based school on Monday where the it was announced that the school would not reopen come September.

“It is official that Alma Parris School will be closed. Within the last ten years Alma Parris featured highly on our agenda at the quarterly meetings at the Ministry of Education. There where definitely some challenges and I suspect that the ministry has not been able to grapple with those challenges, and so the decision was made to close the school, I believe in the short term, until they can find some strategy to deal with the challenges,” Shepherd said.

Attempts to reach Chief Education Officer Karen Best proved unsuccessful up until the time of publication, and a Ministry of Education official told Barbados TODAY information on the future of the school would be sent to the media in due course.

Minister of Education Ronald Jones, meantime, provided a terse comment when Barbados TODAY asked him about Shepherd’s revelation, stating that the BUT did not have all the facts, before adding rather tongue-in-cheek that whatever the union said was “gospel”.

The BUT president himself did not elaborate of the challenges facing the learning institution beyond stating that low academic performance by the students had led to behavioural and disciplinary challenges, and the school had experienced frequent staff changes.

Still, Shepherd told Barbados TODAY in a telephone interview he was confident the ministry would do all it could to accommodate the students.

“I believe that the ministry recognizes that there is a need for such a school in Barbados and I am sure that they would want to revive that school or another one with a similar type curriculum.

“The upper fifth [form] should be moving out of the school, but there should be [over 100] students left. I’m sure that the ministry would look at those children’s academic performance and reports from teachers and place those students according to their academic ability. They may also place some of them based on where they live. They have to be in school until 16, that’s the law. So they must be placed at other schools on the island,” the BUT head said.

The school opened on September 25, 1995 to provide alternative secondary education for students who score less than 30 per cent in the BSSEE.

However, Shepherd said it had become a “school of choice”, a suggestion that it had moved away from its purpose, making it difficult for the students to cope.

Shepherd revealed that the ministry had assured teachers at yesterday’s meeting that they would be assigned to other secondary schools across the island.

34 Responses to Alma Parris School to shut down

  1. Saga Boy June 27, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Perhaps he should have focused more on getting the students to perform instead of his constant protests. It is time we demand better performance from the teaching profession. Too many teachers teach without results. Perhaps increases should be linked to the individual results of the students.

  2. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith June 27, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    What will happen to the property?

    • Henderson Yarde
      Henderson Yarde June 28, 2017 at 12:25 am

      What will happened to the existing student body there?

    • Wayne T Griffith
      Wayne T Griffith June 28, 2017 at 6:18 am

      Well surely they must be absorbed into other educational institutions. They can’t just stay home.

  3. Epaphras D. Williams
    Epaphras D. Williams June 28, 2017 at 12:16 am

    For some reason, I’ll figure out later, this really hurts me to my core. I don’t know if children are failing or teachers are failing or the crack pot system we call education is failing but when the bottom drops out…

  4. Hunte Omar
    Hunte Omar June 28, 2017 at 1:07 am

    It often boggles my mind that with all the education , rather than take corrective action to liquidate the issues confronting the school, the only solution is to shut down the school. Is this the approach to failing institutions in this Country? I hope those children well

  5. Anfaani Henry
    Anfaani Henry June 28, 2017 at 3:05 am

    They are shutting down schools in Bim..,

  6. Ricardo June 28, 2017 at 3:53 am

    Saga Boy…you like so many criticize teachers, but a lot of the students and their parents do not see the value of education. Too many students come to school armed with cellphones and not books, they are extremely disrespectful to the adults on the various compounds, and many are apathetic, so don’t get on this site and bash all teachers because some go beyond the call of duty , but people of your kind would never be able to comprehend that.

    • Jay Green June 29, 2017 at 3:38 am

      You must be a teacher or very close to one to come with this response. He didn’t bash All teachers same way u didn’t bash All students. However he has a valid point.

