Shake-up of schools’ principals

A shake-up of secondary school principals is under way.

When the new term begins in September, Captain Michael Boyce, the current head of The Lester Vaughan School, will be take up the reins at Frederick Smith Secondary School in Trents, St James, Barbados TODAY understands.

Boyce is among five principals and one deputy being moved, with two other deputies being elevated to act as principal.

With the retirement of Vere Parris, principal of the Combermere School, he will be succeeded by Coleridge & Parry head Vincent Fergusson.

Also going on retirement leave is Springer Memorial School Principal Pauline Benjamin, who will be replaced by her current deputy Mitchelle Maxwell as acting principal.

Deputy Principal Bradston Clarke of Alma Parris Memorial School, which shuts down permanently tomorrow, is set to become the deputy at Springer.

An official source also told Barbados TODAY that St George Secondary School Principal Sonja Goodridge is to be transferred to Coleridge & Parry, and Dennis Browne, who is currently at the helm at Grantley Adams Memorial will replace Goodridge.

Vere Parris and Pauline Benjamin

Browne’s vacated position will be filled by Valdez Francis, principal of the closing Alma Parris Memorial School.

Meantime, Deputy Principal of The Lester Vaughan School Tanya Harding will act in the post of principal at the Cane Garden institution, the official source said.

Efforts to reach Chief Education Officer Karen Best for comment on the transfers were unsuccessful up to the time of publication.

However, Minister of Education Ronald Jones has chastised educators and parents for passing on the myth to their students and children that there are “good schools and bad schools” in Barbados.

He argued yesterday that it was the quality of teaching, and not a school’s name, that mattered.

Jones addressed the issue at length at the St Bartholomew Primary graduation ceremony, after principal Hyacinth Harris reported on her school’s performance in the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination and noted that some of the students fell below the national average in both Maths and English.

“There is no good school, bad school. That is a dangerous syndrome which has crept in to the lexicon of Barbadians,” Jones said, as he advised the principal not to focus on the mean but to set targets she wanted the school to achieve in any given year.

“There is no need to get into this debate and force it down the throats and into the minds of our children.”

An adamant Jones said that despite the criticism he faced for that position, he was sticking to his guns that all schools were good schools “because in all of our schools are good people and, by and large, all of our people are good people.

“I do not believe in this harsh division . . . in our society that somehow if you go to school at ‘A’ you are better than someone who goes to ‘B’ or school ‘C’,” he maintained.

The Minister of Education further contended that school could take place anywhere – even under a tree – and still have an impact.

“If we change the names of every school in Barbados and we shut down every infrastructure and we take the children on the outside and give them quality education, there would be no school called Harrison College or Combermere,” he insisted.

Jones argued that instead of comparing schools, Barbadians needed to focus more on collaboration and raising the standards of all children in schools and in the country generally.  

5 Responses to Shake-up of schools’ principals

  1. Sheron Inniss July 7, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Pray tell me who perpetuates this to the max? Is it not the Ministry of Education? Steupse. If this was not so by now we would have total zoning, continuous assessment and no screaming test.

  2. Lisa July 7, 2017 at 7:22 am

    The comparison of schools comes from you and your ministry genius.

  3. Stewart Russell July 7, 2017 at 7:27 am

    If such is the case, prove it. Send children to school where they live. Stop the pecking order thing. It conflicts with “no good schools and bad schools”. There is little equality regarding two schools: School A which receives the students that score less than 20% and School B which receives the students who score 85% or more. The relative success of those two schools is largely determined by the quality of the intake. Let us be reminded that both schools are doing the same CXC’s at the culmination of a four to five year period. Note that the four years is in relation to School B with the higher percentile intake. I have no doubt that some will posit that at School A with the lower percentile intake there are children that do exceptionally well. My response to such would be “exceptions do not make the rule”. I will conclude by adding, prove it by a transfer of principals from the “Schools B” type to the “Schools A” type when such transfers are done. Please do not mention the ‘exception’! It doesn’t fit.

  4. Greengiant July 7, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Mr. Jones I have to agree with you on this one. Our family has just adopted an eleven year old boy who will be entering secondary school this year. He struggles with the basics of mathematics, basic principles of english, spelling, and generally applying himself to homework. My partner who is his relative after two weeks is regreting taking him because he’s negatively manipulative, he lies and is generally lazy to anything positive, but can eat the house down, and wants to play sports.

    I’m a natural at teaching, i’m extremely patient, with a non tollerance for cheating or dishonesty. So he got a lash when I caught him looking at the tables to complete a maths asignment. I’m not a quitter, so I’m in this for the long bterm. I’ve commited myself to this for the next seven or so years at least, probably more if he needs it.

    The problem is however, he never used to do homework, or any work at home. How on earth does adults expect children to retain anything taught or develop educationally if there’s no continuity at home? They will simply enter the door at secondary school and fall through the cracks in the floor, never to get out. Below those cracks are the drugs, guns, and other dealers of crime waiting to catch them. Once they catch them you have lost them forever.

    So we need to stop blaming the system and address the needs and priorities of our children, sometimes it’s a real challenge to do so, but there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your children succeed in their education, and adult life. I know the feeling, having done this twice before. So i’m appealing to parents and guardians to spend some time making sure the children does follow up work at home, the teachers need our help badly. They are prepared to fight with us, but we seem to want the teachers who too have families to fight alone. It’s unreasonable and should not be expected. They’re being paid to teach our children, not to fight for them, that’s the role of parents.

  5. Sheron Inniss July 7, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    The Ministry perpetuating the myth. Total zoning, continuous assessment and no screaming test may convince me that the minister is serious. lol


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