Government has not had any challenges reassigning temporary teachers to classrooms around the island, ahead of next week’s start of school.
Additionally, at the start of the new term, Barbados will have another sixth form school — Springer Memorial Secondary. However, the other proposed sixth forms at St. Leonard’s Boys and Alexandra School are on hold.
The announcements came during a tour of a number of primary and secondary schools, by a team from the Ministry of Education this morning, led by the Minister Ronald Jones.
With planning meetings going on this week and a scheduled meeting with principals planned for the end of the week, Jones told the media during a stop at Parkinson Memorial that teachers were in place at all the schools.
“The teaching service has about 2,540 established posts — primary, secondary and nursery. Not all of those established posts are filled, which means that temporary persons are in established posts, so that when Personnel Administration Division reaches that point they will do the particular advertisement to have those posts filled.
“I believe there are about 440-odd established posts to be filled and then there are other temporary persons who are in place for persons who are either at Erdiston [Teachers Training College], either on study leave or either on long leave, who will be in place as well. But we have the complement to start the term and we would expect that complement would remain intact. We do not see from the Ministry of Education a problem with having our schools fully staffed,” said the minister.
Asked about the planned sixth forms, he confirmed that at least one was ready to start this term, with a barrage of applications already coming in for student placements.
“Springer is going to be rolled out, because being on the economic environment you had to look at what would be the financial impact. Springer is going to be on stream, it just needs, I believe, one teacher — two half teachers. So essentially one teacher and that is before the Ministry of the Civil Service and the Prime Minister is expected to sign off on it, so that Springer will start.
“In fact, they had quite a large number of persons making applications to Springer, just like all of the other schools. I think St. Leonard’s problem or issue, because St. Leonard’s will be carrying a heavy technical and vocational programme, if they had the number of persons applying for that programme. The number of certificates was very, very limited, but if they had the numbers that would have also started.”
He explained that Alexandra had always been a small school with a roll of about 800-plus when most schools had 1,000 or more.
“So we’ve put a hold on Alexandra because of the demand for staff to bring it up. The numbers were quite large with relation to the others. So Springer, definitely will commence. It will remain single sex and will carry its programme,” he said, adding that the results from this year were up and “pleasing” when compared to the year before. (LB)