  7. Kim Gaskin
    Kim Gaskin June 28, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Ok…. so the teachers will b accommodated elsewhere…..
    What about the children?
    Put dem where… in the already fill schools with children above their learn n level to further frustrate them n to poorer behaviour? Mercy

  8. Scarfeeze Millan
    Scarfeeze Millan June 28, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Now wait a minute I see a good idea coming from this and I’ll share it with you all why not instead of just letting the building sit and go to rot now would be a time to give it a facelift and turn it into a disciplinary or ediqutte school and have those children who repeatedly causes violence acts like that lvs mess that was all over the front page and have the parent be responsible of paying for the children education and if the aren’t able to do that then have assistance from the state in doing so we have schools like pommarine that deals with cooking and service industry training, the skills training programmer focused at pursuing different areas such as plumbing, electric and others fields as careers why not add a disciplinary school for the troublemakers where they can learn what is right and wrong and where there attitudes can be changed and focus on being young aspiring children in society yes we have Edna Nichols In at peter that offers more of a resort break away from the school curriculum and then put them back into school where they repeat the same actions all over again my thing is separate these children and house them where they will be under proper authority, responsible care and where they can actual focus on doing something which benefits them in the long run why should another perfectly good school go to rot or what it can do is demolish it and build a bigger state of the art transport depot which accommodates the minibus operators and government transportation in the north and have a wider means of transport which caters to the residents of the northern part of the island

  9. Itz Queen
    Itz Queen June 28, 2017 at 6:00 am

    This is a face of accomplishment.

  10. Sophia Branch
    Sophia Branch June 28, 2017 at 6:29 am

    This is another injustice in Barbados I don’t understand y them will wait 2 weeks before the end of term then to let u know this and not even a letter or call from the school

  11. Sarah Pomeranz Layne
    Sarah Pomeranz Layne June 28, 2017 at 6:41 am

    So because the students aren’t doing well academically, the students now have disciplinary issues… and the staff can’t handle it so they are closing the school….. WOWOW.. way to blame non academic children for failure in this school system… maybe the curriculum in this school needs to change to accommodate bright , intelligent NON-ACADEMIC students who will now never succeed in life because yiu never gave them a chance.. and based on the current administration of education, these children will only go into St George Secondary or St Lucy secondary as these are the last 2 of the “bottom score” schools.. what an absolute rot of an education system who blames the students for their failures. God protect these children.. you have hammered the nail into the coffin of the rest of their lives ..SHAME ON YOU! !!!!

    • Sarah Pomeranz Layne
      Sarah Pomeranz Layne June 28, 2017 at 7:57 am

      and by the way.. are you aware that Barbados, once again, has been sited as one of the top 10 education systems in the world.. hahahahaha.. don’t make me laugh….

  12. Ernesta Catlyn June 28, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Since the Ministry of Education is supposed to be responsible for schools in Barbados, I will withhold my comments until I hear what that institution has to say.

  13. BRAD June 28, 2017 at 7:35 am

    the school they should have close is cawmere

  14. Saga Boy June 28, 2017 at 8:09 am

    @Ricardo. You are missing my point. No where in the world are employees paid for participating in a strike. It has serious implications for industrial relations. Can you imagine what a headache employers would have if striking employees are guaranteed pay even when they withhold their services? It is nit right. This has been the case in Barbados from time in memorial. I am merely addressing that reality.

    I maintain my position re the performance of teachers. Too many of them do not perform.

  15. tsquires June 28, 2017 at 8:18 am

    You might well say I am old fashioned but the learning of loads of facts and figures, are presently bandied about as education that is an insult to the word’s original meaning, because our teachers are no longer trained to extract anything their students have within, so our new learning systems will continue to fail, except where our most gifted and right brained children, are able to use their internal motivation to propel themselves forward, while the externally motivated masses struggle; and are deemed as being deviant, slow learners and many other labels. The real problem is that our learning system is still imported, but is no longer fit to meet today’s true challenges.

  16. Icenie Joseph
    Icenie Joseph June 28, 2017 at 8:21 am

    I hope they have other alternative for the children .you cant close down a whole school because of a few bad ones .

  17. Adrian Reid
    Adrian Reid June 28, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Someone from that place didn’t steal big money from there? Asking for a friend…..

  18. Diva N June 28, 2017 at 8:26 am

    What will happen to the property? Will it fall into disrepair like so many other government owned properties. Or will they utilize the building to do industrial teaching since the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic is bursting at the seams. And try to educate the 16 to 19 school leavers so they can have a chance at entrepreneurship and keep them off the block. Then again does the government even care .

