Call to Arms for Combermerians Everywhere

The reputation of the Waterford University has taken a big dent in recent months. The inability of the authorities to effectively manage the problems at the school have been well documented and discussed on social media. BU has followed the saga at Combermere Secondary School with interest because many in the BU household have benefited from instruction through the years from dedicated teachers well supported by support staff. It must pain the alumni everywhere to be witnessing the diminution of the Cawmere ethos that has been the envy of many.

It has become obvious to BU based on certain knowledge that at the root of the problem is weak leadership at the school.  We offer no apology to anyone by defining the weakness in leadership as Principal Vere Parris, President of the Parents Teachers Association Rolerick Sobers AND the comatose Combermere Old Scholars Association (COSA). These three important stakeholders have allowed politics and emotional positions to trump effective decision making at the Waterford institution. BU will withhold airing the dirty laundry in public for the moment but we will if the problems at Combermere School are not resolved in short order. There will be no improvement at the school unless Parris is removed, Sobers -who is also is a vice president of the COSA- is removed, AND, the constitutions of the PTA and COSA are amended to deal with term limits and incestuous behaviour.

An example of the politics affecting Combermere School again manifested itself this week. Minister Ronald Jones in response to concerns raised that the putrid smell at Combermere had gotten worse and “students were complaining of sore throat, itchy skin and headaches, which in some cases caused them to leave early”, he summarily dismissed the charge.  He explained that the school records did not support. Contrast Minister Jones’ position to that taken by President of the BSTU Mary Redman published in today’s Barbados Advocate: “However, President of the Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU), Mary Anne Redman says that she is in receipt of reports that teachers are experiencing symptoms like before, which she indicated are related to the odour.” – More Combermere Drama.

The BU household will pray that key players like Mary Redman and Ronald Jones engage in constructive dialogue -for the sake of the children. Why in heavens name a simple fact to determine if children and teachers have reported sick at Combermere School as a result of a heightened stench has to be contentious. Here is where the leadership from by the Principal, PTA and COSA will ease some of the tension. So far the BSTU has been vindicated by their position taken on behalf of members. There was a serious environmental problem at the school that the ministry of education vigorously denied for a long time. In fact all agree – including Parliamentary Secretary Harry Husbands who acted for Minister Jones on the walkthrough with the BSTU before the opening of the term – that there is still work to be done to improve the quality of the environment. Why Jones elected to adopt a bombastic and Trumplike position boggles even the average mind.

The issue of the compromised environment at Combermere School compound needs to be solved once and for all. It is time for Cawmerians everywhere to join the ‘fight’.

80 thoughts on “Call to Arms for Combermerians Everywhere

  1. Alumni of Combermere must take an active role in fighting the attempt by a number of militant teachers and envious politicians to undermine the collegiality of Combermere School, an institution that is not known just for its classroom performance, and the outstanding professional success of its alumni, but which has a reputation envied by other secondary schools, national and regional.
    Although the school may underperform in terms of the metric of national scholarships, the ability of former students to go out in to the real world and make the best of opportunities remain the hallmark of a good Combermerian.
    Some of us wear the badge with pride, while others dislike being associated with the name Combermere. I have close friends and relatives who form part of the latter. To each his/her own.
    However, if there develops a perception of the school as a social and educational failure we too will suffer from that negativity.
    We are its products and, unless we are now ashamed, must defend its culture and social values.
    Those were the values of our formative years, which now form the DNA of who we are, our social conscience, of why we believe in public service.
    Many of us have had mixed emotions about our school days, but the mentoring by people such as Harry Sealy, the Major, Frank Collymore, and others across the generations cannot just be abandoned.
    Up and On.

  2. So sorry to hear of this constant problem at Combermere. It does not bode wel for the students nor the teachers.

    Something is wrong and I agree with you David, there seems to be a lack of leadership there. One of my children did six form there and I was not impressed at all with the great Combermere especially after Foundation. This school is not all that it is cranked up to be!

