There’s growing concern about the number of students at the Frederick Smith Secondary School who are displaying indifference about their academic progress as they transition from junior school to fourth and fifth form.
This assessment has come from Principal Major Michael Boyce who delivered his report during the annual speech day and prize giving ceremony today at the school where he appealed for more parents to take a greater interest in their children’s success.
In an analysis of the state of affairs, Boyce lauded students for delivering strong performances in subjects like Social Studies, Religious Education and Music. He also praised the efforts of fourth year students who pursued Food Preparation and Cookery as well as the Clothing and Textile programmes.
These results, however were overshadowed by an overall decline in performances from first to fifth form with those in the latter stages of their secondary education performing the worst.
“Junior School students continue to outperform their senior school counterparts as pass rates for different subjects decreased in the upper school. This I say once again is unfortunate,” Boyce disclosed.
He added: “We continue to be concerned and aggrieved by the number of students who give up on striving for excellence despite the efforts of the teachers.”
According to Boyce, teachers have committed themselves to improving their strategies. They however believe that in most cases, students have the ability to succeed, but were simply disinterested and did not properly prepare for exams as they grew older.
While thanking the few parents who continue to engage the school, the Frederick Smith principal indicated the struggle to forge strong partnerships between parents and teachers was extremely difficult.
“The Parent Teacher Association [PTA] has enjoyed declining fortunes as the attendance of parents and guardians declined drastically at the monthly meeting.
“At this time we are appealing for a revival of the PTA or rather a parent-teacher partnership, and we encourage all parents and guardians to make every effort to attend the monthly meetings held on the third Thursday of every month,” he said.
Major Boyce told students, parents and teachers at the school’s Trent’s, St. James campus that too many upper level students were refusing to complete the necessary School-Based Assessment (SBA) for the Caribbean Certificate of Secondary Level Competence (CCSLC).
Even more disappointing for the principal was the number of students who failed to attend their Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) examinations without explanation.
On a more positive note, Boyce disclosed that the number of CXC entries over the 2018/2019 school year had increased to 618 in 25 subjects and improved performances were recorded for six of those subjects. The school recorded 100 per cent passes in Principles of Accounts, Industrial Technology Building and Industrial Technology.
Boyce further added that students had excelled in multiple areas of sport including cricket, football, boxing and athletics.
To improve on that success, Boyce urged students to take greater ownership of their education and apply themselves to their work to realise greater benefits.