Minister: Two Preschools To Be Amalgamated

April 22, 2015

[Updated with PLP response] Two preschools will be amalgamated into primary schools in September 2015, Minister of Education Wayne Scott announced today [April 22], with St David’s Preschool set to join with St David’s Primary School, while St John’s Preschool will join with Victor Scott Primary School.

The amalgamation of preschools will be the only changes for the upcoming academic year, the Minister said, and there will be not be any primary school consolidations or closures for the 2015/16 academic school year.

Minister Scott said, “As you are aware, we recently concluded stakeholder and public consultation meetings regarding school consolidation and reorganization.

“The consultation was held to gather valuable input and information from parents, educators and other community members, and to listen to get an understanding of the concerns of our community.

“It has always been my intent as your Minister of Education to ensure that all decisions made are the best interests of our children and to create improved learning environments for our students.

“The Ministry is committed to get this right and not to rush toward a plan that could create more disruption than success.

“Therefore, I have listened and deeply considered the thoughtful comments, feedback, submissions and discussions on this important issue. I have learned several things from this process, and one is that the difficult challenge of reorganization will be more successful if the education system is looked at from a system perspective. In order to do so, more time is needed and stakeholders should have the opportunity to help support the difficult decision-making process.

“The Ministry has taken a number of factors into consideration and we are now prepared to outline the next steps for 2015/2016 and the following year.

“In September 2015, two preschools will be amalgamated into two primary schools. They are St David’s Preschool into St David’s Primary School and St John’s Preschool into Victor Scott Primary School. The preschool at Victor Scott will become Victor Scott Preschool, paying further homage to the work of the late Mr. Victor Scott, the first headmaster of Central School.

“It should be noted that the idea to merge the St David’s schools was brought to the Ministry by the preschool administrator and primary school principal. They collaborated to develop an amalgamation plan to make a smoother preschool-to-primary school transition for students, their parents and the community.

“I am happy to announce that the amalgamation of preschools will be the only changes for the upcoming academic year. Therefore, there will be no primary school consolidations or closures for the 2015/16 academic school year.

“I have determined that further work, collaboration and consultation are necessary before a final decision is made on public school reorganization and school closure. This decision has been assisted by anticipated cost savings through the early retirement of several staff and other means.”

Minister Scott’s press conference just concluded, and we will update with his full statement and a video as able.

Update 4.10pm: Minister Scott’s full statement follows below:

Good afternoon and thank you for coming.

As you are aware, we recently concluded stakeholder and public consultation meetings regarding school consolidation and reorganization.

The consultation was held to gather valuable input and information from parents, educators and other community members, and to listen to get an understanding of the concerns of our community.

It has always been my intent as your Minister of Education to ensure that all decisions made are the best interests of our children and to create improved learning environments for our students.

The Ministry is committed to get this right and not to rush toward a plan that could create more disruption than success.
Therefore, I have listened and deeply considered the thoughtful comments, feedback, submissions and discussions on this important issue.

I have learned several things from this process, and one is that the difficult challenge of reorganization will be more successful if the education system is looked at from a system perspective. In order to do so, more time is needed and stakeholders should have the opportunity to help support the difficult decision-making process.

The Ministry has taken a number of factors into consideration and we are now prepared to outline the next steps for 2015/2016 and the following year.

In September 2015, two preschools will be amalgamated into two primary schools. They are St David’s Preschool into St David’s Primary School and St John’s Preschool into Victor Scott Primary School. The preschool at Victor Scott will become Victor Scott Preschool, paying further homage to the work of the late Mr. Victor Scott, the first headmaster of Central School.

It should be noted that the idea to merge the St David’s schools was brought to the Ministry by the preschool administrator and primary school principal. They collaborated to develop an amalgamation plan to make a smoother preschool-to-primary school transition for students, their parents and the community.

I am happy to announce that the amalgamation of preschools will be the only changes for the upcoming academic year. Therefore, there will be no primary school consolidations or closures for the 2015/16 academic school year. I have determined that further work, collaboration and consultation are necessary before a final decision is made on public school reorganization and school closure.

