Principal supports return of Alma Parris
St Stephen’s principal Dr Colin Cumberbatch has thrown his support behind the return of the Alma Parris Memorial School.
Speaking yesterday at his school’s graduation at Queen’s College, Cumberbatch said he felt the closure of the school further exacerbated the issue of special needs children being disadvantaged.
“As the principal of a primary school with a Special Needs Unit, I see on a daily basis the challenges these students face. The closure of a school designed to cater to their needs and the placement of these students into a normal typical classroom setting represents a [backward] step that placed those students at a disadvantage and precarious position,” he said.
Cumberbatch said he strongly supported the return of the school and offered some suggestions on how officials should approach it.
“I would like to recommend that the new-look Alma Parris School not be considered as an option or choice for secondary school placement via the BSSEE [Barbados Secondary Schools’ Entrance Examination], but that it be used to facilitate the transition of students in Special Needs programmes at the primary level, to continuing education programmes at the post-primary level and cater to their specific developmental needs,” he said.
Cumberbatch said in having Alma Parris as a transitional option for the special needs students, it would eliminate their having to take exams that they’re incapable of writing. He urged that fair education opportunities be made available to all students.
“Parents would therefore have to be sensitised to the fact that having had their children placed in Special Needs Units, how they will be transitioned to continuing educational opportunities on reaching 11 years old,” Cumberbatch added.
Amaani Holder was named the Best Overall Male and the school’s top student, having placed fifth in the exam’s Top Ten with scores of 97 in both English and mathematics. The Best Overall Girl was Zafirah Jones. (DB)