A score of schools remained shuttered as the 2019-2020 academic year began today owing to incomplete repairs, but the first day of school after the long break began in typical fashion with new uniforms, new students, and fresh hopes.
A Barbados TODAY survey of schools on day one of the Michaelmas term began at the privately-owned Ifill School, Hindsbury Road, St Michael.
Owner-Principal Akil Ifill said management was ready to introduce changes to the curriculum. He said the focus of his school of 54 pupils is on producing well-rounded students.
He declared: “We wanted to have the students spend more time on not just academics but also the sporting aspect and the creative arts aspect.
“Last year we had a whirlwind year. We were the most-talked-about school, the most-followed school, and the most controversial school, in a way.
“But all four terms have proved that people need more programmes where the children spend more time in school.”
Ifill said he noted more students with reading difficulties “over the last two years.”
He said: “We want to partner with the National Public Library Service and have students go and learn and work on their research skills because they are too reliant on voice assistants and Google.
“They need to spend time working on these core skills and we will be focusing on public speaking as well.”
The principal also indicated that from this year, second form students would sit Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) examinations.
Class 2 student Mikkel Wiltshire, who attends The Ifill School said that while he had an enjoyable summer vacation, it was now time for him to improve in Mathematics, learn new topics and spend quality time with friends.
Wiltshire said: “I like that the teachers are calm and nice to us.”
Wiltshire’s schoolmate Shiloh Davis said she was happy to be back at school since she missed her friends, teachers and the principal. Davis is preparing to sit the Common Entrance examination next year.
She said before she left home this morning, her mother encouraged her to pray, behave well and to focus on a good academic performance.
Davis, ten, declared: “I want to go to Combermere mostly because one of my cousins gone there and I mostly like that school and it is closer to me.”
At the nearby public school, Hindsbury Primary, pupils were introduced to new Principal Jennifer Jordan who was transferred from Deacons Primary which she led for four years. There are also four new teachers at Hindsbury Primary.
While it was her first day on the job, Jordan said she had already started to learn about the girls’ school.
She told the girls: “I was watching the girls this morning and you all really know how to behave, and I must compliment you on your behavior and on your singing. So, it means that all the girls here are little ladies.
“You behave like ladies and princesses and you work well and that’s very commendable for approximately 400 girls at a school.”
The office was busy at Ellerslie Secondary in Black Rock, but the classroom blocks were relatively quiet when Barbados TODAY visited.
Ellerslie’s principal, Major Errol Brathwaite, declared to the assembled students that they were attending the best school in Barbados. He encouraged them to think about where they want to be when the time comes for them to leave, as well as what they want to achieve.
He said: “The senior teachers and the department heads will engage them relative to the expectations of uniform and working towards success.
“They are rearing and ready to go and I hope that they continue with this energy that they have come with. Everything is in place for a smooth start to the term.”