This decision has been assisted by anticipated cost savings through the early retirement of several staff and other means.
And so, in partnership with stakeholders, the Ministry of Education will take a more holistic approach to addressing this challenge. Over the next few months, additional research, criteria, and reviews will be undertaken in order to support a sound decision.

This period of time will be used as an opportunity to review the condition of school facilities, the capacity of schools to accommodate additional students, special programme facilities, environmental factors, transportation and traffic considerations, the overall operating costs of schools, and the financial viability, sustainability and efficiency of primary schools.

The Ministry also looks forward to further engaging stakeholders in the development of the school reorganization process so that they can contribute to and better understand the way forward. Towards this end, a working group will be appointed to review and recommend a plan to move forward.

The working group will be responsible for:

  • Recommending schools for consolidation or closure for the 2016/2017 academic year and beyond; using the initial input of decreasing the number of primary schools by one primary school per zone; i.e. East, West, and Central
  • Recommending plans for improving the quality and consistency of programming across primary schools, keeping in mind the ideal or model school [e.g. structured sport, music and art programming, improved student services, etc]
  • Recommending opportunities for efficiencies and cost savings [e.g. more effective use of human resources, reduced maintenance costs, alternative building use, rent reductions, etc]

Also, we are pleased to announce today that the registration process for preschool and primary school can now continue, and parents should expect that notification letters will be sent out by the end of April.

I would like to thank parents, principals, teachers, Department of Education staff, school alumni and other community members, for your contribution to the consultation process. I believe that together we have a genuine opportunity to improve student achievement and create stronger learning environments that will ultimately produce a school system of excellence.

Thank you.

-

Update 8.53pm: A statement from Shadow Education Minister Lovitta Foggo said, “The Progressive Labour Party is pleased to hear that the OBA Government have realised that the consultation period, during which meetings were held with staff and parents on proposed consolidation and closures of schools, did not meet with public acceptance.

“Consequently, no school closures have been announced. According to the Shadow Minister of Education, Lovitta Foggo, the feedback received from parents and key stakeholders in education made clear that the idea of school closure did not enjoy public support; which was evident during the public consultations.

“Additionally, most felt that the evidence presented by the Minister was woefully inadequate to support any suggestion of school closure, particularly with respect to arguments surrounding student performance.

“We hope that in the future, the Minister of Education will conduct his due diligence before making any announcements which may have a grave impact on the community.

“The past two months have caused unnecessary angst for parents, teachers and students, over where they may be placed in September. After all the uncertainty caused by the OBA, we now learn that there will be no changes at the primary levels.

“We will lend our support to the amalgamation of St David’s Pre-school with St David’s Primary, and St John’s Pre-school with Victor Scott Primary School, if these moves enjoy the support of both parents and staff.

“Education is paramount. It must always be handled with respect and care. Our students, parents and teachers deserve nothing less!”

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Comments (70)

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  1. watching says:

    What a load of crap.
    They put everyone through this unnecessary stress and they are only moving 2 preschools?
    I am happy there are no additional changes at this time, but this government is RIDICULOUS.

    • Politricks says:

      Hold on.

      Consultations were going on with all the relevant Groups this whole time. This was acknowledged on several occasions by the Minister and Premier when questioned (i.e. consultation was still ongoing).

      The only people that were going through ‘unnecessary stress’ were the ones that made assumptions and spewed them enough to believe their assumptions were correct without actually confirming. Typical Bermuda gossip made into a false reality.

      And no, talk show gossip aren’t official announcements.

      This Government can’t with people like yourself. They consulted with the various stakeholders and came to a decision at the end. And yet you still label them ridiculous.

      The only thing ridiculous is people believing their own lies and assumptions.

