Ministry extends help to private school

St. John’s Antigua- The visionaries for Christ Academy or VFCA won’t have to shut down its special needs education programme after all, as the Ministry of Education has finally agreed to assist.

Earlier this year the principal of the private school, Alex Wharton, said the ministry had not indicated any willingness to help VFCA acquire new premises which it desperately needed due to its present overcrowded location.

After two years of getting no response to their proposals, VFCA was granted an audience with ministry officials last month. But it was only to be told that their requests could not be granted.

They were turned down both in respect of being granted a parcel of land on which they could construct a building, or for a disused public building to be made available to them, which they could then renovate.

Wharton and her husband, who co-own VFCA, were also told that the ministry could not accede to their request for the secondment of two special education teachers from the public service to VFCA – but with government continuing to bear the cost of their remuneration.

Following this, VFCA informed parents that upon conclusion of the last academic year at the end of June 2012, it would discontinue the special needs education component of its curriculum, although the school would otherwise continue to operate.

But in yet another – and this time positive – twist, the ministry earlier this week informed the Whartons that it would second one special education teacher to them, and would also facilitate them in acquiring a parcel of land on which they could erect the required building.

VFCA is pleased with this outcome. Although not getting all they had asked for, the owners say what has been granted is enough to enable them to continue the special ed programme.

The school also has other good news in that all six of its students who sat this year’s Common Entrance Exams have succeeded. Among these are three special needs children, including one who is paraplegic and another with dyslexia.


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