Video: Education Minister On TN Tatem School

April 18, 2019 | 13 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain is holding a press conference this morning [April 18] to provide an update on TN Tatem Middle School. We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 15-minute replay is below

Update 12.53pm: Minister Rabain said, “Good morning, Yesterday the Ministry and Department of Education met with the TN Tatem Middle School Principal, the Health and Saftey Coordinator for TN Tatem and representatives from the PTSA to discuss recent findings from the school’s Health and Safety Report that was carried out on April 11, 2019, and submitted to us on April 16. I can report that this meeting went very well and copies of the Health and Saftey report was shared with everyone in attendance. The Principal was charged with ensuring all teachers and parents were issued a copy of the report.

“As you may recall, this inspection was required in response to a letter from the TN Tatem Parent Teacher Student Association submitted to Ministry and Department leaders on April 8th. In this letter, they voiced concerns regarding the Health and Safety of the TN Tatem building and referenced Section 7A [1] of the Occupational Saftey and Health Act 1982.

“As a result of the letter and as required by Srction 7A of the Act, the Health and Safety Officer carried out a thorough inspection of the building with some TN Tatem Staff present. The findings and summary of that report was presented on Tuesday, April 16. I will now read directly from the summary of the report:

“…Many of the concerns and issues that were previously identified at TN Tatem Middle School that were previously addressed, for the most part have apparently resurfaced in and across certain areas of the School’s facilities again. This has resulted in the latest concerns and issues being raised by teachers. Previous reports did outline various concerns; specifically related to the general maintenance and overall upkeep of the School’s Plant concerning roof and or ceiling leaks, excess fugitive moisture intrusion into the building via damaged areas of the Building envelope, poor housekeeping and general cleaning, sanitation and hygiene practices. Additionally, earlier reports did warn that if timely proactive steps were not taken to remedy the litany of minor outstanding findings that had remained to be resolved that they would eventually morph into greater and more serious issues. This now appears to be the case”.

“The report continues…

“From the inspections conducted on April 10th, 2019; it was observed that some outstanding works were still yet to be completed from the time of the previous inspection reports. These incompleted works have now served as the catalyst for further damages, even to areas that were previously rectified. Leaking sections of the roof/ceiling continue to plague the School, although intermittently in most cases and has caused water damage to areas previously addressed, as well as, new areas that previously had no damage. Inconsistencies in the scope, frequency and quality of cleaning remains a challenge and must be addressed through training, increase monitoring and supervision and improved management of custodial activities and personnel. Excess vegetation and overgrown vegetation around the school is required to be routinely cut back and all green areas kept in an acceptable manicured state on a sustainable basis.

“Poor housekeeping, the improper storage of materials and supplies and the cleaning, upkeep and maintenance of such still remains an issue within several classrooms and related facilities as have been outlined throughout previous sections of this report. Some teachers continue to hoard outdated, obsolete and infrequently used materials and supplies and of which they have failed to properly keep and maintain. The school also has several areas and rooms that appeared to be rarely used and has thus been allowed to fall into a state of disrepair and the gathering of junk over time, although some of these same areas were highlighted for priority attention in prior reports…”

“End quote.

“To reiterate from the report

  • Previous reports from 2013 and 2016 outlined concerns related to the general maintenance and upkeep of the School’s Plant concerning roof and ceiling leaks, excess fugitive moisture intrusion into the building via damaged areas of the Building envelope, poor housekeeping and general cleaning, sanitation and hygiene practices.
  • Outstanding works first identified 2013, and 2016 that were not remedied have recently come to our attention, have now served as the catalyst for further damage.
  • Inconsistencies in the scope, frequency and quality of cleaning remains a challenge. Poor housekeeping, the improper storage of materials and supplies and the cleaning, upkeep and maintenance of such remains an issue within several classrooms
  • Several rarely used areas and rooms have been allowed to fall into disrepair and the gathering of junk over time, even though these same areas were highlighted for priority attention in prior reports.

“I would like to add that since the issues with improper storage of materials and supplies were identified, the Health and Saftey Committee at the school had started to address these matters before the closure.

“Students and staff from TN Tatem have transferred to alternative schools as a means of ensuring their continued educational instruction and their health and safety, which is of paramount concern. This decision was based on the letter received on April 11 from the Health and Safety Coordinator for TN Tatem and the President of the PTSA during our meeting on April 11. That letter requested air quality testing to be done before the staff would return to the building, a request the Ministry of Education agreed to do. During that meeting it was also made clear that due to the Primary Schools the students were housed in, needing their facilities for Cambridge Checkpoint Exams, we would have to transfer the TN Tatem students to other Middle Schools by April 16 and the representatives from the teachers and PTSA would share that with the teachers and parents.