  3. The quality of the education depends on the quality of the teachers. Heads must be allowed to lead without interference from civil servants in shiny suits, many of them educated at other schools, and who have no respect for the traditions of Combermere and try to make up for their lack of self-esteem with extravagant union militancy or over-bearing bureaucracy.
    The rot started with Stanton Gittens, a Kolij man, who detested Combermere and what we stood/stand for.
    We produce rounded, grounded citizens, which is what education is for.

    Up and On

  4. De ole man, having not benefitted from a secondary education, cannot rise to speak on the camaraderie of Cawmere but will say that, with a Minister of Edykashun who can say de chilrun is are reading well, that what we are seeing playing out in the management of this and others of our educational institutions is directly proportional to the skills and competencies of this illiterate swine.

    One simple letter to the Canadians, the British, the USofA embassy or even the people’s republic of China and a team of appropriately skilled technicians could be coopted on some bilateral aid scheme to resolve the smells at Cawmere and such might be extended to deal with the smells at our shyte treatment facility in Fontabelle and at the House of Assembly.

    While we are assured that the HoA problem will resolve in 2017 surely these shyte hounds must be minimally capable of dislodging turds of a similar disturbing smell from a school?

    But then again, why would a man? who penchant leans towards digging in shyte, want to resolve that which gives him such pleasure?

  5. What Combermere what??!!
    The Combermere era ended on the day that Charlie ended his stint as Principal.
    The place has become a right mess….

    de Devil took control…
    Same as happened with the DLP,,,,,
    Perhaps the DLP will rename it the “David Thompson Secondary” as their last hooray.

  6. Boss
    Bushie knows much more about this topic than he does of most other topics…
    ..and Bushie knows a lot of topics… 🙂
    Nostalgia can be very misleading when assessing reality.

  7. The ROOT of the problem is the septic wells by the almond trees where the 3rd forms, principles office and staff room is located! Been saying it every since. Drain them, flush them, and clean them. When school was closed the scent was away, now school back in session toilets are flushing and gases from the wells are being churned up! Back in my school days there was always faint smell coming from those wells especially when the rain falls. But noone was getting ill, so I presume it has gotten worst.

    • The smell NEVER went away and this can be confirmed in the public pronouncements of harry Husbands and BSTU Redman. The smell abated. The union agreed to return to work in recognition that significant work had been done to respond to the situation and the promise that the work would have continued.

      On Sun, Jan 29, 2017 at 1:22 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:


  8. Also, other points of note, the moment the current principal as head of the Prinical Body in Barbados took sides with Jeff Broomes at the Alexandra saga, Mary Redman seems hell bent on taking him down. And the BLP hack Charles Morris, (one of fav teachers btw), has no problems stirring up trouble to make to easy for Ms Redman.

  9. At Weymouth campus there were two wells for an all male school.One was outside the masters’lounge and the other was to quote Perko at the southern extremity of the school building.Both these well enclosures rose above ground by about 3′ and the enclosed area between the top of the wall and the ground was filled with what I was told was coke.It had the appearance of coal.Of interest however is that there was always an unusual odour when one had to retrieve a ball from those areas or when there is Thursday after school parade of the Cadet Corp of the school.It didn’t bother anyone but I can remember that strange smell ever present.
    I will now mash some corns.It is my humble opinion that Combermere School was intended for a strong almost militant head or Principal,for boys and for male teachers.Until It returns to that role,expect problems.Combermere is a boy’s school.Get a head like what Harold Edmund Crichlow was at Christ Church High,like what Hartford Skeete was at Foundation,like what Major Cecil Noott was at Weymouth.No bloody messing with those guys.Headship,is not a popularity contest nor for the timid political pimps appointed by jackass politicians.

  10. Gabriel,
    The petty bureaucrats at the ministry and second-rate teachers are conspiring to undermine the school ethos. Combermere should be allowed to go independent.

    • The PTA and the Old Scholars need to step up or Combermere can easily disappear from the landscape like Louis Lynch.

  11. David,
    True. The PTA is mainly concerned with their children’s future, the Old Scholars with the institution’s memory.

