Scores of parents turned out on Monday to register their children for a position at another school after the St George’s High school was destroyed by fire last week. The registration is ongoing at the Education Ministry’s Brickdam office.
The News Room visited the registration site where parents and children gathered to be given a spot at a different school. Their main concerns are a school in proximity to where they live. In addition, parents said the transition from one school to another, a strange one at that, could affect the children’s learning process.
However, the Principal Education Officer Immanuel Bridgewater, in an invited comment, said the decision “is determined by the parents, where they are living and you know what is convenient for them.”
He said that the registration exercise is to ensure that parents are comfortable with the placement of their children in the new school year.
“We all know the school was burnt and destroyed by the fire last week, so this exercise is just to reach out to our parents. We don’t want to leave our parents not having information or not guided properly.”
“This exercise is to assure them [that] their children will be placed in a school that is convenient to parents and children come September when school reopens,” Bridgewater explained.
He said that based on the turnout, it is obvious that parents are interested in working with the ministry to ensure students are taught in September.
“Currently even though some parents were living in the vicinity of the school, they have recently moved to other areas so they are choosing different options. But most of it depends on where the parent is most comfortable,” he said.
Bridgewater also said that the proposed schools have the same performance level as St George’s High school.
In addition, Bridgewater said that the availability of seats at the schools will also determine whether a student has a position there. He said that the ministry will not allow schools to be overcrowded.
As it relates to additional school fees, he said the ministry will provide report books and learning materials to avoid burdening parents.
“I am certain that they wouldn’t have to pay any additional fee…whatever the requirements are, the ministry will provide that, whether it books, learning materials for the teachers, report booklets, all of that will be provided,” Bridgewater said.
Rameeza Elizabeth, the parent of a Grade 10 student said her son was devastated when the school was burnt down.
She said “he is hoping they place him at Cummings Lodge School and not too far out of his area. I don’t know where [they will] place my child because I live in Cummings Lodge. He [report card] everything get burn up in the school because we didn’t collect his report, because they didn’t finish it, so I don’t know where they are going to place him; it’s a very sad situation.”
Debra Chung, who also has a son in Grade 10 said: “Well I was studying if being at another school will be strange for him and for me.
“I don’t know what will happen because he will feel strange – you know going to another school with other children who wouldn’t be performing at the same level as where he was before; that’s the problem I was worried about,” she added.
After being told of their options, some parents expressed discontent.
Dion Campbell, who has two nieces in Grades 7 and 8, said the school options are not to her liking. Campbell said her nieces were given school options – Dolphin, Houston and Carmel, but these schools are out of their catchment area.