Teachers Union Vote To ‘Take Appropriate Action’

November 28, 2018

[Updated] “Teachers have voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over a series of issues they say are negatively impacting schools and students,” the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] said today.

At a meeting last night, it was agreed that the Bermuda Union of Teachers would write to the Commissioner of Education, the Education Permanent Secretary and the Minister, informing them of the decision.

“People have just had enough,” said Shannon James, the BUT President. “The Minister came to address the meeting last night to present his plans and he was told in no uncertain way how teachers felt.

“It was left to the BUT executive to decide what future action would be deemed to be appropriate. It will depend on what happens next and whether the Minister, PS and Commissioner want to meet straight away to get the issues resolved.”

He added: “This is about giving us the right tools and the right environment to help educate Bermuda’s young people. By not doing so, it the students who suffer.”

The BUT says there are “problems with the physical plant at schools such as windows not working properly — for years in some schools – and fire alarms also not working in some schools.

“There are old computers, which often do not have functioning software or lack appropriate software, a lack of access for all staff to Wi-Fi and a lack of working overhead projectors, Smart Boards and printers,” the BUT said.

In addition, the BUT said the ASD [Autism] programme teachers” have no breaks, including lunch, no preparation time and lack of adequate staffing. Para educators are working without a job description, many do not have breaks from their assigned students and they are not given their full entitlements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

“Teachers have insufficient preparation time to input grades, mark assignments, prepare for next lesson and design lesson plan, there is inadequate staffing and resources – Sandys Secondary Middle School has been without of a music teacher for some time – more qualified substitute teachers as well as Learning Support Teachers are needed, and more support and a better plan is needed for students with severe behaviour,” the BUT added.

The BUT also listed other issues including:

  • “Education Officers, spec officers for Math, English, Science, need to be in place immediately
  • “Only three Mentor Teachers – compared to nine previously.
  • “Pre-school Administrators who are currently working without a job description
  • “Yearly contracts for qualified teachers and para-educators – some have been hired yearly for over eight years
  • “Lack of a curriculum for the Functional Academics , Functional Skills and ASD programmes
  • “No allocated substitute teacher at Primary Schools
  • “Education Therapists with no job description
  • “The need for a faster assessment process [less than one year] for students who have been identified as needing support services
  • “Non-teaching deputies needed in all schools
  • “Fewer hurdles to exempt students from the Cambridge Assessment.

Mike Charles, the BUT General Secretary, said: “These issues affect the kind of education our children get. Teachers are effectively working with one hand tied behind their backs and cannot get the job done properly.

“Every teacher is desperate to help Bermuda’s young people but the conditions and resources are inadequate and the teachers have had enough.”

Update 9.52pm: Minister of Education Diallo Rabain “attended a meeting yesterday with the BUT membership and urged the members of the BUT and their executive to keep the the lines of communications open,” the Ministry said.

Minister Rabain said: “Today the Ministry received an email from the BUT outlining their members concerns. In order for the Bermuda Public School System to effectively meet its mandate and goals, we need the Department of Education, the Unions, parents, and teachers working together.

“The Ministry is committed to having an open and honest dialogue with the BUT, Teachers and Parents to address these concerns and will continue to meet with the BUT and Parents to achieve this goal.”

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Comments (19)

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  1. cpm says:

    Time for a march?

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      No way, it’ll never happen under a Pee El Pee gov’t. Ok to give Ewart Brown $1.2m but yet teachers don’t even have course material or basic teaching equipment. A bow tie and a sip of titty milk ain’t gonna fix it!! Ha ha ha!!

    • No Money says:

      Is the future of our children not worth fighting for?

      • Trufth says:

        Apparently not. We gave Ewart $1.2 million and bc the PLP did it, it’s ok. NO one will march, no one will question it.

  2. Ringmaster says:

    There are less students so fewer teachers should be required. Maybe close a few schools? Certainly get rid of surplus people in the MOE and there must be hundreds and use the money to increase pay for teachers. Money should be spent on Education, not paper pushing bureaucrats.

  3. Cat says:

    YESSS!!! This is WAY overdue!! It’s beyond me that PARENTS are not taking to the streets over the deplorable conditions at these schools. WHY DOESNT ANYONE CARE??? Surely parents go into their children’s schools don’t they? What is going on that the government and the general public just turn a blind eye to the way our children are cared for? Like the commenter above who wants to just be smart-ass and negate the teachers concerns with a dumb comment like that!! It makes me so angry I could literally cry. THIS DISRESPECTFUL ATTITUDE TOWARD SUCH CRITICAL ISSUES HAS TO STOP!!

    • wahoo says:

      Government could save $10,000.00 per kid per year by simply subsidizing all children to attend private school. That isn’t gonna happen but that is about what could happen. Plp would be hugely unpopular because we could then shrink the ministry and get rid of all the voting civil servants…. so we do not want an unpopular government do we. Let’s continue with the broken down system that we have and pretend that tomorrow is another day.

  4. Paul says:

    I feel so bad for the teachers who have to endure these deplorable conditions….and also the children…

  5. Rocky5 says:

    Funny how teachers & parents “marched on Parliament” under OBA Govt.. PLP know they won’t march, so no hurry to fix, oh, and by-the-way, its always the OBA’s fault anyways!!!

  6. Question says:

    I thought the PLP had installed wifi in every school. That’s what they told us.

    Turns out they were lying, according to the BUT.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Actually, I think AC35 said they would donate the WiFi so that every school would have WiFi. Did the government accept that offer from the hated AC35?

      • Question says:

        Yes they did, they took the wifi from AC35 and then took full credit for putting wifi in every school. And they said they cleared all mold, and for made sure schools were in top notch condition. That’s what the government said. The BUT says different.

  7. No Money says:

    Cut the $350 per month housing allowance for the 200+ Police 30+ Fireman and 100+ Prison Officers….and save a few million each year, right there.

  8. chart says:

    I hope these quotes were not lifted right from the BUT release – they display poor grammar, incomplete logic, and nonexistent proof reading.

  9. Joe Bloggs says:

    Minister of Education Diallo Rabain “attended a meeting yesterday with the BUT membership and urged the members of the BUT and their executive to keep the the lines of communications open,”

    Ok,but what is he proposing to address the concerns of the teachers?

  10. Too cool for school says:

    I get most of the complaints, but lack of a job description is only something a union would have an issue with. It only serves to allow someone to say that’s not in my job description. As a properly trained educator you know what needs to be done.

    • But says:

      Pilots have job descriptions despite being properly trained and licensed. How can you measure performance if you haven’t defined what the person is supposed to be doing, and no its not up to the employee, its the employers job to ensure this. A core HR function that should be defined in any contract.

  11. Rocky5 says:

    Seems PLP were lying about WIFI in all the schools!?? Wonder what else they’re lying about?

  12. RockyShores says:

    Home School your children. Simple. Very successful! No red tape. No inadequate supplies. No inadequate politicians.
    Just live simply. Craft your own children according to decent principles.
    Plenty of curriculums out there that are proven for years.
    It is better than leaving your children to chance when any government cuts budgets and leaves out critical things
    Needed for teaching.
    The current neglect will issue a very dismal future for Bermuda as more and more students will not have all the skills
    Needed to live in a good community and a very changeable world, which these days , issues a ton of stress for many
    Working people.