“On April 15, Department Staff and the Principal of TN Tatem met with parents to explain the transfer process and listen to their feedback. I am happy to note that some concerns discussed on Monday have been worked on and solutions achieved. There are ongoing discussions to address the parent’s concerns, and we look forward to meeting with the M3 parents on Monday, April 22 to discuss their student’s transfer plans.

“The plan to have M1 and M2 students transfer into Sandys Secondary, Whitey Institute and Dellwood Middle schools, and to have staff redeployed at these middle schools sites, was done to minimise the disruption to teaching and learning time. M3 students will remain at Purvis Primary only until they complete sitting their Cambridge Checkpoint Exams next week. After their exams are completed, they will be transferred between Sandys Secondary Middle and Whiteney Middle Schools.

“Now that we have the Health and Safety Report, the Department of Education Facilities team in the Ministry of Works will review the report to determined if all necessary repairs can be carried out by August 2019. The students, parents and teachers will be kept up to date on these works.

“The uninterrupted education of our students and as well as the health and safety of our students and staff remains our priority. We understand that this is a critical issue and we are doing what we can to keep parents, students and teachers up-to-date and informed on plans set in place. We ask the public for patience and cooperation while we work diligently to engage all stakeholders and make the necessary changes. Thank you”

The full Facilities Inspection Report follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (13)

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  1. Reform says:

    When the scope of work surpasses the ability of the workers charged with upkeep to a state of disrepair, the maintenance of the school needs to be handled by entities with the proper resources.i.e cleaning companies, general contractors etc. Sad but people may have to be made redundant if the work is beyond them. Both cleaning and building repairs. One thing that is evident is that even when issues were previously addressed they have resurfaced, that implies poor upkeep and housekeeping. Its really not that hard to resolve but people need to be cut if they arent performing……thats how it goes in the real world.

    • Starting Point says:

      When the scope of work surpasses the ‘desire or work ethic’ of the workers charged with upkeep to a state of disrepair….

      fixed this for you.

  2. question says:

    If you want us to take you seriously, release the whole reports, particularly the recent ones 2017 and 2018. Not cherry-picked excepts from older reports.

    You been in power with 25-11 for two years. During that time you have had two reports, October 2017 and October 2918. In 2017 you announced that all the mold had been removed. What did the October 2017 and 2018 reports say about mold? Did they say it had all been removed, as you claimed in 2017? With 25-11 you have had the power to do something about this in the last two years. Instead, you did nothing and now you’re blaming everyone else.
    What the H$ll have you been doing?

    • trump supporter says:

      Still trying to pass blame,these guys are completely clueless.

  3. Starting Point says:

    In summary the maintenance staff (works and Engineering and cleaning staff) i.e. The BIU were, are and will continue to be useless.

    I don’t even blame the PLP or the OBA or the UBP – there is one organization to blame for the atrocious sub standard way our facilities are maintained. One Union who has for decades pretended to be a champion for the people, received bail out (bond paid yet Chris?) after bail out for financial mismanagement (audit done yet Chris?) to create a Bermudian worker who does the least amount possible for the most amount of money.

    No government has ever been able to control the BIU who will just cry race (even to a PLP government, who of course would never even try to hold the BIU accountable) and roll out Union propaganda and speaking points, latching on to union movements in the US while actually never doing a thing in Bermuda.

    Irony is the BIU staff and families are the main users of the public school system.

  4. aceboy says:

    Everything I read was simply pointing a finger. Let’s see the whole report!

  5. Rotten Onion says:

    Civil servants useless ss usual.

  6. JohnBoy says:

    When is the march?

  7. Madge says:

    I do feel sorry for the education minister,he has no clue what his job entails…and the teachers are saying the same thing…and the children being placed at places that they are not used to is disgusting… if there was ever a need to march on parliament this is it.

  8. Vote no more says:

    Wonder when our travelling premier will jump in. Minister is in way to deep and unsure.
    Put jahmal there

  9. cpm says:

    The sheepies will not protest against their own
    Where is the peoples campaign and why are they not protesting
    The only march will be one to oblivion as the island caves in to other successful jurisdictions

  10. spider says:

    This facilities report gives no indication of harmful mold. I want to see the air quality report along with recommended remediation. I see no reason why maintenance issues in this report warrant the complete dismissal of the entire school!!!
    This is a failure to recognize the difference between a health issue vs a less then savory circumstance which affects an entire school.
    Incompetence at its best!!!

  11. spider says:

    Relocated an entire school based on speculation,no confirmed,diagnosed illnesses,just a letter.
    Unbelievable!!!

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