    • Part of the problem like most things in Barbados is the incestuous behaviour read the rotation of the same faces on the PTA and Old Scholars.

  12. @David, Combermere once had a very vibrant Old Scholars Assoc and PTA. There was a wonderful situation back then as at other school where officers moved between the two groups: the wonderful nexus where a former student has a child attending the school.

    Is it better or worst now?

    Does the PTA still have those fairs and other revenue events that help the school…like back in the day at St. Winifreds?

    Does the Old Scholars still organize the big week of activities and other stuff so often advertised in years past?

    As the Bushman is suggesting is the Hal type “Nostalgia … misleading when assessing reality”?

    It would be sad to see the school go away like the Do-do bird…that place of Frank Worrell, Wes Hall, Arturo Tappin, Peter Alkins the soccer skill maestro, the awesome hockey tradition that produced so many outstanding national players, the first of its kind cadet marching band and the esprit de corps which produced a cadre of men and women who were the leadership backbone of the local military and police force for many years. And the list goes on and on.

    Combermere or St. Michael’s will never be HC or QC…and should not be equated in that way.

    It’s spot in local history is sacrosanct as far as friends and family associated to the place tell me.

    The debate of its current status and ‘health’ is vital and the full weight of history should be brought to bear to forge a path for its future success.

  13. @ David,

    I don’t understand why problems like Combermere cannot be solved in a week or two.

    It has to be wufflessness and indifference. Barbados has qualified professionals who can solve the problem.

    • @Hants

      You probably recall there was an accusation the sewer covers were sabotaged on the South Coast and that proved to be false.

      You may recall the headmaster of Combermere cried sabotage as well only t have t close the school for several weeks to allow remedial work to take place.

      We have some Trumplike jackasses running the country.

  14. A bunch of idiots who keep stirring up problems .These jack a sses are sooo stupid that they underestimate technology

  15. @ Hants
    I don’t understand why problems like Combermere cannot be solved in a week or two.
    It has to be wufflessness and indifference. Barbados has qualified professionals who can solve the problem.
    Boss, don’t let Bushie down now….

    First you are focusing on the ‘symptoms’ and completely missing the problem.

    Second, The issue is worse than “wufflessness and indifference”

    …and finally, there are VERY FEW anywhere …who can ‘solve the problem’

    The problem is brassbowlery …with its consequential idiocy.
    Everything is inverted.
    Square pegs are in wrong holes; the idiots are running the school; the crooks are in charge of the judiciary; and the gangsters are the police.

    How do you solve THAT problem in a week or two…?
    Hantsie boy…..!!!
    our ass is grass…!!!

  16. What should be of most concern are those who would endanger innocent people lives to score political points with their cocky mania ideas that the end justify the means
    Govt has engaged professionals to oversee the problem at the school many times at taxpayers expense
    Yet two weeks after the school reopens the problem re emerges
    The minister comments bodes well to belive that sinister actions can be the underlying cause

  17. @ac January 30, 2017 at 9:25 PM #
    Why would the minister expose what legal avenue the govt took .

    I hope the investigations bear more fruit than the threat to harm the minister of finance which was announced in parliament by the minister himself and confirmed by the speaker some time ago.

  18. David,
    Your post “…Combermere can easily disappear from the landscape like Louis Lynch…” denotes a complete misunderstanding of the ethos of Combermere and Caw’merians. Hals comments will give you guidance. Bushy, unfortunately has forgotten or abandoned his connection to that great institution. I know I will always be a Combermerian, and will do whatever I can to keep the spirit alive, and will do whatever I can to defend it. Hants, should know better and show it. As the words of our School Song say..”…Hearts courageous scorn defeat”. WE WILL ALWAYS BE IN YOUR FACE.
    We will NOT let Combermere or its spirit die..UP AND ON!!!

    • @Alvin

      Your comment is so ‘over the nose’. Louis Lynch can easily disappear but never Cawmere. There is the problem right there.

  19. @ David
    Alvin is an idiot …who does not understand the nature of those who currently make decisions in Barbados. There are many ways to skin a cat….
    Combermere has already been ‘disappeared’ … the kind of wrong pegs that have been assigned to the square holes there.
    Just ask anyone who has been there in recent times…. Most wise parents make different choices nowadays….

