One of the participants of the Alternative Curriculum Entrepreneurship Programme at St. Leonard’s Boys’, Kodea Smith (second, left), poses with a cheque from the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, along with Trustees Phillipa Challis and Julian Sacher. Also present is the co-ordinator of the programme, Winston Cumberbatch (second, right). (GP)

It has only been five weeks but the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust/St. Leonard’s Boys’ Alternative Curriculum & Entrepreneurship Programme is already reaping success.

The programme is the brainchild of Third Form Year Head, Winston Cumberbatch, who realized that some of the boys were going down the wrong path when they reached Third Form.

To illustrate the problem, Mr. Cumberbatch disclosed that this year, 20 students were repeating Third form “for very poor academic performance due to general weakness, little effort and/or indiscipline”.

He was speaking yesterday at the official launch of the SLCT/SLB’s Alternative Curriculum and Entrepreneurship Programme at the Richmond Gap, St. Michael school.

Mr. Cumberbatch told the audience of parents, students and members of the stakeholder organizations that he recommended to the Principal that an additional Third Form be created for the boys.

The curriculum, while offering a reduced number of academic subjects, has been enhanced with developmental and vocational subjects. The central focus, however, is business and entrepreneurship, he stated.

The subjects include: English, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Principles of Accounts, Caribbean Vocational Qualifications, Reading, Home and Family Life Education, Business Craft and Life Skills, which will be taught by the Mentorship with Love organization.

Mr. Cumberbatch reported that since the programme started this term, the boys have attended all of the classes and have shown enthusiasm towards the new curriculum.

Previously, he noted, some were skipping classes and displaying a general lack of interest. Parents have also been reporting improvements in the attitudes of their sons.

The Year Head said even the teachers were excited about the new programme.

Parent Cindy Grant, accompanied by her son Kodea Smith, speaking about how the SLCT/SLB’s A.C.E. Programme has benefited her son. (GP)

“This provided the opportunity for current and past teachers to volunteer to teach the class. Three retired teachers who are very good with students of this type, have accepted to teach English, Social Studies and Principles of Accounts. Some members of staff wanted so much to work with the class that they gave up some of their non-teaching periods to teach the boys Integrated Science, Math, Reading, Social Studies, Physical Education and Health and Family Life Education. And, four CVQ teachers have allowed the students to join their fourth form classes to do the CVQ program,” Mr. Cumberbatch disclosed.

The Export and Business Development Division of the Barbados Investment & Development Corporation, which executes special programs for business incubation, innovation and craft development, is providing artisans to tutor the boys in Ceramics/Pottery, Leather Craft and Woodwork/Carving.

Additionally, Business Craft class is taught on two days each week and a session on one of those days is allocated to workshop and studio visits. At the end of each term, the students’ work will go on display and relatives, teachers and students will be invited to view and purchase the work.

Trustee of the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust, Phillipa Challis, said they wasted no time saying ‘yes’ to the programme when Mr. Cumberbatch approached them. The Trust is the title sponsor and disburses $3.5 million to support various charities and causes annually.

“When we received Winston Cumberbatch’s proposal we were thrilled. He asked us to support in part and we supported the whole thing straight away. While we appreciate it is a government school… we applauded the initiative taken by this dedicated Year Head and wanted to reward this effort.

“…I hope this small step will help encourage and lead the way for other schools to look at new ways and methods and to change their teaching methods,” stated Ms. Challis.

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