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More sixth forms in the planning

Yvette Best

More sixth forms in the planning

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All new secondary schools in Barbados will be equipped for a sixth form.
That is the word from Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Ronald Jones, who officially launched the sixth form at Christ Church Foundation School yesterday.
Speaking to the likelihood of increased capacity at other schools, Jones said the ministry was looking to construct one school with a sixth form in the south.
He said that with students gaining better grades in the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, the ministry had to continue to expand post-secondary education at the Barbados Community College (BCC) and the sixth form schools.
He said 1 700 students applied for the sixth form and about 32 per cent had been accommodated. Foundation and The St Michael School, which welcomed its sixth form students last Friday, join Harrison College, Queen’s College, Combermere and The Lodge School in offering sixth form subjects.
The minister said Foundation played a “significant” role in the thrust to offer more secondary education. A sixth form is not entirely new to Foundation, however.
While not sanctioned by the Ministry of Education of the day, a sixth form at Foundation under principal Lee Harford Skeete produced a Barbados Scholar in 1954 – the late Dr Robert Thomas. Since then some students who moved from Foundation to sixth form schools have gained Barbados scholarships and exhibitions.
Principal Robert Cumberbatch said Foundation would now be looking to exploit the talent that traditionally “escaped” when students moved to other educational institutions.
In welcoming the new students, Jones urged them to wear their uniforms in the correct way at all times and to commit themselves to learning. Noting that this journey of education was a short one, he encouraged them to utilize and manage their time well.
Chief Justice Marston Gibson, a past scholar of the school, was also on hand to welcome the students.
Most of the students on the sixth form roll are from Foundation. Others were drawn from the four established sixth form schools, the neighbouring Deighton Griffith, Princess Margaret and Alleyne secondary schools.
Eight subjects, including geography, environmental science and biology, management of business and accounts, mathematics, English and computer science are being offered in this first year. Cumberbatch said two others would be added next year.
“The idea is that you build gradually and build capacity in that way,” he told the DAILY NATION, adding that the extra staff hired for the sixth forms brought the complement to 64, with one part-time teacher.  
Cumberbatch said there was no dedicated sixth form block for the students, but that classes were being held in the specialist rooms and the conference room. One of the closed-off canteens has also been refurbished and will be used as an additional classroom.
The principal said plans had been drawn up for a two-storey building which would be the new home for industrial arts, lost to fire a few years ago, art rooms and at least four sixth form classrooms. No cost has been given for the project.