    It is pointless arguing with ancient, nostalgic, dinosaurs from back in the sixties, seventies – or even eighties…. and who live overseas any damn how…
    The concern is about the 21st century.

    • @Bush Tea

      The Cawmere ‘ethos’ received big puncture when David Thompson’s misdeeds at CLICO was made public.

  20. Rev. Morris calls for police investigation
    The truth being Rev Morris is the stench that needs to be eradicated.
    As a man of the cloth he seems obsessed with being a fire starter
    Rev Morris is always at pains to draw attention to himself without having any foresight of negative consequences
    Outside of full closure for the school dowhat more does Rev. Morris want
    If his plan is to cause confusion in an attempt to have the principal removed it would not happen
    In the long run because of Rev.Morris outlandish attacks with no solid proof to back up his allegations about the causes of the smell the children at the school would be the losers

  21. @ David
    This business of square pegs in wrong holes is probably THE SINGLE biggest cause of our demise. It is NOT for lack of talent, opportunity, brains, resources or even blessings.

    Whenever you get people making ’emotional’ decisions at management levels -rather than PRAGMATIC, MERIT-BASED decisions, you will get what we got…

    Imagine foolish Froon and the idiot Jones had a MAJOR problem at Alexandra school (something AC may know a little about…) and eventually got rid of Jeff Broomes – a man who, while not perfect as we all seem to expect, ACTUALLY GOT RESULTS.

    They then went on to bring a new Principal from elsewhere (whose knowledge of the school’s history, ethos, challenges, and background was likely ZERO) and to take the most outstanding senior teacher from THAT SAME SCHOOL (AX) and make him a principal at ANOTHER school – where HE likely had ZERO knowledge of the ethos, history, challenges and background.

    How intelligent is that? ….not intentional mediocrity.??
    So you now have TWO schools being managed by practical novices who will need YEARS to come to grips with the details of making THEIR PARTICULAR SCHOOL shine.

    What would you want to bet that such decisions are taken by a bunch of women (and effeminate male shiites) based on arguments about being ‘fair to the applicants for the posts of principal’ and ‘giving everyone a fair chance’, who is in which party etc…..?

    The ONLY consideration should be what is best for the damn school.

    It is not only Combermere that has been ‘disappeared’….
    ….and the CAUSE lies at Queens College…
    .. or at least, it lies where that once good school USED to be located….

    • So true BT (not effeminate part). Allowed Lett an excellent teacher caught to be wash in the nonsense.

      Many are weaping for Combermere. Parris must go and a few others if they want to turn it around. Enough to make Charlie stop smoking. Bring back the nononsense Caswell, the feared prefect.

  22. What i do know is the ongoing effort to make the principal look bad is not going to work.
    If Rev.Morris who seems to be carrying a large axe on his shoulder does not like management he can ask for a transfer or resigned if need be but his loud verbose to expose things without proof is not going help his cause
    The govt has gone to extreme lengths to find the source of any problem with a high probability that sinster actions might be at work
    Why havent Rev.Morris see it fit to work with govt on the idea of sabotage after having such information but would rather rant and rave about a process which the taxpayers money has been at wits end trying to find a solution
    Apparently the idea that sabotage might be involved is an idea Rev.morris would prefer not have exposed.

  23. @ acFebruary 1, 2017 at 1:52 PM
    “..Apparently the idea that sabotage might be involved is an idea Rev.morris would prefer not have exposed.”

    What are you maliciously insinuating here, ac? That the ‘radical reverend, who is prepared to expose the lies about Christianity, is some agent-saboteur prepared to make your deceitful lying party’s administration look bad and extremely incompetent?

    The problem at Cawmere is not of any dirty sabotaging hands of some imaginary political plant but the retributive effects left by the ghost of a certified liar and thief. And like the ghost of Banquo would continue to stalk the halls at Waterford until your demonic lying party is removed from the corridors of power.