    • Um Um Like says:

      You probably don’t even have any kids!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      They have repeatedly said that they were going to review and consult of a period of time before any final announcement was made.
      Remember, this was a forced decision, and the announcement only extends as far as the next school year. There will still be further consultation for the ’16/’17 year with closures that can be better planned ahead and it is my belief that there should be to more effectively utilize the limited resources that government faces. If the government did not take this difficult action, they would be risking an effective education for our children.
      Let’s be honest, you only think they are a ridiculous government, because they aren’t your choice for government, but irregardless of what you think, they are a governemnt that is forced to make the hard choices the last government were avoiding… and that is what they are doing.

    • Zevon says:

      So you’re “happy that there are no other changes”, but it’s “ridiculous” that the government listened to people who didn’t want more changes.
      Riiiiight.

  2. Sick & Tired says:

    So does these amalgamations solve the deficit in the budget that the MOED was looking for?

  3. Jr Smith says:

    thank you for listening to the people…

  4. Chris Famous says:

    East End Stood firm

    • Onion says:

      What are you even talking about?

      The OBA did their job – listened and came up with what is hopefully a workable solution.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Exactly, Onion. The Govt has won on this one. CF is just spinning what’s not even there.

        • Varied says:

          But is this really about Government ‘winning’? Shouldn’t this be about parents and students, as well as education?

          • Unbelievable says:

            You are right. This is not about the OBA winning anything but since this is always turned into an OBA vs PLP thing, I felt it needed to be said.

            • Varied says:

              Cheers, although there are clearly some who strongly believe it’s always about political one-upmanship of some sort. Peachy.

    • Axelrod says:

      East End needs to be shut down! No need for three, yes three, read it, 3 !!!! primary schools in a parish where there are only 75 live births a year!!! St. Georges only needs ONE primary school. Money wasted and still the worst educated parish in Bermuda!

      • Kangoocar says:

        I was agreeing with you until I read your last sentence, ” Money wasted and still the worst educated Parish in Bermuda ” the people of St George elected the OBA didn’t they??? In my book that puts them streets ahead of the west end ( somerset ) who still elect 100% plp no matter the plp candidate, Jahmel being elected recently proves my point!!! So, I have to say Somerset is the worst educated parish in bermuda!!!!!

        • Mockingjay says:

          And your the worst ex-patriot to grace our shores.

          • Kangoocar says:

            @mockinjay, don’t let the pigmentation of my skin confuse you, I am 100% Bermudian and I don’t care how much you dislike that fact!!! Where were you educated, in Somerset????

            • Come Correct says:

              Must have been in your class. If you want I’ll “trane” you in basic grammar and spelling you condescending pric. Although I have no respect for JAMAHL, I can still spell his name right.

              Kangoocar – keeping racism alive since 2012

        • frank says:

          Kangoocar you are a. Very stupid. Person

          • Kangoocar says:

            Frank, being that is the only thing that you can come up with, to refute my statements, it does not take a deep thinker to figure out who actually is the stupid person, and that would be you!!! The problem with those that think like you is very simple?? You’re type CANNOT face the blunt truth and when it is presented to you and certain others by me, you get insulted and resort to name calling because that is all the ammunition that you have to argue with!!!!

          • Zevon says:

            Frank, you. Are. A. Moron.

      • Interested says:

        Ignorance is truly bliss. Until you can prove that the results and progress of students at East End is inferior to those of other schools in the east you should close your mouth. Or perhaps you are one of those people who live in the pseudo private world and would prefer that George’s prep be the only school in the immediate environs of St George’s.

    • serengeti says:

      East End school is the most expensive school in the system, per student, by far. The least efficient.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Not sure you understood the statement, which is that there are no primary consolidations for the coming school year, and that the ’16/’17 school year is still under review, with the goal of reducing by at least 3 primary schools, one in the east, one in the west and one central. As the St. David’s Primary and Victor Scott are receiving the preschool consolidations this year, I think it is safe to say that they are the only 2 safe bets for not being made redundant in the next phase. The decisions to put off any primary consolidations for a further year was done so to provide additional time to better plan for the required transitions when they implemented.

  5. watching says:

    SO how will they save the money that they had proposed would be saved by the proposed closures?

