Meeting: School Principals, Ministry & BPSU

December 3, 2018

A meeting took place this afternoon [Dec 3] with the “Minister of Education, Acting Commissioner, Permanent Secretary; and school principals and BPSU representative,: the Ministry of Education has confirmed.

Minister of Education Diallo Rabain said: “This afternoon I met with the school principals who wanted to share further on some of the concerns previously expressed.

“We expect to receive the information discussed in writing from the principals later this week. As I shared with them today, we are committed to resolving these concerns and will work together to develop an action plan to move forward.”

Today’s meeting is the latest development in ongoing issues regarding education; almost all the teachers at West Pembroke School called in sick on Friday after agreeing to go on work-to-rule last month, School Principals are also engaging in work-to-rule and last month the Bermuda Union of Teachers [BUT] confirmed that teachers “voted to take ‘appropriate action’ over issues they say are negatively impacting schools.”

BPSU General Secretary Edward Ball Jr previously confirmed that on October 19th, 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,” Mr Ball said last week.

“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.

“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.”

“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,” Mr Ball added.

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