    Cawmere is in need of a political exorcism to rid it of that curse caused by the devil once called King DT. That place has been in turmoil since his evil spirit was read up from the dead like Lazarus by that other demonic David D calling himself the left hand of god under whose watch the thieving lying Dracula king could never die in a billion years.

    Maybe you should call in the ghost busters headed by that other Frankenstein ID impostor Boris (C)arloff the Moor(e) called the BU anonymice and poltergeist hunter to identify and expose the root of the problem at Cawmere.

  24. What baffles me is why the Alumni has gone silent on this latest turn in events.

    Alvin is correct however,this small hiccup cannot destroy the spirit of Cawmere and as the Phoenix rose from its ashes so too shall this great school…….up and on.

    • @Vincent

      You stated that the Alumni is silent yet you are optimistic that the Cawmere spirit will rise from from the ash. Truly a conflicting statement.

  25. David

    Not at all…… the story of the mythical Phoenix shows that out of destruction/ashes comes a new beginning/rises…..up and on.

  26. @Vincent, but why are you saying the Alumni has gone silent? According to the self-confessed folks here there is quite a lot of talk. And one can only assume that the link between these folks are also burning up across social media on this matter as well.

    And far be it for me to draw your attention to David’s cryptic but readily decipherable remarks:

    “…that at the root of the problem is weak leadership at the school. We offer no apology to anyone by defining the weakness in leadership as Principal Vere Parris, President of the Parents Teachers Association Rolerick Sobers AND the comatose Combermere Old Scholars Association (COSA). These three important stakeholders have allowed politics and emotional positions to trump effective decision making at the Waterford institution… There will be no improvement at the school unless Parris is removed, Sobers -who is also is a vice president of the COSA- is removed, AND, the constitutions of the PTA and COSA are amended to deal with term limits and incestuous behaviour.”

    I presume you are aware that Principal Vere Parris is a former Combermerian.

    And (I stand to be corrected) but I think the Pres. of the PTA is too

    So when David speaks of the incestuous behaviour (which is a rather strange term dealing with adults in these various organizations) he should really air “… the dirty laundry in public …”

    Maybe the moment is now if it would upend the nonsense.

    And oh, I have a few friends from that place so I am aware that there was a recent upheaval in one of the groups when a President resigned.

    And again, maybe David can put some Tide to that dirty laundry too.

    But perhaps Miller is right, after this school got it’s first PM to break the head-lock that HC had on that position then only to have him exposed as one of the most virulently untrustworthy and dishonest persons in Bajan political life then maybe, just maybe they need to go through a lot more filth before they can be truly cleansed.

    Harsh to say and tar all you Cawmerians with that brush but c’est la vie! Same predicament facing Foundation now too…according to my friends there! LOLL.

  27. de pedantic Dribbler February 1, 2017 at 5:54 PM #

    Chuckle….my apologies,I just revisited this and saw your contribution too which I cannot disagree as my knowledge is a bit vague owing to having left those hallowed halls of yore almost 50 years ago.

    The point that is being lost is my contention that the Phoenix was reborn,that is all I am saying a rebirth will take place.

    I do not think the headmaster is an alumnus.

  28. Why is there always some confusion at some schools in Bim? First Alexandra now Combermere; I have the solution to the problem that exists at Combermere and am willing to travel to execute it. The school is named after Lord Combermere who was tragically killed by in 1891 in an accident involving a horse drawn carriage. There is an apparition of him sitting in a chair at his residence when he was supposed to be the guest of honour at his funeral rites which was miles away. It is obvious his ghost has been wondering for several years and has taken up residence at the school named after him, using a vile scent to announce its presence and has also possessed some of the occupants. Incidentally lord Combermere as Gov. of Barbados had ordered an investigation into the mysterious happenings in the Chase vault little did he know that his spirit will be the subject of discussion these many years hence.

    Back to the solution I have time on my hands and am willing to travel and perform a séance and converse with Lord C and let him know that he can rest in peace as those beings of the feminine gender who cohabit the school will enhance the University and not destroy it. I will also provide some solace that any future PM who graduates from that School will not be in the mould of the last PM who attended the school.

