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Plea to minimise displacement from school closures

Published:Friday | July 10, 2015 | 12:00 AM

This is an open letter to Education Minister Ronald Thwaites:

Sunday, July 5, 2015 was to be a day of joy for my family, as my son officially exits the primary level of his educational journey. He did exceptionally well and got his placement of choice. Nevertheless, we could not enjoy the day as much as we wanted to. This, Mr Thwaites, was because of the decision, a year ago, to close the school at which he completed his first five primary years.

Waltham Primary School, where he spent grades one to five, had such an impact on us that we could not help pining after what we lost when the school closed even as we go through the ritual of the graduation exercise.

None of the students my son spent his early primary-school days with sat with him, nor were any of the teachers who moulded him for those five years present to see the end result. I, too, was not able to share the experience with the parents I have come to know over those years. In fact, my son and I were like strangers to the attendees, as, the nine months we spent with the school were really not enough to form any meaningful bonds.

Recently, I heard announcements of other schools that may suffer the same fate as Waltham Primary School. I understand entirely that sometimes one has to take hard decisions. However, as a parent who has seen the impact of such action with my boys and some of his schoolmates, I ask sincerely that you try to minimise such actions.

It is imperative that we curtail our spending to secure a better tomorrow, but it is also crucial that the impact be as minimal as possible on those that will be our future.

My son openly expressed his desire to have graduated from the school at which he commenced his educational journey as a tiny six-year-old. While I wholeheartedly thank the grade six teacher at the school he finished at, I would have loved to smile with the teachers who took him through the grade three diagnostic test, the grade four literacy tests and the beginning of the Grade Six Achievement Test preparations. I am willing to bet we were not the only ones to share such feelings.



Carlton Mountain

Claremont PO, St Ann