Legislate Extra ‘School’

Combermere School

Combermere Secondary School

Of concern to the BU household are the increasing number of hours being forfeited in the school year for one reason or the other in Barbados. Combermere Secondary School students have been the most visible example of being short changed because of a perennial environmental problem. Other schools have had to close classrooms because of the severe water management problem the country has experienced since December 2015.  Somewhere between the environmental and water problems other issues have forced schools to close doors as well –industrial action comes to mind.

The obvious concern for stakeholders, especially parents, is how are students being affected by the short in class room time. As far as the BU household is aware there is no contingency to -or apparent urgency- to establish makeup classes. The BU household will retract if proved to be incorrect.

IF Barbados is serious about building a more productive society we must change the way we respond to situations that negatively affect goals (national). If schools have to be closed for extended periods commonsense should dictate that the ministry of education ensure continuity planning is legislated.

The BU household does not have the expertise in the area of testing, measurement and assessment and related matter, however, commonsense supports a reasonable expectation that the technocrats have calculated the number of hours required to execute the subjects in the local curriculum. What would be the result if a simple risk management exercise were applied to evaluate the effect loss of teaching hours so far have had on the school population?

Several weeks after the Combermere Secondary School was closed by the ministry of education there has been no decision to reopen. In fact, the latest news is that the senior school (5th and 6th forms) will have to report to classes at Erdiston Training College and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic from Monday next week. The length of time it is taking to reopen the school rubbishes headmaster Vere Parris assertion that a sewer cover was left opened because of an act of sabotage. Too much politics!

BU’s simple recommendation is that an agreed number of teaching hours  must be available to students. If hours are missed through no fault of the students makeup hours must be factored into the timetable. The extra time can be taken from vacation days or extra periods during the week.

What BU has recommended is not novel neither is it rocket science –we expect resistance to the commonsense suggestion. Bear in mind the use of available technology can make implementation a simple exercise.


  • In some quarters Headley’s view might be viewed as political and so does Parris’s.I would defer to Headley the professional seeing that Parris with all his expertise and on the job know how and know when and know where is yet caffufled and clutching at straws.


  • David December 4, 2016 at 12:57 PM #

    Could you post a link to Headley’s view.

    Headley is the professional in the required field not the Headmaster.


  • Headley opinions are just that as he no longer works as a an environmentalist in govt and will be absent of all the environmental findings concerning Combermere
    Comparing other old schools environmental issues to Combermere is like a doctor taking another patients medical records and accessing that the new patient with siilar syptos are correlated
    Any reputable environmentalist worth his weigh in gold would wait until all findings are complete before shooting off his mouth publicly especially if he is not engaged first hand with the issue at hand


  • Headley makes reference to two schools abandoned unnecessarily so.I think with almost 30 years of experience neither ac nor Parris should dismiss his opinion.A retired public officer with specialized training ought to give an unbiased opinion on matters he is competent to speak on.After years of mandatory silence,retired public servants should rightly speak out on the many faux pas these miscreants for a cabinet would wish concealed from the public domain.



    Some of us think that we have been so blessed that God must be one of us, that is God must be a Bajan,who looks out specially for us.

    Some of us think otherwise, that we Bajans suffer “acts of God” just the same as non-Bajans do, therefore God must not be a Bajan, and must not hold Bajans in any special favour


  • One can but laugh……

    Headley opinions are just that as he no longer works as a an environmentalist in govt and will be absent of all the environmental findings concerning Combermere

    So once you stop working all knowledge ceases……and the new fellows have to do a study…….are we serious in this country???

    Headleys opinion was coroborated on Brasstacks some weeks ago by the last contractor to pump wells,who said the wells have not been pumped for 5 years since his contract was terminated.

    Pump the wells put in new sewer plumbing and reseal all openings….what is so difficult about that.

    Mr Headley now deceased the former school caretaker would have had that problem solved long time….but he was a seventh standard boy not a UWI brainiac with nuff degrees like those that are presently studying the situation……ah wonder what they are charging per hour?


  • My comment stands as stated .Take them or leave them.
    Could not see Headley standing before a judge and presenting evidence on a case which he was not involved to knowing all the facts just because of his professional line of work
    Have a nice day


  • @Vincent

    Why do you bother?

    ac is a yard fowl.

    Good to hear Mia coming out to ask why has it taken 3 week to cover the sewer wells that were a result of sabotage according to Parris.



    “Headley, who headed the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) for over 27 years before retiring three years ago, said it was the overloading of the school’s only septic tank that resulted in the stench which has caused students and teachers to become ill.”

    Why not test his theory ?


  • @Hants

    There is more to this matter than the public is aware. We wait for the MOE to release the epidemiological report as promised to the PTA last week. Obviously Headley must be speaking from a position of insider knowledge.


  • Insider formation same as throwing spaghetti in the air and hoping some stick
    Does not tell the whole story


  • Your hignorance knows no bounds!


  • Vincent
    I recall Mr Headley,Mr Toppin and Mr Bowen( he was the youngest)who served as Porters during my time at Weymouth.Would Jeffrey Headley be related?


  • Gabriel

    I dont know but I was told that this one grew up at a house opposite the back gate and we know that Mr Headley used to ride to work and back everyday.


  • Bug off David


  • David

    We have to comment from time to time when it is such a glaring breach of common sense……posterity must be made aware that all on BU of this era are not cut from the same cloth and they can judge us.


  • @Vincent

    What is difficult to understand is what reports have the MOE promised to release? As we understand it the epidemiology report must be done with the people in the sick environment. What report was done? Is this the same Headley who probed the Roebuck Secondary School matter?

    We note 70 persons have reportedly died of cancer who worked at Roebuck Street and 2 so far from Combermere. Coincidence or not…


  • de pedantic Dribbler

    @David, re “We note 70 persons have reportedly died of cancer who worked at Roebuck Street and 2 so far from Combermere. Coincidence or not…”

    Isn’t this a bit inflammatory. I interpreted the current Combermere and Louis Lynch matters as completely different issues.

    Juxtaposing two cancer death at Waterford compared to those at Roebuck Street is also a clear indication of disparate issues – at first and second glance.

    How many persons died from cancer at HC or Lodge or CP … all old style buildings which one assumes are like Combermere?

    How many persons died of cancer whose environment was allegedly badly affected by the ‘toxins’ from working in close proximity to a dry cleaning operation?

    Different !

    Stench from sewerage is trivial compared to the possible serious health concerns for those exposed to allegedly other deadly toxins. Thus when I read Mr Headley’s remarks I was taken aback that he conflated Louis Lynch and Combermere.

    Do you and he know something that the teachers and students at Waterford need to know????


  • The Treasury Building which housed Inland Revenue was also thought to have been the source of death by cancer of some of their staff.


  • @Dee Word

    WE the PEOPLE will have to continue to ask the hard questions until OUR government elected to SERVE the people level with us. The point: both the Roebuck and Combermere issues have one hing in common, lack of transparency by the authorities!


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