Education Ministry places Homestead Primary on priority list

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Chalk board and eraser. Image courtesy of clker free-vector-images from Pixabay.

Homestead Primary and Infant School in St Catherine will be prioritized for infrastructure improvement and greater interventions to improve staff relationships and student behaviour outcomes. Minister of Education and Youth, Hon. Fayval Williams, made the announcement during a visit to the institution on 24 January.

According to a media release, the Minister met with teachers and members of the administrative staff, including the new Board Chairman, Councillor Mark McLean, following a protest staged by teachers at the school last year about internal challenges. “It was good for me to be here to sit and listen to the [stakeholders], to really understand the issues that are here, but more importantly, to see how we can work on them. Already, the central ministry has intervened in terms of having sessions with the teachers, staff [and] principal, so they can begin to talk through the issues,” she said. She informed that issues raised included mutual respect and communication differences that “can be corrected”. “And these are things that we’re moving to correct, so that our teachers [are] motivated to go into the classroom. We’re going to have as many sessions as that will take, to get all persons here to a point where they’re relating better with each other. There’s no problem here that cannot be fixed,” she emphasised.

On disciplinary measures for students, Williams said the Ministry’s Guidance and Counselling Unit will also assist in engaging parents and students on behavioural issues. “We have to help parents understand that if they have an issue with a teacher, they don’t just come and confront the teacher. There’s a process, [which is] to speak to the principal, allow the principal to speak to the teacher, and help to resolve [the issue],” she added.

Meanwhile, the Minister said that repairs would be carried out soon on the 70-year-old institution.

The newly installed Chairman, while welcoming the intervention, noted that the school also “has some plans in place to alleviate some of the problems that we are having…. We’re just trying to build back a bond with the teachers, and this is a work in progress, and we are on our way,” he noted.

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