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The Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School will be closed for the remainder of this week, following heavy rains recently, which have impacted the integrity of a section of the school.

Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, announced the closure yesterday, explaining that the rains had weakened the plant’s already compromised structure. Students will, in the meantime, transition to online classes.

“These most recent events have weakened an already ailing plant.  In the interest of ensuring the safety of our teachers and students, the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School will be closed for the remainder of the week, while further assessments are carried out and arrangements put in place to address the relocation, if necessary, of our students and staff.

“While there has been no major damage to the prefab buildings on the site, the administrative block which houses the staff room and the principal’s office have both been impacted as well as some classrooms in the main block. As a result of unexpected heavy rains last week, the Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary School, like many other schools and homes across the island, experienced significant water damage,” Ms. Bradshaw stated.

She noted that Wilkie Cumberbatch was one of several schools which were identified for a full rebuild back in 2012, but pointed out that “the funding simply never materialised”. 

The Education Minister further added that over the years, conditions at the school had continued to deteriorate.  She said only minor works were carried out while the major infrastructural issues remained unaddressed.

“Since coming to office, we were focusing on conducting the assessments and preparing costs for the works which need to be done with respect to a number of these major projects. Wilkie Cumberbatch was, therefore, included amongst the seven schools which will now receive electrical upgrades in December of this year, and substantial works at the schools were to be rolled out in 2021 during the domestic summer programme, as it was clear that the neglect of the school was reaching a critical juncture,” she disclosed.

Ms. Bradshaw said she regretted any inconvenience caused to parents and guardians and promised to keep them informed as the Ministry works towards addressing the situation at the school.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

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