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MP calls on Gov't to restore New Hope Primary and Junior High to its glory

Published:Saturday | May 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Dalton Laing, Gleaner Writer

WHITEHOUSE, Westmoreland:The Ministry of Education has given its commitment to reviewing the operations at the New Hope Primary and Junior High School in Westmoreland with a view to streamlining the institution and preserving its beautiful surroundings.

During a recent visit to the constituency, Member of Parliament Luther Buchanan urged Education Minister Ronald Thwaites to look at the school's shift system, an eroding coastline, and the installation of perimeter fencing.

"New Hope School runs on a two-shift system. I want the students to have more time in the classroom, and single shift is the way to go in that regard," said Buchanan.

The physical school plant is aesthetically appealing, but there are concerns about the eroding coastline in the seaside community and the absence of fencing to ensure the safety of the students.

"The hope is that we should remove the junior high grades and link with the Belmont Academy some time in the future," said Thwaites.

"Physically, the surrounding is beautiful, but it has a high level of erosion and ways will have to be found by persons more skilled in engineering as to how we can prevent the erosion."

The minister identified the use of boulders as a possible solution for the erosion, but proper fencing is needed to keep the students away from the tempting water.

Principal, Monica Foster, is hopeful that the minister will make good on his promises.

"The safety of the students is paramount, so when I would normally be doing observation in the classrooms, I'm outside patrolling the coastline ensuring that none of the students go over," she said.

"It's very tempting, but so far, they don't go beyond the signs posted along the coast which read 'No students beyond this point'."

'The safety of the students is paramount.' - Principal