CURB: Keep West End Primary School In System

May 5, 2022

Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda [CURB] said they “support community efforts to have West End Primary School remain in the public school system.”

Last year, following a consultation process, the Government announced that they will move forward with Parish Primary Schools which “will see one primary school per parish with two primary schools in Pembroke for a total of 10 primary schools, eight less than the 18 primary schools we currently use.”

“There will be no closures of any primary schools this school year or next school year. These eventually discontinuing use of any schools will be phased in over a period of no less than five years, starting after the 2022/23 school year and more specifically between 2023 and 2027,” the Government said.

One of the primary schools scheduled to be closed in the coming years is West End Primary school, and a group formed seeking to have the school remain open, and they have held various events over the past few months.

A CURB spokesperson said: “West End is one of the two oldest, continuously operating, free, Black primary schools in the island, having opened its doors in 1869. Only Elliot Primary predates it [1863.] Such a distinction may qualify both schools for UNESCO World Heritage status.

“Moreover, West End is a school in the heart of the community and has long been a hub for community events. Being in a densely populated area also makes it amenable to a larger catchment of students at a time when the youth population is declining. The school also has easy access to public transport.

“The fight to save this school is reminiscent of the fight to save The Berkeley Institute back in the late 1990s, when the government wanted to close that school as part of the reorganisation of the public school system. Supporters of the school pointed to its historical legacy within the Black community among the reasons for its preservation.

“Supporters prevailed then, and we trust that in this case, the government sees its way to keep West End Primary within the public school system. A school with more than 150 years of history, particularly to the Black community, should not be allowed to fade into the past.”

click here Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda

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