    • Politricks says:

      Stop pretending that you care about saving money now.

    • Axelrod says:

      Save what money?….Savings is for suckers! Borrowing and spending beyond your means(to repay it)is where its at! Wait till the vultures take over ownership of our debt and insist that we give them Dockyard for a private project!! Your pain is just beginning Bermuda. (Better get that British passport, or that white card! ’cause thousands of you will not be living here in 10 years!)

  6. wasted time says:

    So does this mean we will finally find out what school our child git accepted into???

    • PBanks says:

      Indeed. Guess it’s time for parents to start checking our mailboxes.

    • justheretoseethecomments says:

      So with this being done. Will the preschoolers at each primary school be required to wear the same uniform as the primary schoolers??? Just wondering

  7. bluebird says:

    HOW SAD,dont make no cuts,as we are still borrowing $220Million per year to pay these Civil Servants.
    We OWE $2BILLION dollars at an interest rate of $170Million per year.
    These youngster’s will inherit this HUGE DEBT as we are still unable to balance the BUDGET for a few more years.
    I am sure that these youngster’s will be more than willing to PAY the generous Pensions and benefits in the future as well as the DEBT.
    As you can all blame it on someone else.

  8. Axelrod says:

    Hmmmmmm OBA still whistling past the grave yard! Country is broke and we are still operating 18 primary schools!! Too scared to make any decisions on spending cuts….OBA should all just start wearing Paula Cox masks! Country headed to bankruptcy which will kill off what is left of int’l business on the Island. Poverty looms!

    Health care prices just went up 19% and are due to go up again by December this year and…no doubt….again in next new budget year beginning in April 2016. But with our deaf, blind, and mute population nobody sees that the increase in health care costs is directly a result of the islands egregious spending beyond its means. Continued borrowing and spending like this – 260 mil per year – will see the Island add another billion in debt by 2019. Thus we will be broke by 2023.

    And no doubt even then we will still be running 18 primary schools and have only probably have only 400 children being born per year! Insanity.

    By 2018 health care premiums will be up to $800 per month for one working person and a loaf of bread will cost $15.00 Get ready for the pain Bermuda. Borrowing to pay government salaries is never a strategy….just a delay! Poor government leadership, first by PLP, and now by their cousins the OBA has sunk the island.

    • Kangoocar says:

      Axelrod, now this post of yours I 100%! Agree with!!! I have already made my exit plan because of everything you said, I can leave in a moments notice to my choice of the US, Canada or anywhere in Europe I so choose??? These brain dead bloggers that don’t understand what you are saying are living in la la land, and yes, even the OBA is disappointing me because even they are maintaining the status quo for votes??? Of course thier actions are only accelerating the total collapse of Bermuda!!! Time for party politics to be gotten rid of!!!!!

      • Come Correct says:

        If I wanted to be in a tank for minimum wage I’d go to Seria before I responded to your job ad.

      • Just Curious says:

        So why don’t you leave already!!! All those choices of countries to live in, and you’re still hogging the news to see what happens before you finally go???

  9. Alvin Williams says:

    The protests over this government’s attempt to close Lamb/Foggo was a political shot across the bow of this government so they wouldn’t dare mess with the people of the East End in attempting to close their school. In the next election no more lies will get them over.

    • Bermale says:

      Name three positive things the PLP did for the East End in 14 years? And I mean actions that directly benefitted the East End.

      I can name 4 actions issued by the OBA in 2 that far outstrip the economic devastation that the PLP helped to inflict on the East End.

      • Go Bermuda-Go says:

        Right…

        by increasing payroll taxes?

        • Bermale says:

          Nope.

          Granting $750k to the corporation to allow infrastructure upgrades to be undertaken. Remember the PLP stripped away the revenue streams of the corporations which prevented the entity from investing into st. George’s.

          Leasing an overseas ferry which is used to transport cruise ship passengers to sr. George’s. I. The first season alone more than 100k tourists visited st. George’s on the ferry. The same ferry that the PLP objected to. And also don’t forget the PLP are the ones that cancelled the ferry service to the east need while in power.