    No payment required, just a few props- a bottle of seetru, a dozen limes, a little salt and the assistance of one of the graduates one BT who is used to speaking with spirits (both real and imagined).

    I can be contacted @seances are us.

  29. The ministry must take a more direct interest in what is going on at Combermere. First, some teachers can be offered early retirement, bring in technical people, if necessary from overseas, to look at the problem, and, allow the headmaster to manage the school without union interference.
    We must put the pupils first. Another consideration is allowing Combermere to go independent.

    • In today’s newspaper we have old scholar Alex McDonald calling for the police to be called in IF there is evidence as mouthed by minister Jones.

  30. Not sure what you mean by pictures when a detailed and descriptive information was laid out in the statement and what should have been a concern to those who talks about the childrens best interest
    In any case the modium for this issue seems to more of a concern to driving a political narrative by certain segments of a political divide more than paying special attention to the interest and concerns of the children
    For what it is worth some special interest groups are hell bent in seeing the destruction of barbados and seemingly and without shame have all intentions of doing so
    The children of Combermere would be the losers in the end game in what seems to a ruthleness of ploy to sabotage the process of a certainty to resolved the enviromental issurs

  31. The so-called problem at Combermere is exposing the minister’s incompetence. If he cannot get rid of the stench at Combermere, then he cannot get rid of the stench in his party.

  32. This is not a socalled problem you sound just as ignorant as Donald Trump in his utterances about a judge he disagreed
    If you read the context of all the information as detailed in Parliament by Minister Jones you would not have made such an ignorant statement
    The govt has spent more tha 7 hundred thousand dollars and have in seeking resolve by competent individuals local and outside .
    There findings have agreed with many of the problems that were associated to the issue.
    How is it that a gas pipe that was closed in a lab within a specific time period forty five minutes later is found to be opened or that certain objects are found in sewers that can only be put there by hands

    • Yes the government has allocated over eight hundred thousand dollars to the Combermere problem after the jackasses -including you- denied there was a problem.


  33. You are such a liar where and when did i say there was no problem.My memory only points me as of recent making any comments to the issue when there was reason to suspect sabotage.

    • You jackass the issue is not about sabotage, it is about solving the environmental problems at the school. You may have the last word.

  34. Negro. Where did i ever said the issue was not an enviromental issue .however sabotage was also a relevant concern that would have impacted the learning enviroment negatively of the children and teachers
    Bro u are barking up the wrong tree with your version of truths

  35. The only people that have the “CORRECT VERSION of TRUTH and FACTS” are the DLP parliamentarians, other members and supporters of the DLP and the ac consortium of DLP yard-fowls.

    All other individuals whose perspective on issues DIFFERS from the views expressed by the DLP are DEEMED by the ACs as LIARS and SUPPORTERS of the BLP.

  36. Many have arisen to champion this cause and to speak of Cawmere’s legacy and all of that sheet.

    This issue of the Environmental State at Cawmere is not a problem for Cawmer management, nor the Ministry of Education or it incompetent Minister WeJonsing, this is an indicator and and serious indictment on our governments, our systems and our nation.

    Let the ole man explain

    This would have gone unnoticed to 270,000 bajans and 40,000 illegal Guyanese and the leader Charles Leakycock the Diector of Public Prosecutions

    “…Flamanville reactor blast: No nuclear risk, say officials”

    Ever less noticed would have been a related sidebar from the US FDA that reads “..Import Alert # 99-33 Published Date: 12/29/2016 Type: DWPE Import Alert Name: Detention Without Physical Examination of Products from Japan Due to Radionuclide Contamination…”

    What is de ole man point???

    Based on the numbers presented in this article BDS $1.5M has been spent on this Cawmere problem and we still have been unable to get rid of the smell(s)

    If something as simple and the smell of shyte on a school premise has closed down Cawmere and that is indicative of the competencies, not of the DLP or BLP ministers but of the support mecahnisms that we have in Bulbados, wunna got to tell de ole man what does this bode for things like (i) the eradication of Chicken Gunja? (ii) Mad Cow (iii) Ebola (iv) Cholera (v) that hand and foot disease that is now all over Barbados and which closed down that day care centre up in saint george.

