Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones (third from left); and Principal of The Ellerslie School, Lieutenant Colonel Errol Brathwaite (second from right), admire the plaque which was unveiled to rename the school, which used to be known as the Ellerslie Secondary School. Looking on are Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Senator Harcourt Husbands (second from left); Chairman of the Board, Terrence Inniss (partially hidden); Sylvester Niles (right), a former principal at the school; and sixth form students.

Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, looks on as Kylah Jordan Christie cuts the ribbon to declare the new sixth form block officially open.

Ellerslie gets 6th form, name change

THE principal and staff of The Ellerslie School have been lauded for taking up the challenge issued by Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, to introduce a sixth from at that educational establishment.

During a ceremony held yesterday at the school to officially launch the sixth form and to recognise the adjustment made to the school’s name from the Ellerslie Secondary School to The Ellerslie School, Minister Jones noted that in fact, the challenge had been issued to a number of schools as there “is no magic” to creating a sixth form. As such, he said he was glad to see the school’s Principal, Lieutenant Colonel Errol Brathwaite, fully embraced the concept as was evidenced in an excellent presentation, which was delivered to the Ministry, on what Ellerslie would offer at the sixth form level.

“We had made the offer to several schools to take up the challenge of becoming a sixth form establishment. We spoke to the Ellerslie Secondary School as it was referred to then. We extended that to Alleyne as well, to Coleridge and Parry, Deighton Griffith as well as Grantley Adams,” Minister Jones explained.

“Some people don’t understand the point that is being made in the transformation of these schools into sixth form establishments. In fact, there is no great magical wand to turn a school into a sixth form school. Nothing great about it. What is great is that we want to bring to the young people of Barbados, other opportunities to fully maximise their potential,” he added.

Stressing that there have been “certain elitist notions in Barbados as to who should be a sixth form school”, Jones noted that for hundreds of years, four schools have dominated that particular space – Harrison College, Queen’s College, Combermere and The Lodge School.

Pointing out however that when many students leave secondary school, they at times find it hard to get into tertiary institutions which may be full and that they also need the opportunity to fully matriculate.

“So we needed a point of consolidation, a point of maturity for those children. Two years between 16 and 18 makes a substantial difference in the lives of these children,” he stressed.

Acknowledging that he has seen the growth and development in recent years of students attending sixth form classes that have come on stream at schools such as Christ Church Foundation, The St. Michael School, Alexandra, St. Leonard’s Boys’ and especially Springer and that he looks forward to the success of those at newer sixth forms such as at Alleyne, he stated his dream that all secondary schools would explore the possibility of establishing sixth forms for the benefit of students. (RSM)

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