          The implementation of an east end ambulance service to allow faster response times for emergencies.

          The institution of a 0.25% oil dock tax with all monies going straight into the coffers of st. George’s.

          The announcement of the new hotel development to break ground at the club med site.

          That was in 2 years.

          In 14 years of the PLP they managed to blow up the old hotel, force the closure of the public golf course which attracted many people to the east end ( and yet no cries of privatization from the usual suspects), forced the closure of a Bermudian owned beach bag business (and yet no cries of anti-Bermudian from the usual suspects), cancel a ferry to the east end and starve the corporation of revenue.

          Next.

      • Unbelievable says:

        Alvin can’t name them cuz they never happened.

    • Sickofantz says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong Alvin but isn’t Bermuda only about 22 miles long?

      Why would we need more than one hospital keep a sense of perspective. I don’t know how much tax your paying but it’s got to be a hell of a lot of you think you are paying for all this healthcare.

      What are we going to do when even more of those expats who actually pay their healthcare costs but are amazingly healthy leave.

    • Zevon says:

      Over -priced under-used first aid post.

  10. Chris Famous says:

    The Budget has stated $1 million in savings by school consolidations.

    Maybe my maths is off, but I doubt we were paying out $80,000 per month in rent for two preschools.

    So can someone explain how this $1 million will be met. Or is this another budget that does not come in at budget?

    • Bermale says:

      Hilarious. You and your ilk protest, complain and shoot down each and every budget reduction put forward.

      And now you have the nerve to complain if the budget is exceeded?

      And where were you when the PLP put forward school consolidation as a method to save monies? Or when they privatized/outsourced numerous Government activities?

    • Sickofantz says:

      I AGREE WITH YOU Chris we need to close down East End primary as soon as possible for the good of the country.

      • Interested says:

        So one school shutting down will improve the country. Explain how?

        • Zevon says:

          Because saving wasted money we don’t have is a good thing.

          Of course, we also then have more to soend on useful things, like making sure public employees get their full 14 weeks fake sick leave every year.

    • Destiny says:

      Let me explain something to you. No, this small but sensitive move will not reduce the deficit. And personally, I’m disapponited the OBA didn’t at least amalgamate two primary schools. This is always about politics and not what needs to happen to reduce the monetary waste of this island. But you Mr. Famous would pick holes in any effort to reduce the waste because you are set on blasting the Government and not addressing the problems at hand. Get it in your thick skull, the PLP have no expertise or common sense to deal with Bermuda’s deficit within its ranks today. And most Bermudians recognise that even if they don’t blast it all over social media. Bermudians from both political sides know there has to be some sacrifice and innovation. Let’s just get on with it and you Mr. Famous, just need to go away with your negativity, sarcasim and ill-informed opinions.

  11. Lizzie says:

    If it wasn’t for Cardoza’s Garage fighting with government to stop them from taking over Mission Road. Gilbert primary School would have closed this year.( Gilbert school is zoned Hotel and it borders Co Co Reef). Stay tuned. It isn’t over yet!!

    • TP says:

      Gilbert has always been a low intake school – why is it still open? Same with heron bay.

  12. Rhonda says:

    Why didn’t St, Paul’s merger with Gilbert. But no one should be surprised, about St. John’s, the teachers at St, John’s was telling parents as far back as Jan. about the change. . Oba and their pretend consultation.

    • NT says:

      Paget Preschool still has a lease and Gilbert Institute has no space to house 20 kids at this present time. However, it was proposed to the Government.

    • Unbelievable says:

      Stop making stuff up, Rhonda just score cheap points.

    • Happy says:

      I could be wrong but I thought St. Johns wanted the preschool out of their building as they were planning on using it for something else.

    • Zevon says:

      Talking crap again Rhonda.
      Did you put in the suggestion about Gilbert when asked for feedback?
      Didn’t think so. Too busy raking it in as a paid PLP blogger.

