• The following statement was released to Bermuda Real by One Bermuda Alliance MP Cole Simons, Shadow Minister of Education

Last month the Minister of Education indicated that our public sector education needs an overhaul and signaled the need for major changes because of the falling birthrate. 

How does he intend to address this? How is he going to adjust our National Education 2022 strategic plan to reflect the change in our schools’s student population demographics? Is recommended change going to fall outside of the 2022 strategic plan? What are his thoughts, plans and recommendations? Our students, teacher and parents need to know.  What has he done since he has made this statement on this matter? 

As for the upcoming school year, what are the Minister’s plans? 

As  we near the end of our public schools’  Summer Holidays, will he share with the parents, teachers, principles and students what plans he has for  each of our public schools, in regards to the number of classes for each school year, the sizes of each class and the redeployment of our teachers, paraprofessionals, and principals,  that will secure, and ensure the best outcomes for all of our students.

How are we managing our P1 school intake across all of our primary schools, and how will the Minister manage the impact, and knock on effect this will have on our middle schools? We have heard of the anxiety in this arena from the PTA and staff at Elliot School, and a few other primary schools across the Island. Have these concerns been addressed?

The Minister also indicated  that “very difficult conversations” lay ahead. He went on to state that: “There will be difficult conversations around school buildings, and their continued or discontinued usage, class sizes, staffing skill sets and the staffing levels that will be required.” What decisions has he made to date, and when will they be rolled out? When does he expect to share this information with the stakeholders and when does he intend to invite their input and when does he intend to address their recommendations?

With less than a month ahead,  it is incumbent on the Minister of Education to build trust and let the parents, teachers, students, principles, and the Bermuda Union of Teachers  know that their voices have been heard, and that their contributions are valued. In addition, he must demonstrate to all of our educational stakeholders that they are respected and valued. One way that this can be achieved is  by sharing the Ministry’s plan for the new school year with them, within the next week or so, so that all of our public schools are poised, and ready to start our 2019/20  year on a positive note.

This is important as we do not want  our students to start this exciting  our new school year with tension, anxiety and mistrust.

NH Cole Simons, One Bermuda Alliance MP & Shadow Minister of Education