Teacher vacancies as schools open

  • Pupils at Northlands Primary School yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Substitute teachers were in place at some public schools for the start of the new academic year because of “staffing challenges”.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Education said that two art, two music and one physical education teacher positions remained unfilled at the primary school level.

She added that one maths and one foreign language teacher were still needed at the middle school level.

The spokeswoman said: “The Department of Education has experienced staffing challenges in filling vacancies for music and art teachers at the primary level, and in securing math teachers at middle and senior school levels.

“In the interim, in cases where there is a staff vacancy, a trained and qualified substitute teacher has been provided.

“Staff recruitment is set to commence by the end of September 2019 for placements for September 2020.”

She said that the island’s ten preschools and Dame Majorie Bean Hope Academy, in Devonshire, had a full complement of staff. The spokeswoman added: “With the current staffing complement, the ministry and department are confident that all schools are positioned to proceed full speed ahead with teaching and learning for the 2019-20 school year.”

She also confirmed that all public schools had been open to welcome back pupils and staff.

The confirmation came after questions about the readiness of schools sent on Monday went unanswered.

They were sparked by work at three schools in the past few weeks.

The spokeswoman confirmed last Friday that work had been carried out to remove floor tiles at West End Primary School, in Sandys.

She said the work was a “precautionary measure” in case the tiles contained asbestos.

The spokeswoman said at the time that the ministry was “confident” the school would be “safe to receive students and staff”.

Prospect Primary School, in Devonshire, and Clearwater Middle School, in St David’s, had asbestos abatement work over the summer break.