Glenmuir High to help new May Pen school
A new school to be built in May Pen, Clarendon, is to be aided in its establishment by Glenmuir High, which is considered the leading high school in Clarendon.
It is an experiment which, if successful, could be replicated around the country by the Ministry of Education as a way to ensure that new schools emulate the high standards of traditional high schools.
The new school, to be located on Foga Road in the Clarendon capital, is scheduled to be opened at the start of the new school year in September. Region six, which includes Clarendon and St Catherine, suffered from a shortage of spaces at the secondary level this school year.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Maria Jones disclosed earlier this month that it was proposed that the new school be a campus of the prominent Clarendon institution.
“We have approached Glenmuir about setting up Foga Road as a campus,” Jones said then.
But following discussions among its stakeholders, Glenmuir decided to assist the new school in establishing its management processes, while it would be a separate institution.
“After dialogue with my stakeholders – the school board, the church and past students – we will be happy to work along with the school to benchmark their programmes, systems and structure off the Glenmuir model,” Glenmuir’s principal, Clement Radcliffe, told the Sunday Observer.
He noted that while the new school would have its own staff, including a principal, it was envisioned that both schools would have some board members in common.
“We’re hoping that there will be an overlap of board members, so that the technical expertise and the church representation will operate jointly,” Radcliffe said.
Glenmuir High was founded in 1958 by Anglican bishop of Jamaica, Reverend Percival Gibson, who also founded Kingston College and Bishop Gibson High School, and conceptualised Church Teachers’ College.
The institution has a reputation for producing outstanding scholars, is usually a contender in the annual Schools’ Challenge Quiz competition, and in recent years has excelled in sports – particularly in football.
Radcliffe said he was now preparing packages for 250 students who have been assigned to the yet unnamed new school by the Ministry of Education, based on their Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results. He urged parents whose children had been assigned to ‘Foga Road High’ to pick up their packages at Glenmuir.
The principal, meanwhile, sent an early warning to students of the new school that the same high standards of discipline that obtain at Glenmuir would be expected of them.
“I want to say up front that the traditional discipline that we stand for at Glenmuir will be expected from this new school,” Radcliffe said.
He added that like ‘Foga Road High’, Glenmuir had been assigned 250 new students based on the GSAT, but their average scores were in the eighties and nineties. Glenmuir is the school of first choice for most students in Clarendon.
He declined to disclose the averages of the students assigned to Foga Road, but conceded that there was a “significant disparity” between the scores of both sets of students.
Radcliffe noted that the new school would receive as much help as possible in its development from the Glenmuir community.
“The understanding is that if we can get this experiment to work, it may be replicated elsewhere,” he said.
The Ministry of Education disclosed recently that three schools were to be built in region six in time for the new school year. But the other two, earmarked for Sandy Bay in Clarendon and Dunbeholden in St Catherine, have since been shelved.
Sandy Bay was shelved because the ministry did not get the requisite approval from the Clarendon Parish Council, and Dunbeholden because the site was not approved for building by the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
Students originally assigned to those schools have since been reassigned to other schools in the region.
‘Foga Road High’ will be built on a phased basis under the ministry’s start-a-school programme, in which only grades seven and 10 will be built in the first phase.