Where is the leadership on education?

  • Dellwood Midddle School (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Ministry of Education needs to urgently deal with the teaching conditions at Dellwood School, caused by a poorly planned merger with TN Tatem.

The teachers at Dellwood School are continuing their work-to-rule and continue to feel stress caused by cramped quarters and lack of proper IT equipment, which would enable teachers to record the standards-based grading assessments that ensure our student performance and outcomes are improved.

This situation did not have to occur if the ministry had dispersed the teachers and students around our middle schools on a more equitable basis.

It is my understanding that Dellwood and Sandys Middle School were the primary recipient of the TN Tatem students and teachers.

Couldn’t the Government’s distribution be based more on the zoning practices that have proven to be acceptable in the past?

I have also been advised that the integration plan for the merging of Dellwood and TN Tatem’s students and teachers is woefully deficient.

When it comes to the present culture from a teaching perspective, the TN Tatem staff feels totally displaced. Some of them still do not have classrooms. All of the teachers at the school are now sharing classrooms.

They are meeting with students in any room that they can find, in the library, in whatever space is available. As one teacher said to me: “We are all scrambling resources so that we can do a better job in educating our students.”

In light of this government’s mismanagement, we now have two middle schools bulging at the seams and two underutilised middle-school premises that could accommodate more students.

Again, where is the leadership? This situation did not have to happen and it must be remedied. I know that the teachers at Dellwood are doing their bes, given the trying circumstances. They continue to meet regularly with their Bermuda Union of Teachers representatives to find ways to address the challenges.

There is a real sense that these meetings are held in vain, as these challenges remain unresolved. This is exacerbated by there being very little input from the ministry in regards to the proper management, implementation and assessment of the Dellwood/TN Tatem integration plan.

This includes holding people accountable and resolving these space problems and IT deficiencies, as well as dependable and reliable access to Gradebook.

On another matter, the teachers still have concerns about the health of the physical plant, as they have yet to receive the most recent report produced by the Government’s health and safety officer.

I have been advised that they have asked for this health and safety report, and were told that it will not be forthcoming.

Cole Simons is the Shadow Minister of Education and the MP for Smith’s South (Constituency 8)