Parents have once again been advised against changing their address in a bid to take advantage of the school zoning system, particularly Zone Three.
Former education officer and current Principal of St Bernard???s Primary School, Everton Briggs, while noting the tendency for some to change their address as the Barbados Secondary Schools??? Entrance Examination (BSSEE) drew near, said this could have consequences.
He was speaking last Saturday at one of the first town hall meetings, at The Church of God of Prophecy, Water Street, Christ Church, on the administration of the exam, also known as the Common Entrance Examination or 11 Plus.
???One of the major issues the ministry is facing relates to school choices. We find that some parents have difficulty with particular zones, for example, from year to year we hear the parents, those from Zone 2, telling you that the choices that they have are very, very limited.
“So, they have issues with Zone 2 and then some people in Zone 1 might have issues. But Zone 1 is not as bad as Zone 2. And, then that is why you find that parents tend to move from Zone 1 and 2 to Zone 3, which offers really the best choices for the students,??? Mr. Briggs said.
Zone 3 comprises those living in St John, St Philip and Christ Church, and allows choices including Harrison College, Queen???s College and The St. Michael School. However, Briggs said each school had a yearly intake quota where the first 30 per cent with the given range of marks were accepted from that school’s zone.
Stating that he always told parents that the sudden change in address could be either good or bad, he continued: ???When you move from your zone, you are limiting the chances of your child reaching a particular school which is inside of your zone.
“So, for you to go out of your zone to get St. Michael???s or Lodge or Foundation and then your child had [results for] Queen???s College, you find yourself, when you move from Zone 1, [that] your child might have fallen in the first 30 per cent that goes into the school.
???But [having moved] out of Zone 1, then you find your child now competing with the 70 per cent for the whole island and sometimes that would upset your child???s chances where if he/she had been in Zone 1, he/she would have safely gone into that particular school [Queen???s College]. But because you???ve moved out then you find it difficult to get the child into the school.???
However, Mr. Briggs admitted the choices were indeed ???very, very good??? in Zone 3, where six of the eight schools from which one can choose are sixth forms schools.??Stating that the solution to the situation may lie in re-configuring the zones, Mr. Briggs added it was something the Ministry was actively looking at and any decision pertaining to the matter would have to come from them.
Some of the over 20 parents who gathered for the familiarisation session queried the need for more psychologists to aid some children with various difficulties; if the BSSEE wasn???t set too early in the children’s lives; and whether the 30 minutes given for composition was enough. Other issues addressed were how to fill out the various forms; the allocation criteria; and the difference between raw scores and converted scores on the exam results form.
Tips were also provided to parents on how to prepare for the May 3, 2016 examination. The Principal stressed they should get children to the exam early; ensure they were well-prepared; not place undue pressure on them; and desist from big breakfasts or lunches during exam break.??The session was the one of the first in a series that ends on Thursday, December 3, at The St Michael School, Martindale???s Road, St. Michael.