    This is not about one school, this is symptomatic of a national problem of serious non-preparedness in everything from smells on a school, cancer causing elements and Louis Lynch, shyte floating all along the South Coast, condemned wings being imported in the country, mud in the sugar, lead in our water soon to be augmented by Del Masturbate effluent.

    Bajans we have a problem and we have to vote every effing one of the DLP AND MUGABE’s LOT out!!!

  37. There is a strong need to make Combermere an independent school, with the head as CEO responsible for the profit and loss, reporting to a management team made up of representatives from the teachers, non-teaching staff, sixth formers, PTA, the ministry of education and local residents.
    Entry will be based on merit and the prep school will be re-established; the curriculum will be wide, based around academic and sporting excellence, a continuation of the school’s music and art traditions and with special classes for talented students.
    To be successful, we need to pin down the political parties and get a firm commitment now.

  38. The ministerial mess that is destroying Combermere can be used as a step off point for a new discussion on secondary education in Barbados.
    The state monopoly has failed; we need a new paradigm. The old consensus has exhausted itself.
    I suggest that we have an independent school with the head as CEO.

  39. @ Mr. Austin

    While i do agree with your posit per the revamping of the education system in Barbados, and i do agree that the current centralized mechanisms have failed to change with the times, i believe that what you are proposing, separating one secondary school, in this fashion, may do more harm than good and an admixture of partial autonomy with defined metrics for this AND ALL OTHER primary and secondary schools, is needed

    But of late all de ole man can say is, “who has the grey brain matter, to bell the cat?”

  40. Piece,
    I am not proposing reform for a single school; I mention the school that is having problems with poor ministerial management and one that I have a certain affection for.
    But the entire system needs reform; it is the same system that my grand mother would recognise were she to come back alive.
    We are back in the mindset that ‘this is how we have always done things’. Our current system does not prepare us for the new world of work.
    I will give an example: a few weeks ago the minister of Labour, Ms Byer-Suckoo, raised the issue of the future of work. I thought at the very least the unions would have joined the conversation; they did not, preferring to strike for a pay rise as a primary purpose.
    But in the real world beyond Barbados, about 50 per cent of the low skill work done by civil servants can be done by first generation technology: filing, letter writing, answering the telephone, etc.
    Most of the teaching done in our secondary schools can be done by teachers based in Europe, the US or Asia – with teachers using interactive boards, and pupils using smart phones or lap tops; with tutorials done on Skype (or whatever who new technology is); most of the work done by lawyers and family doctors can similarly be done by technology with operators in other jurisdictions.
    We have second and third generation robots that now work next to human beings. All this could lead to more leisure time and the need to re-train workers who have been displaced by technology. This is lifetime education.
    This is the debate trade unionists and the entire Barbadian society should be having, not nonsense about getting high performance cars paid for by union members, or senior officers temporarily promoted in their day jobs then trying to squat in the positions permanently.
    Most journalism can be done outside Barbados for local readership. It is already being done.
    When I first started in journalism the papers were printed in the basement; I have just retired from editing a paper for 15 years and not once did I visit the printers.
    Accounts can be done in low-paid jurisdictions, which is already being done. Before Nikkei bought the Financial Times, our accounts were done in Manila. When I told freelancers their cheques were being processed in Manila, they used to say right. But it was true.
    Barbados must grow up and live in the real world.

  41. I doubt I am as old as Piece or Hal but I do recall that up to the time of the brouhaha between Billie M and Joe Physics Smith at the Lodge school all Headmasters of the older secondary schools used to rule the roost under some age old act.

    Both won as as all newer appointees to the headship signed off on a different act and Joe was allowed to remain until retirement.

  42. @Hal,
    Your piece at 10:31 reminds me of a conversation I heard on the radio this morning. The speakers seem to think that future employment will be in care and technology. They went so far as to suggest that even medicine and law will be done by robots in the future, citing a case where a computer was able to detect skin cancer quite accurately. It did not use the same approach as doctors but drew its conclusion from thousands of pictures that were scanned into the memory.

