While acknowledging that there is currently no official monitoring structure in place for students who are part of the secondary summer school programme when they return to their respective schools, Government officials say it is one of the things they are considering.
Senior Education Officer, Fernando Carter, explained that the summer school programme involved 200 students between first and third forms, from a number of schools, who were scoring less than 35 per cent in classes.
During the summer, with commitment from parents, they would undergo classes in English, Maths, Integrated Science and Social Studies, along with remedial courses to improve these areas before school resumes in September.
Carter said there was no official monitoring mechanism, but the progress of the students was fed back to the schools which they hoped would act on that improvement to further assist the children.
What they had seen, he stated, was an increase in recent times in the number of schools offering extra classes, even if they were paid classes.
“Currently all information obtained about the students is shared with the schools, so they have the reports. If there are any individual psychological reports that can be shared with the guidance counsellors of the respective secondary school and we are hoping that that information can be utilised in a positive and productive way…
“Hopefully we can see a new set of students next year, but unfortunately there are some students who return to summer school and we may need to work harder on those students so they don’t return again.
“With more information sharing between the Ministry of Education and the schools, we hope and also by working with the Student Support Services Unit that whatever issues were identified will hopefully be corrected over the next 12 months,” he explained.
The senior education officer said the idea of having additional classes once school opened to better facilitate continued progress of students, had been mooted before.
“We do not restrict individual schools from creating their own programme. This year I have noted an increase in secondary schools offering paid summer school. You would recognise the ministry summer school the students do not pay, they are even provided with bus passes. We can and should encourage schools to attempt to ameliorate the weaknesses in their students either during the term or even in the summer.
“Our role would be, if that has not been done satisfactorily, at least step in the summer to ensure that the type of students we are creating and eventually putting out in society would have that strong foundation.”
The 200 students in the programme this year are spread across St. George Secondary, Frederick Smith Secondary, Ellerslie Secondary and the Christ Church Foundation School, with 61 students and nine facilitators present at St. George. (LB)