Minister of Education, Diallo Rabain, announced the final cut on public primary school closures that will see the permanent closure of eight schools, including St David’s Primary, St George’s Prep, Port Royal and West End.
Also on the chopping block are Gilbert Institute, Heron Bay Primary, Prospect Primary and Northlands.
It is all part of the major overhaul planned for Bermuda’s public school system, that will result in just one primary school in every parish, with the exception of Pembroke, which will have two.
The schools which will remain open will be redeveloped, including: East End Primary, Francis Patton Primary, Harrington Sound Primary; Elliot Primary; Victor Scott Primary; West Pembroke Primary; Paget Primary; Purvis Primary; Dalton E Tucker Primary and Somerset Primary.
While making the announcement yesterday, the Minister stressed that the closures will be “phased in over three to five years”.
But he has yet to say what will become of the school buildings to be left vacated.
Due to declining enrolment numbers over the years, he reiterated that there was no longer a need to have 18 public primary schools in Bermuda, saying the Government’s resources could be used more effectively on fewer schools.
He also stressed that the decision was made after extensive public consultation with parents and other stakeholders.
Moving forward, he said: “As a community we have a challenge before us – one that will not be resolved by maintaining the status quo or tinkering at the edges.
“The plan for parish primary schools will ensure that every child will attend an outstanding primary school, regardless of where they live, their background, or what strengths and needs they have.
“This critical investment not only sets up success for young people but also provides essential elements to help our economy and society to thrive.”
The planned closures, announced in December of last year, initially set out to close ten primary schools.
Since then, the Government hired Innovation Unit Australia New Zealand; a consultancy firm, to help restructure the public school system to the tune of $2.1 million for a two-and-a-half year contract that expires in September 2022.