Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones (FP)

Amidst the challenges of the academic year 2010-2011, there were success stories for the Ellerslie Secondary School. These came to the fore today as that institution held its Speech Day and Prize-Giving ceremony.

Acting Principal, Idelle Austin, in presenting the report for that period, noted that in spite of the negatives, the school was able to enter students in all subjects offered in the senior school.

She said: "In almost half, [or] 47 per cent, we recorded passes of 60 per cent or higher. The school again achieved excellent results of over 90 per cent [passes] in food and nutrition; home management; and physical education, with very good results in integrated science (88 per cent, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); biology (74 per cent) and?? building technology (75 per cent)."

Mrs. Austin reported that the business studies department had continued to record good results, but expressed concern about agricultural science; history and foreign languages, and mathematics.?? Acknowledging that students appeared to be stronger in English than Maths, Mrs. Austin explained that, over the years, the school was able to correct enough of the problems in this subject "to maintain percentage passes of over 60 in English ???A’."

She also commended the English Department for achieving almost 50 per cent passes in English ???B’ for the academic year 2009-2010.?? The Acting Principal added ???this was an achievement, considering that reading is almost something people want to shy away from and it is like an anathema to so many students that it is no mean feat".

It was also explained that the deficits, however, in Mathematics were not easy to redress. "In addition to the actual maths problems, I believe that attitudes tend to make the teaching of maths more difficult. While everybody thinks he or she can do English (because we all speak a version of it), they constantly describe maths as being difficult and this unfortunately, seems to have become an accepted notion," Mrs. Austin remarked.

The Acting Principal revealed that there were encouraging numbers of students who were able to go directly from the school to tertiary level institutions, including the University of the West Indies and those who had gained four or more passes in a single sitting.

"We must be proud of our successes, but must acknowledge our weaknesses," Mrs. Austin maintained, admitting that while figures showed girls were doing well academically the school took into consideration that the boys entered the institution following Common Entrance Exam with ???lower marks’.???? She stressed: "We take this into consideration as we continue to work with them to improve. Grave concern must continue to be registered about those students, again mostly boys, who pass no subjects and who are likely to leave school without certification."

Noting that an assessment showed there were students with "serious learning difficulties," she said they needed to be identified early and given guidance. "Some are students who could not deal with their social issues satisfactorily… however, what I have found is that most are students whose results suffer from various aspects of indiscipline…"??

Meanwhile, Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, urged parents to work with teachers to encourage children to read, obey the school rules and have pride in their school.?? The Minister singled out the track achievements of the school’s top athlete, Anthonio Mascoll, and noted that he demonstrated a talent that came from "knowledge" and was "a symbol of excellence" for other students.

He added that the Victor Ludorum of the Barbados Secondary Schools’ Athletic Championships 2011, further represented for the school "purpose", "determination", "commitment" and "striving for excellence against the odds". "That is his strength and we celebrate his strength.

In lauding the school’s work over the year, the Education Minister noted that since its establishment in 1966, it had produced students who had excelled both nationally and internationally, in both academics and sports.

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