BPSU: School Principals On ‘Work To Rule’

November 30, 2018 | 6 Comments

Last month the BPSU, on behalf of School Principals, informed the Ministry of Education that principals had voted to work to rule, and the work to rule continues, with the BPSU noting that “it is essential that the educators be supported by the Ministry of Education in their continuing efforts to improve students’ outcomes and experiences in the 21st century classrooms.”

This statement is the latest in a series involving educators expressing their dissatisfaction, with all the teachers at West Pembroke School calling in sick today after agreeing to go on work to rule earlier this month,

In addition, earlier this month the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] confirmed that teachers have “voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over a series of issues they say are negatively impacting schools and students.”

BPSU General Secretary Edward Ball Jr said, “On October 19, 2018, the Bermuda Public Services Union [BPSU], on behalf of School Principals, informed the Ministry of Education that principals had voted to Work to Rule.

“Work to Rule means that the principals will strictly adhere to the spirit of their job duties and responsibilities as outlined in their job descriptions. Principals will work from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and will continue to follow all safety and other regulations.

“Principals will not work during their lunch breaks, during extended unpaid hours after school or on weekends. Historically, it has been the norm for the principals to work these extra hours in order to complete their daily administrative core duties.

“At this time, the Work to Rule action continues.

“The impetus for the Work to Rule mandate is the increased incidents of adverse student behaviours which are compromising the safety of students, teachers, and principals which must be addressed.

“Principals and school staff are being subjected to student behaviours that must be referred to internal resources such as Educational Therapists [ETs], ET Assistants and special para-educators. As there is an acute shortage of these services in many of the schools, staff are not equipped, and do not have the resources or clear guidelines to address disruptive students.

“As a result of these behaviours, students, school staff and principals are becoming traumatized. Unfortunately, some parents are adding to the stress because they are unaware of the gravity of their child’s behaviour that is creating an unsafe environment. This is unacceptable.

“Many of these students cannot be enrolled in private schools because of their special needs and the costly resources required to provide these daily services. Principals recognise that the Government is committed to assisting these special needs students, however, this must be done with the appropriate resources.

“There has been increased usage of ‘administrative leave’ levied against school staff who attempt to physically control an at-risk child. This punitive measure against the Principal, teachers and support staff is not sustainable.

“Resultantly, the principals have had enough. Added to these concerns, the following items must be addressed immediately:

  • Staffing and specialist personnel shortages [both in schools and at the Department of Education];
  • Improved communication with parents regarding the learning objective for their child for the academic year;
  • The expectation that the school staff must be responsible for students outside of normal school hours;
  • The continued upheaval resulting from the implementation of the Standards Based Grading system;
  • Uncertainty surrounding the ever-changing school improvement plan components;
  • Student Services lacking the necessary resources and manpower to assist with students with special teaching and behavioral needs;
  • Outdated and insufficient IT resources for teachers and students;
  • Lack of resources necessary to improve student outcomes;
  • Finalising the collective bargaining agreement;
  • Changes to curriculum design during the academic year

“In addition, principals are requesting information on the Ministry’s proposed transition to Signature Schools. Specifically, principals want to be provided access to the research that supports this proposal. Clarification is needed on whether there will be school closures and what will be the impact on staffing levels.

“It is essential that the educators be supported by the Ministry of Education in their continuing efforts to improve students’ outcomes and experiences in the 21st century classrooms. Principals continue to be committed to these outcomes, however, in order to do this, it is essential that they have the adequate resources, training, infrastructure coupled with buy-in from the community and parents.”

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Comments (6)

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  1. 2 Bermudas says:

    $1.2m buys a lot of pencils, chalk, paper and wifi!! Throw another Wakanda party to raise money for school supplies!! ha ha ha!!

  2. DeOnion says:

    Principals and teachers …. where is the Minister?

  3. Triangle Drifter says:

    The teachers are stuck between a rock & a hard place. Their enemy is not the students & the parents. These are the people they are hurting with their wildcat, that is what it is, strike. Their enemy is the DOE, who sit in their comfy offices having not seen the inside of a classroom in years. That is where the problem lies.

    It will take a Minister with some very strong convictions to dismantle what is one of the most bloated ineffective Government office.

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