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Demand for better pay for multigrade schools’ principals

Published:Monday | August 29, 2022 | 12:05 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Even as negotiations continue between the teachers and the Government over a new wage and fringe benefits package for the teachers, Keisha Hayle, principal of Padmore Primary School in St Andrew, is calling for an upward adjustment in the salaries being paid to principals in multigrade schools.

Hayle, who raised the matter at the just-concluded 58th annual conference of the Jamaica Teachers’ Association (JTA) in Montego Bay, St James, argued that some senior teachers who they supervised are better paid than they are.

According to Hayle, she finds the disparity in earning between the principals she referenced and the senior teachers as demotivating, given the scope of work being undertaken by principals, to include those serving as both principal and classroom teachers at the same time.

“The remuneration for a small school like Padmore, [is that] we have senior teachers getting more than the principal,” revealed Hayle.

“As a teaching principal, I have to teach during the days and do principal work at nights. So I am very demotivated, because some of the teachers get more than the principals at a small primary school, and I want you to revisit this,” added Hayles, in bringing the matter to the attention of Minister of Education Fayval Williams during the conference’s question-and-answer session.

Maureen Dwyer, acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY), subsequently confirmed that some senior teachers are in fact earning more than principals at schools operating in a multigrade system.

“You talked about a teaching principal. It really is a problem in our multigrade schools, but based on the discussions with the Ministry of Finance and the compensation review team, I believe this is something that will be addressed to remove those anomalies from the system,” Dwyer told the delegates, in response to Hayle’s concern.

“We understand that the JTA has brought it to the table and as a ministry, we agree that we need to regularise those sorts of arrangements,” added Dwyer.

Hayle also raised concern over the limited space in which she is forced to operate amid the growing student population at her school, and said that the MOEY should seriously consider a recommendation that was made by the National Education Inspectorate for the expansion of the school.

“The inspectors came to my school and recommended that the school be expanded, but to date, none of the recommendations has been put in action,” said Hayles.

Hayle has been credited for turning around Padmore Primary, which is now one of the top-performing primary school in St Andrew, based on recent results in the Primary Exit Profile examinations. In 2011, the school was listed as a failing school, which required urgent attention.