Phase Out Middle & Introduce Signature Schools

July 11, 2018 | 31 Comments

The Government’s commitment to “reform public education by phasing out middle schools and introducing signature schools at the secondary level is progressing forward,” Minister of Education and Workforce Development Diallo Rabain said today, adding that they will “institute a student, parent, staff and community-engagement process for the development and introduction of high-quality proposals for Signature Schools.”

Minister Rabain said, “Another successful school year has come to a close and this would not be possible without the efforts and teamwork of students, parents, community partners, educators, and our leadership and support teams in schools and the Department of Education.

“Just as we are preparing for the next school year, we are also preparing for the future of our public schools and public education system.

“Now, is therefore the right time to share with the education and broader communities that the Government’s 2017 Election Platform commitment to Reform public education by phasing out middle schools and introducing signature schools at the secondary level is progressing forward.

“We believe that in developing the future of our education system, we must consider the wants and needs of the community. We have listened to the community interest in phasing out middle schools, but are also aptly aware that school and system change is a sensitive and emotive issue for students, parents, families, alumni, unions and our staff.

Minister Diallo Rabain Bermuda July 2018

“Therefore the approach that the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development is taking is one in which we will to collaborate within, and across education and broader communities, in order to bring forward change and transformation for our children.

“The purpose of Signature Schools is to allow our children to have a specialized focus. Similar concepts can be found in magnet schools in the United States, specialized schools in Canada, and some academies in the UK.

“Examples of specialized schools in other countries include:

  • Afrocentric education;
  • Career and Technical Education;
  • Information and communication technology [ICT];
  • Fine and performing arts;
  • The International Baccalaureate; and,
  • Science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM]

“There are also examples of all boys or all girls public schools, and schools for developing elite athletes.

“While I’m highlighting examples from other jurisdictions, I would like to emphasize that we are embarking on a locally-developed process and project for change and improvement. It is our opportunity to work together as a community, so that in keeping with Plan 2022, we can build an education system that meet the needs of our students and prepares them to compete locally and contribute globally – this is the vision for public school education.

“Within our public school education system, we are already providing more diverse programming, offerings and pathways, and these efforts will be further advanced through the development of Signature Schools.

“With particular focus on those in the middle and senior years, we are respecting and responding to community desires for change. With students and families in mind, signature schools are intended to:

  • Meet individual and diverse student needs and interests;
  • Give students exposure and grounding in educational areas of interest;
  • Prepare students for post-secondary education, training and the world of work and citizenship, both locally and internationally;
  • Improve achievement and outcomes for all students; and
  • Increase confidence in our public education system.

“Therefore, with care and respect, we will institute a student, parent, staff and community-engagement process for the development and introduction of high-quality proposals for Signature Schools.

“And, because we value the social capital of our stakeholders, we will create opportunities for everyone to share their views, historical information, and proposals as we work together towards the introduction of Signature Schools. In support of our commitment and in the spirit of authentic community engagement, the Department of Education will undertake a process structured in three major phases:

Phase I will lay the groundwork. This includes engaging with our stakeholders, growing trust, putting together the right team and establishing the necessary elements to support the development of Signature Schools. The Ministry has already started to engage staff, parents and other critical stakeholders.

“Also, several persons have approached me during the past year to share their thoughts, positions and ideas relating to the phasing out of middle schools. Now is the time for those persons, to officially submit their positions. We welcome all suggestions, concepts and ideas from interested members of the public. We encourage you to email the Ministry at Signatureschools@moed.bm

Phase II will entail the development of proposals after taking into consideration feedback. This feedback will be used in the production of specific options for the introduction of Signature Schools and the phasing out of middle schools. At the end of Phase II, the Government will consider the recommended options, and determine which proposals will best meet the future needs of our students.

Phase III will review the final proposals with consultation key stakeholder groups and the wider community, before a final decision is made.

“These three phases are expected to extend a minimum of 18 months. In the Government’s 2017 Election Platform, the phasing out of middle schools and the introduction of signature schools is stated as a long-term education objective. We understand that there are many questions about what this will eventually look like, and firmly believe that the answers are in our individual and collective voices.

“Therefore, the Ministry has determined to take a measured and public-informed approach to decide how this will take place and what it will look like. This 18-month period will provide the time for everyone to voice their opinion for or against, so that in the end, the final product is one that is in the best interest of our students and the future of Bermuda.

“This process will not be easy and certainly will not happen overnight. Extensive consultation will be needed that is community-oriented, transparent, inclusive, engaging, and respectful of all our stakeholders. In this way everyone is well aware of what is being done at each step of the way. Bermuda has a great opportunity at this time, to chart its own course for the future of public school education.

“In closing, I encourage everyone who is interested in helping to shape this transformative change for public school education, to participate in at least one or all three phases of this process for the introduction of Signature Schools. This Government has, and will continue to put the needs of our children and their future first.”

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Comments (31)

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  1. watching says:

    Well done PLP!
    Now let’s get it done!

  2. Stand for Truth says:

    Financing should be included also.

    • watching says:

      nothing should be too expensive to better educate our children.

      • Um Um Like says:

        Yeah! Let’s just print more money out of thin air!

      • aceboy says:

        Is it better? I see no evidence at all that it is. Looks like an experiment and one being undertaken when there is no money for it.

        I suspect you see Afrocentric and just assume greatness. I just hope the kids can read and write properly.

