A New Day For St. Paul's Primary School

What is most significant is that the ministry has indicated that it would encourage parents and guardians to send the children to schools in their catchment areas. It was pointed out that of the 522 pupils at St Paul’s, 228 were not in the school’s catchment area. This is more than one-third of the roll. The decision to send a child to a school far away can be influenced by a preference for a school with a reputation for doing well in the CEE. What is interesting, however, is that such reputations are seldom eternal. Parents will continue to seek out schools, far from home, that they believe or perceive as being able to provide the best results in the CEE.

Source:Nation Newspaper

BU must respond to this half baked editorial which appeared in the Nation newspaper yesterday morning. We have no doubt that parents seek entry for their children in schools outside their catchment area for many reasons. Some schools like Luther Thorne, St. Pauls, Wesley Hall, Erdiston Model, St. Davids, Charles F. Broome and others have developed a reputation over the years for producing top performers in the 11+ Common Entrance Exam (CEE). In the case of St. Paul’s, it is a top 10 school which as the editorial reported almost 50% of the students come from outside its catchment area. Minister Wood at a stormy meeting with parents of St. Paul’s last week kept making the point that the Ministry of Education is committed to allocating children to schools in their neighborhoods. The Ministry must tread cautiously when reacting to the St. Paul’s situation.


We heard the news report tonight that the 522 students at St. Paul’s will be redistributed in the school network between Bay Primary, Ebenezer and Breath of Life Adventist Churches. This is a departure from the original plan made public by Minister Anthony ‘too silent” Wood to assign children to schools in their districts. It is good that common sense prevailed because their is a very good reason why the primary schools in urban Barbados attract so many children out of their catchment area. Traffic patterns in Barbados clearly indicate that a healthy percent of the population is employed in Bridgetown or its environs. The non-existence of the extended family means that parents have no choice but to search-out schools within stones throw of their workplaces. For the ministry to try to insist on zoning in this instance would have created a social fall-out which we are not sure they are in a position to manage.

We are sure that the Ministry is aware of the predicament which faces parents, and we were surprise when the Minister and his staff upset parents at the meeting last week by indicating that children attending St. Paul’s from outside the catchment area maybe allocated to schools in their neighborhoods.

The Nation editorial failed to address this important point!

4 thoughts on “A New Day For St. Paul's Primary School

  1. Do the Ministry actual think that most parents choose schools for their kids on reputation?

    Being a Parent, Schools out of catchment areas are chosen for many reasons other than reputation. One such reason is work place, if a parent from St. Joseph is working in Government Hill, which schools do you think the parent would apply, a school in St. Joseph where the child has to stay at the school until the parent gets off from work and get through the traffic to the St. Joseph school. Or the school near by where the parent can pick the child up and not have to worry about the safety of his or her child?

  2. Some do choose these schools with respect to a reputation which is long gone. Some of us would not mind sending our children to country schools where the roll is smaller. Our children are not getting the attention they need at some of the schools mentioned. Those CEE results are causing our children in some cases to be burn out by 11 years old. Some of our children cannot cope with the volume of work they are asked to learn from teachers who seem to have no patience with them whatso ever.
    What would you do if your child recieved lashes for its handwriting?
    A friend of mine reported that her son was flogged for ‘poor handwriting’ at one of these prestigious schools. She went to the school to ask if this was school policy since the little boy had worked really hard on his handwriting and she had seen it improve. She asked if it was not counterproductive to flog a child for this reason.The head teacher said, ‘this child is not trying’. My friend asked how a child who repeatedly got a 95% could be described as ‘not trying’. She was not abusive but recieved a whole tirade about teaching children morals and values. She was also told that ‘these young parents are always complaining when you discipline their children’. ‘Don’t worry’, she said ‘nobody will touch your child ever again’.
    My friend asked her what she meant by that and the head teacher just smiled. My friend lost her temper and said, ‘this woman thinks that I don;t know who to complain to’. My friend left the school. Imagine her surprise the next evening when the child said that the first thing the next morning the head teacher came to his class, looked at his book and said ‘your handwriting has improved’.
    Why did she flog the child in the first place?

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