  19. Sonia Bragg
    Sonia Bragg June 28, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Rather than close the school how about making changes….starting with the way the school is managed. Bring in a strong but fair headteacher, staff that are well trained to deal with the disciplinary issues, change the curriculum. What is the point of sending these children to main stream schools. .especially when some of them were already sent to this institution from those school. This is sending the wrong message to the children…we can’t cope so you all can go elsewhere. ..and then what?

  20. Marilyn Weekes
    Marilyn Weekes June 28, 2017 at 8:49 am

    This is terribly sad. These children will most likely be placed in schools that will be more than challenging for them.

  21. Cleo Williams June 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Sigh this is just sad my son went to school and the school to work program worked for him and today he’s on the path to success , Michael has benefited from this school in many ways that program works giving the kids a chance everyone can’t be book smart then skills you learn will make you , he will be disappointed when he gets this news .

  22. Janelle Brewster
    Janelle Brewster June 28, 2017 at 9:34 am

    So question what is going to happen to the children that are academicly challenge where r they going to place those children

  23. Donna Scantlebury
    Donna Scantlebury June 28, 2017 at 9:42 am

    What will happen to the children who had lately sit common entrance and pass for that school. Everything in speightown closing down so that soon would not be on the map

  24. PiscesQueen June 28, 2017 at 10:19 am

    It boggles the mind that so may teachers are “equipped” with specialized degrees related to education which seemingly are not utilized by the Ministry of Education on a wide scale. If this was so, in my opinion the Alma Parris school would have fulfilled its mandate and be be closing. In addition, there would be fewer students leaving the educational system with more than the birth certificate they entered with.

  25. Tony Webster June 28, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Putting aside the catastrophic management failure of the institution per se, and the obvious difficulties these little “castaways” will now face, may I point to the emergence of the Derek Smith School and Vocational Centre? This superb, world-class institution, even if it is unable to accommodate a flood of these unfortunate kids, could at least serve as a model so that Governmemt might recognise the way to “get it right” .

    What say you, Mr. Minister?

  26. Cabjones June 28, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Good afternoon, everyone likes to jump on the bandwagon so here are my personal comments.
    An article appears and we comment without all the facts.
    These children already start at a disadvantage.
    Who takes the time at home to help or in the neighbourhood. No one
    We send them every day dressed in expensive shoes,bags, cellphones, hair do, makeup to name a few
    No manners, no discipline, no respect.
    We leave them at the doorstep of the teachers who we expect to provide all these things in addition to an education. close the school, relook the curriculum. Maybe it needs a more vocational aspect and by extension the academic side can work its way in the programme.
    Stop knocking the teachers, you yourself did not go to school to train to be a teacher. Help them, show up for you children and show up as a willing parent ready to listen, discipline, chastise and praise children
    Dont turn up to curse, fight and abuse anyone.
    Stop the name calling and offensive talk.
    I hope its resolved for the sake of the children and teachers alike

  27. Ray Yearwood June 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Let me enlighten the people of this Country and those who read, browse, peruse this website.
    It doesnt matter what school a child(ren)go to.It is how well a Child excels.
    1. My oldest Sister went to St.Lucy Secondary School and today is a Qualified Executive Seceretary in Goverment.
    2.My other Sister went to Alexandra Secondary School and is a Qualified Vice President, Accountant at one of the leading Security Companies abroad(Overseas).
    3.I went to St.James Secondary School and I am on my way to being a Qualified Executive Chef and Executive Pastry Chef.
    4.My Cousin went to St.Michael Secondary School and today is in Canada finishing her studies(Obtained her Bachelors Degree from UWI Barbados, Masters from Canadian University and finishing her Phd now).
    We have all been very poor, laughed at, teased and didnt have much but through it all struggles and sacrifices we have made it.
    Being a Parent I too know what it is like and I always talk to my children(Who are presently Studying at SJPP, Electrical Engineering, Air Conditioning & Refrigerating) that no matter where you went to school it is up to you to study hard, pray and through it all you will make it.
    So all this talk about “Rock Bottom” Schools and this n that is a whole heap of Rubbish.

  28. Milli Watt June 28, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    liar liar pants on fire………minister

  29. Lol July 11, 2017 at 6:57 am

    I just read this, as a 19 year old. Sucks some of those kids won’t get the chance to go to 6th form or have better chances to enroll into University they just got dropped into trade schools if they weren’t academically inclined, sure but that’s just sudden.

    Oh well, if they keep their heads high, they’re fine.


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