Deputy Principals are being reminded that there are second in command in the school system and must stand beside their principals.

This reminder came today as Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones, addressed 10 of the 13 new deputy principals at the Ministry???s headquarters at the Elsie Payne Complex, Constitution Road, St. Michael.

???You are second in the hierarchy. You are second and that means that you stand beside the principal in executing the policies and programmes of the schools,??? stressed Minister Jones.

Congratulating them he said: ???I???m not going to tell you that it is going to be an easy task because you are the ones who historically interface with the students and with your colleagues and parents and everybody else??? You know the challenges of the system; you know the successes of the system; you know what opportunities present themselves. You know what you have to do to maintain the integrity of the system.???

Explaining that discipline and punishment were not one and the same, the Education Minister said there had been legal challenges where the Ministry had to go to court and he cautioned against using the strap or flogging children. Instead, he said they needed to find ways to move away from punishment and go towards genuine discipline.

???So your challenge is there – to work with the principal, year heads, heads of departments, your teachers and ancillary staff, but more particularly the group that you genuinely want to work with is the parents. If you don???t get parents, there isn???t much you can do. If you get parents??? support, you can do almost everything. That is the bottom line,??? advised the Minister.

The Minister urged them to seek assistance from the Ministry when contemplating actions or particular strategies they might want to employ to bring about a given solution and to watch what they say about public education.??Acting Chief Education Officer, Karen Best, said the Ministry would soon be providing training to the new deputy principals, given the challenges in the school system.

She said: ???It is one thing to be a very good head of department, but it???s another thing to be a good deputy???I am hoping that you are amenable to training because you can???t stop. ???Things are changing all the time and you need now to wrap your head around being in charge of a school???You are beside the principal and not behind, nor in front!??? So, I expect that you are going to do a very good job at the school to which you are assigned. ???

Stating that there was a lack of knowledge of the Public Service Act, she said the Training Administration Division would soon be conducting a workshop for them, as well as principals, heads of departments and senior teachers, on the interpretation of the Public Service Act. ???This is because we have to use the Public Service Act when we are dealing with disciplinary matters,??? she remarked.

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