Not as principal!
The former Chief Education Officer is on record as having objected to Jeff Broomes being principal, says Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) president Mary-Anne Redman.
Giving the last of her two days of evidence to the commission into The Alexandra School’s industrial dispute, Redman said it would have been “in the commission’s best interest” to have had Dr Wendy Griffith-Watson giving evidence as well.
Redman said Griffith-Watson had said to the BSTU at meetings several times that she was on record as having objected to the recommendation of Broomes to the post of principal. Redman also noted Griffith-Watson would have worked with Broomes at The St Michael School and would have interacted longer with him than any other Ministry of Education official.
Furthermore, Redman told those at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex the BSTU had also pointed out to the Ministry of Education on numerous occasions the need to have people with proper management skills leading local schools.
“There needs to be training in personnel management and in industrial relations for persons in senior positions especially. We have put forward the recommendations over years that there needs to be training for all teachers. We have done an outline of an industrial relations course that should be inserted into the [Diploma in Education] and the [Certificate of Educational Management] at Erdiston, and we made that available to the ministry.
“And as these people move up, they would already have had that kind of training in those professional courses,” Redman added, noting that the absence of such training was “without a doubt” giving rise to a number of problems being manifested in schools.
She also described the process of one-off interviews as “insufficient” – a position with which Commissioner Frederick Waterman agreed.
Describing Broomes as a very articulate man, Waterman added: “You may interview well but it doesn’t mean you are a leader of men.”
Redman also strongly reiterated that Broomes was a public servant and was therefore subject to the laws governing such officers. With this in mind, she agreed with the Chief Personnel Officer that it was possible for him to be transferred and to be otherwise separated.
However, Broomes’ counsel Vernon Smith, QC, argued that Broomes could only be removed if he was in breach of his terms and conditions of service as principal of The Alexandra School.