  13. C says:

    I think it’s a good idea. Parents won’t hv to find primary schools for their children they will already be with in the school. No changes for them. No stress of going to a new school. They stay with their friends.

  14. so immature says:

    Had they left the damn school system the way it was we probably wouldn’t be in this sad situation. Kids being territorial which has lead to segregation of our own youngsters. Some who say they can’t travel or be in various areas on this little island. No matter what political party is in power greed is in control. Listen to suppose to be grown adults saying which part of the island is educated more than the other. P.S. St.George Secondary had students as far as Somerset in attendance.

  15. common sense says:

    Anyway top the field up with sand so when it pours there wont be flooding

  16. St. Geo4Lyfe says:

    They should have consolidated St. George’s Preschool with East End… obvious low hanging fruit. East End has the space.

  17. Terry says:

    More PLP propaganda.
    Desperate.
    Shalom.

  18. Go Bermuda-Go says:

    All for the America’s Cup?
    Jeopardizing the the optimal efficiency of operations by cramming so many people together. Is this not a long-term issue that may lead to overcrowded school?

    Surely this is a health hazard as well. How many restrooms are in the room? Where will the pre-school students tak a nap? Who are the peolpe confimring the operational logistics?

    Are there actually projected future cash flow forecasts? How does OBA even know if it will work? How would the stakeholders benefit from from this if it ends up being a bust?

    These people are doing anything, many. And nothing is going to stop them.

    Will it affect their kids; families?

    How are they going to profit from the evacuated schools? Is the money for America’s Cup? Are the (invisible profits) going to be enough to rectify the (not-so-extreme) country deficit?

    Maybe I don’t need to know. Maybe no one needs to know, except those recklessly making decisions?

    Whose to say that there will not be more traffic congestion in neighborhoods. Think now if the Palmetto road has not been completed. Or if there is still public works being performed on Marsh- Folly Road (short run issues).

    Can anyone from the OBA taking part of this initiative answer these questions publicly?

    • Zevon says:

      You think Bermuda’s debt position is “not so extreme”?
      Still living in a dream. Still think we can just borrow and borrow and spend carelessly.
      Here lies the problem, folks.

  19. rhonda says:

    Every school where government is paying rent, should be scrutinize for an alternative

  20. rhonda says:

    The next steps is an irrevocable law, if that’s possible that public schools can never be on private property.

    • Zevon says:

      How about an irrevocable law banning stupid knee-jerk statements?

  21. Starting Point says:

    Take it further, close every public pre-school and merge them with their primary school family. Then convert every middle school into a jr. high and high school. Turn Cedarbridge into an arts / sport performance school where kids spend half the day in arts or sport and half in intensive academic (9-5 school day). Turn Berkley into a IT/IB centre.

    Cedarbridge and Berkley have an application process and expected academic standards for various programs.(BTW these two streamed schools with academic standards would pull many kids out of private school into the public system imo.)

    Make Bermuda college a dual trades high school and undergrad program.

    note: take those now empty public pre schools and rent them out to sport / charities for a dollar and have the renters pay for the building maintenance. or sell them off to pay down portion of the debt.

    this country needs radical education change, not reform, reform is changing an existing system. We need a new system.

    as for the PLP – LOL irrelevant.

  22. Ace girl says:

    So sad that when the government has the opportunity to recoup the overspending that they inherited that they do not have the testicular fortitude to make a decision. Cannot say that the Previous Premier ever shyed away from making decisions. Unfortunately this has become a political issue, which it is not. It is educational and it is financial and while many think these two words should not appear in the same sentence, it is the way of the world. Today education is a business. You cannot run schools without funds. Why are there 3 schools in St. George’s? Why is a school operating with only 75 students? It is nonsense. And for the commentator who wrote ‘east end stood strong’, you need to wake up and smell the roses. It is about what is best for the students and best for the country. Not about taking defensive stands, surely you can see where that has gotten the country to date. There is no money, how can people not understand that?

  23. another misstake says:

    Cedar brege part 2 anyone.

  24. Hey says:

    What sense does this make?……Only 2 schools?