    There was a phrase that struck me, but I do not know if I heard correctly ‘Cooperation’ “is much better than knowledge. For knowledge is searchable”. So knowledgeable guys like Jeff, Caswell et al will soon be replace by the chadster armed with google.
    (I am searching to see if I got the phrase correct.)

    At some stage the entire Caribbean must retool their academic systems. Passing 300 subjects only shows a good brain and the powers of memory; we have to start thinking of what the world needs in 2050 and teach it in our schools.

  43. Anonymouse,

    The nature of education and learning has changed. In the old days we had to learn lots of mental arithmetic, we now have calculators, to do that and they are much better at it.
    As Samuel Johnson, there are two kinds of knowledge: what you know yourself, and knowing where to find the answers.
    We now work in teams, not as individuals.

  44. @David February 10, 2017 at 4:06 PM # “In other words we need to amend the Education Act?”

    I anticipate that both you and @Austin appreciate that the US Senate just have a contentious and almost mean-spirited confirmation battle for the US Sect of Education on just that issue you so succinctly crafted.

    Alas in the US as I am sure Austin is aware his CEO managed school is called Charter Schools where where public funds underwrite privately ran schools. DeVos supports that completely and much of liberal America (for varying reasons) seem to abhor the implementation of the concept.

    This should not be a conservative-liberal fight in US or some contrived BLP-DLP stupid battle in Bim.

    And realistically it isn’t. At day’s end it’s a big, big brouhaha for all the same reasons alluded to above: union control of teaching and big money. Standards are a mere afterthought.

    There are several excellent public schools across the US which are NOT Charter schools but many of them are selective institutions with entry exams. Good students IN, great operational effort from staff and voila.

    Regular schools with excellent, average and struggling students require a vastly different operational ethos.

    @Vincent, the days of Joe Physics, Tank Williams, Dame Elsie, Pat Symmonds, Pilgrim et al (and to a lesser extent Bumpy Moore) can be compared to the vocal and forceful persona of Principal Joe Clarke of NJ, USA ‘Lean on Me’ notoriety. And to the many others.

    Education depts in US and Bdos have long squashed those free-spirited icon types.

    The chatter about changing the Education dynamic in Bdos is way past the talk stage. The much vaunted Edu-Tech was ‘supposed’ to move us within the ball-park of Austin’s global learning model…and would have been the foundation for a real internet learning extravaganza but that was a boondoggle as we all now know.

    We are simply spinning top in mud. The Cawmere thing overall must be painfully embarrassing and hurtful to all of those like yourself who call that their alma mater…as it should be really for all Bajans.

  45. dpD

    We are simply spinning top in mud. The Cawmere thing overall must be painfully embarrassing and hurtful to all of those like yourself who call that their alma mater…as it should be really for all Bajans.

    Yup….we have been in all areas for decades….chickens have now come home to roost under an inept govt.

  46. Combermere is now just another school in Barbados and not even a particularly good school. Just ask those many parents of Combermere students who were beseeching the principals of QC, HC, the St Michael school and Foundation for a transfer. Check with a former chairman of the school (a Combermerian) who transferred his child to another school after one year.

    • @Ping Pong

      Sad but true. Successive PTAs and COSAs have allowed the Combermere standard to fall to a level the name is not even mentioned after QC and HC at 11+ time.

  47. David

    PTAs and alumni associations have very little influence on the functioning of any school in Barbados. Combermerians thought they had clout but who fool dem?! Schools are run by the Ministry of Education and it listens to no one. If a particular school appears to do well it is because (a) the intake of that school (after 11+) is capable and much more importantly (b) the parents of those children are able and willing to spend money and time in assisting their children develop through out-of-school lessons, sporting clubs and artistic organisations etc.

    Children do well IN SPITE of the school they attend.

  48. The “stench/bad odour is a problem for the Ministry of Health.

    Locate the source of the stench and solve the problem.

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