By Carlena Knight
Following the release of the Grade six National Assessment results last Friday, Five Islands Primary School earned the most passes in the top 100 for a government school.
Five Islands had four students, three of whom were males, who passed in the top 100.
Principal of the educational institution Sandy Lewis while speaking to Observer yesterday revealed that although she is proud of her students, she was not particularly surprised by the news.
“I wasn’t really surprised. We have been working with these children for a while. However, it was just one of those years that, despite of the difficulties, we decided that we were going to push through. I must say that it was a team effort; it was the whole staff. We are a part of a zone, Zone 1, and our education officer has always pushed us. It just really was a team effort with the teachers, parents and students,” Lewis explained
She shared it was their goal to place more focus on the academic success of the males in her school as in recent years, they had not been doing as well as the girls in the assessment.
Despite the recent success, the educator said her school is not exempt from the same struggles that other government schools face, such as the lack of parental support, but despite the struggles she, along with her staff, strive to push forward for the sake of the children.
“I try to tell my teachers that even if the parents don’t work with you, then work for the children because even though we would love the parents’ involvement, it’s not happening the way we would want it. Don’t punish the children for their parents not being there. Some teachers have to also understand that some parents have to struggle, they have to do two, three jobs and some are so stressed they cannot even be bothered so I do understand,” she said.
The mother of two also mentioned that the focus should not only be on children passing to go to a specific secondary school, or finishing in the top 100, but on the wholistic development of each child as some may not be as academically inclined as others.
According to Lewis, sometimes there is unnecessary pressure being placed on students to attend these specific secondary schools, and added that sometimes children may be facing many obstacles outside of school which would hamper their success.
She suggested that other practical programs could be introduced at the primary level so as to provide another avenue for students who may be more inclined to work with their hands.
“We need to look at more than ranking. We need to move away from or to find another way to involve our children other than the academic ranking. It is very important that we involve children in the different facets of schooling other than just the reading, writing, arithmetic, and I am hoping that someday we can move to a point where even in the primary schools, children can do a little woodwork or plumbing and eventually it would give them the taste of the love to move on to a bigger and better skill,” Principal Lewis said.