The first meeting of the new Education Committee took place on Wednesday, 20 September 2017.
The new Teacher Trainer, Garry Cameron, was introduced to the Committee and spoke about his role in leading the initial training of new teachers as well as the ongoing programme of accredited training for serving local teachers.
Information was provided to the Committee on the ongoing renovation of the Public Library and the planned opening on Wednesday, 11 October, to mark the 204th anniversary of the founding of the library.
St Helena Teacher Appreciation Day is set for Thursday, 5 October 2017, and the Education Committee hopes that the community will take advantage of this opportunity to recognise the hard work and commitment of educators on this day. The Careers Fair follows on Wednesday, 18 October 2017.
The Committee received a report from the St Helena Community College (SHCC) Board, which provides feedback and advice from members of the community on the operations of the SHCC.
A report on Primary School performance explained the impact of the new National Curriculum and outlined student performance against the new and much more demanding standards. Head Teachers were present to answer questions and provide additional insights. It was pleasing to note that there were performance gains in spite of the challenges of the last school year.
The examination report from Prince Andrew School set out significant gains from student performance in 2016, with 2017 marking the second highest results ever achieved by the school.
Although Prince Andrew School students also faced major changes in examinations due to changes in the UK National curriculum, the school achieved 45% 5 or more A* – C grades or the equivalent. (English and Maths grades are now reported using a new numbering system, with grades 4 – 9 equating to A* – C.)
In spite of new exams and new standards, students achieved a 50% success rate at that standard in English language, and an even better 55% in Mathematics. There was very strong performance in A-levels as well.
Head Teachers from all schools voiced their concern that not enough value is placed on education on St Helena, and that school attendance and study suffer because of this. Students, parents and the whole community need to recognise the importance of education for individual students and for St Helena’s future.
The Education Committee commended the hard work and positive results achieved by schools in the 2016/17 school year and extended their thanks to Head Teachers, school staff and the Education Directorate.
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29 September 2017