Ministry of Education Monthly Status Report

15 April, 2019

The Ministry of Education wishes to provide the public with this month’s status report on progress being made within the Bermuda Public School System.

This update is part of a promise the Minister of Education, The Hon. Diallo Rabain made to ensure that the Bermuda public was informed on the work being done within The Ministry and Department of Education. 

Please see focus areas, along with a detailed description of what has taken place within those areas, below:

BUT Negotiations

The Public Service Negotiations Team (PSNT), supported by the Commissioner of Education, Kalmar Richards, and a Department of Education Technical Officer have been engaged in the Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) negotiations since July 2018. The Department of Education is pleased to report that these negotiations concluded on 27 March, 2019, and they are now in the process of completing all paperwork associated with this stage of the process.

Additionally, ongoing meetings facilitated by a Labor Relations Officer, have been held with representatives of the Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT) to address the concerns that were brought forward in October 2018. The Department of Education has made headway with addressing many of the concerns raised, and the Department is presently assessing progress to determine any outstanding matters.

BPSU Principals’ Work-to-Rule

School Principals presented several concerns to the Department of Education in October 2018, along with notification that they would participate in a work-to rule.  Ministry and Department of Education representatives have been engaged in ongoing meetings and discussions with Principals over the past six months to address and bring resolution to the concerns. 

The Department of Education has now addressed all concerns with and a meeting will be held the week of 8 April, 2019 to receive final feedback from Principals around whether they are now prepared to end the work-to rule.

Standards-Based Education

During the month of March, the Standards-Based Education Committee has been intricately engaged in leading and facilitating activities as part of the plan for implementing Standards-Based Education at the primary and middle levels. Those activities parallel the activities which will take place during the month of April:

  • Professional Development at Schools
  • Principal and Education Officer Workshops
  • ‘Train the Trainer’ Workshops
  • Walkthroughs at Schools
  • Workshops for PowerSchool “Geeks”

In addition, teams of teachers have commenced the development of English, Math and Science Proficiency Scales and a Parent Matters Meeting has been scheduled for 25 April, 2019 at 5:45pm at Elliott Primary, Purvis Primary and The Berkeley Institute.

Progress Reports

Progress reports were not distributed in October, November and December 2018 due to concerns expressed by the Bermuda Union of Teachers (BUT).  Stakeholder meetings were held in January 2019 to discuss grading and reporting. The Department of Education communicated a decision on grading and reporting to Principals, Teachers and stakeholder groups in February 2019 and parents were advised they would receive progress reports on 8 March, 2019.

Subsequent to this, the BUT expressed concerns which required the Department of Education to request assistance from the Department of Labour to resolve the dispute.  After several meetings facilitated by a Labour Relations Manager , the Ministry of Labour, Home Affairs and Sports, the Department of Education (DOE) and the BUT released a joint press statement on 8 March, 2019 stating that they would be working together to have progress reports to parents by 15 March, 2019.  In the interim, the DOE put a plan in place to address BUT requests for the support needed to get reports out to parents by 15 March, 2019. 

Progress reports were distributed to parents on 15 March, 2019 for 21 out of 23 primary and middle schools. On 18 March, 2019 reports were distributed for one remaining primary school. On 20 March, 2019 reports were distributed for one remaining middle school.

The next progress reports will be shared with parents in May 2019.

Education Month 2019

April is Education Month and the Department of Education has a number of activities that will take place throughout the month.

  • Currently, student profiles are running on Government social media pages and will continue throughout the entire month of April.
  • A video message from the Commissioner of Education and a video about Standards-Based Education will be shared with the community.
  • Key information regarding the Plan 2022 Annual Report will be published.
  • A number of events will also take place in support of early childhood education, as September 2018 marked the 50th Anniversary of preschools in Bermuda.