As Jeff Broomes today hinted that his time as principal of the Parkinson Memorial Secondary School was nearing an end, his union urged all parties involved in the dispute at The Pine, St Michael school to come to the bargaining table.
And the National Union of Public Workers (NUPW), which made the call today, sought to give the assurance that the situation would not be a repeat of what occurred at The Alexandra School.
Speaking at a Press conference this morning to respond to grievances expressed by Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT) about his management style, Broomes served notice that December 5 would be his last speech day at The Pine institution.
Pressed by Barbados TODAY after the media conference to explain that announcement, Broomes said he was “unclear at this time as I have not made a definite decision”.
“I still have to consult my daughter. She is my advisor on such issues.”
Broomes is at the centre of controversy again, as teachers complain of his refusal to take suggestions of staff on board, the introduction of programmes without consultation with teachers and unilaterally changing the timetable, and his refusal to write recommendations for teachers who were eligible for promotion, among other issues. More than half of them stayed away from school on Tuesday morning to meet with their representative Barbados Union of Teachers (BUT).
NUPW president Walter Maloney said there was no reason why the situation should deteriorate into a fight between the NUPW and the BUT, or the Ministry of Education.
“There is no reason why this should be blown out of proportion. I do not like what happened at Alexandra. I think it was badly handled; I don’t think that there is any need for this to be badly handled. I think we have the opportunity now to follow protocol; follow what is laid down in the law,” he said.
“We do not want to see again any level of displacement at any of our secondary schools that is not really worthwhile, that can be resolved between the parties’ sitting down and dealing with the issues.
“Let us sit, let us reason this out together and let the school continue to run and do what it is suppose do –– deliver quality education to the children of this country. As simple as that!” Maloney added.
Defending his management, Broomes said none of the teachers had raised any concern about his management or leadership style, even though there were some teachers who “objected to some policy positions that I have arrived at”.
On the issue of the timetable, the principal said the Education Act And Regulations, 2014, gave him carte blanche on preparing the timetable.
The school’s curriculum, which was designed in 2013 for a three-year period, is also a hot button issue.
“Every single member of staff had an opportunity for input . . . . At the end of the day those heads of department and their teachers got more than 80 per cent of what they asked for. There is nothing wrong with that give and take process, but there are some things that you just do not compromise on; and my educational values and my pedagogical focus will never be compromised,” he insisted.
The principal also expressed disappointment with the manner in which teachers left their duties to attend the BUT meeting.
“I support any teacher, whose union calls them to meeting, going. What I did not like about what happened Tuesday [is that] they never informed me. Neither the teachers nor the union ever told me about any meeting . . . . My secretary told me that something came in at 9:20 in the morning for a 9:30 meeting and I think that’s unacceptable; that is not right,” Broomes said.
He acknowledged that from time to time there would be concerns, but said they should always be addressed in the best interest of the students.
“I believe very strongly that the staff as a whole, inclusive of principal and deputy principal and the most junior teacher, working together, can move mountains within the school,” he said.
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