      • rich says:

        Well, this presupposes that the money is wisely spent on initiatives that actually benefit our children. Or that the only barrier to a quality educational system is lack of funds, when this is simply not the case. We are spending twice as much on public education as we did 20 years ago, with half as many students enrolled. Something clearly isn’t working.

        Hopefully, the PLP’s reforms will do something about the structural problems in the system. However, I fear that we already went down that road when we introduced middle schools which caused a lot of disruption and trauma to the students.

      • Stand for Truth says:

        Learning financing as part of the curriculum

  3. A teacher says:

    Would it not have been appropriate given the sensitive nature of this change to inform middle school teachers in a meeting and not in the press? Once again we find out after the fact and have not been consulted!!

    • Um.... says:

      I hope you don’t teach reading.

    • Spark says:

      Aww too bad! Get behind it!

    • Wha says:

      The Ministry does let educators know. I work for education so I know. Please read your emails as many times they are addressed to teachers who do not bother to open them!

  4. Answer says:

    So the PLP are closing schools to save money. Organise marches, protest this. This is our children they’re talking about.

    • Ttyl says:

      What are you talking about? More lies from the lying Oba lot. Where was the protest when your party took money from our school systems to put in a sail boat race. More hypocrisy and lies

      • Double S says:

        Where were your protests when the PLP in 2011 reduced the education budget by 10% or $14mn whilst other budgets saw an increase in the same year?>

      • Answer says:

        You call me a liar but then you say money was taken from schools ‘for a sail boat race’.
        You lot lie so much you can’t even tell any more.

  5. Stevie says:

    Where’s Furbert & Tweed & those that follow them. Gone AWOL again. Just like Burt.

  6. Kevin says:

    Warning Warning ………………Train Wreck Approaching

  7. Wha says:

    The Ministry does let educators know. I work for education so I know. Please read your emails as many times they are addressed to teachers who do not bother to open them!

  8. Real Deal says:

    good this will separate of from usa and side effect this will hopefully start to reverse some of the social problems caused by the middle school system

    • Double S says:

      Pleas explain how the middle school system causes social problems?

      • Ttyl says:

        Since you want to play dumb cause that’s what SWS do, one word zonefication. Go look it up and look at the reports from the consultants that were hired back in the 90s when they forewarned the UBP at the time that the middle school system is a disaster. But how quickly you forgot what YOUR party did to our school system and it was done on purpose by the UBP to cause the social ills and disenfranchisement of ppl in Bermuda. Now try and LIE your way out of that

        • Double S says:

          You still didn’t answer the question. So who is playing dumb?

          And conspiracy theories are generally for the uninformed and nonintellectual.

        • Answer says:

          Dame Jennifer Smith was part of the committee that put together the middle school system, that your party kept in place unchanged during the 11 years you were continuously in power.

          Lie your way out of that.

  9. aceboy says:

    Signature schools huh?

    Never heard of them.

  10. Rocky5 says:

    Moving the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic is NOT going to improve public education! The ONLY way Bermuda Public Education will ever improve in a meaningful way is through the creation of a completely independent Education Authority along the lines of the BTA with Character Education as central core principle. This will introduce accountability, integrity, creativity, independence, professionalism, more positive outcomes in achievements in academics, STEAM, sports, health & welfare, life skills etc..

  11. Stormy daniels says:

    With or without WIFI.

  12. Fisherman says:

    Will our Special children be included in your plan Mr. Rabain. Children who have been placed aside from main stream classes into room for remedial teaching, cooking, laundry, repetitive work from start to finish. Many of these children are excellent students who are capable of doing more than they are allowed to. Allow them to learn basic carpentry, computers, cooking n baking, sewing, basic reception duties, sorting mail, and more. Doing this will enable them to one day get a job that they love..give these kids the Opportunities they deserve rather than focus on the “Normal or gifted student”. All students deserve sound Education which comes in many diversified ways. So Mr. Rabain what is your response.

  13. Ty says:

    Change this – change that. One day all of you will realize that

    YOUR CHILDREN DO NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. particularly high/middle school

    Technology is what has made half of these kids as they are. Why do they need to study/retain anything when they can pull it up on their phones and/or laptops. I bet a good bunch of them don’t even know how to spell SKOOL. Ooops.. I should have looked it up inna..

  14. Triangle Drifter says:

    What a load of hot air! How many thousands of hours of meetings at the DOE did it take to come up with this one? PRIVATISE the schools. Give parents an annual grant to be used at the school of their choice. Get rid of all the seat warmers at the DOE. Get rid of the ineffective teachers

  15. Ttyl says:

    Since the oba trolls cannot find any real truth they are going to make up lies instead. And they wonder why they lost. You all keep thinking the ppl are dumb. The only thing we’re we went foolish is believing a bunch of OBAubp where actually going to look out for everyone….it will be a long time before the UBP get back in power. I predicted they was going to lose the 2016 election YEARS before it happened. Mark my words it will be at least 25 years before they get back in. You simply just can’t trust the obaubp

  16. Just asking says:

    Well who calling these shots because as I understand there is no COE since Evans was wronfully dismissed . And I assume the same PS is still in the same position when she made that error.Cost tax payers money with the payout she needs to go! So when is the new COE going to be put in place and hopefully they can get our education system on the right track.You all put someone in the as acting COE and does not even has the required qualification .Public has not heard a word from her on how she’s improving our system. Maybe not does not no how to address the public or just mayb not a leader. Just fix it !

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